Question 1: What does the concept of openness mean to your organisation and your work?
As an open space, openness is inherent to our organization. Non-members are allowed in the space, membership is not required - even for longer periods. Decisions that concern the whole space are made during scheduled meetings (Jours Fixes) which all members (and even non-members) can attend. While we strive for consensus, we do reserve a democratic process for issues where consensus seems impossible. In the three years of Metalabs existence, votes were held less than ten times.
Our members thrive not only on open/public spaces, but even more importantly on open information. Many of our members are autodidacts in their specialities, many employ various hobbies that enable or require them to self-educate them in a number of fields. We value knowledge highly while we make it open and share it with everyone who's interested.
Our flat hierarchies lend themselves to a DIY-inclined audience - the space is not only populated but brought to life and shaped by its users.
Openness is very important to our Organization, not only as it allows anyone who follows our Statutes to become a Member and use the Organizations infrastructure, but also to express his thoughts and Intentions freely within the Organizations private and semi private Forums.
By sharing different thoughts and different Ideas our members inspire each other.
One of the most important goals is to provide free space, where free means neither influenced by any political Party, any governemental or municipal Organisation nor being sponsored by one or more companies which could determin our work.
Having said that it is obvious that the path between opennnes and indepence has to be carefully looked after ....
Question 2: What is, according to you, an open communications infrastructure?
There are two characteristics of open infrastructure:
- Availability - the barrier to entry must be low to nonexistant.
- Content - Net Neutrality and uncensored access are the terms that come to mind for this quality.
To promote Availability and Reliability, we support the local Freifunk/Funkfeuer initiative which operates a huge network based on WiFi technology over the roofs of Vienna.
Question 3: How does openness affect citizenship and competition in the European Union?
For citizens, opennes is essential for forming informed opinions - the more transparent governments and bureaucrats operate, the better-informed citizens (and thus voters) are. Without openness, citizens can only inadequately influence governments to implement policy in their favor.
We support government transparency in any sense, especially the adoption of FOIA-like acts and the requirement of decision makers to publish their sources of income.