Our Language

Advisory Board

A group of people who advise and support decision makers on a project or in an organization.


Public verbal or written support of an idea, project, or cause. In our work it is important to advocate *with* instead of *for*.


A group of organizations working together to achieve a common goal based on shared principles. Coalitions don’t necessarily work together on the same goals all the time, but come together around something they value in common. They sometimes differ in execution, style, and membership.


A network of interconnected or interdependent relationships coalesced around a shared vision. Churches, neighborhood gardens, or migrant neighborhoods are all different examples of communities.

Community Technology

Community technology is a method of teaching and learning about technology with the goal of building and supporting healthy relationships and neighborhoods.

Digital Stewards

Community members who build and maintain technologies, demystify technology for their friends and neighbors, and facilitate a healthy integration of technology into people’s lives. A popular education pedagogy and curriculum to train community members in designing, building, maintaining and governing community technology.

Digital Stewardship

The work of caring for something that supports a community–basically, supporting the support. Stewards cultivate shared spaces (digital and offline) that express shared values and principles.


DiscoTechs are community events focused on Discovering Technology in a fun, approachable, and accessible environment. Originally developed by the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, DiscoTechs bring together technologists, organizers, and community members demystify digital tools for the public.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Companies that create, sell and maintain internet access. In the US, often big companies that dominate markets, leading to limited consumer choice. However, a community can also create and run an ISP depending on local rules (or work with an ISP on an internet project).

Mesh Network

A kind of computer network where communication travels among distributed nodes, instead of being routed through a central hub (a “hub and spoke” network).

Hub-and-spoke network

Mesh network

Mesh networks are slightly different from how most of the internet works. In mesh networks, the nodes are connected directly to each other, so communications do not have to travel through a central point to get from point A to point B or Point C, Q, or Z. In mesh networks the different nodes connect directly to each other without going through a central hub. We use mesh networks in many of our projects because the direct connection of nodes to each other makes the network more resilient – if you lose one antenna, the whole network doesn’t go down. Many community wireless networks combine mesh with more standard hub-and-spoke (point-to-point or multipoint) connections.

Network in Computers

A collection of cables, fiber, antennae, and airwaves through which digital communications can travel. Networks can be closed (communication only happens on/with others in the network) or open (communication can travel from one network to another – the internet is an example of this).

Network of People

A web of interconnected nodes where the nodes are people and the lines between them are the relationships that connect people to each other.


The facilitation of relationships for the purpose of accomplishing a feat that is often at odds with status quo methodology. In this context organizing isn’t a one-time thing like “organizing” a birthday party; it’s ongoing work to create and maintain a freer world.

Portable Network Kit (PNK)

A DIY emergency-ready wireless network in a suitcase that teaches people how to build their own internet and can be used to create a neighborhood network. For more information, check out our page on the PNK.


Values that shape how we live and work in the world and with others. In the words of Mother Cyborg, principles name how we want to relate to each other and the work we do together.


As the old African proverb states, you don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. A roadmap is a method of documentation that lays out the steps you want to take together and allows you to keep track of progress in an accessible and transparent format.


Tools that extend or change one’s ability to complete a task or to cultivate a shared vision for liberation.

Community Tech NY
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