Hackpads are smart collaborative documents. .

Paulina Haduong

879 days ago
Rebecca T Fellows Hour about Fellows Program, 6.23.15
Premise: Ford wants a document showcasing Berkman’s fellows program as a model of a successful program.
Mainly focused on past 4-5 years, and focused on what is working now?
More qualitative; like a case study, not data report
Q: How would you define success as a fellow?
Matthew Battles: Opportunity to learn from a diversity of backgrounds, disciplines, and perspectives and skillsets. That cornucopia has been key to the success for me. I've particularly enjoyed learning from attorneys, an extraordinary immersion in a kind of discourse I haven't participated in.
Ellery Biddle: I know a lot of thought goes into the composition of how people play off of each other, and that's huge and hard to know.  It's a mysterious process that clearly has a big part of why that works.
Kit Walsh: Connections mean you're situated going forward outside of the center.  The benefit continues.
Jack C Jack: Berkman Friends feels continuous with the in-person fellow relationships
Rebecca T Malavika: Not overengineered.  Not polices.  Treated like adults.  Incentivizes you to make your own success.
Q: It is sufficiently engineered?
Nathan Freitas: Not consistent because it's what we make of it.  I'm happy with that, because I'll make a lot out of it.
Matthew Battles: The nature of the support is unique to this fellowship program.  I wonder how it works.  On one hand, this is distinct from other fellowship programs here at Harvard, where there is a stipend attached.  It's striking how entrepreneurial the Berkman program has been throughout its life without that support.  But the community and the sense of community, of fellows, of staff - the sense of community is a very strong one, and that's different from other fellowship programs too.  It's a strength that could be marbled; could be hard to unpack.
David W Andrew Lowenthal:   The flip side of the marbling is the Hierarchy of participation - who gets to participate. 
Rebecca T Matthew: have to wonder who can't be a part of this.  What is this community missing because there's no support for a certain set of cohorts that can't take the time and don't have the support to be hacking in this way.
David W Hasit: I was a joint fellow at Nieman. Nieman is very regimented. Events and things you are expected to do. I think I learned far more here than at Nieman because I was surrounded by people in my field there. 
The regimentation isn't a good thing or bad. It is what it is. 
Rebecca T Mal: there was a tension.  If there were time conflicts, you went to other events because they were paying you.
Q: What do you think this fellowship might do for you going forward/once you leave?
David W Ellery: I wasn't part of academia before. The idea of teaching never seemed like a realist possibility, and it does now.
Rebecca T Matthew: Consistently exciting is the infusion into the academy for people who are not career academics, and it's super healthy.  Excites me to see people coming from the outside.
Nathan Freitas: ITP had being an adjunct professor.  I prefer this model, because I had no time to associate with others there because I was teaching for no money.  I got to teach and got to have the title, which was great, but with Berkman it's been more of a retreat/meditation time to reflect.  There are different ways to bring industry into academia, and this is a good model.  Berkman doesn't feel like a drag on me.  I don't need a stipend because it's an energizing thing.
Mal: Lots of the tools and techniques we take for granted being here seem revolutionary outside of here.  It's a measure of success, where I feel I"m adding to a conversation now in ways I maybe didn't before. Hackpads, hackathons, breakout groups.I think it's just the mindset and the way you approach problem 
Hasit: it opens doors.  If you can say you come from a place like this that has a strong reputation, it helps.
Emy T Emy: Being able to participate in an academic community but not as an academic has been very valuable.  Berkman has provided me the intellectual space for me to put my policy and program experience into context of the field of Internet policy and digital inclusion.
Rebecca T Question: to what extent do you think the harvardness of Berkman makes it a success.
Kit: it helps the program take more risks.  HArvard has room to take the risks; if you're starting a new fellows program you may have more anxiety.
Mal: I say I'm at Berkman, not Harvard.  It doesn't sound like you're bragging.
Sandra: Many times people don't know Berkman, but they do know Harvard, so you can use that.  
Emy T Emy: Frankly, I don't know if Dept of Commerce would have let me work remotely and reduce my hours if the fellowship wasn't situated in Harvard or similar level academic institution.  I appreciate that the fellowship includes practitioners as well as academics.
David W Matthew: 
Andrew: It's not necessarily that people are turning up for the brad bt because they know the other people who are there. It does it a much easier ride than another fellows program. 
Matthew: There have been people reluctant to come beecause of the Harvard name and who don't want to be associated with Harvard.
