A proposal written by

Tony Redondo

an average member and Treasurer from

AEGEE-London

Proposal presented at the

AEGEE Spring Agora Novi Sad 2022

and sponsored by

AEGEE-BoBiGoSa

AEGEE generates a lot of content. However this content is unnecessarily restricted, unorganised and improperly stored.

This proposal aims to improve the way AEGEE deals with content to increase transparency and engagement with audiences inside and outside our organisation.

Introduction

AEGEE-Europe unnecessarily restricts its text content and overuses PDFs. This proposal amends the CIA's DPPS so that content is more accessible, organised and transparent, and introduces the Content Format Guidelines so that most of new AEGEE-Europe text content is stored in HTML instead of PDF.

If you just want to see the two specific measures proposed,
jump to The Solutions.

If you also want to know the causing issues and the reasoning behind the solutions, just carry on reading.

Some of the images shown in this proposal are Internal according to the AEGEE Data Privacy Policy Statement (DPPS). That means that they should not be published publicly without logging in first with some AEGEE account.

However, given the length of this proposal, for the sake of clarity I believe a few of these images are needed for a correct understanding.

The fact that AEGEE Internal data is published publicly is one of the main points of this proposal. Most of the Internal images contained in this proposal have already been published publicly by some AEGEE body in the past (you will find the link to the public source next to the link to the internal source).

ℹ️ Although they are not exactly the same, the terms data, information and content are used interchangeably among the proposal.

ℹ️ When you see a lock icon 🔒 next to a link you will need an AEGEE membership or AEGEE Google Workspace account to access the link. (this proposal will hopefully change the need for this)

The issues

Charlton Heston in the The Ten Commandments

Access walls preventing reading Agora booklets are a great way to encourage participation in our events.

Charlton Heston in the The Ten Commandments

Artistic impression of me kindly explaining the contents of this proposal. Note the hair grooming and clothes depiction, reflecting with accuracy the lockdown circumstances in which this text was written.

The Data Privacy Committee (DPC) shall publish a list of the data according to the division stated in paragraph (1) of the present Article. This list shall be updated at least once a year and ratified by the Autumn Agora.

Levels of Protection of Data v2 document screenshot

If you look at this graphic from 3 metres apart it becomes the next Cubist masterpiece.

Levels of Protection of Data v1.2 document screenshot

Classifying AEGEE content in 23 easy steps.

DPPS theory vs reality

Apologises to people with Daltonism. I can assure you these graphics are different.

AISEC, ESN and AEGEE financial statements

AIESEC and ESN urgently need a more restrictive DPPS. Anyone can see their financial statements!

The purpose of this statement is to secure right to privacy of AEGEE members and other individuals, with regard to:

a) the gathering and automatic processing of personal data relating to them;
b) the relationship between AEGEE-Europe, its Ordinary Members and third parties;
c) information and all relevant data about the Association, its work and its members.

Having in mind best practices and aiming to guarantee due usage and corresponding levels of secrecy, all the information of the Association shall be divided into external, internal, and internal confidential.

Creating a policy for public and internal information' motion

Text without format is extremely plain. That is why memes and MySpace were invented.

– ...a lot of information about our organisation [...] is also publicly published on the Internet for the wide world to see.
– Keeping internal matters from the curious eye of the outsiders improves our internal freedom of speech.
– ...in the past, on the website of the Network Commission, information on the fulfillment of Antenna Criteria was publicly available for everyone.
– At the moment, the whole Corpus Iuridicum is publicly available.
– The only internal thing we have to publish by law are our statutes.

– ...the way we come to conclusions is not of any concern of the outside world.
– ...externals don’t have any right to know about the way we organize our network, nor what our criteria are.
– By consciously publishing information aimed for externals [...] we decide what they see and what they do not.
– All other regulations we have are basically of no concern of the outside world.

Who Wants to be Millionaire meme

Trump wanted to be in the answers’ list. But unfortunately the phrase was too clever for him.

    Math Lady meme

    An AEGEE member who just created some content intuitively finds out whether it is external or internal.

    AEGEE Issuu restricted downloads

    Did you think for a second that you could consume AEGEE content in your own terms?

Changes to the list as defined in paragraph (1) of the present article can be proposed to the DPC (Data Privacy Committee).

