Public Lab Research note

Barnraising: Ethics of Practice

by mathew | November 16, 2012 04:23 16 Nov 04:23 | #4927 | #4927

These are fairly sporadic notes, I apologize.

Ethics of Practice

Initiated by Cindy Regalado ExCiteS group believes anyone should be able to participate regardless of literacy rate, education, etc, and the questions in this session are frames around responding to a PLOTS paper on ethics of balloon mapping by Jeff, Sara, Shannon in the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest It seems like the code of ethics isn't voiced overtly but it's in there. I think their practice is more sophisticated than is captured by their writing. The question the grassroots mapping community must avoid is a reductionist understanding of the practice.
Voicing those ethics in interactions is vital.

The PPGIS code of ethics seems old fashioned, when your work is disruptive and new.

Jeff: the code has some interesting aspects, like "don't promise very much," and "don't assume anything might change."

Cindy: you have an implicit body of knowledge that is constantly positioning and repositioning where you stand, how you do things, and what it means. Because you're constantly co-creating, you don't have a rigid position. But these storylines can get lost.

in your paper, you appear deliberately vague in your aims, is this in order to allow different organizations, individuals, etc. to participate?

There is a downside to rigid principles...

Shannon Dosemagen: there have been growing pains and a lot of work to get to where we are as an organization, we had to step back to build an no-profit, etc. and its only been recently we feel like a truly functional organization. we're a toddler.

Jeff Warren: this came up in discussion of chapters-- what's a chapter? who's a group? do we have values, practices, what does this mean?

Cindy: how rigid do you want it to be in order to be resilient and adaptable?

Pat Coyle: when I saw the value of grassroots mapping, it was easy to talk about, because jeff sent me a poster of images, there was powerful early work that made it clear and easy to share.

Jeff Goodman: in terms of assembling an ethics of practice there are two codes you're deriving from, Open Source, and social science and community engagement methodologies. And while this may not be impossible, they have their own entire literatures and histories that bring us to this point.

Shannon: yeah, Jeff and I got into a yelling match in the redwoods over just this issue, just discussing terminology of participation.

Jeff G: how do you convince people when they join that they might be going into a new and different world and you might have to follow new rules?

Jeff: I wish Hagit were here to talk about Jerusalem, where they're not publishing everything because of community concern, and I think that's OK.

Pat: where do you get to when people monetize these tools, when someone charges for workshops or mapping or other practices.

Dan Beavers: Open Source licenses there's no commercial restriction for them. I have an analogy, I have some forestry land I just had harvested for pulp wood, and I want to go make some maps of this.

Jeff: I worked on a mapping tree plantation, and it made me think about what I was thinking about with environmental work. It wasn't anything like what was advertised.

Jessi Breen: this came up in funding discussion, if you disown some sources of funding, hard for me as an academic.

Cindy: are you gong to be explicit about who you aren't going to work with and why. will you be explicit about hte tool and where it will or won't work.

when working with pigmy communities in the congo, keeping owrk open source is hard. because people get killed for saying things there. how do you mitigate damage of opening information.

Shannon: this came up with a H2S conversation with a community group working at sensitive wellheads, who wanted it password protected, and

Alexandra Miller: if you only allow public use cases, then you limit who you an work with.

Jeff: open technology and open data are not necessarily related. you can't compel open data, but may compel open technology. If you require open data, you can't necessarily compel open tools.

Jeff G: unless your tool forces open data

Don Blair: real quickly, how does google docs work? you can set permissions. Patient histories too.

Shannon: as we get into environmental health data, it gets even harder.

Jeff: one thing that might be helpful, a lot of Open Source licenses open with a waver of warranty, "you use this at your own risk"

Cindy: two more points

will a set of principles cover everything or do we have to go case by case?

at ExCiteS, we've gone towards allowing everyone to keep their data private and writng a code around that.

the other thing i want to pin down in how you are seen by others, and the power relations that you have and that you are seen to have by being known to instigate these processes among others. Do you want to acknowledge that there is a power dynamic here, and address it, or do you want to claim you don't have a power differential.

Liz Barry: its very rare when I feel like i have an upper hand when participating in work as public laboratory, because when doing this work, I find people who truly have the local power, knowledge, and expertise, and I'm there to learn too.

Shannon: but we don't want to participate in the drop-in model, where we just come in and push a technology. we want to come in where local knowledge

Cindy: last topic is on personal well-being, what do you want to represent and do? outwardly, do you feel its necessary to say something for the community to deal with personal well-being?

Shannon: we've been oding personal mediation in our staff, need to work on expanding htat

Caterina Scaramelli: but when you're doing embedded work with a community and trying to udnerstand things you didn't know, how do you deal with that, how do you communicate that?

Pat: I think its important if you're engaging in a mediation process, you should publicize that, and help communicate these issues.

Dan: I think this is what we're pointing out how this is social science. We're in a laboratory of social science right now.

Jeff: ;we shouldn't necessarily change what we do because its working. Formalizing some things is a matter of pragmatics. People may assume something may not be possible because it isn't formally stated.

Cindy: your ethics should be personal, they should reflect who you are.


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