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In recognition of the One-year Anniversary of the New Tactics interactive website, we hosted a “year-end review.”
We wanted to provide this opportunity to generate feedback from you, our New Tactics community members, about what New Tactics resources and tools have worked well for you. We have opened the “year-end review” with some general theme areas. This is a summary of the ideas and experiences shared in this dialogue.
First and foremost participants expressed a deep appreciation for New Tactics, for providing a forum for connection, information, reflection and discussion.
Organization and structures of dialogues
In terms of the structure, delegates also seemed to be in favor of a clearer “mission statement” for what was to be collectively achieved through the discussion and the sharing of experiences.
In terms of structuring online-discussions, participants expressed the desire to have a more structured approach, with an active online facilitator who could summarize the key themes and develop conversations around distinct themes, a moderator could also follow up on themes to ask questions. A moderator could also get more people to participate by asking direct questions. It was also suggested that a discussion could be more narrowly focused, for example by the use of a few case studies.
An approach that was favored in terms of preparation and participation was the use of conference calls prior to the dialogues.
Experience of participation in dialogues
The dialogues were suggested to be more interactive, perhaps through Ready Talk or a Skype like conversation.
It was also suggested that the dialogues had a tendency to become too intellectual, and that there is a need to encourage participants to be active and post comments.
Difficulties in participating in dialogues
Two problems that people were experiencing and that kept resurfacing was the issues of Internet access and time zone difference. In combination with the fact that many people expressed the view that one week was much to short for a online discussion, perhaps a longer timeframe would be a possible solution to these issues.
- Internet Access
- Time Zone Difference
Suggestions for dialogues
Participants also expressed appreciation for the inclusion of self-care strategies for activists, and the interest for further evolvement of this theme.
- feedback on online dialogues
- Video tactic
- New Tactics Tactical Map tool and importance of self-care
One contributor also suggested the video functionality as an option for the posts.
IDEAS FOR GIVING PRACTICAL TIPS TO ACTIVISTS
There was a suggestion for action guides or resources to help guide activists in their endeavors. Another suggestion was to create a sort of Distance Learning module – an online discussion and advising interested activists, recommending and mailing available literature that can stimulate tactic development. For example through CD-rom, which would provide access for those with no Internet connection.
Another suggestion was to create a network to tap into the interests and resources of human rights professors and students, it could include forums where students could pose questions to activists, could also make connections between organizations and potential volunteers and interns.
IDEAS FOR IMPROVING OR ADDING TO THE WEBSITE
Again the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and participants found the website to be a great way for people around the world to share their experiences and ideas.
In terms of the website, most participants favored simplifying the technology and thus lower the barrier of entry. Also, some participants were overwhelmed by all the information on the website, and suggested that it might be organized in more subsections. Making navigation of the website easier, and perhaps including alternatives to the videos on the "how to use this website" link, since slow Internet connections will make videos inaccessible.
Another suggestion was to make the online dialogues more effective by using distinctive headings to separate the different topics.
One suggestion was adding new links and updated appendixes to notebooks. Another suggestion was to add a press section where people can store links and news articles that are relevant and a personal library where one could store information on the website.
Another concrete suggestion was to have an active editor, who could make texts more readable through formatting, highlighting through bold and italics, correcting typos, as well as encouraging contributors to make their comments sharp and concise. The editor could also summarize the dialogue once it was over and write a highlights summary.
A STORY ABOUT HOW NEW TACTICS HELPED MY WORK
These stories all identified how much New Tactics had helped in getting information of how different organizations were seeking to address problems they themselves were facing. How it gave them a venue for exploring more innovative and creative tactics, and considered using the dialogues as a model for their own knowledge sharing projects. New Tactics activities that were mentioned frequently were those dealing with innovative uses of technology, especially mobile phones, video and radio.