DPPS in practice, in reality, and with the new changes

The new DPPS proposed is also greener, and hence, more environmentally friendly.

  1. Accessibility is back again. No accounts required.
  2. No doubt about the level of protection that data will have: external.
  3. No more external data collateratelly deemed internal.
  4. Nothing to enforce, just making sure external data remains external.
AEGEE-London Transparency Report 2020

This is a public AEGEE-London Transparency Report. It may be boring. But ultimately it is your best friend.

Getty Images generic office stock picture

You better wish these people are actually models so that no one has to work with them. Totally unrelated to the proposal. But I have this fetish for stock pictures of The Apprentice-ish corporate environments. What do you think they are watching on the screen? This proposal being accepted in the Agora?

The bottom line is that citizens and governments no longer buy the narratives that NGOs are automatically principled and trustworthy, and should therefore be exempt from transparency requirements. NGOs should also recognize (and some do) that they will now be judged on criteria they have used to pass judgment on others.

This should be good news for all: If NGOs are principled and virtuous and have nothing to hide, they should welcome the demand for full disclosure.

HTMLPDF
Is it easy to create content in this format?Yes. CMSs like WordPress, Wix, Medium or a zillion other online platforms allow you to create attractive blogs and websites with zero IT knowledge.Yes. Services like Google Docs or Microsoft Word allow you to export to this format.
Can the content be downloaded to a file?Yes. All browsers come with the option to save a page in MHT format or HTML with embedded images.Yes.
Can the content have version history?Yes. WordPress revisions. Git.Yes. Google Docs and Microsoft Word offer version history (though the user can not choose when to save, always done in automatic mode).
Can text be copied?Yes.With difficulties. If the text is longer than a line a line break will be added at the end of every line.
Is text styling respected when copied and pasted elsewhere?Yes. Text styling and tables will be respected (if you want) when you copy from the browser to, for example, Google Docs or Microsoft Word.No. Text styling and table structure metadata is not saved in PDFs. Things like tables, font families, sizes, colours and any other format cannot be copied.
Can images be copied or saved?Yes.With difficulties. You will have to take a screenshot of the page or use special programs to extract the images.
Can content adapt to different screen sizes?Yes.No. Get ready to pinch in and out continuously when seeing a PDF in a mobile.
Can the user modify the reading experience? (Specially important for people with disabilities)Yes. All main browsers come with Reader View (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari). That means the user can tweak font size, style, paragraph width and dark mode.

Another way of changing the reading experience is by using browser extensions like Dark Reader or Stylus.

All main browsers allow text to speech.
Mostly no. Some PDF readers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) offer to invert page colours. That is it.

All main browsers (at least with extensions) allow text to speech on PDFs.
Can you link to a specific title, paragraph or section of the content?Yes.With difficulties. Depending on the browser and PDF viewer it may be possible to link to pages from outside the PDF. From within a PDF it is always possible to link to specific titles or paragraphs.
Can content be interactive?Hell yeah.Mostly no. Clicking links, showing the table of contents, maybe embedding a video or a virus?
Can content insert or embed other content (video or audio, social network embeds, any other Iframe)Yes.Mostly no. Although in theory you can insert videos, in practice many PDF readers do not support this. You cannot insert Iframe embeds. You will have to take a screenshot of a social media embed to emulate its insertion in a PDF.
Is content discoverable by internet searchers?Yes.Yes. Though in search results PDFs will rank lower than HTML documents.

If you love that child you better don't give him PDF for his braille display.

Graphic explaining how the current DPPS diminishes the number of people reaching AEGEE content

Stonks.