Ellery: Or people who feel they don't belong. With GV, there are people who come to me from the community and say theat what were doing is cool and they wish they could do it. They feel it's for a different sort of person.
Rebecca T Nathan F: The people who have been here and the things that have been done here, stuff that's important for me and my community.  Humblebragging! s As a critique, I will say that I thought that more people would be around more often.  I've seen less of those types of people than I've thought.
David W Becca: Have you reached out to those people and have they turned you away?
NF: They haven't turned me away. But the abstract impression of Berkman is different from the reality.
Sands F: The expectations of which projects ...I've heard rumors outside of Harvard that Berkman is tending toward policy and governance and thus isn't as diverse as it used to be. I've heard people say they're not into governance so they wouldn't fit here The degree to which we exude certain types of focus afects who shows up here.
Mal: If you look at the success of the program itself, one of the greatest succeses is how many copycat institutions it's generated. I sometimes wonder idf Berkman is still #1. I keep coming back to JZ: We either do A which we're best at, or C where we take a risk. But we don't do B which other people are doing well. So the greatest success of Berkam is it's greatest competition.
Ellery: For our class (2014) the intro to Berkman wasn't very tight.  "Everyone who's part of the Berkman community is coming togeth and we'll be in the smae room and they'll be some big talks." But so much of the experience is social. Everone who knows one another are happy to see each other but the new kids didn't get a strong enough introduction to that. I was an interen some years prior so I knew more people, but I heard it from others in my class. "I don't know anyone."
Tatiana Indina: For a Russian being part of the B community is huge. It is a great honor. At the same time it's a challenge for people comeing from far away since the fellowship has different dimensions. E.g., some fellows get funding, some don't. Some are here all the time, some not. This creates a hierarchy that is especially difficult for people coming from far away. We were very happy to have a p2p grant with our center.  It's great we have tools for long-distance participating but that doesn't work as well for networking. Even email threads don
't help achieving that goal.
TI: Also, it's great to have different people from different fields. AT the same time, it's a challenge. Coming from a different background and studying a very specific topic it was hard to integrate it into the rest of Berkman. My culture was very culturally specific. There was no clear mechanism for how to participate in a dialogue. It's the same challenge as at any international conference. I don't know what could help. Maybe facilitating more for different cultural viewpoints and lines of research. We may be discussing something that doesn't exist in my country, or I'm talking something that exists only in my country. From one side people studying different things is a great thing, and on the other it can be hard connect. 
Rebecca T Mal: The network of centers is something that does a really good job.  Brings to bear multiple views etc - scale and diversity of things across the world I haven't seen other places do.
Sandra: Others may have/be coming from existing communities (such as the Network of Centers and Digitally Connected) where people find support. There are many ways people are working to integrate people who are outside of these things.
matthew B: opportunity to shape this.  SHape and texture of the conversation  - do more work as a community to express that we are a university wide center.  Growth on that into other spaces has been slow.  Opportunity to invite others.
David W Tatiana: The model is that Berkman is a self-organized community. Fellows are expected to organize themselves to make things happen. Many cultures are not familiar with those environments. You're used to being more regulated. Also the lack of networks. HArd to overcome this.  Would be helpful to have help doing this.
Rebecca T Q: Are people satisfied with their ability to interact across their particular areas of interest?
David W Ellery: vWillow and I have talked about doing a little more on Fellows Hours. We have missed opportunities just to hear what people are doing, just let someone talk for 20 mins. You could always just put up your hand and do it, but somehow it didn't happen. It could use a little kick. A half hour to talk about this.
Sands: The ten min talks...
NF: We did a speed dating thing +1
Andrew: It comes down to managing scale. The community has grown but maybe not the infrastructure to support it. If you're going to be at this scale, the infrastructural requirement grows. You can self-organize to a degree. But there's a line at which it becomes unrealistic. How much does the Center want to put into supporting the community. Where do we want to scale this to and where's the sweet spot? Balancing initiative 
Emy T Emy: Yes, I'd like to hear more about what people are working on and give them the chance to go in-depth, i.e. allocate at least an hour for them to talk.
Monica B Feedback from ceiling: As a remote participant, I found colleagues were very open to collaboration -- mostly people I've met in the ceiling.
Rebecca T q: how important have the working groups/self-organized groups been?
David W Jack: Angry Tech has been important to our experience. Coming back to acadmeic,s having a place to dip my toes into those waters was important. 
