Mesh/08 May 2018

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  • Introductions and Meeting Roles (10 mins)
  • Check in on previous action items (5 mins)
  • Updates & Reportbacks (20 mins)
  • Next Sunday (5 mins)
  • Discussion: Principles & Values (45 mins)
  • Action Items (5 mins)
  • Breakout Groups


Introduce yourself: Name; Preferred Pronoun; Icebreaker Response; BRIEF Announcements

  • Icebreaker question: Did you do any meshy stuff this past week?
  • Bengo: he/him, fixed a bug today
  • Seth: he/him, node mount at Hearth, fished a wire through the wall
  • robb: went over to lolspace and scouted for a node mount, to point to the village, answered community questions
  • blake; no preference, hasn't done anything
  • sierk: he/him or whatever, worked on a disaster app (the chat app)
  • grant - he/him they/them - crimpin' a lot this week. now employed, will be here/there now/then. relevant to mesh
  • jenny: she/her, fixed a bug on the PON website re: packages, attempted to build the firmware for the LiveLabs node; was down, so failed; got another quote for D&O insurance for $7K (still too high), going to try State Farm next, filled out and got our charity number from the CA Attorney General and filled out the RFF-1s for 2014-2016 — We are a legit entity in the eyes of the state
  • mai: she/her they/them, went n node mount at hearth, waited on Paxio but didn't show, created equipment purchasing request form, scheduled a bbq, May 20th at Mosswood!!! rope training stuff & slacklining
  • ben: he/they, went to LOLSpace and Hearth, sad to not see Paxio
  • marc: got some tiny usb routers. working on getting them to mesh. fitz possibly buying 100 of them

Meeting Roles

Check in on previous action items

Check previous meeting minutes at and past action items below:

  • Set up patent alerts (juul)
    • juul - not yet; defer for next week.
  • Schedule meeting with Paxio to check out LOS to their building (mai)
    • They said they would try to come on Sunday, they didn't show — Mai will follow up
  • Schedule meeting around safety, access strategies, etc. (Ben)
    • Rope safety kinda rolled into the barbeque, but I just texted Doug to reschedule the talk that got cancelled a few weeks back.
  • Talk to Traci re: D&O Insurance (jenny)
    • got too-high second quote (7k). talking to Traci more this week
  • Follow up with Grant and Sierk (Ed) re: mounting a node on their roof. Getting proper rope/safety equipment (Lesley, Ben)
    • sierk talked to max & lesley & grant.
      • lesley: hai! rope is here, belay device is here. So we are good to go. Will be out of town this weekend, but will be around next weekend\
  • Organize Tues 8 May meeting agenda for a discussion on shared principles and values (mai)
    • DONE
  • Draft board resolution re: finance committee (jenny)
  • send announce re: board mtg (jenny)
    • sending tonight

Updates & Reportbacks


Priority bugs we need help with are located at: - For a high-level overview of recent Github activity, see the Trello:

Node Mounts & Outreach

Node Mounts Trello:

  • LOLspace folks seem down, awaiting consenso after their next all-building meeting on the 29th of May
  • ben: some are going back to Hearth to wrap that up now that we have a probable cause of error (sometime this week) (hit me up if you want to join)

Communications & Events

Comms Trello: // Events Trello:

Internal Logistics / Finance

Internal Logistics & Bureaucracy Trello:

  • jenny: Sent out email addresses to folks. now forward to finance wg members (ben, mai, jenny, robb, marc)

Next Sunday

Node Mount

We try to arrange a rooftop node mount every Sunday afternoon. Ongoing spreadsheet is located at:

  • Next Sunday's mount:
    • ben: finish what doesn't get done during this week (eg hearth, tmi)

Office Hours

We host office hours every Sunday from 1-3pm in Sudo Room. To sign up for a shift, fill in your name here:

  • Next Sunday's volunteer: jenny
  • Notes from this past Sunday's session: paxio didn't show, but we assessed LOS to their building (yes, from west side of roof, but will possibly be blocked by new development @ macarthur BART). scouted & talked with lolspace/liberate 23rd ave site. mostly re-mounted hearth link, need nanostation for tigermonkey (tmi)

Discussion: Principles & Values

  • What are the broader principles that we want to work for as we set out our values and specific objectives as a group? They can (and should!) be broad but should be thought of as things that should guide us as we work together and build out the project.

