About the Online Tools: The Base, Mattermost, etc category

This category is for guides and procedures that help rebels make use of online tools for the movement.

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I’m preparing to transition Brisbane West rebels onto Mattermost, Base, Cloud and whatever else we need to be on. As many of our members are not so tech savvy, I’m thinking it would be great to have a quick reference for them to see which tools are used for what, something like:

How to:
Send a private message --> Mattermost (@individualhandle)
Brief question, announcement, sharing info --> Mattermost channel
Longer discussion --> Base
File storage & sharing --> Cloud
Online meeting --> Big Blue Button

Something pretty simple, probably in a table, like a cheat sheet.
Does anything like this exist already, to anyone’s knowledge?
If not, I’m happy to work on it, but could use some guidance as to the most commonly used tools in Australia.

Thanks in advance,


Hey Nick, I agree this is much needed. The question is where can we put it that only those who we want to see it will find it? Wall of text incoming…

There is a basic summary of our tools in this First Steps topic:

However I think it needs updating, expanding and refining. It’s on the to-do list!

The global base has a very pretty and fleshed-out version of this in their First Steps. They also have an expanded version that is so in-depth it has an interactive outline that scrolls you to sub-headings. If you have global base access, you can see the First Steps post here or the in-depth version here (if you can’t see it, I can screenshot). It’s really great so I think we should just brazenly plagiarise most of it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

There is something similar to this is in the works globally – a sort of landing page / dashboard that will replace organise.earth (moving Mattermost to chat.organise.earth). But may not be released for a while, and is of course more relevant globally than for our national branch. More info on global base here. Development screenshot from global base:

There is also a “welcome bot” that has been developed for Mattermost and deployed on certain teams. It’s a bit of work to set up for each MM team, but I think it would be worth it. (Ping @CJtheTaniwha @HyperNexus @ManicMax). See announcement message in xrTech MM team and config repo. Here’s how it looks:

Also, you may have noticed the new icons at the top of this base. This is my first stab at something like a higher-level navigation. It reflects what the global base does, but could be improved… Also, the more icons we add here, the less space there is for the sticky topic header (appears when you scroll down on a long topic).

Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 9.46.49 am

So yeah, there’s a bit going on, a few concerns to consider, and some parts depend on work happening globally. But I’m very interested in this because if we don’t make it easy for rebels to communicate (while also protecting their security) then we really are shooting ourselves in the foot, considering how much there is to get done.

So I’m dedicating myself to making the “rebel journey” as simple and effortless as possible :fist:


Re-posting this exchange for relevance:

4️⃣ Communication Tools in Extinction Rebellion

We need to update this to remove zoom and replace it with meet.organise.earth (XR’s jitsi instance) and meet2.organise.earth (Xr’s big blue button instance, available through Mattermost)

My response:

Hi @rene.brisbane! I partly agree, but this is a tricky one.

I’ve used BigBlueButton a few times to varying levels of success. Sometimes it works fine, other times it completely fails (I’ve had to restart it several times). A less-than-perfect user experience can be tolerable, but a lack of reliability can be very damaging in efforts to get users onto a different tool. I haven’t tried Jitsi either, but I’ve heard similar things about it, and I have not seen one rebel use it anywhere globally.

That’s why I’m really reluctant to urge people towards it. @CJtheTaniwha and I are working on a “decision tree” to help rebels decide what tools will be best for a given task, taking into account factors such as legal concerns, sensitivity, ease and scale of collaboration, etc. We’re starting to think that the more difficult tools should only be recommended when the usability/reliability trade-off is actually worth it, a bar that is unfortunately higher than we would like at this time.

That decision tree is probably a few weeks away from completion as it’s a pretty serious project.

Zooming out a bit, it worries me that globally there seems to be a bit of a blind spot on the part of techies around the usability and reliability of the tools we are putting forward. I think it amounts to a challenge to our inclusivity principle, where our less tech-savvy rebels feel excluded and will just end up using whatever other tool that works – one which may well be accessed by law-enforcement.

That said, we don’t want to be lifting up Zoom, a corporation which already has enough power/money and may be hostile to parts of our activism. So I agree about removing it from this First Step, so it’s not considered a fundamental part of our rebellion. But I’m unsure about just replacing it with BBB/Jitsi without further discussion.

As for these First Steps posts, I’m hoping to revise them to be a bit nicer/easier to read, like the global base ones are, and I’d welcome any help with that :slight_smile: Please see this post for more context:


The Global jitsi instance worked fine for a Tasmanian meeting with four people. We are about to try it on a meeting with more people on the 19th. There is also the Australian instance