OpenMeetings.org

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This page is a proposal for a new Wikimedia Foundation Sister Project.
Status Under discussion
Prompt Response
What is the proposed name for the project? OpenMeetings.org
Proposed project tagline (if available) OpenMeetings.org: Continue the Conversation
Project description
What is the project purpose? What will be its scope? How would it benefit to be part of Wikimedia?
A video platform designed to increase availability, discoverability, and liberty to comment on archived meetings that span a broad range of social issues. A "public infrastructure" type of project best supported by the Wikimedia Foundation.
How many wikis?
Will there be many language versions or just on one multilingual wiki?
One multilingual wiki
How many languages?
Is the project going to be in one language or in many?
Many
Proposed project website address http://openmeetings.org
Proposed logo for the project (if available) Open meetings logo 135px.png
Technical requirements
If the project requires any new features that the MediaWiki software currently doesn't have, please describe in detail. Are additional MediaWiki extensions needed for the project?
Integration with TimedMediaHandler, internal MetaVidWiki extension redesign to use WikiData, Amara subtitling integration and other UI improvements.
Development wiki
See Nova_Resource:Metavidwiki
http://metavidwiki.wmflabs.org
Interested Participants:

Proposal Overview[edit]

OpenMeetings.org is an 'open video' project started in 2009 by User:GChriss for the purpose of "opening up" meetings of public interest with purposeful adherence to open web principles and tools.[1]  The underlying wiki has been in open development for the past three years as exploratory discussions and development strategies were conceptualized and delineated.  The wiki is accessible at http://openmeetings.org.

The project in its entirety is being split into two parts: 1) a 'non-production' development wiki running on Wikimedia Labs,[2] and 2) proposed transfer of project assets to a new Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) sister project bearing the same name (present proposal).

Successful implementation and deployment of OpenMeetings.org would be an extension of the Wikimedia Foundation's mission to "empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content;" there is an added social dynamic[3] with OpenMeetings.org in that engagement with the content itself is a core objective.  Taken as a whole it is an exciting approach that would position the Wikimedia Foundation as a leader in the advancement of civil discourse around real-world issues — by providing a scalable means for "better arguments"[4] — while simultaneously maintaining comprehensive platform neutrality.

Suitability as a WMF Sister Project[edit]

Skip ahead to Features for detailed descriptions of software capabilities.
Fig. 1: John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the five-man drafting committee of the Declaration of Independence presenting their work to the Second Continental Congress.  This meeting occurred 60 years before the invention of the electric telegraph, 100 years before invention of the phonograph, and 200 years before cameras were allowed in the U.S. House of Representatives.[5]

Wiktionary provides a definition of "education" as "facts, skills and ideas that have been learned, either formally or informally."[6]  As a historical archive OpenMeetings.org is a means of preserving cultural heritage and "institutional memory" for educational study by others, thus meeting WMF's "educational content" criteria.  For example, imagine being able to view, online, the presentation of the U.S. Declaration of Independence by the drafting committee to the Second Continental Congress (Fig. 1), complete with localized transcripts, historical (plus modern-day) commentary, and time-specific annotations.


Comparative Scope: Relation to Existing WMF Projects[edit]

The most closely related WMF sister projects to OpenMeetings.org are Wikinews and Wikiquote. Wikinews has a stated mission to "present up-to-date, relevant, newsworthy and entertaining content without bias."  [Emphasis added.]  Wikiquote is a collection of popular quotations from literary and artistic sources and is similar in the sense of development of a curation framework based on attributed quotes, an endeavor that differs substantially from curation of primary-source recordings (as is the case with OpenMeetings.org).  Wikinews Video 2.0 is a now-dormant wikiproject that saw publication of three video-enhanced, transcribed interviews;[7][8][9] however, Wikinews as a whole focuses on current-day news vs. becoming an interactive, open-video repository.

