Survey Analysis

In terms of cyber security, this is still an open topic of debate that collides with the ideologies of these communities. Some, like the NYC Wireless project and various Freifunk networks are trying to promote completely open WiFi, which has some serious security issues for those connecting to them (without using HTTPS or VPN), while some tend to create very secure networks that require membership, face to face meetings, payments and/or heavy encryption.

———– Sample of Survey Responses: ——–

Are real world gatherings (meetings, dinners, concerts) ever organized by the community network? Is local law / policy / community activism ever discussed?
Answer: very few barbecues, and a half year administrative meeting
Answer: occasional meetings, mostly combined in a related organisation
Answer: yes we have organized couple university party named after our network and we presented some talk about wireless network in university.
Answer: We do organize some events, but mostly we debate and coordinate over the Internet. We discuss also broader implications of our network and its integration in the society as a whole, thus we also discuss other issues.
Answer: Meetings 2 times a month, sometimes an information booth at events we provide internet access for. Law issues are circumvented by using a VPN.
Answer: yes, local meetings, local education and publicity events. Network politics is discussed trough the developed structures once in a while.
Answer: They happen consequentially at other community gatherings. Conversation sometimes turns towards information/tech policy.
Answer: We do have weekly public meetings. Besides this we have frequent other events in either smaller groups or involving everyone who’d like to come.
Answer: yes, every kind of gathering. We tend to be out from “political” themes.

Has there ever been a “bad” member of the network? What did they do, and how did the community deal with the member?
Answer: yes, just excluded, ignore.
Answer: We disabled the MAC address so he couldn’t connect anymore
Answer: Not yet. We only have some members which are not really active, but they then fall out by themselves.
Answer: a few kids choking bandwidth with torrents – all have understood the implications and stopped
Answer: speaking of bad member. a bad member in our community (my perception) is one who made too much traffic, so the other had problems reading even mails. yes, we had such member. but the goal is to tell the people its not only because of the internet connection
Answer: No. Even when I had open-access nodes, people would .be responsible
Answer: There were several different issues with members in the past. Nevertheless the community is strong and usually sorts things out. Rarely people left the network after troubles.
Answer: yes, he did disturb the routing and the building of new nodes. We had a discussion and he disconnected his node.
Answer: Yes. It is normale when the community grow crazy people appear. He caused problems, misconfigured the network for his fun. He was kicked out.
Answer: There is always a bunch of people who are flaming on the mailinglists or abusing the network infrastructure, but there are enough good people to handle this and keep the community together

How do you interact with other members on your community network (file sharing, forums, chat, …)? Do you feel freedom to express or share all of your thoughts and ideas with others?
Answer: you can interact trough Diaspora( an open social network for mesh) and file sharing. we do not censor anything exept porn. so anyone can upload whatever he want.
Answer: The technical system that support community sharing or services are quit little. Some Gaming and some p2p file sharing but mostly Internet usage.
Answer: email and chat, based on workgroups (location, skills)
Answer: In the mailing list, chat on irc, sharing and mainteining some repos of information, documenting in our wiki with some technical an non-technical information.
Answer: We use mailing lists and public Skype chat. We also use Trac (wiki and tickets) to coordinate. Everybody can share any thoughts or ideas freely.
Answer: iTunes music sharing, file sharing

