How Mobilisers get access to Action Network

Heya team:

So I am hypothetically an (AusMM) Mobiliser unleashed in NSW.

Although I have street-cred and familiarity with many of you, let’s imagine I have been ‘hired’ as a mobiliser and so I am trusted only as far as necessity (whether that is the necessity to trust me BECAUSE we need to mobilise lots of people, or necessity because I have been through a good-enough recruitment vetting process).

I need access to the NSW AN database in order to contact rebels in areas of high rebel density (from map) without a LG there, to engage them to help promote a talk and start a group.

I propose that I get given access to the NSW AN with the email option and reports option, so that I can filter it by postcode etc and have the means to contact rebels.

Who do I get in touch with to do this ? Does this sound ok to you ?

@HyperNexus @Mad_Mattho etc?

I kinda feel like that is an issue that could have a fair few ways of looking at it if we were to answer it around the country each time that question popped up in a different state or Territory, but the best answer may be if there was a National answer, that meant that all AusMM mobilisers that are working in all states and Territories had permission to do that, if there was a National Agreement for that… Then they would have to sign an Action Network Mobiliser - Specific user agreement perhaps stating what the use would be for and agreeing to only use it for that purpose? Also, I think that it may be worthwhile going into areas where there already is an active local group, and introducing yourself, as there has been momentum-loss in areas that have not started back yet since the first lockdown, or even the fires, and this may also happen again if lockdowns happen again, each time there is the chance that the group “shrinks” in activity levels after a lockdown instead of growing or remaining active in that time. I think we are facing a situation like that here in my own area right now… Although there is no State SOS in NSW I would try and get in touch with the someone from XRSyd - perhaps the extco’s group, and see how they feel about access to it, they currently use the AN database regularly, keeping up weekly newsletter communication with the rebels in that database as they put out the main newsletter for NSW rebels and as far as I know XRSYD used to be the XRNSW group until that changed last year… @alicew from AusMM SOS and/or @saharaj may have the correct SOS answer to this question though? Perhaps looking at the AN data visually on a map-and contacting the closest actual active group as well for assistance and co-operation as well may be fruitful? I saw this done for Australia recently on a post on Mattermost which was a cool feature…

Heya @Mad_Mattho I’ve already contacted NSW/Sydney talks crew about this and we will chat more but already they are happy for us to do some lg formation.
Also, reinvigorating existing groups is totally important and all part of the mobilisation manual plan.

Contacting existing groups in the area,

The main thing I wanted to bring up here is AN access . And get the ball rolling on the best system. The idea is that mobilisers will work in state/region based teams- eg NsW. So I was checking here to get AN/IT feedback, and I’m glad you mentioned getting in touch with talks/communities group which is happening simultaneously :slight_smile:

I don’t really see why the mobiliser an agreement has to be different to the current one- but I guess based on the specific access and use required it might need to be. I’ve raised it before that the current AN agreement doesn’t mention for example, looking through database for specific skills of signups, and probably many other things. So it might indeed need specific Agreement based on the use. Wanna draft that up?

I have so many thoughts on this…

The current trust model we’re using in Action Network could be described as being distributed and localised. Usually rebels with access to a state group would be for vouching for new organisers, creating local groups and providing some basic onboarding/support.*

I think the benefits of this approach are that:

  • Improved Vouching Process - Vouching is better done at a local level where people are mole likely to have existing relationships with organisers.
  • Limit Access to Activist Data - Organisers are only provided with access to the records of activists in their region.
  • Less concentration of power but more hierarchy - In theory once the state groups is properly setup and functional there is little input required from national organisers.

I think so far this approach has worked quite well but does raise some issues. Namely the introduction of hierarchy which has been traded off for other benefits. Also NSW doesn’t have a state group and only recently has QLD started to setup a state level SOS.

Onto answering the actual question…

I think the needs of AusMM raises questions around this existing model. Namely, would you have a centralised group (maybe in AusMM on National IT) that would hold a mandate allowing them to distribute access to mobiliser across the country or would that group be seeking access from the various state level groups. Am not an SOS expert but I suspect if it were the former then you’d want to have that reflected in a mandate supported by state groups.

The big question for me is what is the relationship between mobilisers and those who’ve historically done this work and existing state/local groups? What is the flow of communication?

I can just see cases where say an existing M&M WG or Outreach WG would need to know that a mobiliser is planning on sending event related emails and contacting activists.

Getting a sense of your thoughts to these questions would help in knowing how to advance this.

*This is how I see things working . Not a perfect description of reality.

I can help answer this.
The plan is mobilisers will work within existing Outreach/talks groups, if there are none in the state they will help establish one. For example right now I have reached out to Talks and Communities in NSW to get their support and collaboration on this mobilising of a LG here - and to check if a LG exists here - which according to the ausrebellion map NO but found two FB pages locally that are pretty barren.

NSW, TAS, SA, WA and VIC all have some form of current outreach/communities which does to a varying degree (and with varying nomenclature) the stuff that mobilisers do. However, in most places where this was organically happening before, it has come to a standstill. Hence we will all benefit from a well systemetised and supported and energised crew doing this!