OpenMeetings.org would provide the requisite-to-editorial neutrality full-video citation framework for Wikinews and Wikipedia to draw upon to bolster their coverage of current events and encyclopedic topics, respectively.  In both cases it would be helpful—and perhaps necessary—for clips featured on OpenMeetings.org to be individually reviewed by outside subject-matter experts prior to inclusion on Wikinews or Wikipedia to avoid original research; the existence of OpenMeetings.org would help facilitate this process.  Finally, a production version of OpenMeetings.org would fall in line with the Let's Get Video on Wikipedia campaign organized by Kaltura Ltd., Mozilla Foundation, Open Video Alliance, and the Participatory Culture Foundation.

Comparative Scope: Adoptability by Other Non-Profits[edit]

eDemocracy[edit]

eDemocracy is a organization founded in 1994 with a mission to "harness the power of online tools to support participation in public life, strengthen communities, and build democracy."[10]  The Public Meetings Initiative is particularly noteworthy (also, Meeting Matters by OpenPlans) as a means to improve accessibility of public meeting notices and agendas, but the foundation does not provide the same level of technical infrastructure as the Wikimedia Foundation.

Open Forum Foundation[edit]

The Open Forum Foundation organizes "free and open communication between organizations, individuals, and decision-makers, fora between the same to develop practical solutions to real-world issues, and fora for the exchange of ideas to improve government and public communications"[11] primarily through unconferences and workshops.  The Open Forum Foundation focuses exclusively on government communication (e.g., constituent–representative correspondence) and thus would only host a subset of meetings with direct relevance to congressional affairs.  OpenMeetings.org was a sponsor of CongressCamp,[12] an unconference organized by the Open Forum Foundation in 2009.

OpenMeetings.org (as a new non-profit)[edit]

After initial discussions with the Open Forum Foundation one of the operating objectives behind OpenMeetings.org was incorporation of a new non-profit to support both the project and related sister projects.  Through a referral via the Online Media Legal Network Joseph Walsh of Troutman Sanders LLP has been providing pro bono legal consultation for the purpose of incorporating OpenMeetings.org as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.  It is possible that this incorporation process may resume either now or in the future—the WMF would have the option to transfer project assets to another organization, including one of the same name.

Sunlight Foundation[edit]

The Sunlight Foundation uses "cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable."[13] Through a grants program Sunlight funded $157,000 USD for one year[14][15] for further development and expansion of Metavid, "The Open Video Archive of the U.S. Congress."  The MetaVidWiki MediaWiki extension is the same extension used by Metavid.org as per original design.  The Sunlight Foundation, founded in 2006, has re-defined core priorities and no longer provides financial support to Metavid.


Prospective Partnerships[edit]

Internet Access & Distribution[edit]

NYSERNet, Inc. is an established research-grade internet service provider that provides internet connectivity throughout New York State, most notably "a backbone extending from Buffalo to New York City with gateways to multiple national research networks"[16] including international peers and Internet2.  OpenMeetings.org is eligible for NYSERNet membership at an anticipated cost of $50k USD/year.  Additionally, OpenMeetings.org is eligible for PennREN[17] membership at an anticipated cost of $15k USD/year.  Taken together these prospective partnerships would ensure a high quality-of-experience for local communities targeted for early outreach.

Operational goals and policies in the context of offline access, mobile accessibility, and 'free networks'[18] are in exploratory discussion{{subst:–}}input on this process is welcome.

News[edit]

Fig. 2: The late U.S. Senator Arlen Specter speaking with reporters at the conclusion of an August town hall meeting in State College, Pennsylvania (2009).[19]
The state-wide meetings centered on proposed changes to the national health care system and generated national media attention due to their "eruptive" tone.[20]  Availability of web-ready video provides additional—and still newsworthy—context that matches Specter's memoir account of the meetings.[21]

OpenMeetings.org was submitted as an idea[22] to the MoJo People-Powered News challenge and also as a 'news app or project' to the Source project,[23] run by Knight–Mozilla OpenNews, in hopes of being more widely recognized as a freely-available, primary-source aid in original reporting.[24]  Adoption by traditional newsrooms and grassroots media outlets would be seen as a key project milestone in addition to Wikinews integration as mentioned above (Fig. 2).