How do new members find your network? Do you have an outreach program?
Answer: press, presentations, public SSID’s
Answer: word of mouth, web site
Answer: word-of-mouth advertising Unfortunately we still do not have an outreach program.
Answer: advertisements on events and radio commercials ssid scan and google
Answer: you find our network like a free wireless connection so people use the wireless connection in the streets and someone get interested in the project. no outreach program, only little advertisings in our university
Answer: We have a website and by mouth-to-mouth. We have more requests for members than we can handle so currently we are trying to keep low.
Answer: New members come by knowing “Freifunk” in general and looked for the local counterpart. Some come by crossing the website. No marketing program.
Answer: local mouth communication, internet, articles in newspapers
Answer: the network is already spreaded far. so every one can see it if, he does a search for wlan networks. also well connected with net community/culture scene. could be better connected with technical university.
Answer: Press, word of mouth, hyper-local marketing.
Answer: Word of mouth and coming to people’s doors and asking
Answer: We do not have an outreach program. We have a public meeting once a week where frequently new members show up. Further the press covers our project favorably, this pulls in new members.
Answer: it pops up
Answer: From ear to ear. No marketing. Just good recomendation.
Answer: On the web. We don’t have, but we have been on mainstream tv and newspapers.
Answer: No outreach program. They find us by means of other friends or with google. Also our blog is very important.
Answer: freifunk.net is very present with it’s websites and a has quite a lot of media couverage

Do others ever reward you with virtual or real world gifts / money for helping contribute to the community network? Do you reward others for contributing to the network?
Answer: Yes, we collect a membership fee of 12.-€ per month to keep a proper mesh network with sufficient Internet bandwidth running.
Answer: yes, events donate money to expand our network
Answer: we do not receive donation or contributions :( but if you want to put an antenna on your roof you have to pay somthing(not the total prize).
Answer: No. No. Nobody is rewarded in any concrete or official form.
Answer: i pay them tribute. normaly no gifts, execpt to the community. (routers, antennas, computers, racks, …)
Answer: We help each other pay for internet bills and oftentimes cook food for one another, with or without the network in mind.
Answer: Yes there is some minor gifts, but every intention to help is very very welcome.
Answer: There is a lot of reward in form of respect, acceptance and trust. People rewarded me with gifts (cakes, beer, routers, etc.) but I do never take any money.

Do you have a say in how the network is run? Do other members ever tell you what to do?
Answer: Have a say, we have a weekly meeting for discuss our project in general. we use this meeting for develope ideas for the project “EigenNet” and anyone in the meeting have a say.

Is your community network connected directly to other community networks (not through the Internet)? Which ones?
Answer: Not yet, but we have made some preliminary links we have now to make permanent.
Answer: freifunk.net is a meta community of lots of local communities – even in the city there are local communities in the districts or streets. Many of them are connected with each other through WiFi.

Do you feel “engaged in” or “part of” your community on the network and in real life? Do you feel safe with your neighbors online and offline? Why or why not?
Answer: yes i feel part of it. yes i feel safe in the network/neighbours. i feel skilled enought to know risks and threats and how to avoid them.
Answer: Absolutely. I don’t have a network connection though (it’s an oddity here that many of the founders never had a proper technical connection to the network)
Answer: yes, I know most of them since many years.
Answer: I am part of the community and feel safe with my neighbours, also because I have installed some technical protection to filter some services I would not want on my internet gateway.

Do you trust others in the community network? Why or why not?
Answer: Yes, all of them are working for free for the community. why should they have interest in harming the community?
Answer: Yes, Trust is build individually and over time – mostly when people do what they say and say what they do.

Does everyone have equal responsibility to maintain the network, or is there a hierarchy?
Answer: Members are not interested at all, maximum 3 persons maybe 4 are involved in maintenance of the network.
Answer: Members assigned tasks based on skills, a kind of hierarchy is based on the amount of time each member is able to give to the project
Answer: Equal responsibility, There is equal responsbility with varying engagement – most people’s contribution changes over time
Answer: There is a Core Team of people who contribute more, the core team is regularly discussing current affairs. Nevertheless no one is excluded from voicing opinions and more often issues are discussed on a broader range.

