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Autistici-Inventati Frequently-Asked Questions

FAQ Revised: Tuesday 01 July 2014 00:17:15


Table of Contents

1. About this project, about us, about infrastructures and about the world
2. Contributing and supporting the project
3. Donations and financial support
4. Contacts and support
5. Anonymity and Policy
6. About mail and mailing lists
7. About websites
8. Material, merchandising, propaganda, fashion revolution
9. Press

1. About this project, about us, about infrastructures and about the world

1.1. What's this project about?
If you don't have a clue, first read our manifesto; if you still have doubts and you've also read our faqs, well, write to us. We'll try to answer.

1.2. How much bandwidth do we use?
At the moment our servers use about 2-3Mb/s. However, considering the number of users we have, the bandwidth we have at our disposal is always insufficient.

1.3. What Operating System do you use?
DebianGNU/Linux.

1.4. Have you got any documents about the servers configuration/installment?
All materials we produce about the experience of a Debian production server is available in the R* plan section.

1.5. How long have you been online?
The first server was installed March, 3th, 2001, and we've been online since April, 19th, 2001; so that is our birthday. The project was officially launched at the Hackmeeting 2001.

1.6. How many mail users do you have? How many websites and mailing lists do you host?
We can't give the exact figures, but we host about 9,000 mailboxes, 1200 websites, 2300 lists and 3700 blogs.

1.7. Who is legally liable for this project?
The "Investici Cultural Association" is the legal subject signing contracts for connection and owning the domains related to the "A/I" project.


2. Contributing and supporting the project

2.1. How can I support your project?
If you want to support us, read the donate to A/I section in our website.

2.2. How can I co-operate with this project?
The A/I collective gladly welcomes any new useful ideas (they don't have to be strictly technical in order to be useful ;). If you have any proposals, write to info@autistici.org.

2.3. I am skilled in system administration/scripting/coding.
The A/I collective doesn't have any particular needs for the administration of its servers. We appreciate any software released under GPL and useful for the safety of the data contained in our servers.
However, we invite you to use your skills and resources also to create small servers offering services for anonymity.

2.4. I am skilled in design, communication and media strategies.
We appreciate any help for explicitating our intentions: from graphics to concept presentation, from accessibility to mediascape impact, these are domains in which we have never been very good!

2.5. I'd like to organize a benefit event/party/meeting for this project. May I? What should I do?
Sure! If you contact us, we'll appreciate any benefit event for our project. Of course, events mustn't be commercial and must respect the principles in our manifesto.

2.6. I have a lot of unused bandwidth. Can this be helpful?
Yes, it can. Connectivity is very important, and unused bandwidth should always be used. If you can and know how to do it (contact us if you need help), you can install a server and offer any service you wish (proxy, anonymizer, mailing-lists, p2p...).
If you have a lot of unused bandwidth but no time to follow a server, contact us: we'll make out a solution to exploit your unused bandwidth :)

2.7. I know/own/work in a place which could house a project. Are you interested?
Sure :) Contact us, and we'll think about it.

2.8. I'd like to install a server and offer some/all services offered by A/I. How can I do it?
Good: it's a brilliant idea. We can only advise you to read the docs about the configuration of a Debian server, and perhaps give you some tips. Read some pages in our website and contact us for any suggestion :)

2.9. Can you link my site?
If your site is hosted in our servers, you'll be automatically linked in the hosted sites page. Otherwise, we only link similar projects, exceptional events and/or specific campaigns.

2.10. Can I link you in my site?
Sure. Especially if the description of the link is not insulting ;)


3. Donations and financial support

3.1. Who supports your project? Do you have any sponsors?
We don't have proper sponsors or supporters. To support our project, we annually ask our users for a donation, and with their help we sometimes organize some benefit events.

3.2. How much do you pay for the services you offer?
Our services don't have a fixed price. Of course, since we have to provide for our servers infrastructure and connection, we do need money. We generally launch annual fundraising campaigns, asking for donations according to each user's possibilities (hoping that groups and collectives manage to donate more). For instance, 10 euros will be sufficient for mailboxes, 20 for mailing lists and if a group using a website reaches 50 euros, it would be wonderful.
However, even if you donate few euros, we'll be very grateful! If you want to know more, read our page about donations.

3.3. Are donations tax-deductible?
No: donations to A/I cannot be legally deducted from taxes. They could, if we were a legally recognized non profit organization, but to obtain such a status we'd have to undergo bureaucratic procedures we haven't considered sustainable sofar. If you think that such a development could be useful, let us know: it could perhaps give us the right input to rethink our status ;)

3.4. Do members (admins, designers, coders, lamers) earn money and/or get repayments for activities carried out within the project?
No: whoever co-operates with this project is a volunteer. We never receive payments/wages/repayments for the time we spend for this project.

