Turkopticon is hiring a community facilitator

31 July 2019

Note: If you are logged in to Turkopticon, you can also comment on this note in the forum here.

In February, we posted that we were working to raise money to hire someone to organize conversations within the TO community about the future of Turkopticon. We called this role/person an “organizer” and wrote:

“We want to hire an organizer to be able to talk with TO community members to answer the question: shut [down] or handover? We would like this person to be able to survey the TO community about whether they have an alternative to using TO, and if not, why not. If there is a strong contingent that wants to operate TO in the future, the organizer can facilitate conversations among people who don’t know each other but might need to learn to work together to take over. And if people are largely okay transitioning off of TO but need support to do so, the organizer can figure out what sort of support is necessary and help get it set up. In short, an organizer is a third party who is good at listening, who has a fresh set of eyes and ears, and will put in the proper time to facilitate decision making about Turkopticon’s future.”

We have good news. We found the funding. The funding is from the Open Society Foundation, a New York-based philanthropic foundation that funds a range of initiatives around tools for online work and organizing. Their funding is enough to hire a community organizer for about a year and pay programmers for time necessary to do possible re-engineering for Turkopticon.

Now comes the interesting part -- finding the right organizer and hiring them. This process has to support the community, so we need your help, knowledge, and involvement. We want workers to direct the future of Turkopticon, and we want to start practicing that now.

We are calling for people from the community to help us hire this person. These people will: We recognize that this requires time -- time you could be earning money -- so (since we finally have funding) we can offer prepaid debit cards at the rate of $15 / hour for the time you spend contributing to this committee.

If you’re interested, please sign up here:


P.S. We recognize that we’ve sometimes made calls for volunteers and haven’t had the bandwidth to properly follow through. If you’re someone who has offered to volunteer with Turkopticon in the past, thank you. And if you did not receive the follow-up you deserved, we’re sorry. The situation is different now because we have funding to pay folks for their time and because Lilly passed her big tenure milestone -- wrote her book, now has more job security --so she can prioritize this.

P.P.S. We know not that many people read this forum, so we're going to send out an email about this too. But feel free to share it in other places where TO users might be reading.


Why an 'organizer'?
An organizer is someone who helps a community have conversations, make collective decisions, and take action. This was clearly what Turkopticon needs, we have learned, to transition responsibly. It’s been hard for us to address some of the problems with Turkopticon because the minute we follow the suggestions of one group, it seems like another group appears — who had been quiet before — to say how terrible the change was. We need some way to make decisions that most people who care about Turkopticon can live with. To do that, we need to have more conversations with people who use and care about Turkopticon — but we can’t do that on our own. It simply takes too much time to do it right -- to find ways of meeting and talking that are safe, welcoming, and accessible to people with different constraints and stresses.

Where is the money going? (“Six and Lilly are using TO to line their pockets with foundation money!”)
None of this funding is going to our bank accounts. The grant was made to UC San Diego. UC San Diego keeps 10% to cover the costs of their administration (issuing paychecks, tracking budgets, following laws). UCSD will make sure we are spending it only on Turkopticon-related work.

Why prepaid debit cards instead of normal real money?
Because the money is administered by the university, this is the simplest way to pay people. To get normal real money, people would have to register with the university as vendors/independent contractors, hand over social security numbers, and pay taxes on the payment. If that is your preference, let us know.