//——– Questions from a specific user, focusing on their negative responses
Has the community network developed or strengthened relationships you have with other members? In what ways?
Answer: Weakened the relationships
Do you have a say in how the network is run? Do other members ever tell you what to do?
Answer: Told what to do
Do you feel \”engaged in\” or \”part of\” your community on the network and in real life? Do you feel safe with your neighbors online and offline? Why or why not?
Answer: Yes, but we have no real community – only max five people do meetings. The other people ‘only’ serve a Freifunk-AP.
Do you attend any real world community network meetings? If so, what do you contribute?
Answer: Yes, Regulary every second sunday. There we meet some new and interested people and talk to each other (by a beer :)).
How do you interact with other members on your community network (file sharing, forums, chat, …)? Do you feel freedom to express or share all of your thoughts and ideas with others?
Answer: only by our Mailinglist
How do you contribute to the network, what is your role?
Answer: Support (Mailinglist, Hardware setups, Wiki, Blog)
Are real world gatherings (meetings, dinners, concerts) ever organized by the community network? Is local law / policy / community activism ever discussed?
Answer: Some times but not many
//——–

//——– Questions from a specific user, focusing on their negative responses

How do you feel about your community network?
Answer: Disappointed
Has the community network developed or strengthened relationships you have with other members? In what ways?
Answer: Yes, It´s difficult, some members are fine people but contribute very less.
Do you have a say in how the network is run? Do other members ever tell you what to do?
Answer: Told what to do, Because I´m sociologist and not a programmer in any way, my word has little effect.
Do you feel \”engaged in\” or \”part of\” your community on the network and in real life? Do you feel safe with your neighbors online and offline? Why or why not?
Answer: I feel safe because of the VPN to a server in a foreign country. I still believe, that most users won´t do anything illegal over an open wifi, but there might be some black sheeps.
Do you attend any real world community network meetings? If so, what do you contribute?
Answer: Yes, I try to find out interest topics to talk about, sometimes leading the meeting.
How do you interact with other members on your community network (file sharing, forums, chat, …)? Do you feel freedom to express or share all of your thoughts and ideas with others?
Answer: We use a mailing list for announcements and public discussion and a jabber channel for the everyday blabla. I don´t feel absolutely free, because of my non-IT background I feel that my opinion isn´t important most of the times.

//——–

Questions from a specific user, focusing on their negative responses
//————//
How do you feel about your community network?
Answer: satisfied but sometimes frustrating
How do new members find your network? Do you have an outreach program?
Answer: most very happy; some don’t understand the concept of sharing
Do you have a say in how the network is run? Do other members ever tell you what to do?
Answer: i listen to what members want and decide implementation accordingly
Do you feel \”engaged in\” or \”part of\” your community on the network and in real life? Do you feel safe with your neighbors online and offline? Why or why not?
Answer: feel fine – sometimes the target of others’ paranoia, but they get over it
Do others ever reward you with virtual or real world gifts / money for helping contribute to the community network? Do you reward others for contributing to the network?
Answer: network account is solely for swug, but often receive gifts – eggs, beer, books from members
Do you have a reputation or status in your community, online or offline?
Answer: yes, as the person who gives them internet
Do you trust others in the community network? Why or why not?
Answer: i make sure trust is not part of the bargain

//————//

Some interview snippets:

——– From Laura Forlano: ———

On the decline of Freifunk networks in Berlin residential areas: “network wasn’t offering additional content or services or something of value that would keep you there”

Do people in community networks interact in real world? “absolutely…because of the physical equipment involved in building networks, climbing on roofs, putting up antennas, building cantennas, every network has weekly or monthly meetings”

Negative activity: people hogging bandwidth is prevalent

Some activity causes people to worry about open wifi networks:
On NYCwireless, someone was distributing pornography on an open network, FBI called – network in park, so nothing can be done.
Someone ordered 20 pizzas once.

——– From Elektra, of Village Telco/OLSR ——–

Although it is encouraged to place meshed wireless routers near a window for optimal connection, many choose to hide it behind the refrigerator, which causes major connection issues. Other issues of landlords having problems with tenants placing anything (antennas, routers, etc) on rooftops.

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