Additionally, an application on behalf of OpenMeetings.org was submitted to The Knight News Challenge '11[25] in the 'Authenticity' category.  Although the funding program is highly competitive—16 of over 1,600 entries were ultimately selected for awards averaging $300k USD/each—OpenMeetings.org would be a competitive entry in similar grant programs with backing from the Wikimedia Foundation and wider wiki community.

[edit]

The name 'OpenMeetings' is stylized to imply a relation to "open meeting" laws while maintaining overall simplicity.  '.org' was added to match the domain name and disambiguate the project from other, unrelated projects (see below).

Although the core feature of OpenMeetings.org is a MetaVidWiki instance named 'OMwiki', the umbrella project name does not carry a "wiki" prefix and thus diverges from Wikimedia Foundation naming conventions.  'OMwiki' follows MediaWiki shorthand naming conventions and does not find use in other contexts.  "Wikimeetings.org" does not carry the same appeal as "OpenMeetings.org" and suggests that meetings themselves are conducted via wiki, which may be misleading to those just learning about the project.  Use of WMF-branded text descriptions and footer icons may be the best course of action, even at the risk of becoming a "black sheep" member of the WMF family by name and appearance.


OpenMeetings (vs. OpenMeetings.org)[edit]

OpenMeetings is a Apache Incubator project "for presenting, online training, web conferencing, collaborative whiteboard drawing and document editing, and user desktop sharing."  OpenMeetings is a set of open-source tools used to organize and conduct online meetings, whereas OpenMeetings.org (present proposal) is an indexed video archive of meetings of public interest.  While OpenMeetings.org would provide technical recommendations on the best ways to record and archive meetings there is no involvement in the meeting itself.  There has been no correspondence between the projects.


Logo Design[edit]

The logo for OpenMeetings.org is based on an 1887 ad for "The Caligraph Writing Machine," altered to replace the word "Caligraph" with "Open Meetings."  The logo is not (currently) trademarked, is minimally altered from the original and correspondingly a public domain image.  The logo could be internationalized with non-English text as necessary.  Although the logo does not follow WMF visual identity guidelines it does fall in line with greyscale logos used for Wikipedia and Wiktionary:


Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg                Wiktionary-logo-en.svg                Open meetings logo 135px.png



Finally, the typewriter design presents a visual throwback to old, classy things-of-the-past while hinting at functionality present in the associated video platform.  The font is a modified FreeSerif Bold adopted from the GNU FreeFont project.


Features[edit]

Icono de esbozo.svg This section is currently a draft. More information may be available on the talk page.

A video screencast[26] showing a early version of Metavid offers a more complete tutorial of available features.


Video Search, Playback, and Layer Editing[edit]

page=

Fig. 3: The Main Page with Asynchronous-JavaScript (Ajax)-enabled search features.
Visitors have the ability to search the video archive according to name, date range, keyword, category, etc.  Basic Search, the default view, performs a simple keyword search.  All Figures are hyperlinked to non-cropped, full-size originals.



page=

Fig. 4: The result returned using search criteria indicated in Figure 3.  Multiple matching clips are shown one-per-infobox, with each infobox result displaying the Title, (non-animated) Thumbnail, Timecode, Matching Phrase, Views, Clip Duration, and associated Categories.  Results are sortable according to "Most Relevant," Most Recent, and Most Viewed; additionally, links to Media RSS feeds matching search criteria are provided (see Fig. 7).


Fig. 5: Video playback (left) and time-aligned transcript (right) of Jimmy Wales addressing audience questions at Wiki-Conference New York 2009.  This two-minute segment has 787 online views, ~10× the in-room attendance.  Click on the image for detailed annotations.





Additional Features[edit]

URL-Accessible Timecodes[edit]

http://openmeetings.org/wiki/   Stream:Nywikiconf_wales_keynote_25july2009  /0:34:27/0:37:03
http | https + hostname + wiki
https by default
'Stream' Namespace + Unique Identifier
Concise identifier, including date
Start/End Timecode
H:MM:SS.  Optional.


