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Published onFeb 27, 2020

This glossary includes acronyms, as well as short descriptions of some of the key terms used throughout the book. Key term definitions are mostly based on those provided by the Transformative Media Organizing Project at

18F. A federal office tasked with supporting other government agencies to build and improve tech products and services.

+KAOS. A collectively authored history of the Italian radical tech collectives Autistici/Inventati.

#MeToo. Social movement started by Tarana Burke in 2006 using the then-popular social media website Myspace to bring visibility to the ongoing sexual assault and harassment experienced by Black women. In 2017, actress Alyssa Milano adopted the hashtag #MeToo to challenge the sexual violence and harassment experienced by women and femmes in Hollywood. Initially Milano was credited with starting #MeToo, despite Burke’s decade-long use of #MeToo. However, Milano and the Time’s Up movement credited Burke and the work done by other Black and brown women activists and organizers to draw visibility to the most marginalized women and femmes around the world who experience gender and sexual violence. See Time’s Up, #TIMESUP.

#MoreThanCode. A participatory action research project about the field of technology for social justice. Explore the #MoreThanCode report at

#TIMESUP. The hashtag for the Time’s Up campaign that emerged from the #MeToo movement. The campaign officially launched on January 1, 2018. See Time’s Up.

A/B testing. Randomized experiments to compare and test the performance of two different variants, often used in web design.

A/I. Autistici/Inventati. Italian hacker activist collectives, authors of the book +Kaos.

ACLU. American Civil Liberties Union.

ACT UP!. AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.

ADA. Americans with Disabilities Act.

AI. Artificial Intelligence.

AIDS. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

AJN. American Journal of Nursing.

AMC. Allied Media Conference.

AMP. Allied Media Projects.

AORTA. A worker-owned cooperative devoted to strengthening movements for social justice and a solidarity economy. Explore

API. Application programming interface.

ARRA. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as the Obama Stimulus Bill.

B/I/PoC. Black/Indigenous/people of color.

BBS. Bulletin board system.

BTOP. Broadband Technology Opportunity Program.

C-Innova. Centros de Innovacion Comunitaria, or community innovation centers in English.

CBOs. Community-based organizations.

CCTV. Cambridge Community Television. CCTV is the new name for the organization formerly known as NeighborMedia. See NeighborMedia.

CERO. Cooperative Energy, Recycling, and Organics, a cooperatively owned commercial composting company based in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Explore

CIL. Civic Innovation Lab.

Cis. Short for cisgender. See Cisgender.

Cisgender. Nontransgender. Someone whose gender identity is consistent with the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a person who is assigned male at birth, is seen by others as male, and whose gender identity is male is a cisgender male (cis male). Also shortened to cis, as in cis man, cis woman.

CL/VU. City Life/Vida Urbana. A Boston-area housing rights organization and anchor member of the national Right to the City alliance.

Co-op. Co-operative.

CRMs. Constituent relationship management systems.

CS. Computer science.

CUTgroup. Chicago User Testing group.

DARPA. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

DC. District of Colombia.

DCTP. Detroit Community Technology Project.

DDJC. Detroit Digital Justice Coalition.

DHS. Department of Homeland Security.

Disabled people. While some prefer to use the “people-first” term “People with Disabilities” (often abbreviated PwD), I use “Disabled people,” or “identity-first” language throughout this book. While both terms emerged from disability advocacy, some feel that the former implies the individual/medical model of disability, while the latter is tied more closely to disability justice conceptions of the social production of disability. For a brilliant recent work on disability justice see Piepzna-Samarasinha 2018.

DiscoTechs. Discovering Technology events, originally created by the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition.

DIT. Do-it-together.

DIY. Do-it-yourself.

DMV. Department of Motor Vehicles.

DREAM. Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.

DS4SI. Design Studio for Social Intervention.

EBIT. Earnings before Interest and Taxes.

ENIAC. Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. According to, in 1942 physicist John Mauchly proposed the need for an “all-electronic calculating machine.” For two years, between 1943 and 1945, the US Army invested resources, time, and personnel to develop this vision, leading to the creation of ENIAC, “the first large-scale computer to run at electronic speed without being slowed down by any mechanical parts.”

F/LOSS. Free/libre and open-source software.

Fablab. Fabrication laboratory.

FAT*. Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency. A conference about bias in machine learning, natural language processing, AI, and other computing processes.

FTAA. Free Trade Area of the Americas.

FTAA IMC. FTAA Independent Media Center.

