Content on our support site will be private

We are making changes to our support ticket policy that have political implications and so we want you, as members, to know about these changes and share with us any thoughts you may want to share.

Nearly all communications between members seeking help and support with our online resources happens via one web site: https://support.mayfirst.org/. Launched a full 12 years ago, our support site contains a remarkably rich archive documenting not only our organization's history, but also a critical history of free software, and the experiences of movement activists in using it.

It has served us well for over a decade, however, times have changed.

We originally launched the support site intentionally making all tickets fully public. If you asked a question, everyone in the world could read your question and our answers to the question. This approach was based on a commitment to collaboration among members, to transparency on how we answer tickets, and a commitment to serve the greater good by providing a wealth of technical questions and answers to the world.

However, over the last 12 years, web sites and all data on web sites have become fodder for marketers, surveillance capitalism and right wing attacks. The questions posted to our support site unintentionally provided a map of not only our organization's infrastructure, but the relationships and inner workings of our member organizations.

At the same time, our political efforts at using our open ticket system to foster collaboration and a commitment to mutual support among our members have fallen short. While we do witness a small number of members using answers to other tickets to help underestand their own technical difficulties and sometimes offering their own experience and answers, our more common experience is member surprise and sometimes outright horror to discover that their tickets are publicly available and showing up in web search results.

In response, the Leadership Committee has taken the difficult decision of making all past tickets "sensitive" and setting all future tickets to "sensitive" by default. When a ticket is marked "sensitive" it can only be read by the person who reported the issue, the people cc:ed on the issue and the support team.

As of Wednesday, May 15, all tickets on our suport site have been marked sensitive and are no longer publicly viewable.

While we have taken action to protect the privacy and safety of our members this should not be framed as a political win. We have been forced to reposition ourselves to safer ground to face the forces of surveillance capitalism, state repression and a growing fascist movement that is taking the revolutionary potential for an open and unmediated communications medium like the internet and perverting it into a reactionary force.

The struggle continues. May First is still firmly committed to an open and transparent web, to publishing our technical experiences and knowledge freely and openly, and to building mutual aid and support among our members. Now is the time to regroup and decide together the best strategy to continue this part of our work.

Toward that end, we are inviting all members to participate in an open (and still public) discussion of this problem via our discussion forum.

We need the best thinking of all members to move forward with our vision during this dark period of internet repression- so please join the discussion!

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