Integration with 3rd-Party Platforms[edit]



Visual Navigation[edit]

  • Padma-style mouseover-to-timepoint


Remote Embedding[edit]

Labs Development[edit]

Visual Layout[edit]

Fig. 10: The main page as viewed with the Tilt Firefox plugin.
  • New skin needed, background fade-to-black during playback


Cross-Browser Compatibility[edit]

[28]

[29]

page=

Fig. 11: The main page displays the 'Heretic Clippy' version of the Microsoft "Clippy" Office Assistant with customized text encouraging visitors to download Theora-compatible browsers.  Additionally, OpenMeetings.org is listed[30] in the Free Software Foundation's PlayOgg campaign;[31] a button to this effect is displayed bottom-left.


Social Sharing Tools[edit]

Fig. 12: Example link to an OpenMeetings.org playback page from a popular social networking platform.  Thumbnails are user-selectable in 10-second increments up to a minute past the start time for aesthetic effect.


Tagging[edit]

[32]

[33]

Commentary Reuse & Remixes[edit]


Source Materials Availability[edit]

Fig. 13: A suggested video production workflow diagram for a meeting to meet OpenMeetings.org accession requirements.
Top left: An in-room audio/video recording device  (e.g., Elphel open-hardware cameras)
Top right: Video editing software used to trim and edit footage (Cinelerra-CV shown)
Middle Left: Encoding (Theora shown)
Middle Right: Publication under a Creative Commons license and permanent archiving (Internet Archive shown)
Bottom Left: Additional publisher distribution channels (Miro and BitTorrent shown, live-streaming is also possible)
Bottom Right: If all publication requirements are met, a copy of the meeting is accessioned into OpenMeetings.org.

OpenMeetings.org is premised on the availability of previously-published, full-length recordings of meetings of public interest; for a recording to appear on OMwiki—or, borrowing from library terminology, to become accessioned—it must meet several accession requirements (Fig. 13).  The purpose of these requirements are 1) to define a known standard-of-expectation in terms of how meetings should be conducted, either by adherence to existing law or by principle, to be called an "open meeting," and 2) to ensure that all meetings featured on OpenMeetings.org adhere to quality and neutrality expectations.  Suggested accession requirements are as follows:

  1. Must be a meeting of public interest and "open to the public," which is to say audience members and press are permitted to reasonably operate recording devices at will and without interference.  Private-registration events are generally acceptable given non-interfering media policies.
  2. Must be a full-length recording hosted on the Internet Archive or another permanent, publicly-accessible online archive.  Professional editing/trimming prior to publication is recommended.
  3. The video must be within the public domain or released under an appropriate Creative Commons license, detailed below.

Note that these accession requirements are of worldwide scope, thus providing a path forward for expansion into international meetings.

There is no developed takedown policy for meetings in the event that primary publication of the original is legally contested, but requirement #2 provides an essential layer of legal protections for the project as a whole.  Note that trusted users, and not the Wikimedia Foundation proper, would be responsible for adding and removing meetings as per §230 provisions.


Licensing Requirements[edit]

In order for a video to be accessioned it must unambiguously exist within the public domain or be released under either a Creative Commons Attribution or Attribution-Share Alike copyright license.  Videos available under CCPlus rights alone are insufficient; videos containing "fair use" elements are permitted if the inclusion reasonably meets all requirements of fair use.  The copyright statement for text contributions is as follows:


By editing or contributing text to OpenMeetings.org, you agree to irrevocably publish your contributions under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 U.S. (CC-BY 3.0 U.S.) copyright license, with the exception of video streams marked as Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (CC-BY-SA 3.0).  By editing or contributing text to CC-BY-SA video streams, you agree to irrevocably publish your contributions under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (CC-BY-SA 3.0) copyright license.


Thus, the site-wide default for OpenMeetings.org is CC-BY with the notable exception that videos contributed via CC-BY-SA will have the Share Alike attribute preserved on derivative works (i.e., transcripts and remixes).  While both licenses are "appropriately free,"[34] preference is given to CC-BY to facilitate content distribution and reuse to the widest extent possible.  This policy should be congruous with existing WMF copyright policy across the various sister projects (esp., Wikinews).


