Community Committee Meeting Minutes – March 23rd 2016

March 23rd  – Community Committee Meeting

Community Committee Minutes            

Date: March 23rd 2016 Time: 20:00 – 22:00 IST


  • Eugene McDonagh – Limerick Dojo (IE)
  • John Harrington – CMX (Carrickmacross) Dojo (IE)
  • Michael Madden – Athenry Dojo (IE)
  • Craig Steele – Glasgow Coderdojo, CoderDojo Scotland (UK)
  • Carmelo Presicce – Bologna CoderDojo, CoderDojo Italia (IT)
  • David Welch – Louisiana CoderDojo (US)
  • Bettina – CoderDojo Belgium (BEL)
  • Rob Curran – CoderDojo Wilmslow (UK)
  • Shara Karasic – CoderDojo LA (US)
  • David Campy – CoderDojo South Africa (ZAF)
  • Nesen Yusel – Coderdojo Turkey (TR)
  • Pete O’Shea – CDF, Docklands Dojo (IE)
  • Rosa Langhammer – CDF, Docklands Dojo (IE)
  • Ross O’Neill – CDF, Docklands Dojo (IE)


  • Frank & Josh Westguard, Washington DC Dojo US
  • Yohei Yasukawa, Tokyo Dojo JP


Time Topic Who
20:00 – 20:40 Zen: Clarification on scope & adoption CDF – Rosa
The aims of the community committee for 2016 CDF – Pete
Ideas about the future structure of the community committee CDF – Pete
The CoderDojo Regional Licence update CDF – Ross


Please note: The below Q&A are not exact transcripts and in most instances have been summarised.


Zen: Clarification on scope & adoption


Rosa: Gave a brief overview of Zen, its purpose,  and the plans moving forward. The purpose of Zen is to be a place where Dojos have all their tools in one place, a spec was created in 2015 which went  out to tender, going live  in September 2015. Zen has a few functions presently, Dojo listing and verification, up to date onboarding process for new members. Making it smoother to help us find where the tough points are.

Some features include;

  • Forums are to help facilitate discussions worldwide.
  • Ticketing for Dojos, 65% of Dojos worldwide are using ticketing so we created a Dojo specific ticketing facility.
  • Badges working with Mozilla open Badges to bring in awarding, there are 15 badges for kids to be awarded.
  • Ninja (Youth) Forums for kids. Looked for feedback for the community, mail sent out in January.


Aware that there are issues and the foundation is working on these. It is an open source project, and all help is appreciated. Email updates are in progress at the minute.


Q: Eugene: Where is the feedback coming in from, as I haven’t seen where it is, I can see the developers working on Github, but some of us are not in Github?  

  1. Rosa: Predominantly we’ve been receiving  feedback via email and through intercom, which is useful for real time problem spotting. Intercom helps us see things straight away, in terms of usability, as we can immediately identify where people are getting stuck.  There has also been forum posts and we would like to urge more discussion on the forums. We also did a pole on the next best feature and what features people wanted. Eugene requested that a category is put onto the Forums for Zen Feedback.


Action: Category to be created in the Forums for Zen feedback. This has since been created and can be viewed here.


Q: Carmelo: Asked about the main use of the new Coderdojo Global Slack channel.

  1. Rosa: We are using it as an instant messaging and connection tool for the global community. We are also using it as a tool alongside the forums for updates and communications.

Pete: Has been using it for verification requests and it’s great for direct communication.


Q: Rob: Is the use of the platform entirely optional, regardless of functionality, or is there an upcoming mandate from the Foundation to use it? If Dojos select not to use the platform, are they deprioritized or penalised in any way? As recently Coolest Projects bursary was given to people adopting the platform, so we just want some clarity from the Foundation in that respect.


Rosa: The platform is always going to be an optional tool, we know that, from the annual survey everyone doesn’t use ticketing but they may be using badges.. In terms of the rewards, what we’ve said moving forward that Bursaries and individual ninja competitions, will be for those using the system. The main aim of this is so we can verify that the kids who are going to receive are regular attendees at the Dojo and the Dojo is an active Dojo. It is easy  to see for example that Rob is very active with his Dojo, but there are Dojos out there that are not standing out (or as visible) so we look at all the aspects of how you can get involved, so if you’re a contributor to the platform, or content on Kata. A way for us to see that a person that we may not know for example on the other side of the world, that they exist and are active as a coderdojo member. It’s not to penalise, it’s more to ensure that the support is going to an active Dojo.