Please add any suggested principles below:

  • Blake: We should strive to provide a free service
    • Grant: How do we define openness/free and what does that mean to us?
      • Making something sustainable and that will continue to exist once people stop working on it, something that exists outside of us
    • Sierk: One sentence things are not helpful, they can be ambiguous. Should be a paragraph defining some terms. If free means it's free for the people who cannot afford it, then I'm all in favor, but if it's free for everyone, then that's a bit different
  • Mai: Important to think about the people who'll use this and how we want to communicate with nerds/ internet freedom fighters + those who don't have the time/attention/capacity to think about those issues but would benefit from an internet commons in oakland. bridging nerdiness/abstraction w/ people who don't but would benefit from the network.
  • Jenny: People as top priority, community over technology
  • Juul: Focus on building networks that are resilient to corportate or centralized control, building it so it's innately resilient, active preventing/discouraging speculation
  • Ben: To maintain accessibility of the networks we're building and the project, not just for resilience but for building it out in the first place, maintainability.
  • Bengo
    • sustainability/permanence - All the above matter less if the project doesn't survive. What are biggest risks to long-term project sustainability, and where is the principle that explains prioritizing them over cost-center-but-fun-or-generous activities
    • responsibility/stewardship - We're making computery things and encouraging people to use them, yet not everyone can be expected to do their own research on e.g. security risks. Those of us who have a sense for the risks of adding random devices to your home network have some responsibility to either inform on the risks, fix all known vulnerabilities ASAP, or a little of both.
    • measured impact - Without numbers it's all cargo culture and wishful thinking. How many homes have a PON device? How does that compare to last quarter? How many people wouldn't have internet without PON? How many devices connected to PON last month? I think this is important to speed-of-learning and also provising the best service to everyone in most efficient way. It's also useful to secure and renew grant funding.
  • Seth: empathy towards people's needs — both among the people working on things and those part of the network
  • Robb: it needs to be open source, so that it's transparent and people can build upon it. Make it ungovernable.
  • Juul: build something that is like the original intent of the internet — open standards
  • Sierk: important to be part of the community that we serve, that we're working on community-building
  • mai - I feel like some of these were encompassed in the principles below, some not. Maybe we can go through the list below (DRAFT PRINCIPLES) and add to it?


