Open Meetings

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Victor Pickard:

"The Seattle IMC is one of the privileged IMCs that maintains a physical site where members meet on a regular basis. In addition to the working group meetings, bimonthly general meetings are held to decide policy. In Seattle, these meetings are open to anyone. They are usually long and sometimes contentious. Meeting topics range from the philosophical, such as the meaning of the ‘‘principles of unity,’’ to the banal, such as toilet-cleaning duty. As with most IMC communications, many issues discussed during general meetings are negotiated as much*/if not more*/online, though face-to-face meetings are considered vital, especially for airing out tensions that may build up during computer-mediated communications. Online discussions take place at the local level on any number of working group or general membership listservs. Several listservs are dedicated to global-level discussions, such as ‘‘Process,’’ ‘‘Communications,’’ ‘‘Finance,’’ and ‘‘New IMC.’’ These network-wide discussions also sometimes occur during real-time online chats via a program called Internet Relay Chat (IRC). The IRC serves as a kind of meeting place for representatives from far-flung IMCs to gather at designated times. However, the utility of IRC for making global network-wide decisions has been limited thus far." (