(No.52) Remote participation: Reality and principles

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Status: 
Accepted
Workshop Theme: 
Access and Diversity
Theme Question: 

This workshop addresses main session Question 1: What are the policy challenges around free flow of information, freedom of expression

Concise Description of Workshop: 

The workshop will have 4 remote and one on site panelists who will give short interventions about the current reality and need of remote participation rather than remote observation, as these ideas and concepts tie in to the basic principles that should underlie remote participation strategies. Each presenter will focus on one of the principles highlighted as an outcome of WS 67 from the IGF 2011 Nairobi, and will include viewpoints of access and disability, remote participation, business, government, capacity building and youth in particular.      
 
After hearing the panelists, participants (remote hubs, remote individuals, and those in the onsite 'remote hub' will discuss the application of the previous principles to the reality we face in implementing them in global meeting strategies. This demonstration of the utility of a completely online workshop will serve as an example for future conferences, and have a concrete output in progress towards a set of remote participation principles as well.
 
Remote moderation will be offered in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English to facilitate inclusion.  
 
During the discussion, all participants will be encouraged to join in editing (live, online) the second iteration of the principles document. The workshop will result in a second iteration of Remote Participation principles, which will then be circulated for further comment. The 'Reality' of remote participation will be demonstrated in this wholly remote panel, with a 'remote hub' at the meeting venue. The 'Principles' will be discussed and improved for presentation and discussion as an outcome of the panel.
 
Agenda:

  • Introduction to E-participation Principles, emphasising e-participation as a tool for greater inclusion in global policy processes. (Raquel Gatto)
  • Welcome from the Baku panelist/hostess on site. (Ulkar Bayramova)
  • Panel presentations: Each panelist will offer a 5-minute presentation addressing one aspect of e-participation from the viewpoints of:
    • Fernando Botelho: persons with disabilities, private sector
    • Judy Okite: access, open software tools
    • Ulkar Bayramova: youth, LDC
    • Rodney Taylor: regional government organization
    • Biljana Glisovic: remote hubs
  • Audience interventions on main topic presented
  • Introduction to the E-principles document and methodology for collaboration
  • Two-minute interventions by panelists, commenting on a particular principle
  • Audience comments on principles
  • Online collaborative editing of the e-principles document will take place during the discussion
  • Summary and review of edited document.
Organiser(s) Name: 

DiploFoundation (academia, Malta, Belgrade, Geneva, female)    
 
Remote Participation Working Group (civil society, Venezuela, Brazil, female)
 
Dynamic Coalition for Access and Disability (civil society, ITU, mixed, male)
 
Caribbean Telecommunications Union (governments, SIDS, Caribbean, male)

Previous Workshop(s): 

67. E-participation Principles http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/component/chronocontact/?chronoformname=W...      
 
126. Remote participation in the IGF and in regional internet governance meetings http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/component/chronocontact/?chronoformname=W...

Submitted Workshop Panelists: 

Fernando Botelho, Dynamic Coalition on Access and Diversity representative, Business Sector (male) South America Enabling Social and Labor Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities through Low-Cost Assistive Technologies and Interoperability (confirmed)
 
Raquel Gatto, (moderator / remote moderator) Remote participation working group representative, Tech Community (female) South America (confirmed)
 
Ginger Paque, (moderator / remote moderator) DiploFoundation representative, Academia (female)  North and South America (confirmed)
 
Rodney Taylor, Caribbean Telecommunications Union representative, Government (male) Caribbean (confirmed)
 
Ulkar Bayramova, Youth, (female),  Baku (host country) (confirmed)
 
Judy Okite, FOSSFA, DCAD, Civil Society, (female), Kenya (confirmed)
 
Biljana Glisovic, EUnet, Remote Hub, Technical Community (female)  (Eastern Europe, Serbia) (confirmed) 

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Raquel Gatto, Ginger Paque
Gender Report Card
Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session: 
About half of the participants were women
To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment?: 
It was mentioned briefly in the presentations and discussions
Report
Reported by: 
Ginger Paque and Raquel Gatto
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were raised: 

IGF 2012 - Workshop 52 Report
 
Workshop 52 - Remote Participation: Reality and Principles

1. Organiser(s) Name:
DiploFoundation
Remote Participation Working Group
Dynamic Coalition for Access and Disability
Caribbean Telecommunications Union