  • Collaboration over competition
    • Be a team player. We're on the same team and want to achieve the same things.
    • Benny: Yes! I would like to know what it means to everyone to "be a team player." I think for me it involves working-not-in-a-vaccuum, i.e. acknowledging and supporting other people's efforts. And it might also involve giving teammates a certain "benefit of the doubt", or trying to defer judgement of their ideas/methods as long as possible (maybe forever).
    • grant: how we collaborate, having formal ways to work on things together. Outwardly, work for open standards
    • juul: we wouldn't work with other groups that don't uphold open standards
    • jenny: encourage more groups to form, more localized, focused on other areas or even in the area
    • mai: I'm not necessarily against competition, really, but I've noticed a few instances over the past few months were something was built but not incorporated; i.e. there didn't seem to be active collaboration / review / vetting, or helping each other do things they're excited about. That's more inwardly focused (than the above) but that's how I was seeing this issue.
      • grant: it also becomes external as we gain contributors - set up internally first, then expand it to external relations
  • Be willing to listen and learn
    • Benny: I think this is related to Collaboration over competition above. No one can listen to everyone all the time, but when we do choose to engage, do it with open ears. Maybe this involves having an attitude of "I have something to learn from everyone", as opposed to, "I know exactly what this person is saying before they've finished saying it."
      • grant - I think that's a pretty good definition of "openness."
    • Ben: This seems attitudinal in nature, does it also include how easy it is to use/replicate.
      • i.e. is this just about how we listen to each other in dealing with changes, or does this include how "open" the network is? e.g. how easy it is for people to get onto the mesh
    • sierk: incorporates inclusiveness and accessibility in addition to willingness to listen
  • People/communities over technology
    • Regarding how and what technologies we use, we should carefully weigh how its use reflects our values as a community.
    • Paying attention to the way people actually use technology is more important than chasing cutting edge tools or methods.
    • Benny: Yes ^ +1+1
    • mai - I feel like there are tradeoffs that could be made; e.g. getting a lot of people on with older technology vs spending more on a smaller supply of new equipment
    • grant: this implies that people are using it. We have some significant barrier to having it be stable enough to have people rely on it. Once we get critical assets/bandwidth, then we can really confront this.
    • Sierk: What does "over" mean? Sudomesh is to connect people, and we need the technology to do that, it's not just about building something cool. The project is useless without the people.
    • Grant: Maybe "over" is not the best word. "Humanizing technology" or "Democratizing technology"
  • Uphold inclusivity and equity over fairness
    • "Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same. Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help" via
    • Benny: Yes +1+1
    • Mai - people come from different backgrounds and have different privileges. I want us to be able to recognize that and use this project to dismantle that ... actively connect people who are disadvantaged, empower them to be active participants in the project
    • Seth: prioritizing low income communities
    • Sierk: We need to give it to the people who are willing to pay for it, and to then take the folks who can't pay for it. This seems to be that equity is for the people who serve it. I'd like there to be more specifics for this group, that others from diverse groups participate in this work directly.
    • jenny brainstorm note: suggest/create a "neighborhood council"-esque model for neighborhood clusters (eg san pablo/fruitvale) to organize around network buildout / outreach / local applications / trainings etc
  • Social justice and emancipation
    • Recognize systemic power imbalances such as those grounded in race, nationality, gender, and sexuality. Prioritize projects and ways of working that actively address these.
    • Benny: Yes. And prioritizing projects toward this end is probably not enough--might need to proactively think of new projects and ways of working that explicitly target these power imbalances.
    • Mai - this echoes the former item, but I think caling this out specifically is important
    • jenny: expanding our workshops to basic digital literacy/security workshops, creating and building out curriculum
    • grant: there are existing network certifications, we could encourage learning and training for
  • Experiment and iterate and Self-Reflect
    • Improvise. Iterate. Ask questions. Give ourselves permission to not know and to make mistakes. Find freedom in uncertainty.
    • Benny: Collaborate on looking at our own processes with a thoughtful eye.
    • Mai - we're building alternatives that don't exist. We should up front with ourselves about the fact that mistakes will happen.
    • Bengo: Also don't want to make mistakes in production, and do things that undermine our other principles. We should create experimentation grounds and staging so that we don't actually impact them
      • Juul: This woulnd't be too hard. We could rely on those folks who are friendly and know what we're dealing with to test and experiment for us.
      • Robb: What about network simulators?
    • Sierke: Relatedly, we should commit to fixing mistakes as soon as we make them.
      • Bengo: Inform affected parties, etc.
    • Grant: We should define what's experimental vs what's stable. This will improve collaboration, resilience, etc. Everything is experimental right now.
  • Maximize for resilience
    • Be adaptive to new circumstances, leverage new opportunities and constraints in a flexible way
    • Benny: Document everything +1
    • Grant: Tagged releases for everything.
    • Mai: I think being as transparent as possible about our process is part of being resilient.
      • Grant: As Marc was saying earlier, I think it's good to approach people to let them know we'd like to be able to patch their nodes, be really clear about who has access to what, documenting and communicating that to people who use the network.
  • Embody values
    • The values we hold as we build a community wireless network should be reflected both inside and outside of the group.
    • Benny: Hmmmm. Not sure if I know what this means. If it's about what people value when they're not doing PON things, maybe this is too prescriptive?