AEGEE Content Format Guidelines

Which format is the correct fit for every text content
HTMLPDF
Criteria
1) The content is just going to be read on screenThe content is going to be printed or presented
2) The content may change over time or require versionsThe content does not change once it is published
3) Parts of the content may be copied or referenced oftenContent will not be copied or referenced often
4) The content has a technical thematicThe content has a storytelling thematic
5) The relevance of the content will be mostly short or specificThe content is aimed to be relevant over time
6) The visual design does not have intrinsic valueThe visual design of the content has intrinsic value and conveys a message or vibe itself
7) Style and position of text and images affects little to none the message of the contentStyle and position of text, images, illustrations and tables affect the effectiveness of the message
Examples of AEGEE data on each format
– Events instructions and booklets
– Agora and EPM minutes and results
– CIA, Working Formats, Code of Conduct and documents related to regulations
– Policy and position papers
– Statements and manifestos
– Guidelines and event toolkits
– Strategic plans
– Action agendas
– Activity plans
– Reports
– CD, Network Commission and other bodies’ decisions and announcements
– Any other content which PDF is not the best format
Key To Europe
30 Years Of SU
Content published on
aegee.org (content is restricted if required by the CIA's DPPS)HTML introductory section on aegee.org (in the same style as 1 or 2). PDF stored in the Materials Database 🔒 or Issuu (download for consumption outside the browser must be enabled).
Clarifications
1) Some HTML content can optionally be also available in PDF (at discretion of the authors). This is the case for PDFs that have a nice design and cover but do not meet the criteria for PDF as the only format.
2) The length of the text and the number of illustrations, charts, tables or images is irrelevant to find out whether the best format is HTML or PDF.
3) The level of protection of the content according to the CIA's DPPS (external, internal or confidential) is independent from the format.
4) HTML format refers to content created by CMSs (WordPress, Wix, Medium, Markdown format, etc). Collaboration tools like Google Docs or Microsoft Word are not valid for final distribution purposes.
5) Locals are excluded from following these guidelines.

The Solutions

This proposal is actually two proposals, each of them with a different entry in the AEGEE Voting System:

Much of the data generated by AEGEE-Europe is overly restricted. This proposal amends the Data generated by AEGEE-Europe section of the DPPS so that most of this data is discoverable with a simple Google search and without the need of extra accounts. In this way we allow our message to reach further and a wider audience to consume our content. No more hidden information because you missed the link on Facebook.

You can find this proposal in the Voting System 🔒.

Read the Too much restricted content section for an explanation of the reasons behind this change.

New DPPS proposed

AEGEE-Europe relays too much on PDF for text content. Switching to HTML for the vast majority of new text content will bring advantages for writers and readers. By introducing these guidelines an AEGEE body or member creating new text content can find out what is the best format for its work.

It also adds the new Article 8 to the CIA's DPPS:

8) Data Management

  1. In order to guarantee an adequate management, classification and storage of data and content generated by AEGEE-Europe bodies over time, the Content Format Guidelines must be followed.
  2. The purpose of the Content Format Guidelines is to make AEGEE-Europe content organised and accessible. Content must be searchable and discoverable in a quick and consistent way.
  3. Changes to the Content Format Guidelines can be proposed by any ordinary member with the proposal procedure.

You can find this proposal in the Voting System 🔒.

Read the Inadequate formats and storage section for an explanation on the introduction of these guidelines.

AEGEE Content Format Guidelines

Which format is the correct fit for every text content
HTMLPDF
Criteria
1) The content is just going to be read on screenThe content is going to be printed or presented
2) The content may change over time or require versionsThe content does not change once it is published
3) Parts of the content may be copied or referenced oftenContent will not be copied or referenced often
4) The content has a technical thematicThe content has a storytelling thematic
5) The relevance of the content will be mostly short or specificThe content is aimed to be relevant over time
6) The visual design does not have intrinsic valueThe visual design of the content has intrinsic value and conveys a message or vibe itself
7) Style and position of text and images affects little to none the message of the contentStyle and position of text, images, illustrations and tables affect the effectiveness of the message
Examples of AEGEE data on each format
– Events instructions and booklets
– Agora and EPM minutes and results
– CIA, Working Formats, Code of Conduct and documents related to regulations
– Policy and position papers
– Statements and manifestos
– Guidelines and event toolkits
– Strategic plans
– Action agendas
– Activity plans
– Reports
– CD, Network Commission and other bodies’ decisions and announcements
– Any other content which PDF is not the best format
Key To Europe
30 Years Of SU
Content published on
aegee.org (content is restricted if required by the CIA's DPPS)HTML introductory section on aegee.org (in the same style as 1 or 2). PDF stored in the Materials Database 🔒 or Issuu (download for consumption outside the browser must be enabled).
Clarifications
1) Some HTML content can optionally be also available in PDF (at discretion of the authors). This is the case for PDFs that have a nice design and cover but do not meet the criteria for PDF as the only format.
2) The length of the text and the number of illustrations, charts, tables or images is irrelevant to find out whether the best format is HTML or PDF.
3) The level of protection of the content according to the CIA's DPPS (external, internal or confidential) is independent from the format.
4) HTML format refers to content created by CMSs (WordPress, Wix, Medium, Markdown format, etc). Collaboration tools like Google Docs or Microsoft Word are not valid for final distribution purposes.
5) Locals are excluded from following these guidelines.