2. Moderator:
Raquel Gatto, ISOC Brasil and Remote Participation Working Group
Ginger Paque, DiploFoundation and Remote Participation Working Group

3. Remote Moderator:
Judy Okite, FOSSFA, DCAD, Civil Society, (female), Kenya

4. Local hostess:
Ulkar Bayramova

5. Remote Panelists:
Fernando Botelho, Dynamic Coalition on Access and Diversity representative, Business Sector (male) South America Enabling Social and Labor Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities through Low-Cost Assistive Technologies and Interoperability
Biljana Glisovic, EUnet, Remote Hub, Technical Community (female)  (Eastern Europe, Serbia) (confirmed)

6. Summarized Agenda:

  • Raquel Gatto: Introduction to E-participation Principles, emphasising e-participation as a tool for greater inclusion in global policy processes. (in situ)
  • Virginia Paque: responsibility and viewpoint of remote participants (remote)
  • Ulkar Bayramova: Welcome from the Baku (in situ)
  • Judy Okite: FOSS community and remote moderator (in situ)
  • Panel presentations: Each panelist offered a short presentation addressing one aspect of e-participation from the viewpoints of:
    • Fernando Botelho: persons with disabilities, private sector (remote)
    • Biljana Glisovic: remote hubs (remote)
  • Audience interventions on main topic presented
    • Shadi Abou-Zahra (in situ)
    • Andrea Saks (remote)
    • Gerry Ellis (remote)
    • Sebastian Bachollet (in situ)
    • Norbert Bollow (in situ)
    • Tracy Hackshaw (in situ)
    • Tim Davies (remote)
    • Jacek Gajewski (in situ)
    • Alexandra Gaspari (remote)

7. Introduction:

Since 2008, remote participation has been a reality for IGF, and that is not a result driven activity but a learning process. Year-by-year we have found a new block to construct remote participation, from the election of an adequate platform (to have tools like chat that allows effective participation to operational issues such as open source options), the local infrastructure to support the video streaming (high and stable bandwidth), making everyone familiar with the tools (training sessions), having someone to take care of technical issues and to address the questions (remote moderator), having captioning in all sessions streamed (accessibility) and what I would say is the higher outcome – HUBS, which are local meetings in which the organizer choose to follow the IGF (full or partially), together with its community. So a volunteer can get together 5, 10, 20 or even 100 people (and we do have examples of this), to follow remotely the IGF and make interventions or have a parallel discussion. Just to give an idea, in 2008 we had 8 hubs registered, and it`s a growing number…we have this year 62 hubs following the IGF, plus the individuals that are connected! That`s an amazing achievement! But remote participation is only one pillar of e-participation, we do have other pillars to be taken into account such as social media as an interactive and inclusive tool, collaborative documentation and so on.
E-participation is one of the ways to bring into dynamic reality, many of the issues discussed in and around the IGF. It is instrumental--even central, to enlarging the IGF participation and impact, as well as a powerful way to put into action some of the principles that raises from IGF community. When we are talking about inclusive, open and transparent  Internet, we are also talking about e-participation in its heart! And there is not a single path and a simple solution. It has to be a range of tools and actions that put together brings collaborative, interactive and meaningful participation whoever and wherever you are!

8. Discussion

The workshop 52 co-organisers, Ginger Paque and Raquel Gatto, started with a brief introduction of previous workshops, and particularly the last workshop in IGF Kenya that underlies the discussion about principles. It has also been presented a historical report about remote participation in IGF and lessons learned in the way, year by year. It highlighted the importance of individual and organisational support to build e-participation into reality. All participants, in situ and remote, were invited to contribute to the discussions collaboratively online at: https://igfremoteparticipation.etherpad.mozilla.org/1
[password: IGF2012WS52]

The local hostess, Ulkar Bayramova, mentioned that remote participation is not widely known nor used in Azerbaijan. She also highlighted the impact of remote tools in her own life to learn more and get involved in Internet Governance issues, and the importance it has to education in Azerbaijan.
Fernando Botelho brought  up the possible balance to promote open access and keep economical growth, through interoperability. Open protocols would allow accessible tools, without licenses and authorizations obstacles, and consequently more choices, and that would for instance, bring more users in basic communication features. Governments should consider this strategy in their public policies and private sector should look into this business model.
 