Active Publishers[edit]

Open Video Productions, L.L.C.[edit]

Fig. 14: Video still featuring Antoine Dodson in a Q&A session at ROFLcon III.  Captured with an Elphel 353L 'open video' live-streaming camera.  Full set.

Open Video Productions is a limited liability company that specializes in prototyping and effectuating professional videography solutions for clients across the U.S. using open source and open hardware technologies (Fig. 14).  The company is registered in Delaware and has been owned and operated by GChriss since March 2010.

As of 24-June-2012 there are 103 "item" recordings published on the Internet Archive (IA) by GChriss/Open Video Productions comprising 169 hours—just over a week—downloaded 24,700 times by IA-anonymized viewers.[35]  The anonymization process provides at least one readily-accessible method (i.e., direct download from the IA) where 'public' discussions[36] are available for review within a "collapsed context"[37] with strong privacy protections[38] afforded to online viewers; accurate conceptualization of "audience"[39] is especially complicated by long-term permanence of the recordings.  Additionally, IA publication is largely incompatible with proposed "right to be forgotten" laws.[40]

The total size of 'web resolution' recordings on the Internet Archive is 44.19GB,[35] which averages to 260MB/hour of Ogg Theora.  Factors that may affect this bitrate (both upwards and downwards) include changes in video resolution (i.e., 360×240 @ 29.97 FPS, interlaced → 648×280 @ 18 FPS, progressive), an upcoming switch to Opus audio,[41] increased bitrate efficiency in new Theora releases, and even decreases in overall camera panning motion.  Additionally, synchronized high-resolution screen captures are also becoming available; corollary video streams are often an integral part of the meeting presentation.

Current development work centers on deployable open video kits that simplify web streaming, high-definition recording, and realtime metadata capture; a joint funding proposal[42] submitted to the Creative Commons Catalyst Grant program[43] in support of this work was not selected for funding.

Project Assets[edit]

The following is a list of transferable assets eligible for donation to the Wikimedia Foundation:

A Bugzilla request for creation of an 'openmeetings@lists.wikimedia.org' discussion list will be re-opened pending evaluation of this proposal.

Proposal Milestones[edit]

  1. Continued development and promotion of present proposal; gather community-contributed questions and feedback
  2. Work with the Sister Projects Committee to develop a community Request for Comment
  3. Develop an updated technical roadmap for new and re-designed features
    • Wireframe markups, visual navigation, microcontrols, responsive design[44]
  4. Launch Labs "metavidwiki-dev" instance, recruit developers
  5. Draft an Incubator plan-of-action
    • Transfer project assets to the Wikimedia Foundation
    • Instantiate an Labs-imported project in Incubator after code review
    • Bootstrap Incubator workflow in the context of "independently-useful work units"[45] using Wikimania and free-culture-related video
    • Policy refinement, review with legal counsel
  6. Develop an overall Strategic Plan with new milestones, cost analysis, and prospective grants aided by Incubator data
  7. Start a community-wide discussion on launching OpenMeetings.org as a sister project, then petition the WMF Board of Trustees for promotion to a sister project


See also[edit]

  • Convention Extension, a MediaWiki extension to "ease the process of setting up conference-like features on a wiki."
    Under development by Akshay Chugh / Google Summer of Code 2012.
  • Granicus, Inc. is a privately-owned company that "provides comprehensive solutions for creating, managing and distributing live and on-demand streaming media content to support and enhance public meeting communications."[46]  The U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk has contracted Granicus[47] to provide HouseLive.gov.  [Proprietary platform.]
  • UK Citizens Online Democracy, via mySociety limited, runs TheyWorkForYou.com, which features 'chunked' transcripts and user-contributed annotations aligned with BBC Parliament video[48] in addition to text-based indexes and alerts. Open source.
  • The National Issue Forums (NIF) is a "network of civic, educational, [o]ther organizations and individuals whose common interest is to promote public deliberation in America."
  • OnlineTownhalls, a business venture which develops "software for stakeholder engagement and interagency collaboration" using live-updated, tree-based debate point mapping as applied to government meetings conducted online via VoIP and provided software.  The project has seen success in congressional town hall meetings.[49]  [Proprietary platform.]
  • The Participatory Politics Foundation "develops websites that create new opportunities for engagement with government."
  • Public Agenda "uses nonpartisan research, public opinion and public engagement to bring citizens and policymakers together to craft solutions to tough problems."
  • The Public Conversations Project "prevents and transforms conflicts driven by deep differences in identity, beliefs, or values."


