What is Labs?
We're a community of civic hackers, data wranglers and ordinary citizens intrigued and excited by the possibilities of combining technology and information for good – making government more accountable, culture more accessible and science more efficient.
We're part of the Open Knowledge Foundation Network and operate as a collaborative community which anyone can join.
You don't need to be an uber-geek to participate: interest and a willingness to get your hands dirty (digitally) be that with making, testing or helping is all that's needed - though we do allow lurking on the mailing list ;-).
We have some simple community principles that outline how we function and which act as a guide for community members.
- Openness: open data, open content, and open tools. In Labs we only make open stuff. We also have a strong preference for using open stuff but we aren't obsessed about this – if Excel or Google Docs or [insert tool] is what you use to get the job done that's ok!
- Positive and welcoming: We're friendly to newcomers and old hands alike. Everyone was new once (and sought to reinvent the wheel!). Enthusiasm and support for others at all levels of skill and experience is important.
- Doing: we're focused on the concrete not the abstract, making not theorizing.
- Insights as well as apps: insights, analysis, and stories may be just as valuable as the tools and the apps.
- More than code: designing, testing, documenting, wrangling are just as valued as coding.
- Informal: we don't get caught up in formal processes or hierarchies. We only have process where its essential, or authority where it matters such as access to limited resources, management of shared infrastructure
Members and Contributors
Whilst anyone can participate in Labs without formally signing up, you can self-identify as an official "Member" as a way to show you are part of the community. Anyone may become a member: just sign-up!
We also have a special category of "(Official) Contributors". These are members recognized for their contributions in Labs and more widely. Contributors are entitled to certain privileges, for example in relation to use of resources or in featuring projects on the site. More detail about contributors can be found below.
- Access to Labs' resources
- Direct access to the website
- List and showcase projects in the projects list
- Organize Labs' events
- Build, run and support (QA, blogging, docs) something (e.g. an app or service or viz etc)
- Ongoing participation - Contributors who can no longer actively participate become alumini!
Becoming a Contributor
You become a Contributor through a combination of
- Contributing to Labs-associated project for a period of time and/or doing good Labs related work (e.g. building a tool or doing an analysis that is highly regarded)
- Being recommended by an existing Contributor
- [optional - for future] Agreement to pay supporter fee to defray costs
You can stop being a Contributor by (any of the following)
- Just asking!
- Becoming inactive or uncontactable – inactive means something like no commits on relevant repos, no blog posts, no contribution on the mailing list over a period of several months
- Not paying the supporter fee (if there is one)