OpenWetWare:Steering committee/Meeting - February 2007

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2/16/07 SC Meeting notes

Private wikis

  • Discussed the early results from the private wiki trial and whether we should open it more broadly. Decided that we should try and get the 'publish to OWW' button as seamless as possible before a wider roll out. Also, might consider including some testimonials or other encouragement for being more open as well, e.g. Maureen's quote about being happy that she had only the public option to begin with.
    • According to Austin the publish to OWW button is a relatively easy thing to set up except you need to figure out how to deal with collisions of page and file names. Austin, maybe you can add details here?
  • Sasha talked about how the Church lab runs lab noteboook wikis that anyone can see but only one person can edit. They also have a wiki farm running in the lab.
    • Why not make it so that a "are you sure, you are editing an existing page" popup would show up if there is a collision. If people are ok with that, then just make it an edit, as always, people can just undo the edit by going to the history.
  • Austin brought up the point that we could consider having lots of independent wikis that anyone on OWW could edit, but would each be self contained wiki instances. We decided to discuss this more before the next meeting.

Defined SC positions

  • We talked about the proposed new SC positions. We decided that before the next meeting we would better specify what these people would do, but keeping in mind that the position should be more of a coordinator or an aggregator. For instance, instead of someone whose job it is to write all the news stories on OWW, the News Chair would report on recruiting people to write stories and also on the current status of highlights, etc. The reason for this is to avoid people not doing something because "there's someone in charge of that", additionally having a single person doing these things often doesn't scale. After specifying the positions we'll advertise on discuss@openwetware as well as on the main page and see if we have some takers. Any positions that are filled will report at the beginning of the next SC meeting.

OWW Board

  • We discussed the creation of an OWW board that will have legal decision making power and with the goal of ensuring the long term sustainability of the site. The reasons for this are:
    1. Free the SC to focus on representing the scientific community on OWW, suggesting new features, and recruiting new researchers, etc, rather than getting tied up in discussions of grants, hirings, partnerships.
    2. Provide representation (legally) for OWW when dealing with 3rd parties that need to know "who can make decisions here".
  • The board will contain: Austin Che, Barry Canton, Reshma Shetty, Ilya Sytchev, Jason Kelly, Sri Kosuri, and Drew Endy. We were concerned about alienating the community by creating some independent subset of people making decisions, and so we want to be explicit that decisions surrounding community matters, site improvements, attention to mission, etc, will still rest with the SC. The goal of this is to make the SC more effective, not less. Further if any board decision is likely to have a big community impact we'll seek SC approval first. Also, John Cumbers suggested that the decisions the board was making be as transparent as possible, which is good advice. Finally, if you have issues with this at all we want to hear them, so please contact jasonk@mit.edu.

Institute portals

  • Jason proposed tasking Jenny (an undergrad working for OWW part time) on making a better looking MIT portal since there are 14 labs at MIT on OWW. The idea would be to create this as an example for other schools to follow. This was approved by the SC. We also suggested maybe rolling one out for Imperial College if there was enough interest, Vincent will help us figure out if there is.

Other

  • John suggested that at the next meeting everyone calls in to help ease the transition from the SC being MIT focused to being something that the whole OWW community can easily plug into. We're going to try and get the technical details of that worked out and if it looks good, we'll give it a try.
  • Please add anything I forgot.
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