Rob: I know what you mean about making sure that they are all active. I feels like the open to all free to all principal gets a little bit diluted when there are criteria for prioritisation, there are plenty of Dojos that are verified and very active in their local community they might just choose not to speak up until coolest Projects. Annual survey is optional and they may not be communication with the Foundation, but we, as a regional leads we may know that they are  a really stable active Dojo.

Rosa: Yes that’s where we are moving towards, in terms of bursary, for example Belgium and Romania have members that have applied on behalf of their Dojo or a group of Dojos in the area for the kids that they know that should apply. It is difficult for us to see from afar that they attend every week etc, you (Champions) know that we don’t know that and it’s all about closing that communications gap. And we do look at regional bodies in terms of this as they can advise on this.

Eugene: The wording that goes out on these communications needs to be changed as I know certain people have been turned off applying for bursary for coolest projects based on the fact that they are not ready to start using the platform.

Craig: Was that a wording blooper in the zen email?

Rosa: That was badly worded. We have acknowledged it and we do hold our hands up for that comms mistake. Future messaging will be revised based on this.


Action: The Foundation to keep this in mind for all future messaging and comms for future travel bursary.


Q: Eugene: Ticketing and registration functions are turned on for my Dojo by default, when we are not ready to use them and we are not getting notifications, it might be going to the Dojo mail, but me as a champion, I’m not getting the notifications for registrations.

Rosa: The original feature for Dojo admin so the mail would got to the Dojo mail and not the champion mail. We have it in the Platform that  Champions can assign permissions to mentors for either ticketing or users or both. Therefore only Champions or those with Dojo Admin permissions can accept users.There is an issue on Github about Champions receiving emails which is open for discussion.

Further discussion on the merits of having it directed into different email addresses. Requested an option to turn off features on the platform that the Dojo may not want.


Q: Eugene: Good to hear that you’re going to concentrate on ticketing. From looking at the github it seems that the development / updates are not being focused enough, meaning the whole thing is coming on slowly instead of one area getting a whole push.

Rosa: Updated on the pending creation and updating of the UI of events and parent registering for events will also be overhauled so the flow is straightforward. Targeting to have the set-up, creation and management of an event to be more straightforward. Added a feature for champions to add kids / parents that don’t have a laptop. Ticketing is the area of focus for 4-6 weeks and then we will release based on feedback. Updated on the ticketing elements that we are to focus on: booking tickets for kids that don’t have a laptop.

Discussed weekly and monthly events feature, planning when you are going to launch an event and the copy event feature


Action: Add a group on the forums for feedback from the community.


Q: Carmelo: Wanted to know the updates on the ticketing system. Eventbrite is straightforward to them, they tried the ticketing system but it is not stable enough for them to be using yet so they went back to the eventbrite. Understands the importance of the ticketing system for Dojos Stats and active Dojos and activities they are doing. How can we measure Dojo activity? Are there other tools aside from the ticketing system? Also interested in the survey results to understand the situation in their country, wahts this to know which Dojos are inactive or now as some set-up and ran one Dojo and that was it.  


R: Rosa: Gave an update on the process used throughout the annual survey to identify if a Dojo is active, and overall stats from it.. Before marking as inactive,  all our previous methods of contact (personal email, social media) are checked and then also email them directly again to say that we will be marking the Dojo inactive and give them the opportunity to respond. We also get some info from Champions, country leads and parents that may know the details of the Dojo. This is why the ticketing system is important. Update on the question types and how that can help projections of youths in attendance and volunteer hours. Rosa has provided it in a case by case basis for those that have asked.


Q: Michael: does not use ticketing, as they have a big hall for people to show up, there is always space. Not all parents are techy to use ticketing system and register in advance.  Is the use of ticketing a measure of whether your Dojo is active or not, and if kids that are not present on Zen they are losing out on opportunities.



R: Rosa: That can be a personal preference, 35% of Dojos don’t use ticketing as a result of this. It is best practice that you keep a log of the amount of kids that you have a t the session.