Q&A[edit]

Please feel free to submit questions here:

  • Q1: To me, the biggest use for Wikinews is ease of editing video.  And ensuring that we can make use of video in a timely manner.  How will OpenMeetings.org meet Wikinewsunofficial motto of "Facts don't cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news?"A  We'd need cues to help edit video, perhaps options to switch in-feed from one camera to another, all without downloading 5×6hrs of video and editing it down to a 10-minute report.  Will this be amongst the project goals?b  Will constraints we've seen with Commons video length be dealt with?c  Will Commons’ 'overly conservative' attitude to fair use materials be handled within the scope, and will it be possible to move material to local hosting on sister projects to preserve crucial - to the project - information which may not 100% meet the puritanical ideology of Commons?c  Yep.  Multiple questions, but better to put over that I see this having immense potential value for Wikinews with a lot of caveats which could only be overcome with sheer bloody-mindedness, and determination. --Brian McNeil / talk 01:16, 17 July 2012 (UTC)


  • A: The first question relates to time-to-reporting of a major news event; meetings may be either independently newsworthy (e.g., a public lecture or debate) or newsworthy within the context of a precipitating event (e.g., natural disaster recovery) and correspondingly have differing sensitivity to reporting delays.  It may make sense to introduce a deliberate time delay to OpenMeetings.org hosting as the project becomes more grounded, then to relax the delay to include recent meetings as the wiki community becomes better prepared to respond to public interest in the project.  This process may take several years.  From a recording and publication standpoint, the development and deployment of open video kits is important but beyond the immediate scope of OpenMeetings.org.
b Videos are pre-edited to follow in-room discussion.  Additional editing is generally unnecessary, but the Sequencer extension may be helpful (e.g., for Wikinews graphic overlays).
c OpenMeetings.org is built for long-format recordings: the longest meeting currently hosted is over four hours long.  Not all videos would be eligable for inclusion on Commons due to presence of 'fair use' elements, so OpenMeetings.org as proposed would host its own media repository.  There are no hard-and-fast restrictions on media copying so each sister project would be free to self-host any material deemed especially important to the project.




Questions will be answered either in this section or blanked after being reflected in the main text – please indicate in the edit summary if you have a preference.  Please use the discussion page for general discussion or feedback.

References[edit]

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  3. Brewer, Jake; Robert Millis, Abram Stern (20-June-2009). Crowdsourcing an Open Government: Using Distributed Video to Hold the Elected Accountable (Transcribed Ogg Theora). Open Video Conference 2009. Open Video Productions, L.L.C. Retrieved on 26-June-2012.
  4. Shirky, Clay (25-September-2012). Clay Shirky: How The Internet Will (One Day) Transform Government. TED. TED Conferences, LLC. Retrieved on 10-October-2012.
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  9. Dranove, Michael, "Interview with US Political Activist and Philosopher Noam Chomsky", Wikinews, Wikimedia Foundation, 4-April-2009. Retrieved on 7-June-2012. (in English / French)
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  12. CongressCamp - Eventbrite. CongressCamp (12-September-2009). Retrieved on 25-June-2012.
  13. About Us. Sunlight Foundation. Archived from the original on 21-July-2012. Retrieved on 13-June-2012.
  14. Rappaport, Scott, "UCSC Receives $157,000 to Support Open Archive of Congressional Proceedings", UCSC University News, The Regents of the University of California, 7-May-2007. Retrieved on 13-June-2012.
  15. Schneider, Gabriela, "Sunlight Foundation Announces New Grants", Sunlight Foundation Press Releases, Sunlight Foundation, 12-April-2007. Retrieved on 13-June-2012.
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