Biljana Glisovic shared her experience as hub organizer, and the challenges to prepare in infrastructure and content, as well as sharing methods to keep up a continuous effort.
 
Shadi Abou-Zahra, an in situ participant, mentioned the IETF working groups’ experiences and some results in standards-building. But he highlighted that there is not yet an all-in-one solution, which means that you need to work with the multiple tools and client interfaces which are available (such as chat tool, VoIP interface and SIP clients).
 
As a previous panelist in the Kenyan feed workshop, Sebastian Bachollet was invited to share his comments with the group, and he raised the importance of documenting the process, for example, with the development of a Guidebook. This document could include remote participation guidelines, as well as lessons learned from annual experiences, to be created and shared among other organisations beyond IGF interested in providing e-participation. He also mentioned the ideal solution of having one single tool available to all of them, that would facilitate the remote participant access.
 
Still from the floor, Norbert Bollow shared his experience as workshop organizer, by reporting that he had problems to bring his remote panelists in last year, and again this year. Therefore, he suggest the implementation of a feedback input process for remote participation, particularly to allow incident reporting and solutions. This view was seconded by Ginger Paque as we need to address new problems and progress, and must avoid repeating the old ones, from year to year.
 
Judy Okite and Ginger Paque reminded us about the importance to keep remote participants’ interventions at the same priority level and time as in situ ones. In other words, remote participants need to intervene in a timely manner and therefore they need to be kept in constant attention from the moderator/ remote moderator.
 
A remote panelist, Andrea Saks, the coordinator of DCAD, joined the discussion to focus on platform problems. For example, the lack of captioning integrated with the video screen, that makes the users open several screens at the same time and makes it difficult to follow up the discussion properly. And more important, to take the blind perspective, as they are using some specific screen readers that are not reaching the chat, for example. She highlighted the importance of standardization as a solution to maintain continuity and large access. She has also pointed out that private sector considers people with disabilities as a very small market to bother addressing properly. So industry needs to improve their views and opens, and standardization is a way forward.
 
Gerry Ellis, a blind remote participant, seconded Andrea’s view about standardization and added that any remote participation platform has to communicate in other ways than only the visual one. He has particularly experienced a lot of problems to follow and interact in this event, because he could not get into the chat with the blind reader’s program and voice communication was only available for the presenter’s option.
 
Tracy Hackshaw from Trinidad and Tobago shared that remote participation tools such as webcast are very important in the small islands dialogue, and also that it should take into account the low bandwidth solutions.
 
Under the principle “equality of participation”, Ulkar raised a question in the workshop: based on the limitation that usually platforms have in accepting a limited number of remote participations in the virtual room, if in situ participants join the remote platform, are they taking a place from other remote participants that could have joined? (In situ participants sometimes join remotely to access other tools and chats).
 
TIm Davies built on her comment to bring another perspective, which is that by joining the chat, for example, the in situ participants are actually establishing a dialogue with the remote audience as they can see who is following the session and express themselves. So the balance between interaction and limitations have to be better explored. He also reinforced that social media should be considered as part of e-participation strategies. And as a hub organizer this year, he shared the experience that many hub participants had not heard about the IGF before, so reaching the new participants is a challenge and preparation is needed.
 
Shadi jumped in to express his concern that we should be moving away from exclusive technical limitations, such as the limited number of remote participants, because it is a software problem and not a remote participation strategy, and it is not an standard point of view.
 
Jacek Gajewski has suggested introducing online participants, and having the remote platform page projected on one of the screens during the entire time, so in situ participants would be able to know what is taking place remotely, and interact with remote participants. (This was done in Lithuania, by using multiple monitors / screens in the workshop rooms).

9. Final comments:

The workshop achieved its main goal: to walk and talk and put principles into reality. But it has reached beyond that goal. It was designed to have only remote panelists, except for the hostess and moderator. In fact, it might be the first workshop in the IGF to have half of its interventions coming from in situ and another half from remote participants. This workshop really had balanced participation between the two pools.
 