From an SOS point of view different states have different structures, so in Vic for example this ‘starting new groups’ business was done by “outreach” general which included me, Jane, Max and others. I have been in outreach for a long while and had Vic AN access to be able to do these things.

I’m in NSW now and trying to work through this on the fly and it seems that AN access may not already be a given for those in Communities/Talks groups - thus I see there may be a need for AN as a Domain to be covered by both IT and the group that “Mobilises”.

It’s exciting to nut out these questions. The plan is that mobilisers will work within their states - which would imply that states are on board with the project to supply permission (and have sos enough in place). However there may be complexities in border regions that are densely populated such as NSW/QLD - perhaps in that case the moviliser gets both NSW and QLD access - cross that bridge when we get there.

I have been thinking about this as well and I think there are a few things to keep in mind

A) Mobilisers will go through a recruitment process including social media sussing to make sure they are who they say they are - this will possibly be more rigorous than most AN access that has been granted thus far! Thus I think it’s safe to say we can trust them - they will quite likely be existing rebels.
B) We really want to minimise the barriers that can stifle the work whilst also decreasing the workload for everyone. E.g. If I have to ask to create a sub-group in AN for each region I want to contact then either a AN support person, such as yourself or @chris_magicmod helps set up ladders etc, or I have to be upskilled to do it.
C) with the permission levels in AN I think it can be pretty low risk: just supply email access, report access and that’s it. We have to trust each other that we aren’t going to send a nutty email. Is this the biggest risk? Or is it that someone would share peoples data?
D) So how risk-averse do we want to be, and if we want to keep AN regionally distributed, that means we need the AN permission and support in each state/nationally to make those sub groups etc. Which leads to a question of capacity!

Regarding local group sub-groups in AN:
I actually wonder if the whole AN subgroups thing is OVERKILL at the local group level because then we are requiring a LG to have AN skills along with all the other things that they are taking on..
The other issue with LG sub-groups on AN is that it means all the work of tracking postcodes and dealing with conflicting postcodes/crossovers has to happen.

One of the cool things about AN is that if people rsvp to an event by a sub-group in AN they can subscribe to their mailing list. Maybe a better approach rather than making small regional sub-groups with postcodes is to have opt-in “named” sub-groups such as a XR SHoalhaven (a Council area) and if people just organise in the area using that sub-group then it will fill. Nah saying this aloud makes me think that the postcode ladders is probably worth keeping - especially as it’s a first step of mobilising an area to contac those in the region - so if that report is made we might as well set up the ladder.

It’s interesting because AN is probably the most important tool, yet at a local level is that the case? Are local XR newsletters through AN that important, or AN events? It does mitigate the dependence on FB which is important I guess if people want to do them, they can…

LASTLY I think another piece of info that might help this conversation along is: Can we easily break the state AN into smaller sub-groups that are larger regions ? I imagine this may not be possible without filling in a bunch of postcodes- or would it be possible to do it with the ‘within 100miles’ thing ? That might be a cool way to do it in fact over bigger areas.

Proposal for moving forwards on this (for comment)

In conjunction with general AN user agreement there is additional AN understandings:

It is recommended that Action Network be a co-domain of both State IT/tech and the Talks/Communities/Mobilisation group in the state (where such a group exists). If a state group doesn’t exist or isn’t yet mandated then it is the mobilisers/ausMM/national SOS role to support the creation of a state mandated Mobilisation group.

NB There can be flexibility within each state as to how AN is administrated and managed, just as there is flexibility as to how WG’s are named and structured and what their accountabilities are in each region. However, what is consistent is that there is a clear and vital need for AN access and/or responsive information sharing for those working in the space of outreach/mobilising new rebels across the given region. As such the following proposal is presented


Within the talks/communities/mobilisation WG the following mandate is added or included (this may be for a mobilisation sub-group of a larger circle):


To mobilise as many people as possible to participate in nationally coordinated acts of civil disobedience (mass mobilisation) (from AusMM)


  • Support those that wish to help form new LG’s or re-engage old LG’s. This may include (but is not limited to) ‘recruited’ mobilisers from the AusMM project
  • Provide AN access on a ‘bare-minimum’ privileges and ‘as needs’ – ie smaller sub-group possible – basis to facilitate the core-task of Mobilisation of rebels via LG formation/support


Action Network (co-domained with National and regional IT/tech)
In practicality this would mean a few people (to mitigate for power) from the communities/talks WG have admin rights to add other admins to AN

Regarding this shared domain, the key requirements for AN access for Mobilisation are:

  • Ability to send emails to rebels within a ‘target’ area
  • Have access to rebel info of target area, at the bare minimum a csv report containing phone numbers and first name to share with Rebel–Ringing team (Currently Victorian based) in order to run phone campaigns to maximise attendance to HfE talks and thus formation of LG

This was a huge problem for us in SEQ last year, we were trying to do talks in areas without groups but were blocked from getting access? If access to statewide data is being given out now, we in Queensland would also like it (and have been waiting 8 months for it).
cheers Max C

Hi Max: yeah it seems that QLD and NSW might be in a similar boat re: AN access and this scenario of lack of “state level” mandated WGs . I guess what happened in Vic is that, on a ‘first in best dressed’ basis us at the beginning, which was obviously mostly just melbourne, created ‘state’ wg’s. For better or worse. So now we retrofit SOS into ourselves and NSW and QLD need to formulate some SOS (in conjunction with national AN/IT) to have all this clear and accessible and useable. So I suggest seeing what’s happening with QLD SOS re: such a group as i suggested above.