Michael: We use a clipboard and that works for us. Do not want to create a barrier to entry for the Dojo.

Rosa: Talking about the platform being a global platform to connect the community and that is the main purpose of the platform, ticketing is one feature

Michael: Doesn’t want ticketing to be exclusionist for disadvantaged kids.

Rosa: We have added a feature where the champion can add youth in this situation to address this.Further general discussion on champions booking tickets for youths and dojos using and not using ticketing.

Michael: Please don’t make it an infrastructural requirement that may cause some of the community to be excluded.

Carmelo: Perhaps as a result this can also exclude disadvantaged youth from ticketing results. Suggests a quick survey for Dojos to take each week.

Rosa: This has been integrated this week as an average for the Dojo attendance. Update on how to access this.

Michael: We’d be happy to do this.



Moving on to next topic: The aims of the community committee for 2016 – 50 mins


Q:  Pete: Starting a discussion on governance and representation, proposed the structure of having 1 or 2 reps per country.


Eugene: Set 18 members max, split down them per Dojos, 35 Dojos per-person based on this. Do it based on this and have it reviewed every year.

Craig: Regional groups should take the responsibility to catch up regionally, Agreed that there is a need for proportional representation.

Eugene: Based on the number % make up of Dojos in the region, based on verified and active Dojos in the region.

John: Adds support for the proportionate representation of Dojos recommendation for the structure.


Q: Carmelo: How many are willing to participate? And how many to contribute at a committee level and a community level?

Pete: Recognises that its good to give an option and have it open especially for
countries take Turkey for example where Nesen wished to take part in the call.

In regards to the goals and aims that is our next item on the agenda and we can vote

now on the committee representation if it should be country based or regional based

proportion of dojos.


Q: Carmelo – Clarify the question on what we are voting on?


Pete: The vote is either have 1 or 2 representatives per country or based on the
Number of dojos within a region?

Carmelo – I propose a different option where we have proportional representation
with open slots for emerging countries.

Nesen – Explains that the volunteering is poor, Zen onboarding is poor and apart from mentoring anything procedural beyond this has a low uptake. Dojos continue but as an organisation but such community initiatives is poor.


John – To build on that anyone who wishes to join the call should be free to do so for the content but will have accept the committee’s decision. Maybe however we are being too limited.

Pete: Recognises that its very much a valid point and builds on the proportional representation with open spots.


Craig: He agrees and thinks we can always have more.


Eugene: Points out that we skipped an item agenda.


Pete: Puts forward that we go forward with proportionate representation.


Decision: Group: Everyone says yes.


Outstanding Discussion Item: Regional leads and proportional representation.


Q: Eugene: What is the point of having the committee? – as the original point was to discuss topics at the heart of the Coderdojo movement and give feedback to the Foundation based on our direction.


John: To build on that I have never read a document of here are the aims and goals of the Foundation in a hierarchical priority over a certain time period by region or even as an entity in total. This would mean that community and foundation have a parallel world creating structural deliverables


Rosa: One of the documents that is published on our website open to anyone is the CoderDojo Foundation Strategy which takes up to 2017 with 5 main pillars. Some of the governing documents is something we wish to add to the newly designed website.


John: If the foundation isn’t getting the feedback from the community committee then it makes its best guess of what the strategy should be. But if we are getting more formal and more focused on what the community committee should be about then we should be maybe funnelling that feedback to the foundation as their focus.


Rosa: That is something we could definitely get feedback on to discuss maybe on the next call or in the committee group – We will be doing a strategy plan once the current one is expired and should be one of the purposes of the committee to input feedback for that.


John: That seems like the wrong way around. If the community committee are representing all the dojos, then the community committee should be telling the foundation what they should be focusing on and not the other way around.


Craig: That was something that we had previously given feedback on but it wasn’t the full document at the time.


Note: Minutes from previous Committee meetings where the strategy was discussed can be viewed here  (minutes April 2015 call here & October 2014 call here)


Rosa: As the first strategy document is now published in full and it will expire in 2016 it will give the committee more of a baseline for the next strategy. Would be useful to send around to gauge feedback?


Action: Send around strategy document with medium to provide feedback. – Sent to Community Committee.