This was a workshop in every sense of the word. It did not consist of presentations, but of lively discussions, and, interestingly enough, included interruptions and deviations from the agenda from remote participants as much or more than from those in the room itself, as remote participants definitely asserted themselves as full members of the discussion. This took away from the formal structure of the workshop, but added a new element of spontaneity and power for remote participants which should be analyzed. This was a  positive change, but we should review how to manage it effectively, to  avoid losing time in ‘transition’ and adapting to ‘who is talking’ and  ‘who has the floor’.
 
Much of the discussion in the workshop deviated from the proposed agenda. Organizers had originally decided the topic had matured to a level where principles could be discussed, but the comments and interventions indicated that guidelines and basic technical and strategic planning are still paramount. We can extrapolate principles from the anecdotes and examples raised during the workshop, but clearly, both guidelines and principles still need to be addressed and developed. One possible strategy is to divide the next workshop into two working groups, one on guidelines and one on principles, or possibly to divide the agenda into two sections, one for guidelines and one for principles.
 
The relationship and overlap between remote / e-participation principles, principles relating to access and disability was highlighted in discussions, and we must continue to take advantage of this synergy to the benefit of both priorities.
 
The online collaborative document will be updated with comments from the workshop discussion, as well as the follow-up discussion (see below)  and then circulated for comment once again. The document remains open online for review and comment. See https://igfremoteparticipation.etherpad.mozilla.org/1
[password: IGF2012WS52].

Conclusions and further comments: 

9. Final comments:

The workshop achieved its main goal: to walk and talk and put principles into reality. But it has reached beyond that goal. It was designed to have only remote panelists, except for the hostess and moderator. In fact, it might be the first workshop in the IGF to have half of its interventions coming from in situ and another half from remote participants. This workshop really had balanced participation between the two pools.
 
This was a workshop in every sense of the word. It did not consist of presentations, but of lively discussions, and, interestingly enough, included interruptions and deviations from the agenda from remote participants as much or more than from those in the room itself, as remote participants definitely asserted themselves as full members of the discussion. This took away from the formal structure of the workshop, but added a new element of spontaneity and power for remote participants which should be analyzed. This was a  positive change, but we should review how to manage it effectively, to  avoid losing time in ‘transition’ and adapting to ‘who is talking’ and  ‘who has the floor’.
 
Much of the discussion in the workshop deviated from the proposed agenda. Organizers had originally decided the topic had matured to a level where principles could be discussed, but the comments and interventions indicated that guidelines and basic technical and strategic planning are still paramount. We can extrapolate principles from the anecdotes and examples raised during the workshop, but clearly, both guidelines and principles still need to be addressed and developed. One possible strategy is to divide the next workshop into two working groups, one on guidelines and one on principles, or possibly to divide the agenda into two sections, one for guidelines and one for principles.
 
The relationship and overlap between remote / e-participation principles, principles relating to access and disability was highlighted in discussions, and we must continue to take advantage of this synergy to the benefit of both priorities.
 
The online collaborative document will be updated with comments from the workshop discussion, as well as the follow-up discussion (see below)  and then circulated for comment once again. The document remains open online for review and comment. See https://igfremoteparticipation.etherpad.mozilla.org/1
[password: IGF2012WS52].

10. Notes on follow-up discussion online from the Internet Governance Caucus (IGC) mailing list, and the DCAD (Dynamic Coalition on Access and Disabilities)

E-participation, whether reality or principles, goes far beyond interventions during meetings. It is the main platform for global engagement and the year-round work that gives substance to the larger meetings. Below is a sample of online posts that followed WS 52 and the IGF in Baku:

Comments on disability accessibility in RP from Charity Gamboa on the IGC list.
There has been considerable follow-up discussion about remote participation and access, especially for persons with disabilities on discussion lists after the workshop. Some main points as guidelines:

-Set up platform for audio alone

-Use a sign language interpreter for every session and have live feed and record it like in Mediasite

-If a deaf/mute remote participant needs to ask a question from a session, you would need a specialist onsite viewing different video windows in one screen alone to pay attention for any questions and then intervene to the panelists in behalf of the remote participants.