For the record Brisbane was mobilizing and active before Melbourne was in 2019, Victoria as a state assumed a bunch of power because it was being run by i’m guessing the people who still run it so lets not name names. wealthy middle class white people gatekeeping contacts and pushing people away from xr that didn’t fit into their idea of it. There’s been no mitigation of power here at all lets not be blind to the truth of the elitism in XR VIC power structure (not necessarily by all members but those who have control over the group).

I’m amused by all this really, it appears a pragmatic process - to set up a specified form of structures along a prescribed format, in order to achieve access to resources (i.e. power) - lets not fool ourselves, its the antithesis of self organising systems (in terms of the original understandings of this way of working, as it emerged in the 1990s), but hey, if hierarchy and control is whats needed, go for it, but don’t delude ourselves that we are a decentralised network of self-organising systems

Just an FYI that XR Vic is not in control of the Aus Action Network and the XR Vic working groups only have access to the data for rebels in Victoria.

The XR Aus IT working group is the current custodian of Action Network data access.


Sorry so much to respond to here. I’m going to have to break up my post into several smaller ones.

Having mobilisers work within the existing groups sounds great and very practical.

Yes I think this is the case. My impression is that all of the local groups setup in the NSW Action Network group was done by people outside the state. I’ve tried to help get several NSW rebels up to speed with setting up local groups but they’ve just dropped off over time. One of the previous organisers did flick me through a list of potential people to contact regarding new local groups. I will pass through their details privately. I haven’t had any capacity to follow them up (this was quite some time ago).

I think a Regenerative Culture is one in which we respect peoples privacy. So I’m not in support of social media scans. With that said, this is not my domain and I don’t hold any kind of mandate in this area.

I think you raise some good points about distribution of access and capacity. My view on this is that the current local group model is fine (beyond localising access it also localises events, reports, etc. which contributes to making the platform useable). However it might be worth having a dedicated Action Network Support Team who can be granted access when support is requested. That way we’re building capacity where we can (and where it makes sense to) while also being able to provide support when it’s needed. FWIW, @michael-qld_rocky has also setup several subgroups and given the appropriate permissions could help in this area.

I think for all groups being able to email rebels and keep track of event sign ups is important. The limitations with Facebook events is that you have no direct way of contacting and following up with people. Beyond the others concerns it’s important that XR has full control over its rebel database.

We can structure Action Network groups in whatever way we want. That means having groups that share postcode ranges. Postcodes are preferable to ‘miles from XX’ setting as they are discernable.

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The proposal sounds good to me. I think this would naturally fall under any Outreach mandate.

The tension here is between being decentralised yet having centralised resources. Where possible we can decentralise but when we can’t or when the tradeoffs are too high then I think you need to take pragmatic steps.

Hey sorry I’m late to this discussion. I didn’t know it was actively happening here.

XRWA.Infrastructure Working Group (who are currently the group mandated to administer Action Network for WA and include the sub-Working-Groups IT, SOS and Data Management) have formulated the following procedure draft policy for granting access to Action Network.
Please review and offer any suggestions for improvement.

In it’s current form the policy is specific to XRWA in that it makes reference to the Action Network Admin Draft Mandate here and to “Tech Champions” which are effectively Infrastructure/IT Link Roles from different groups. XRWA.Infra requires someone from each group (Working Group, Local Gorup, Interest Group) to take on this role and be trained in how to administer things like access to their group’s private files on NextCloud, etc. When a group wants access to something that requires an admin they need to nominate someone to be trained as that admin who can then grant the rest of the group appropriate access.
This distributes the authority and prevents XRWA.Infra from burning out or becoming a bottleneck.

I believe this Action Network Policy could easily be adapted to the National context, (probably with only cosmetic noun changes) and the system of Tech Champions adopted also. It looks to me like it provides the practical “How To” accomplish the Accountabilities in the Mandate proposed by @ageorge

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Hey Max, I replied to this on MM but in case you did not see it there …

  1. Qld now has our own Tech/IT coordinators, who can set up groups and admins on Action Network and create Cloud and Base accounts. Go to the Qld Mattermost Tech channel to make any IT requests. (We decided to keep the 2 people’s identities private for security reasons. You have to go to the channel :slight_smile: )
  2. XR Meanjin has had an Action Network account for a couple of months now. I can’t recall which people have the log in, but again - go to Qld MAttermost channel to find out.
  3. Our 2 IT/Tech coordinators have access to the Qld wide database, and are able to send state wide newsletters or call-outs via Action Network. We expect that media and messaging, outreach, mobilisation, regen teams etc will all make use of Action Network now

@Sergeio is interested in becoming a Tech Champion and training.
would be great to have you both as presenters for the AUS. Mass Mobilisers 2 day training deleivering the Tech Onboarding and follow up support?