John: What I would be interested in is, is their an acceptance by the Foundation that they will drive their activities from outputs from community calls and not define its own strategies and tactics?


Rosa: The CoderDojo Foundation are governed by the board but the community committee does give us feedback.


John: That’s a problem as its top down management and not bottom up.


Pete: We do put it out to tender from the community – it is bottom up.


Rosa: It is a valid point and getting feedback from key members of the community committee should be to give input on important strategic actions.


Q: John: What is the formal statement in regards to that question? Can I get a formal response in relation to this? I would like to understand what determines CoderDojo Foundation’s activities.


Action: Get a formal reply and publish this to the committee group.


Formal Response sent by Giustina Mizzoni to Committee Group on 24th March 2015.


The activities of the CoderDojo Foundation are primarily driven by the objectives & activities laid out in our Strategy (published July 2015). The Strategy was developed over a prolonged period, during which input & feedback from numerous sources was considered, including;

– Annual community survey results

– Feedback from Community Committee (minutes April 2015 call here & October 2014 call here)

– Working sessions with CoderDojo groups e.g. CoderDojo for girls

– Working sessions with the CoderDojo Foundation Board

– Working sessions & reviews with the CoderDojo founders, Bill & James

– Daily interactions we have with global community members, with suggestions & gaps identified by Dojos, Champions, Volunteers,

– Input & Feedback from Foundation team members,

– Input & Feedback from funders & partners

– Independent review from Q-Validus a strategy consulting group


All this input and feedback then went through a process of refinement resulting in the strategy.


As a young small organisation, we always remain open to new opportunities that arise ad hoc and are not defined or listed in our strategy. Ad hoc requests are always evaluated to determine what value they will bring to the Community, i.e will we inspire more more people to mentors from speaking at this event, will this partnership have a direct benefit for the global community etc.


The Strategy will be going through a second iteration this Summer. We’ll be seeking feedback in advance of this, in the meantime you can provide direct feedback to us by emailing [email protected] & we will log it to be reviewed when the second iteration is being conducted.


Eugene: What is the frequency are we going to have these committee meetings i.e once a month, two months.


Pete: That is open to discussion originally it was every quarter but maybe once every two months.


Eugene: Once every two months would be sufficient.


Carmello: Yes having it open every two months and having it more focused on a single topic but having open community calls to gauge with people who might be good to have on the committee.


Action: Restart the monthly Community Calls again..


Nesen: Gives an update on Turkey in terms of current situation and that computer science has been introduced into the curriculum.


Eugene: Gives a small update on Ireland and the current situation in the national education system.


Pete: Moving on to the final item of regionalisation within groups and Ross will give an update.


Ross: Myself and Pete are spearheading regionalisation across applicable regional bodies that are either informal or formal that are interested in regionalisation and creating a body for CoderDojo initiatives within their area. What usually happens to give a broad sense of how it occurs – a cluster of dojos happens within one region that are quite focused and are working together as a community and there is scope there to become a more formal entity or identity to represent all those dojos. So the foundation has a regional license that caters as an agreement to protect the CoderDojo brand  but also once signed to say that this is a formal body that is exists within CoderDojo giving them the flexibility to create corporate or non-corporate partnerships within that region for CoderDojo specific activities. Pete is very much EMEA focused and I am anything outside of the EMEA globally.


Pete: So Chris from the Netherlands has signed the regional license and Nesen from Turkey. It also a celebration of setting up as a NPO. This allows that when a corporation wants to support a specific region that we don’t have to fully manage that but it can community lead by the regional body. The regional licence helps formalise that.


Ross: Pete mentioned Netherlands and Turkey and I myself is working with Western Australia where there is a large cluster of Dojos in Perth which is supported by an NPO the Fogarty foundation where they have adopted CoderDojo as part of their programme on their STEM initiatives. Another is the TechPoint Foundation within Indiana which is very much similar to the Fogarty Foundation in Indianapolis where CoderDojo has been adopted as part of their programme. Where the process begins is having the majority of dojos within that area agreeing that this body represents this region’s interests in regards to CoderDojo. An update on the progress so far two are signed in EMEA and the two I mentioned will be signed soon in the next two to three weeks.