Precedents

During previous Agoras the topic of external and internal information in AEGEE has been discussed directly or indirectly. I briefly enumerate the times this happened.

This motion presented at the Spring Agora Rhein-Neckar 2013 🔒 and meticulously analysed on the Too much restricted content section is the reason why 8 years later this proposal is happening. It was the seed for the current DPPS, a policy that actually is necessary for an organisation like AEGEE, but whose restrictive and sketchy implementation of the Data generated by AEGEE-Europe section has margin for improvement.

Proposal screenshot

After extensive research by the Mediation Commission, during the Spring Agora Patra 2014 🔒 the DPPS is extended with this propossal with the changes requested one year earlier in the 2013 motion.

Data within AEGEE is hereafter classified as external, internal or confidential.

Motion screenshot

This motion presented by AEGEE-Enschede at the Autumn Agora Catania 2017 🔒 (or publicly available) asked the MedCom to supervise the hundreds of social media accounts of all AEGEE bodies and antennas, and requested the CD to outline comprehensive communication guidelines to protect our internal and external communication.

It seems AEGEE-Enschede was not aware of the existing DPPS dealing with the very same matter. I am not surprised. In 2017 the Materials Database 🔒 or the Helpdesk did not exist yet. So finding the Levels of Protection of Data document was an impossible mission unless someone in AEGEE-Enschede had a copy of it.

No further action happened after this motion.

Motion screenshot

This motion presented at the Spring Agora Krakow 2018 🔒 (or publicly available) asked the Audit Commission to strictly forbid the use of [sic] facebook for private information [...] and develop a new strategy or look for a platform to safely share these budgets.

Once again, no due diligence was carried out before writing this motion. If so, the author would have found out that what was asked in the motion already existed in the DPPS under the Data collected from each AEGEE Local section of the Levels of Protection of Data document.

We could argue that the reason for such a basic motion was because finding documentation in AEGEE is not an easy task (hence this proposal). Even when this is true it seems that the main reason for having such low-quality motions at Agoras is because most motions are barely thought for a moment, lack research and ask for things that are already done or are impossible to implement. They seem to be born out of spite as a reactionary move caused by a conflict between bodies. And since asking for things that will have to be done by someone else is free, motion writers go wild with the requested points.

No further action happened after this motion.

Knowledge Management System was an objective of the Comité Directeur 58's Activity Plan 🔒 (p13) from Autumn Agora 2020 to create a single unified platform for the AEGEE knowledge that at the moment it is stored in multiple fragmented platforms.

This objective complements very well the spirit of this proposal to improve discoverability of our content by organising it a bit better.

However, after or around the Online Agora Autumn 2021 two important things happened related to the Knowledge Management System:

FAQ

Because of the amount of it? Because of the content of it? Unless AEGEE has surreptitious activities and sabotages countries around the world like an agent of the CIA, or creates dodgy advertising campaigns like the media team of a political candidate, our internal content is as inoffensive as a two-week puppy. It has no industrial property, little personal data, and at times it is so politically correct that if a crazy dude would dig deep into our content to find anything that remotely could be considered negative, polemic or fraudulent, it would be an absolute waste of time.

Doggy image

Graphical representation of the level of risk that internal data poses for AEGEE after becoming external.

Multibillion-worth ultra-complex and high security projects like the Linux operating system are developed in open platforms where even personal communications between developers are public. But a student organisation several orders of magnitude smaller cannot cope with things like agora booklets being public, let alone minutes or financial information. A country needs to release this information to the open world to be considered democratic. So must do AEGEE if the organisation wants to stand by its roots and ask countries to be democratic.