1118 days ago
  • Trip Ideas
  • Weekend Warriors (few big weekend trips a year)
  • Willow Brugh
Ivan S
  • Ivan Sigal
Mayte S
  • Mayte Schomburg
Emy T
  • Emy  Tseng
  • Andrew Lowenthal
Kate D
  • Kate Darling
Paulina H
  • Paulina Haduong
Sebastian D
  • Sebastian Diaz
  • Upcoming Trips
  • Trip Ideas
  • Sesame Street (family/kid friendly)
  • Members
  • Andy Ellis
  •  Sebastian Diaz
  • Trip Ideas
  • Go Big or Go Home (trips out west)
  • Ed Popko ( I end up in CO. a bunch )
Emy T
  • Emy Tseng (Tahoe)
  • Upcoming Trips
  • Trip Ideas
  • Nordic noodlers (cross-country touring)
  • Members
  • Ethan Zuckerman
  • Wendy Seltzer
Emy T
  • Emy Tseng
  • Andrew Lowenthal
Neal C
  • Upcoming Trips
  • Trip Ideas
Emy T
  • Some favorite x-country ski areas (Emy Tseng)
email list:  skiclub@eon.law.harvard.edu 
1138 days ago
Kate K Berkman Fellows' Hour (Oct 7, 2014)
Hello Ceiling (and beyond!)
In the Fellows' Hour today, we'll be talking about two topics: 
  • Seeing government (or not)
  • Girlhood in the 21st century 
  1. If the key to getting a much broader portion of population to experience positive attitudes toward government and broader/deeper behavior in the public decision-making processes that govern our daily lives is  “seeing” government’s value in their lives - why? What does that mean about what we should do?
  1. If the key is something else --- what is that thing?  What should we actually be focusing on?
  1. In particular, millenials: many of us have never learned the critical role of government in our day-to-day lives.  How young people can be swayed toward seeing and valuing the vital role that government plays in our lives?
Tim M Notes/Minutes
Have you recently interacted with government? "Does ____ count?" People have a hard time thinking about how government touches their lives.
Nathan asks: Any ends in mind? 
Ana: Is it that people are less likely to stick up for an idea in a context where they are being told 
Kate: Paper about the benefits of transparency (operational transparency) 
Ivan S Ivan: are you making a normative statement about the value of government?
Tim M Kate: I believe that government is valuable and that not being involved is worse for us than being involved.
Kate: I have some questions/goals
  1. Gut check on if this needs further work.
  1. What the 'real problem' is.
Amy: What is government?
K: Geographically focused on the US. But happy to hear about others. By "Government" focusing on three levels, city, state and national levels. Not only the representatives but also the civil servants who perform the functions of government. Mostly interested in the service provision of government. How the government implements things that reflect the beliefs that we have.
  • Sara: What about Infrastructure? 
  • Willow: What if we went around the room? Kate: I have an exercise for this.
  • Amy: What about government within organizations or families. Kate: I am focused on the state.
  • Sara: Do you have concrete outcomes in mind? K: yes but not yet. 
  • Ellery: Did you ever use terms other than "government"? K: no. But we have research that demonstrates that other people are finding the same things.
  • Maggie: People are much more able to identify the State than The Government in my research. In the US where 'the people' end and 'the State' begins is intentionally hard to identify. 
  • Other Kate: The law and case law might help you find out what the government is. Maggie: Maybe not knowing what the government is is valuable in the question.
  • Ryan: Wondering about what level of attenuatedness you are thinking about with interacting with gov. Starting at talking to civil servants/representatives. Vs being in a government building vs being on a space built by private actors like a road funded by government vs being at a palce likfe Harvard that gets gov't money/
  • Phillipe: There are differences in the different levels as far as perception of nearness or farness. Federal vs Civic eg.
We did an activity. Draw a timeline of your day.
Star next to the government.
  • Or: How is this transparency any different from any other transparency? We could have done just the same story with potassium.
  • Mayte: I think there is a different in citizenship vs potassium in terms of expecting to have a say.
  • Salil: I am here as a computer scientist because of more of an interest with the computer side of internet and society. Governance is a major topic for the berkman centre but I'm curious about whether you have an angle that's more than just governance. What's the tech angle?
