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Mechanics (1) & (2)



(1) Map your space

Developing new spaces: If you have done Develop Your Internet Dream Place, you can use the work from that exercise as your map.

Redesigning existing spaces: If your group would rather redesign an existing online space, identify a space that the group already participates in or ask the participants to form groups based on spaces they participate in and facilitate the group(s) to answer the questions from Develop Your Internet Dream Place, about these existing spaces:

  • What is it called?
  • Why is this space significant?
  • Who is it for? Who is it not for? How can you make sure?
  • What kinds of things do people do in this space?
  • What are the rules in this place?
  • Who can join? Who cannot join?
  • What will the space look like?
  • How will people find each other in that place?
  • What topics can people talk about in this place? What can they not talk about?
  • Who has responsibility for managing the space?

Have the groups draw out this space as creatively as possible, and get them to prepare a creative presentation for the rest of the group.

(2) Choosing spaces: Spaces that work and assessing safety

If you have done Input + Activity: Online Safety "Rules", you may have already had a conversation about choosing spaces and assessing risks of online communications.

Choosing spaces for functionality

How do you choose platforms and assess risks to yourselves on those platforms? Choose spaces that help us reach our communication goals and try to participate in these spaces in ways that do not expose us to risks we do not wish to take.

Look at the map you have made. Can you identify a platform already that will allow you to create the space you have mapped? Which of the components of your space will be easy to create? Which will be difficult? Are there alternative spaces where pieces will be easier or harder?

Choosing spaces strategically

Does the space you chose match your strategy? Is this a good space for: organising, mobilising, for announcements/influencing discourse?

Facilitator: Introduce how these different activities bring with them different levels of risk.

Suggested questions to ask

  • What are some risks with different types of communication?
  • Who are you communicating with in these activities?
  • Who are you not communicating with?
  • What are the consequences if someone you do not intend your message for accesses it?
  • How public can the audience be?
  • What risks might people face if they are known as message creators or recipients in this communication?

This discussion leads into the next discussion section looking at risks people are most concerned with.

Note to facilitator: This section may be very quick, with everyone agreeing that they need to be on a single platform right now, for instance, Facebook. You may, however, get to talk about a variety of tools and platforms.

Discussion OR Input: Assessing dimensions of safety and the internet: What are the current issues?

Ask the group: What safety risks are you concerned about in online spaces? Facilitate this discussion to include concerns about actions that individuals can take in these spaces as well as actions taken by the software companies who own the spaces.

If you have already done Input + Activity: Online Safety "Rules", you may reference that discussion and abbreviate this section.

Otherwise, facilitate discussion about safety risks in online spaces. Draw from the experiences of the participants but also prepare some examples of stories where privacy was breached through online spaces and that impact that had on individuals.

Discussion: Ask participants what safety concerns they have in online spaces. Are there any specific incidents or risks people are concerned about and want to address in their Dream Space or redesigned space?

Input: We suggest familiarising yourself with 2-3 case studies and sharing them here. To share these with the least amount of time, present them as a lecture. If you have more time, or want to facilitate deeper conversation and engagement with the issues, find some media like articles, short videos, interviews, regarding a case and share them with the group. Ask group members to discuss them together in pairs or small groups.

  • Real name policies and their implications for organising and expression online.
  • The myth that to be online is to be anonymous and therefore safe – laws and policies that don't allow for this.
  • Women's experience of the internet – harassment, attacks, etc.
  • The value of the internet; why do people stay in online space; how is it of value to us and our community?
  • Diversity of access and comfort level of online spaces that we choose. Is it a barrier for people in our networks to participate because you´ve chosen a specifc platform?
  • Are there cost implications for the space that you are choosing to use for the people in your network community?

Facilitator: ask participants to consider why the platforms we are on are not safer by design.

Continue to this activity's next page (Mechanics (3) & Additional resources)