    • Mai: I meant to say, "What is inside and what is outside?" The people who are at this table, the people who are node owners, people who are accessing the mesh from the street... I feel like there should be no clear line there. Maybe this is too broad, but I found it in one of the other principles.
      • Sierke: The purpose of this is really good - it means we have to take all of these other things into consideration into everything we do. I think it's a good addition to the list.
      • Grant: Metavalues!
      • Bengo: Worked through this at a past job, and it was helpful to have a values discussion (Sorry, paraphrases poorly, fell behind with notes)
      • Marc: If nothing else it's good to have had the discussion
      • Robb: Good to be able to point to the discussion at least having taken place
      • Sierke: there's going to be a point when people will split in two ways, so it'll be good to refer to this later
    • Bengo: It's hard to expect people to embody values when they weren't part of creating it. So important to review each week and stuff.
    • Marc: Early discussions in the project included having an agreement where every node operator is an ISP with a peering agreement with the rest of the mesh. Other folks have done this (below)
    • jnny - "Communes that accept being what they are, where they are. And if possible, a multiplicity of communes that will displace the institutions of society: family, school, union, sports club, etc. Communes that aren’t afraid, beyond their specifically political activities, to organize themselves for the material and moral survival of each of their members and of all those around them who remain adrift. Communes that would not define themselves — as collectives tend to do- — by what’s inside and what’s outside them, but by the density of the ties at their core. Not by their membership, but by the spirit that animates them. " - Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection ( )
  • Tell the truth
    • Benny: mostly copied this one from the link above.
    • Say how you're feeling. Admit when you don't know. Speak your truth. Repudiate lies, deceptions and misrepresentations. Hold yourself and others accountable. Own your talents and abilities. Advocate for the people and things you believe in. Use your voice.
    • Bengo: Connected to holding yourself accountable and measuring impact. "I can't improve much if I already think I'm great" Be honest with ourselves. I can't build a network that matters to lots of people if I think 1,000,000 people are using and loving it, but really 10 people are trying to and hating it.
    • Sierk: Should be connected to be willing to listen and learn. Should be close to each other. This is also related to our 1-on-1 interactions.
  • Consciously resist hierarchies -- i.e. No Managers! +1
    • We are not a startup, and in spite of occasionally borrowing strategies for efficiency from startups (like elon musk's six tips for productivity?) we will not adopt that meritocratic culture. Everyone who is here is here for a reason, and no one's status is such that they can command others to do things. All work is done by consent.
  ** e.g. a few weeks ago, I saw a developer make something, and someone else told him, "change this--" without asking him what he thought of her idea. We don't have managers, we don't have hierarchy, and that doesn't just happen--we have to intentionally make it happen.
    • Bengo: what does "all work is done by consent" mean? What happens if someone wants to work on something on their own? Financial incentives could change the way we work. Prioritized backlog can be a tool to ensure that things that get, not necessarily hierarchical though.
      • Ben: We are essentially working in a meritocratic way — based on who has access to the code base, it's based on training, relationships, etc. We have barriers in place and there are people who maintain gateways.
        • I'm not saying that these things are justified by meritocracy, but that control is distributed based on who's working on what and/or has completed Node Whisperer / PONI / whatever. I don't think things are quite so stark as the above comes off. See comments below.
      • Blake: This isn't really a meritocracy, since people aren't getting rewards for their participation.
      • Sierk: What's implied here is about power — there are instances in which emergency priorities need to be set. We just need to define that we don't have a hierarchy that people don't make decisions for others.
      • Ben: We need to also look at the structures that are in place now that give certain people privilege over others. We haven't as a group how we want to handle access control.
      • Robb: It's always been on a need to know basis.
      • Blake: There is a process, and people have the power of discretion to operate like this.
      • Sierk: Just as in the Accounting WG — it's not that they have power over it, they do the work. We can have formal structures without having hierarchies.
      • Bengo: What goes into Github is not done by consensus. We don't have a way to look at technical decisions.
      • Grant: Have more working groups to have more structure without having more hierarchies. Eg; technical/software, mounting, etc
      • Ben: A lot of these current structures are informal, but maybe having this more formal is better. It's currently all de facto — we can build this into our values
        • Specifically, I'm trying to say that we're self organizing in ways that isolate access to things (repos, bank accounts, servers, etc), but that we can be explicit and intentional about how we do this to ensure that we meet our other values of inclusion, openness, equity, etc.
        • jenny: resist (implicit) hierarchies AND formalize structures (self-governance)?
      • Sierk: When we need a formal structure, we'll make it. I'm okay with having a value based on this
  • Self-Governance
    • Working groups?
    • Board can pass formal resolutions creating committees (eg, for this year's meeting, formalizing at the least the finance/accounting wg and potentially an advisory committee)
  • We support the participation of neurodivergent people +1
    • Not everyone is cut out for the same kind of communication or social structure. We strive to accept and accomodate those who are different, who are on the autistic spectrum or who have social anxiety, and actively resist an ingroup-outgroup social structure
  • Benny: Later on, after (or while) figuring these principles out, it would be cool to look at things we do/decisions we've already made and what principles they align with (or don't). These can serve as examples to make the general principles much more specific. Also probably we'll find some principles that we believe in but haven't adequately addressed.
  • (Meeting stopped here due to time)