- Advance registration for IGF Remote Participants would be required and for each specific sessions they want to join. This would give the secretariat the chance to prepare and pull out the number of specialist they need for those sessions alone. Panelists can also prepare their own accommodations. This is the "advance training" part.

-Call for volunteers and find hundreds in the host country who can sign language in different languages

-Ask presenters to give accommodations, for instance, have their MS PowerPoint presentation written down and then convert it into an audio media file prior to presenting that can be accessed on a site (a couple of our ADHD students love this because reading makes them restless so listening to the audio version of their textbook is a lot better than reading)

-If presenters decide to give their accommodations, who will convert those text files into audio files? (Students at the university pay $1,200.00 per semester to have one these accommodations FYI)

- Explore QR code accessibility and uses for persons with disabilities. This is called Assistive Technology. It means that materials can be placed in a QR code that would be accessible to those people with disabilities and could be an audio file that can is easily accessible using a mobile app. I just recently presented with a colleague on the use of QR codes in the classrooms. We had most of the QR codes we created linking to audio files online that were easily accessible to any iOS or Android devices. If there is a kiosk on site at the IGF specifically for QR codes, it will be used like a map that would link to an app that uses the phone camera to show them around the site.  This concept of QR codes is a lot harder for visually-impaired people because the labels where there are QR codes have to be in Braille. They need to touch it. Unless they are on site, then the Braille-like QR codes will not be much of a help. Plus, reading QR codes is different from generating them. It took me 2 months to devise plans and generate QR codes for learning activities. I'm still working with another colleague about devising Braille QR Codes.

Recommendations from Lee McNights students in the course ‘Information Policy and Decisionmaking’ as posted on the IGC list:

Recommendations for Next IGF Conference:

  • All future IGF conferences should have all available services for people with disabilities including:

·         Assign a DCAD representative on the IGF Secretariat Staff/ Planning
o    Who can serve as a consultant to IGF

·         Have user generated information accessible
o    ie Live Captioning Youtube Videos , blogs

·         Create an online training module/webinar to inform presenters on how to make accessible presentations

·         Add more accessibility
o    Ie Sign Language professionals, hearing aid professionals

Other suggestions:

Suresh Ramasubramanian

  • Collect statistics on people with disabilities attending an event, with a breakdown in the services they require, such as closed captioning, ASL interpretation, wheelchair attendants / service animals, medication... (Suresh Ramasubramanian)

Ray Pelletier

  • I just want to invite your attention to some work in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to establish requirements for want we are calling Remote Participation Services.

That draft can be found here:  <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-ietf-genarea-rps-reqs/?include_text=1>

Marilia Maciel:

  • Fewer and longer sessions on IGF schedule would reduce pressure. Time pressure makes people impatient with the difficulties that non-native English speakers may have, or with occasional technical glitches, which we need to cope with, if we really want to include remote participants. It is up to us to decide what we value the most as a community: Speed of discussions? Inclusion? Sometimes they are in a trade-off.
  • It would be important to reduce the distance between remote participants and the session moderator.
  • There should not be a session without a remote moderator.
  • making remote participation inclusive is up to the community, especially of those who plan the sessions.
  • exchange knowledge and best practices regarding RP
  • To mention the technical aspects, to me the greater problem was lack of integration between webex, webcast and captioning.

Norbert Bellow

  • In the long run, what we need is funding to put a competent person in charge of ensuring in an ongoing manner (year after year) that IGF remote participation is made available in a way that can be expected to work (which presupposes learning from what went wrong in earlier years, and it presupposes serious testing well before the first day of the IGF). It is simply unacceptable for an entirely new technical team to put in charge of remote participation every year, and the remote participation infrastructure again and again being so absurdly unreliable.)

Lee McNight:

  • I previously suggested changing the terminology from 'remote' to 'distributed' participation.

But whatever we call it, the main challenge is the psychological one of retraining our own minds/understanding of who is 'in the room.'   Since it is a virtual room.

For example, the just released statistics by category of who 'really' attended the 7th IGF: do those include distributed participants?

Deirdre Williams

  • Need for good Internet connectivity at the venue

11. Background Paper:
E-participationprinciplesWS52IGF2012BackgroundPaper.doc

12. Transcript:
09 Nov 2012 IGF WS 52.docx