  • Kate: "So here's how potassium is different from government." Government is a mechanism for making decisions and collective decisions. Potassium is just a chemical
  • Miguel: I think you are both right. It si everywhere like potassium but there are different expectations around govenrment (rights, expectations that you can demand things etc). When we don't know how government works, that's how we don't know how we relate to things on an every day basis.
  • Ryan: It seems that the defn' of government is a very narrow definition and idealistically participatory. Where here in the US few people truly participate in government in the most formal ways. The social contract seems to be that you get the possibility but if you choose to not participate you are still bound by the decisions that what is often a minority of people decide.
  • Kate: What I meant was: Government is an organizing mechanism and the participation is part of it. Much of it we don't participate in but 'we trust' that it is going to operate (e.g. FDA). And then there are a lot of poor people who have a lot of interactions with government.
Samuel K
  • Nate: I want to create a banana republic.  (to provide potassium) Imagine: by using data provided by my govt, you can see my logo on every banana, and know that we're providing K+ to the public in a fair & equitable way.  Then you can organize, find eachother online, find new ways to keep Upper Nato (Nateland? Natesberg? Natopia? Nate Britain?) accountable.  (This is a form of mediation of government outside of formalized methods.  Can lead to banana revolution.)
Tim M
  • Maggie G:  We are barking up wrong tree with potassium. If there was a potassium crisis we would turn to it. But now there is a crisis in civic engagement and people wanting to pay taxes to fund all the different parts of government. (roads and schools and candidates for office).
Andy E
  • Andy: ... and gunrunning and gratuitous auditing and corruption and killing people from 30K feet and ...
Samuel K
  • SJ: K+ and Gov are at a different levels of the stack: when you realize most people are K+-deficient, government is a canonical way to implement society-wide changes to enhance staples with K+.  [There are other ways, even other coordinated ways.  But this is a type of coordination / analysis / amortization problem that governments are rather good at. {Except when they get captured and instead advocate for unhealthy changes. See also, food pyramid.}]
  • Good point, every form of coordination can be captured.  Both gov and non-gov are imo vulnerable to similar degrees, in different ways.  Standards are still one that current-era gov is rather designed for, compared to other things govs try their hand at.
Andy E
  • Non-gov is more likely to have a way to drive it out of business.  Hard to do so to a government absent guns.
Tim M
  • Josephine: I do't think I'd call it a crisis that people don't want to pay their taxes. That's, like a normal thing. It may not be that a breakdown of taxes would make me feel better. There are ways that it is better for the government to be invisible. I don't want there to be branding about the efforts of the government. I want pathways for people who do care. I am happy to have the infrastructure in my life happen behind the scenes. There are a lot of pieces that I don't want to engage with. It's a sign of it working well. Story about the driveway. What gets people involved tends to be local and concrete. I don't know that this is the wrong motivation. 
  • kate: this suggests a conversation about what the idea user experience of government should be.
  • Maggie KB: The idea of if it is a crisis: Implies it is unique to this time period and appeared recently and we need to solve it immediately. The mistrust of government and thread of I don't need government has been part of the American psyche since perhaps before the beginning of America. Is it a crisis or just the American spirit.
  • (Sorry Peter I got distracted and didn't note yout thoughts). It was about the questions of libertarian approaches to decision making, the idea that the FDA wouldn't be needed because other mechanisms woudl do it.)
  • Phillipe: Bring up the question of trust and of the differnet kinds of mechanisms.
Kate: is this the right question
  • Matthew: difference between knowing the facts and transparency and being on the same page
Samuel K
  • SJ: I am more interested in udnerstanding how we now see civitas: the contracts between ourselves and our social environment: which also varies with locality and scope (like local/regional government).  Gov't is one part of this, but the larger gov't is, the less personally tangible the results.  
  • I don't not tear people apart because of the [state] government.  It's because of a different / more fundamental sort of civil contract.
Tim M
  • Tim: it is not necessarily the case that transparency means more justice. (Examples: we have plenty of pictures of Tiananmen/Ferguson/Occupy there was plenty of awareness).
  • Ivan: there are counter examples in efforts to implement certain kinds of governances onto a nascent body politic - look to international development and USG attempts to create service provision for local governance. Government is a form of mediating contention. If we don't understand government as a process for doing that. I dispute the language of "it's a problem" that needs to be solved. It's an ongoing fact of life.
  • Maggie KB: I think more people invovled woud be a good thing but I am not sure that awareness is the problem. If people get invovled and nothing changes, they don't stay involved.