But what about European Night pictures? Possibly the most delicate information about you in AEGEE, I advocate for granting them fully confidential status. Gold Strike tastes too good. When you realise it is 50% vol it is already too late. 🍾❌📸👍

Someone will have to create a strong case about which information scares which partners at which level, why that has to lead to collaterally restrict more content, and how come virtually every company, government and NGO out there is able to publish internal information freely yet AEGEE is not. AEGEE cannot sacrifice its freedom of speech or violate principles of transparency because hypothetically some of our internal data might not like to some private company or public institution. This is a massive conflict of interests for a NGO labelled itself as a democratic and political activist organisation. So transgresor and combative for some things. Well conservative and conformist for others.

Wrong question. The right one is What do you get by restricting so much information?

By being transparent in a proactive way we convey and gain trust from our members and society. In the same way that we want our political leaders to demonstrate their job with documents and facts enforced by law and not blind faith, so AEGEE should do as a democratic organisation. Being transparent is a way to distribute power among a bigger part of society so that decisions are more consensual and scrutiny can be asserted on a regular basis. The more people aware of AEGEE facts, the more people who can have an informed and educated opinion about us, no matter whether they are internal or externals to our organisation. Transparency prevents abuse of power, corruption and misinformation, and helps organisations to be more refined and detect flaws earlier thanks to more people checking the relevant information.

Furthermore, let's not forget that once every long while there is some case of money mishandling by treasurers, boards or CDs, as these positions have special access to resources. Adding a layer of transparency would help to minimise and better handle these isolated cases when they occur. Pretending that these incidents do not ever happen and dealing with them behind the doors it is just the opposite of what AEGEE fights against.

I am just being a responsible, active and democratic citizen within AEGEE. Do you remember the More Than Education ECI? I think it was a great initiative.

More Than Education ECI banner

This proposal requires no technical changes. It introduces the Format Content Guidelines ready to be followed by any body and individual who creates content in AEGEE (unlike many motions that ask AEGEE bodies for things but whose motion authors do not provide a clue about how to implement requested changes). It is not the responsibility of the ITC or the HRC to carry out the proposed changes. This proposal is about changing content management habits within AEGEE with the already existing tech infrastructure. It is not a technological change but a human behaviour one.

If we were in 1712 we would have the same dilemma about this DPPS with 3 levels of protection. And at the same time it could be solved without waiting 300 years for computers and the internet to exist. Though certainly having internet would be extremely useful since we could add dozens of memes to our papyrus presentations.

No. WordPress –the CMS used for aegee.org– or any other modern CMS have rich text editors that write the final HTML for you. It is the same as if you are using Google Docs or Microsoft Word, but with the advantage –among others– that you do not need to upload a PDF anywhere as content publication is done automatically when you click Publish.

No. The two measures introduced in this proposal do not affect data generated by antennas, only data generated by rest of AEGEE-Europe bodies.

Although nothing stops an antenna to start following them and get a nice boost on transparency and data organisation. We do it at AEGEE-London.

In nothing. GDPR is only concerned with personal data. The internal data that is moving to external barely contains personal data (usually name and AEGEE body, and I am not sure whether body can be considered personal data).

The GDPR always gives individuals the right to access, restrict or block the use of their personal data in AEGEE generated content no matter whether it is external, internal or confidential. For example, this includes documents of Mediation Commission decisions making personal references to any individual, even when these documents are confidential and not all of them are provided to the individual subject of the decision. It is done with the GDPR standardised procedure called Subject Access Request (SAR).

If you think that letting the names of AEGEEans participating during Agoras as external is a too big of a compromise (this is not asked on this proposal though), then we should start prohibiting participants from publishing thousands of pictures on Facebook and Instagram during events (which is actually the case for internal media but obviously impossible to enforce). Then The AEGEEan and The Golden Times should start using fictitious names on every interview with a disclaimer at the top saying Due to the AEGEE DPPS, real names of people appearing in this article are only available to AEGEE members.

GDPR gives you the right to restrict or totally block the use of your personal data by AEGEE, no matter if it appears on external, internal or confidential content.

At the same time, for safety purposes, if you need to use a pseudonym in your content or a proxy person for the publication of it you should be allowed to do so.

No one wants to stop anyone using GW. Everyone will be able to carry on using GW in AEGEE as it is done now. The only difference is that with this proposal most AEGEE content will be available without the need of a GW or a MyAEGEE account, and final distributable content will be in HTML rather than PDF. In fact, this proposal has been written in a Google Docs file since it allows to easily leave feedback on the document.

