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[liberationtech] Avaaz, is this for real?

Collin Anderson collin at averysmallbird.com
Sat May 5 15:32:54 PDT 2012


>
> But the way they've handled questions from the community--including people
> who want to help them--what an unnecessary screw up!


Beyond Avaaz's histrionics and innuendo over banal service attacks,  the
attention of the community might be better spent on considering the
material implications of organization's operational security when providing
satellite phones and BGAN hardware in conflict zones.

On Sat, May 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM, Kate Krauss <katie at critpath.org> wrote:

> This could literally be a textbook case in how not to handle questions
> from the community and the press.
>
> I suspect that they are using a MoveOn-perfected model for email
> fundraising solicitations. You use a real event and turn around and, within
> a few hours of it happening, send out a very formulaic fundraising letter.
> The Avaaz solicitation follows the formula: a certain length, certain
> wording, etc. It's about emotions, not specifics, and raising money. OK.
>
> But the way they've handled questions from the community--including people
> who want to help them--what an unnecessary screw up!
>
> They've raised questions in the minds of literally hundreds of influential
> people, many of whom are or were supporters.  And they've raised questions
> in people's minds about their judgement by the way they've handled this.
>
> This could have been avoided if Avaaz people engaged this list rather than
> avoided comment and lurked, as they have for days. A short statement like
> the one below, in this context, just makes them look like they are hiding
> something. Again, PR and community engagement 101.
>
> They also may have missed an opportunity to get a whole bunch of people to
> help them with their security situation.
>
> Don't act like Enron if you're not Enron.
>
> By which I mean, don't act sketchy if you're not.
>
> Kate Krauss
>  ------
>
> Kate Krauss
> Executive Director,
> The AIDS Policy Project
> http://www.aidspolicyproject.org/
> tel: 215-939-7852
> www.Facebook.com/AIDSPolicyProject
> Twitter: @AIDSPol
>
> On May 5, 2012, at 5:51 PM, Marcin de Kaminski wrote:
>
> Thank you, Yvette.
>
> That statement still does not explain why the donation is needed (since
> their system could stand the attack).
>
> Marcin
>
> Yvette Alberdingkthijm <yvette at witness.org> skrev:
>>
>> Hi all,
>>
>> Ricken Patel, who heads up Avaaz, asked me to post this on this list (as
>> I brought the discussion to his attention) and here is what he said:
>>
>> It's a statement quoting the CEO of our hosting company. Would you mind
>> posting it to that discussion or asking someone to? I'm not part of it -
>>
>> https://secure.avaaz.org/act/media.php?press_id=321
>>
>>
>> YAT
>>
>>   Yvette J. Alberdingk Thijm
>> Executive Director
>> WITNESS
>> 80 Hanson Place
>> Brooklyn, NY 11217
>> phone: + 1(718) 783 2271
>> europe: +31 619031122
>> mobile: + 1 (347) 210 0152
>>
>> skype: yvette-a or witnessyvette
>> email: yvette at witness.org
>> twitter: @yvettethijm, @witnessorg, #video4change
>> blog: blog.witness.org
>>
>>
>> When elephants fight, the grass suffers
>>
>> On May 4, 2012, at 10:33 PM, Erik Sundelof wrote:
>>
>> I do not know any background of this nor am I in any way linked to the
>> issue/concern at hand, but some general projection rules here are needed.
>> Especially since I have started to see random numbers thrown around which
>> is contraproductive in any way, shape or form.
>>
>> Throwing out $500k as a result of 35k donations is just unfounded. Just
>> for clarity here do check my background as far as donation flows and
>> crowdsourcing.
>>
>> I really personally want the discussion about the issue/concern at hand
>> to stay away from splitting hairs and throwing random numbers around. It is
>> not constructive and also will defocus the discussion from what it should
>> be all about.
>>
>> Apologies if I come across as too direct but let us together keep the
>> discussion on-point and fair, as well as staying clear from thowing
>> arbitrary and unfounded statements around.
>>
>> Erik
>>
>> http://sundelof.com
>>
>>
>> Sent from my iPad
>>
>> On May 4, 2012, at 5:39 PM, Shaun Wilde <s.wilde.libtech at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>> Was clarifying Okhin's musing about what their goal of 35k$ was for.
>> Their goal is 35,000 *donations*.  Likely to the tune of... who knows.
>> $500,000? If we're wondering what they'd do with 35k$, an even more
>> interesting brainstorm is what they'll do with 500k$. Hard to know without
>> knowing anything about the attack--except that it was massive.
>> *-sw
>>
>> *
>>
>>
>> On Sat, May 5, 2012 at 12:24 AM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at gmail.com>wrote:
>>
>>> Unless those 33,000 individual donations were less than $1 each, I don't
>>> really see what you're getting at.
>>>
>>>
>>> On Sat, May 5, 2012 at 2:15 AM, Shaun Wilde <s.wilde.libtech at gmail.com>wrote:
>>>
>>>> Clarification. That's 33,000 *individual donations. *Not $33k. That
>>>> should get them started.
>>>> -sw
>>>>
>>>> On Fri, May 4, 2012 at 6:52 PM, Dave Karpf <davekarpf at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Agreed that that's what makes it importantly different. This wasn't the
>>>> Comm department responding to reporters, it was an active fundraising ask.
>>>>
>>>> I'm withholding judgment for the moment, but sincerely hope the Avaaz
>>>> folks will be more open with the tech experts on this list. At the moment,
>>>> this looks a LOT like a crass fundraising ploy. If so, I personally would
>>>> lose a lot of respect for the org.
>>>>
>>>> DK
>>>>
>>>> Sent from my iPad
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On May 4, 2012, at 6:36 PM, Okhin <okhin at okhin.fr> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> > On Fri, 4 May 2012 15:48:35 -0400
>>>> > Sahar Massachi <Sahar at brandeis.edu> wrote:
>>>> >
>>>> >> I'm a bit concerned about all the muttering about Avaaz's
>>>> sensationalism.
>>>> >>
>>>> >> Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding something, but the
>>>> following
>>>> >> scenario seems pretty plausible to me:
>>>> >>
>>>> >> The Avaaz site comes under some sort of attack. The tech team at
>>>> Avaaz
>>>> >> gives a quick "idiots guide" to what's going on to their
>>>> communications
>>>> >> team, and then goes back to trying to deal with the problem. The
>>>> >> communications team has a partially confused understanding of exactly
>>>> >> what's going on, but tries to deal with the situation as best they
>>>> can.
>>>> >> When technically minded journalists want to talk to Avaaz, the
>>>> >> communications staff doesn't want to bother their still-hard-at-work
>>>> tech
>>>> >> team, so they give unsatisfying, vague, and unhelpful replies to
>>>> these
>>>> >> journalists".
>>>> >>
>>>> >> Am I missing something?
>>>> >>
>>>> >
>>>> > Yeah, they started a funding campaign to fight the attack and, while
>>>> > the attack has stopped (according to their claim), it's still open and
>>>> > their goal is 35k$ (and they're at 33k$)for what?
>>>> > https://secure.avaaz.org/en/massive_attack_on_avaaz_a/?fp
>>>> >
>>>> > Next time I've got a spam bot raiding my corporate network, I'll ask
>>>> this amount of money to my boss. Just to see he's face.
>>>> >
>>>> > Okhin
>>>> >
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>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>>  *+1-857-891-4244 |** jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork *
>>>
>>> "We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want
>>> the seemingly impossible to become a reality" - *Vaclav Havel*
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
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-- 
*Collin David Anderson*
averysmallbird.com | @cda | Washington, D.C.
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