  • Dalia and to what purpose?
  • Miguel: What about the people who just want to make an improvement in their life and lack information?  [nice to hear MP say this, as someone who has catalogued power and its implications -sj]
Samuel K
  • Willow:  During disaster response when people need resources and government is trying to provide help, there's a lot of confusion and lack of transparency - expectation setting and communication.  People get pissed off at the wrong people, don't get what they need, and the government orgs who *are* there spend most of their time /energy on rumour control rather than helping people.  [people might want anything from housing to funds to blankets to transportation].  Government isn't doing what people expect, and people aren't doing for one another what they think government is supposed to do.  Many people try to help, but if it doesn't work out they think "Why ever bother to do it again?  someone else is doing this or responsible for it"
  • Emy - Who here has worked for goverment?  Has contributed to government discussions / submitted ideas / tried to influence?  That's a lot.  Funny to see how disempowered people feel given that.
  • Salil - many people here got involved as advisors, not as individual citizens
  • [SJ - most of my engagement has been fruitless. Not encouraging.]
  • The process of participating takes time, energy, and is often hard.  That's not [always] an accident. Sometimes it's because it worked at the time it was set up, or b/c it's intentionally leaving some people out.
  • Neal - Estonia started a "see gov[?]" movement: putting all gov services online.  Anyone in the world can sign up for notifications.  I signed up...  it lets people find out what's going on, have a streamlined portal, vote but not on a tuesday during work. (http://e-estonia.com/e-residents/e-residency/)
  • Emy - Even in the US that's the huge impetus behind e-gov and early voting...
Kate - what I hear is people saying there's more that could be done / different input [that participation is important if it's done effectively].
  • Mayte - the distuccions about how much government we want and how much engagement, reminds me of conversations we have in the EU: about fundamental pro/con the EU-as-institution.   To your Q about how to increase visibility in government, one issue would be: to  take a step back, focus on quality of public discourse.  Including civil society and also govt institutions.  
  • In Germany, the german constitutional court says we are among other things a democracy.  It has clarified what that means over the past decades.  A fundamental aspect is that we have a free public sphere: expression, other rights. Within that you have many intermediaries that can take a stand / stab at problems in your backyards towards gov institutions.
  • Erhardt - when is it necessary to be visible and transparent; when is that sufficient.
  • Or - I think the fund. problem in gov is not transparency.  From a utility standpoint: if I'm going to change sth for the public, I'll put a lot of time in.  Assume the system is as comfortable (and transp) as possible.  Then what? What will I experience?  Not a lot.  The benefit will be divided among everyone.  I only care when a tractor is about to demolish something in the street next to me.  So either change the system or create other incentives for people (w.out special roles) to care about everyone else.
  • So you're saying that enabling distributed action so that you can be effective, briefly: is necessary.   
  • Felipe - I agree that what matters in the end is not how much info you have, but results.  I'm remembering a barometer that said that 40% of latin americans don't care if they have a democracy or not as long as they have better personal standard of living; everyday life.
Tim M
  • Tim - I want to pull back in Josephine's point about how good working government happens without needing attention. The moment that you shine the transparency spotlight.attention spotlight on something that's not  aneutral moment. That's politically an incredibly fraught moment. Department budgets are going to be cut or grown, people will be fired. Attention is not neutral. So deciding which bits need attention, and which bits are fine?  
Samuel K
  • Who decides?  |What seems missing is less a Q of information than [curation]: opportunities for action, engaging in discourse, [prioritization]
  • Mayte's commenta bout intermediaries can help here: if you have this - not representation, but a variety of intermediaries that focus on one issue or area - you can offload some of the work of analysing what is important, what has changed, where you can make a difference.  And this is what many people do (ex: ActBlue slates; parties themselves & party lines)
Kate: I want to ask 1 of 3 things in closing, for each person.  
A Q you pose / research you want to see pursued / one thing you learned.
  • Miguel: The Mexican govt has proposed: Citizen Driven Language, in which representatives have to answer questions in person or on paper.  Links below.
  • Emy: there's a chicken-egg issue: why do people feel engaged or disempowered?  Or disconnected?  what do you do with signs such as "Keep government off of my Medicare!" ?  There's an emotional disconnect that comes from this attitude towards gov't in the US.

Contact Support

Please check out our How-to Guide and FAQ first to see if your question is already answered! :)

If you have a feature request, please add it to this pad. Thanks!

Log in