Q: David – If we are looking at setting up a regional body, do we have to have an NGO to have it under or can it be under another organisation.


Ross: It would have to be under an NGO either existing or one that is newly created – Fogarty Foundation are for example of an already existing NGO that we have the agreement with and represents the dojos in that region. One other example is Japan who have the full community behind them to create a regional body but a requirement to sign the regional license is to create a NPO entity first or a applicable charity entity.


Q: Eugene: So does mean that they have to have a legal body registered and that legal body signs the agreement with the organisation?


Ross: It would be a legal non-profit body/entity.


Eugene: Yes a legal entity. There is an issue that as you negotiate the need to change licence across different regions but those changes are not being published.


Pete: We would work with the regional body to help create an applicable license for their region but it is at the discretion of that body to share it as its a legal agreement between the Foundation and that body but so far we have not come across any body which has had an issue of us sharing it out.


Eugene: We are getting very far away from the open and free movement I originally joined. There is lots of buoyant stuff within the agreement requiring that regional bodies that they have to use the platform. There are some entities that are unable to register as a legal body within their country due to the wording of the document.


Pete: That is the reason we have discussions on the wording of the document for each region.


Ross: It is a broad legal license that cannot be applied to every single region as every single region is different.


Eugene: There should be then a lowest common denominator agreement that each region signs that is applicable so that some regions are not wavered to satisfy legal requirement whilst other bodies don’t. It should that no legal body should have to be forced to use something for example the Zen platform.   


Rosa: As far as I am aware there isn’t anything in the license about using Zen.


Ross: We do have a specific clause in the license in regards to Zen to encourage dojos with the region to adopt Zen.


Pete: It is to encourage but it isn’t enforced.


Q: Eugene: Have you had to remove a clause thus far like that in order to facilitate the agreement so a legal entity could be formed?


CDF:  No



Q: Eugene: But some clauses had to be removed or changed?


Pete: Some of them were more rewording of the language used and more clarification on certain points which is due to linguistic barriers that exist.


Rosa: One of the actions we do have in the foundation is to create a more common language document of how this is how you become a legal body. The regional license is the end goal yes but a plain text document needs to be formed of how the process begins and ends which is a priority for us.


Q: Carmello: We discussed with Italy in regards to this – the conclusion so far is that not worth the effort that we also feel that we can fix any problems that a formal group can have informally. What is the purpose of regionalisation? Is it linked to better logistic or communication? I would like to understand.


Ross: One of the main reasons that I have come across and I think Pete would agree is to have the status and legal entity to create the avenue to fundraise, accept donations and create legal partnerships on a national level for CoderDojo initiatives.


Pete: To support a growing community that is already there as the Foundation does not have the funding to provide for every region and they can move forward


Ross: Which is community lead.


Q: Carmello: The number of dojos in Italy is very high – We have been able to grow without funding and still accept benefit in kind donations such as hardware informally. Funding is more likely to come from local institutions rather than national entities. I wonder how is it in other countries?


Ross: I can only speak for countries I have worked with and even then I can’t speak fully for them but for example Japan is a perfect example where creating a legal entity would only stimulate growth as it really stems from a cultural difference that if it isn’t official legal entity it is deemed of poor quality so the community that exists are very much enthusiastic about creating this. Western Australia is another example where we have only seen positive results as Perth alone has at least 36 dojos operating in one area and that is a very centralised stimulated growth but acts as a support mechanism also.


Pete: Asks for input from Nesen in regards to Turkey.


Nesen: The reason we wanted to become an official legal entity is that in Turkey is to become a support mechanism for the current dojos in Turkey and create a dialog between dojos and the foundation and ourselves. We have communication with Romania where we had a camp and event organised under CoderDojo Turkey. The body also acts as a form of recognition. In fundraising we are taking baby steps as the news is full of terror but will make a big push when it calms down.


Pete: We have had an epic call so let’s wrap up. The idea however I want to finish on was have a different moderator from the committee for each call. As an action I will post it in the group to see who is interested.


Nesen: Discusses on the different platforms we could use to communicate with each other.


Action: On Kata update and add the countries of who is covering where

Then in advance of the call – can we send out tweets about the call details but ask them to give feedback to their committee representative(s).


Pete: Thanks everyone who joined to call.

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