This is not only a cumbersome solution but –most importantly– it is not compliant with the current DPPS. If I ask someone to get these internal documents that means I would be accessing them without being authenticated or without even being a member, which is not in accordance with the DPPS, defeating its purpose.

And it is available for anyone on GitHub. It also follows the AEGEE’s Visual Identity guidelines (with some liberties) for best integration with the rest of AEGEE websites. If you have a minimum knowledge of front-end web development it can easily be reused with little effort for any other proposal. It is a vanilla JavaScript, HTML and CSS static site with no dependencies on CMSs like WordPress or Wix. Simple and lightning fast to modify and deploy. Give it another proposal babe!

Chronology

This proposal has been around for a while:

The Agora at which the proposal was going to be introduced, it finally did not happen. The text was fully written and its website was online. But in the Online Voting System 🔒, in the section for proposals, I forgot to go through the second screen, which is only accessible after saving a draft of the proposal. I contacted the Juridical Commission (JC) as soon as the list of proposals was published and I saw that mine was missing. But since this happened 43 days before the Agora, and proposals must be in the system 45 days before, my proposal was not accepted. Rules are there to be followed. No exceptions!

Second round. This time I was ready to deal with the dreadful Online Voting System GUI. So well before the 45-day Autumn Agora deadline I went through the two screens of the Online Voting System and sent the proposal successfully. Then contacted the JC for feedback as per the Working Format of the Agora 🔒.

It is here where the legal journey started. According to the DPPS, the only one who could modify the Levels of Protection of Data document as intended by my proposal was the Data Privacy Commission (DPC). But this commission was vacant at the time. I proposed then a small change to an article of the CIA’s DPPS so that anyone and not only the DPC could modify this document. The JC said that that change could be suggested, but before the Levels of Protection of Data document could be modified the change to the CIA’s article would have to be ratified by the Agora. The JC suggested that, in order to have both things happening in the same Agora, at the opening plenary I would have to ask for an exception to vote on the article change first thing, and then, if ratified, voting on the document changes. This was not feasible as this proposal is long and complex, and it specially relies on feedback from members. I just wanted to follow the conventional proposal procedure. For a second time, voting the proposal was not going to happen.

At this Agora, only the small change 🔒 to the CIA’s DPPS article was voted upon. The change was ratified by the Agora. And now, any ordinary member can propose modifications to the Levels of Protection of Data document. Yeih? 🙄

Third time’s a charm? At the moment this proposal is being discussed with the JC and the DPC to be polished for its vote at the Spring Agora Novi Sad 2022.

Author

Tony is a 19-year old Swedish youngster raised in Brooklyn, New York. Born to a carpenter and a housewife, he had an eager early interest in healing by hands and water skiing. Eventually he became a motivational speaker, spiritual coach, serial entrepreneur, CEO of Apple and beauty tips influencer. He does not have a profile picture with a microphone on stage. But his hands are magic using Photoshop in those times when the ugly reality has to be retouched.

Three canvases with images of Tony Redondo

It also happens that he is member of AEGEE-London since 1978, Treasurer and IT Responsible of the antenna since 2016, and has attended all flavours of European events within AEGEE. The whole experience has been great so far, a terrific 2 out of 5 stars!

Feedback and suggestions

Do you have a suggestion about this proposal? Did you find a typo or grammar mistake? Did you find an irrefutable flaw in the hypothesis behind the proposal that totally invalidates it? Do you feel like writing some passive-aggressive comment? This is the place for it! No trigger-warnings required.

Your honest feedback is absolutely valuable for a refined and robust elaboration of this proposal. You can leave a comment on the Google Docs file of this proposal.

According to Article 2.5 Meeting and Convocation of the Working Format of the Agora:

Proposals concerning projects and regulations that are to be voted on by the Agora must be submitted to the Juridical Commission in two phases, first as a draft, including at least the idea and motivation, at least 45 days before the Agora, upon which they are published for collecting feedback. The final proposal shall be submitted at least one month before the Agora.

This proposal will be sent to the Juridical Commission on the Online Voting for Statutory Meetings platform before the due deadline for the AEGEE Spring Agora Novi Sad 2022.

ℹ️ Proposal version: 1.4
To see the history of changes visit the proposal's repository on GitHub.

AEGEE-London Loves You banner