GIFs. Graphics Interchange Format.

GNC. Gender non-conforming. Can be taken to include identities that are genderqueer, gender variant, gender fluid, or third gender, as well as those that are bigendered, multigendered, nonbinary, nongendered, androgynous, masculine-of-center, feminine-of-center, and gender-questioning, among other gender identities.

GSA. General Services Administration.

HCD. Human-centered design.

HCI. Human-computer interaction.

IBM. International Business Machines Corporation.

ICE. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICTs. Information and communication technologies.

IDDS. International Development Design Summits, or Cumbres Internacionales de Diseño para el Desarollo.

IDEO. A global design and consulting firm founded in 1991.

IDEPSCA. Institute of Popular Education of Southern California.

IDRC. Inclusive Design Research Centre.

IMC. Independent Media Center. Also called Indymedia.

Indymedia. Alternative name for Independent Media Center. See IMC.

Intersectionality. Intersectionality (following feminist legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw) refers to the ways that structural oppression is not based only on race or gender identity, but on the intersection of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, immigration status, disability, age, and other axes of identity.

Intersex. Intersex individuals are persons who, at birth, cannot be classified according to the medical norms of male and female bodies with regard to their chromosomal, gonadal, and/or anatomical sex. The term inter* has also been used as an umbrella term that denotes the diversity of intersex realities and bodies.

IPVtech. Intimate partner violence and technology.

IRC. Internet Relay Chat.

Jot@. The non-gender-specific form of the Spanish language term Joto or Jota, a once-derogatory Mexican slang term that has been reappropriated as a term of community pride, similar to the word Queer.

K–12. Kindergarten through twelfth-grade education.

LA. Los Angeles.

LAPD. Los Angeles Police Department.

Latinx. Gender-neutral term for people who identify as being Latin American or having ancestral and/or family roots from Latin America.

LGBTQ. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer.

LGBTQI. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, intersex.

LGBTQIATS. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, intersex, asexual, two-spirit.

LLK. Lifelong Kindergarten. LLK is a research group in the MIT Media Lab.

Loconomics. A freelance jobs platform that is like a cooperatively owned version of TaskRabbit. See

LOL. Liberating Ourselves Locally. See LOLspace.

LOLspace. A queer and trans* people of color–centered, social justice–focused makerspace in East Oakland. Launched in 2011, merged with Peacock Rebellion in 2017, and led by a crew of hackers, healers, artists, and activists who are queer and trans* people of color. See LOL.

M-Pesa. Mobile money transfer service launched by Vodaphone in 2007.

Matrix of domination. Black feminist sociologist Patricia Hill Collins developed this term to refer to the linked systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and settler colonialism.

Media justice. Media justice is “a long-term vision to democratize the economy, government, and society through policies and practices that ensure: democratic media ownership, fundamental communication rights, universal media and technology access, and meaningful, accurate representation within news and popular culture for everyone.” Explore

MIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

MOOCs. Massive open online courses.

MOU. Memorandum of understanding.

NASA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NCWIT. National Center for Women and Information Technology.

NDLON. National Day Labor Organizing Network.

NDWA. National Domestic Workers Alliance.

NeighborMedia. Former name for CCTV. See CCTV.

NGO. Nongovernmental organization.

NIDP. Norwegian Industrial Democracy Project.

NPR. National Public Radio.

NuVu. “NuVu is a full-time innovation school for middle and high school students in Cambridge, MA. NuVu’s pedagogy is based on the architectural Studio model and geared around multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. We teach students how to navigate the messiness of the creative process, from inception to completion by prototyping and testing.” Explore

NYC. New York City.

NYPD. New York Police Department.

OCAD. OCAD Toronto is the present name for the former Ontario College of Art and Design.

Odeo. Podcasting company where Twitter was born. See also TXTMob.

OLPC. One Laptop per Child.

Online organizing. Online organizing is often used to describe internet- and mobile-phone-focused approaches to political and social movement campaigns. For example, a typical job description for an online organizer looks for someone who will write and implement email blasts, run SMS/text-messaging campaigns, manage social media accounts, and so on.

OTI. Open Technology Institute.

PAD. Participatory action design.

PAR. Participatory action research.

PARTI. Participatory Artistic Traveling Installation. PARTI raises public awareness about Urbano and engages diverse communities in imagining their emancipated City of Boston. See

Participatory media. Forms of media that are designed to allow, invite, and encourage many people to take part in the process of media production—in other words, to make their own media or tell their own stories. Participatory media are not always online and can include cultural forms such as art-making, music, and dance, among others.