bengo values

  • sustainability/permanence - All the above matter less if the project doesn't survive. What are biggest risks to long-term project sustainability, and where is the principle that explains prioritizing them over cost-center-but-fun-or-generous activities
    • "Maximize for Resilience" above is close enough for me
  • responsibility/stewardship - We're making computery things and encouraging people to use them, yet not everyone can be expected to do their own research on e.g. security risks. Those of us who have a sense for the risks of adding random devices to your home network have some responsibility to either inform on the risks, fix all known vulnerabilities ASAP, or a little of both.
    • "People over Technology" above is close
  • Measured Impact - Without numbers it's all cargo culture and wishful thinking. How many homes have a PON device? How does that compare to last quarter? How many people wouldn't have internet without PON? How many devices connected to PON last month? I think this is important to speed-of-learning and also provising the best service to everyone in most efficient way. It's also useful to secure and renew grant funding.
    • I don't see a great match in above principles


  • Engage with history
    • Actively seek out the histories you depend on, are a part of, and contribute to. Some histories will inspire pride, and others will try to invoke shame, guilt, and pain. Consider these histories at personal, group, and institutional levels of abstraction.
    • Personal
      • You have a unique history (maybe several) that determine who you are, what your perspective is, what you care about, what your priorities are, etc. Rather than trying to minimize, ignore, or elide the historical narratives you are a part of, feel empowered to engage with those histories if you so choose.
      • In other words: you are not a replaceable tool suddenly birthed from the aether with the sole purpose of building (in this case) a people’s open network (as many for-profit institutions might have you believe, in the name of efficiency). You are a historical and contemporary being, and you have influenced and been influenced by various social and economic forces. Some of these forces can be usefully identified with common stereotypes (like race, class, gender, etc.), and others cannot yet be identified, perhaps for lack of language.
    • Group
      • Just like you, the sudomesh group has a history and identity that has shaped its artifacts and operations for several years. It has habits, likes and dislikes, modes of working that come easy and others that come less easy. The history of the group is largely the result of the past and present decisions made by its members and the communities with which the group has worked.
    • Institutional
      • Sudomesh/People’s Open Network engages with several institutions/technologies that have extremely long and causally important histories. We meet in the Omni Commons, a re-purposed building, on colonized land in Oakland, California. We organize ourselves to connect and empower local communities with computer networking technology closely related to the internet. We (historically) coordinate our efforts on a volunteer basis, co-operatively and democratically.


Sources for principles in the following section:

7 Cooperative Principles from ICA

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

  • Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control

  • Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3. Member Economic Participation

  • Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence

  • Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information

  • Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives

  • Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

  • Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

Solidarity economy principles - P2P Foundation Wiki

  • Self-management
  • Democratisation of the economic relations
  • Co-operation instead of forced competition
  • Valuing diversity. Human beings are more important than profits
  • Valuing local knowledge, constant learning and training
  • Social justice and emancipation
  • Protection of the environment

Action Items

  • Schedule meeting with Paxio to check out LOS to their building (mai)
  • Create draft of values doc for iteration - by May 22 (mai)
  • Contact Storquest re: mounting antenna on their building (mai)
  • Follow up with Traci from Brignole & Ghiri (jenny)
  • Set up patent alerts (juul)
  • Send announce re: board mtg (jenny)
  • Follow up Reed Brothers (ben)

Breakout Groups

At the end of the meeting, break out into small groups to hack on or discuss specific topics.

Last Meeting Notes

End of Meeting