OSLIST FAQ version 1.1 - Proposal

Artur F. Silva artsilva at mail.eunet.pt
Thu Feb 8 04:03:45 PST 2001

[This is my proposal for version 1.1 of OSLIST FAQ; it must now be discussed
and agreed - or not... - Artur]

Following is version 1.1 of the OSLIST FAQ.  It is been discussed and
agreed by the list,
based on an initial proposal from Chris Corrigan.

Welcome to the OSLIST Frequently Asked Questions List

This FAQ has been prepared to outline some of the conditions around the
OSLIST, the online list for Open Space Technology practitioners.

1. What is Open Space Technology?

Open Space Technology was developed by Harrison Owen, a Maryland USA based
consultant who was searching for a way to create better meetings after
hearing that the best parts of a conference he organized were the coffee

Open Space Technology meetings begin with all the participants sitting in a
circle, and no items on the agenda.  The meeting opens with an agenda
setting exercise following which the group self-organizes into smaller
discussion groups.  Discussion group convenors are responsible for
providing a report of the discussions, which is immediately added to a book
of proceedings.  At the conclusion of the meeting, or very shortly
thereafter, participants receive a copy of the proceedings including all of
the discussion groups' reports and any action plans that were developed.

Open Space Technology meetings operate on four principles and one law.  The
principles are:
    * Whoever comes is the right people
    * Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened
    * When it starts is the right time
    * When it's over it's over
And the law is known as the Law of Two Feet.  It states that "If you find
yourself in a situation where you are neither learning or contributing, go
somewhere where you can."

As a result, Open Space Technology meetings are characterized by
self-organization and high degrees of freedom for participants and, as it
is has been stated by many practitioners and participants, are based on
passion and responsibility.

If you want to know more about OST you can see the site of the OST
international community at www.openspaceworld.org (a companion site to this
list) where you can find an Introduction to OST in many languages and
resources and links to other materials about OST on the Web (see also
Question 8. above).

2. What is OSLIST?

OSLIST is the international mailing list for Open Space Technology
facilitators and those interested in the process.  It is a lively forum
with 313 members (as of January 2001) and generates around 10-15 messages
per day, during its most active times.

To join OSLIST, or to change your settings, visit
and fill out the form.

You may also join OSLIST by sending a message to the following address:
<mailto:listserv at listserv.boisestate.edu>listserv at listserv.boisestate.edu.
IN THE BODY of this message type ONLY the following text: "subscribe
oslist" (don't type the quotes!).  Enter nothing in the SUBJECT field and
nothing else in the message (including, for instance, signatures,
addresses, etc.).

Upon successfully registering for the list you will receive a piece of mail
containing useful information about OSLIST including how to
unsubscribe.  It's worthwhile saving this treasure!

3. Is the list archived?

Yes, the list is archived, and all material posted to the list is also
posted to the archive.  The archive is publicly accessible, so you may wish
to keep this in mind if you choose to post to the list.

The archives can be read and searched by visiting

4. What are the subjects of the OSLIST?

The following subjects are normally wellcome in the OSLIST:
    * Questions about working with Open Space Technology
    * Answers to relevant questions
    * Stories about Open Space Technology meetings
    * Poems (there is a regular poetry contest that happens every six
months or so)
    * Notices of upcoming Open Space Technology training or conferences
    * Resource material that may be of interest to Open Space Technology
    * Opportunities and calls for OST facilitators.
    * Introductions from new subscribers
    * Accounts on books or other theoretical questions that can help to
better understand and practice OST
    * Experiences on facilitating Open Space Organizations - a subject that
has been introduced by Harrison Owen and later developed by Birgitt
Williams and other practitioners.
    * Accounts on other ways on "opening space" that can be related with or
complement OST.
5. What are the languages used for posting to OSLIST?
    * The main working language of OSLIST is English
    * Posts in languages other than English are acceptable, as
exceptions.  OSLIST has readers who speak German, Swedish, Russian,
Portuguese, Spanish and French among others and items have been posted in
all of these languages in the past.
6. What is the etiquette for posting to OSLIST?

In general, OSLIST users seem to prefer that people avoid the following:
    * Attachments.  Please either post these to a website and provide the
link to the list, or ask people to indicate if they wish to receive them
off list.
    * Flaming.  We are a pretty congenial group, and flaming is relatively
unknown amongst us.  It would be nice to keep it that way.  If you have
negative things to say about individuals it would be appreciated if you
could keep them off list.
It must also be said that the jury is still out on small personal notes of
appreciation or support to individuals.  Some feel that these are a waste
of bandwidth and add to an increasingly heavy personal email load.  Others
feel that personal messages of support sent to the list provide valuable
affirmation to individuals by recognizing them within the worldwide
community of Open Space Technology practitioners.  It's best to use your
own judgement on this.  If you do post notes like this to the list, be
aware that the reception of others may be mixed.

7. What other online discussion forums are there for Open Space Technology

The two most heavily visited online forums are as follows:
    * Worldwide Open Space at
<http://www.openspaceworld.org>http://www.openspaceworld.org.  Registration
is free.
    * The Meta Network at
<http://www.tmn.com/new>http://www.tmn.com/new.  Follow the link to "make a
new account" and fill out the form.  Where you are asked for your host or
sponsor on The Meta Network enter "Openspace"
8. Where can I find out more about Open Space Technology?

The best place to start is at the Open Space World website which can be
found at:
<http://www.openspaceworld.org/>http://www.openspaceworld.org/.  Here you
will find resources for facilitators, links to websites of Open Space
Technology practitioners, stories, poetry, training opportunities,
conference information and more.

9. What is OSonOS?

OSonOS stands for "Open Space on Open Space."  It is an annual event that
gathers together 150 or so Open Space Technology practitioners to spend two
or more days discussing issues related to the practice of Open Space
Technology.  More information on OSonOS IX (Vancouver Canada, August 18-21,
2001) can be found at

10. Does the OSLIST really have a Poet Laureate?

Of course!  The title of OSLIST Poet Laureate is awarded to the winner of
the Biannual OSLIST Restricted Form Poetry Contest.  Anyone may enter this
contest, and all list members have an opportunity to vote for the
winner.  The winner is responsible for organizing the next contest.  The
current OSLIST Poet Laureate is Jeff Aiken.

Updated February 8, 2001
Please email any additions or changes to Chris Corrigan
<  corcom at interchange.ubc.ca >

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