PD. Participatory design.

PoC. People of color.

Pop ed. Popular education.

PwD. People with disabilities.

QT. Queer, trans*.

QTI/GNC. Queer, trans*, intersex, and/or gender-non-conforming.

QTPOC. Queer, trans*, people of color.

Queer. Queer is used as a broad umbrella term by a wide range of people who identify as outside of normative and/or binary constructions of gender, gender identity, sex, and/or sexual orientation. The term is fluid rather than fixed (it doesn’t mean just one thing).

R&D. Research and development.

RAD. Research Action Design, a worker-owned collective that “uses community-led research, collaborative design of technology and media, and secure digital strategies to build the power of grassroots social movements.” Explore

RTC. Radical tech collectives.

RNC. Republican National Committee.

School push-out. Discriminatory disciplinary practices, among other factors, produce elementary, junior high, and high school noncompletion rates that are much higher among youth of color than among white youth, among LGBTQ youth than among straight youth, and highest among LGBTQ youth of color. Push-out rather than drop-out emphasizes the structural, systemic, and institutional forces beyond young people’s control that contribute greatly to school noncompletion.

SIGCSE. Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education.

SMS. Short message service.

SOGI. Sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

SoMove. The Social Movements Oral History Tour.

SpideyApp. An Android-based Stingray detector.

Stanford Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University.

STEM. Science, technology, engineering, mathematics.

STS. Science and technology studies.

T4SJ. Tech for Social Justice Project, a participatory action research project that produced the #MoreThanCode report. Explore

TecnoX. A growing network of open hardware hackers from across Latin America who are engaged in conversations about how to connect open hardware hacking to social movements. Explore

Time’s Up movement. A movement founded by women and femmes in Hollywood against sexual harassment. Since its launch on January 1, 2018, the movement has raised over $22 million for its legal defense fund. See #MeToo and #TIMESUP.

Trans*. This book uses trans* to broadly include people whose gender identity differs from the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans* may include (among other identities and communities) transgender, transfeminine, transmasculine, MTF (male-to-female), FTM (female-to-male), genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, gender-variant and third gender/sex, transsexual, two-spirit, and transvestite/cross-dresser.

Trans*H4CK. A trans* hackathon, speaker series, and code school. Explore

Transformative media organizing. “Transformative media organizing is a liberatory approach to integrating media, communications, and cultural work into movement building. It lies at the place where media justice and transformative organizing overlap. Transformative media organizers begin with an intersectional analysis of linked systems of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, and other axes of identity. We seek to do media work that develops the critical consciousness and leadership of those who take part in the media-making process, create media in ways that are deeply accountable to the movement base, invite our communities to participate in media production, create media strategically across platforms, and root our work in community action.” For more information, explore

TSA. Transportation Security Administration.

Two-Spirit. Among some Indigenous North American cultures, Two-Spirit refers to individuals whose spirits are a blending of male and female. Two-Spirit is essentially an umbrella term for third genders recognized in many Indigenous cultures. For more information, explore the Northeast Two-Spirit Society.

TWTTR. The original project code name for what is now known as Twitter.

TXTMob. An experimental group SMS application that was developed by Tad Hirsch, who at the time was a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab. Inspired TWTTR.

UCD. User-centered design.

UCIC. Upham’s Corner Input Collector. An interactive public planning installation by DS4SI and students from the MIT Codesign Studio.

UCLA. University of California, Los Angeles.

UD. Universal design.

UI. User interface.

UK. United Kingdom.

USA. United States of America.

USB. Universal Serial Bus.

USC. University of Southern California.

Userforge. Allows rapid random generation of user personas. Explore

USSR. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

UTOPIA project. The canonical first successful instance of participatory design (see PD). UTOPIA was a collaboration among the Nordic Graphic Workers Union, researchers, and technologists, who worked with newspaper typographers to develop a new layout application.

UX. User experience.

UYC. Urban Youth Collaborative, a New York City–based youth organizing group.

UYC SMS Survey Initiative. An SMS survey system to gather data about students and their experiences of surveillance and police abuse inside New York City high schools, in collaboration with UYC. See UYC.

VC. Venture capital.

VCs. Venture capitalists.

VSD. Value-sensitive design.

WTO. World Trade Organization.

ZUMIX. A youth music and media organization in East Boston. Explore

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