3.5. I'm totally broke, can I have a mailbox in your servers anyway?
Sure you can; but actually, considering that we never have enough money, you could perhaps give us 5 euros, couldn't you? You can't? Alright: we hope we can survive anyway.

3.6. I can afford a small/large donation. What should I do?
Before you change your mind, since generosity is very fleeting, read donations page now! :)

3.7. Are donations anonymous?
It depends on the payment modality you choose: if you give us the money personally, or hide it in a CD you send by mail, they are. If you choose to pay by draft or by credit card, your bank will keep track of this transaction. However, we don't keep a record, but in our hearts ;), of the people who contribute money to our project. Unfortunately, we don't know yet how to receive online donations anonymously: can you suggest one?

3.8. Is it possible to find an agreement for a greater visibility of your web pages?
If you are talking about exchanging a link or a banner with money, our answer is obviously No. We never accept advertising banners/links, from anyone. We accept donations from anybody, provided there's no condition, wether explicit or implicit.

3.9. I'd like to open a web space on the A/I servers, but I don't know if my project is suitable.
First of all you should read our manifesto and our policy. After that, if you think your project is suited, go to the sign-in subscription form.


4. Contacts and support

4.1. Some services aren't working! This is unacceptable!
We're sorry about that. But if you find it unacceptable, we advise you to use a different server! Our collective always tries to do its best to keep everything functioning, but as you should have already understood, we are never paid for this service and sometimes problems are difficult to solve. Trust us, give us a little time, and we hope we'll improve our services always more. And this will also be possible through your donations.

4.2. I wrote you a mail more than a week ago and you haven't answered yet. How so?
Managing this project does request time, but it is not a job for us (meaning that we are not paid for it): that's why you can receive an answer 10 minutes or 10 days after you've sent us a message. This can depend from the weather or from a locust invasion: you can never know!

4.3. I've tried to fill in the form for requesting a service, but something went wrong. What should I do?
Perhaps you requested a service without having an account with us: in this case, you first have to ask for a mailbox and then you can ask other services. Or perhaps you requested a blog but you don't have a reliable mail account. In this case, you first need a mailbox with us or with another server granting anonymity, and then you can have your blog. Or else there are some problems in your browser setting: if you experience such problems, please contact us at info@investici.org.

4.4. The 'comment' field in the form is compulsory. What should I write in it?
Any hint about why you're requesting this service and perhaps what you want to do with it.


5. Anonymity and Policy

5.1. Why should I trust you?
Trust actually depends on you: we have a confidence relationship with many users of ours, and we have a manifesto describing all the aims of this project.
But this is not a reason enough to entrust us your whole privacy. Even if we try to prevent this, we could lose control over our servers anytime (due to a police seizure, to a casual interruption of our services or to a bug, for instance). We can't therefore grant that your data in our servers will never be violated and warmly invite our users to:
  • download all their personal data;
  • encrypt their personal archives.


5.2. Do you keep logs connecting service users with personal identities?
When requesting an account, you are asked to fill in a form with your data. The information you enter there is the only data we have.
The most sensitive of these data is the mail address you have previously activated with another server: we like to underline this because we don't want to give any illusion of total anonymity or to grant a safety we are not able to assure.

5.3. What logs to connections do you keep? According to what principles?
We don't keep any logs containing sensitive data. Our servers keep no records of the IP addresses by users connecting to them. We only keep logs for debugging and security purposes. To learn more, read our policy.


6. About mail and mailing lists

6.1. What is the size of my mailbox?
Theoretically it is unlimited: so far, we have trusted our users common sense, and we expect a certain degree of self-management and responsibility by our users, who should know that our project is totally managed on a volunteering basis and is only supported by our users donations.

6.2. Are there any limits for attachment sending?
Yes: about 10Mb incoming and outgoing.

6.3. What mail client do you recommend for windows?
The tools we advice are all licensed as Free Software, usually under a GNU/GPL license. The mail client we most recommend is Mozilla Thunderbird: http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/

6.4. How shall I configure a mail client to receive and send mail?
For details about configuration, read here.

6.5. How do I send mail through TLS (encrypted protocol)?
You can find all necessary information in our tech mail howto. Any contribution to extend and improve our howtos are welcome: write it and send it to us!

6.6. Is encryption absolutely necessary?
No, it isn't; but it is a good idea to encrypt you data. Would you send a postcard with your personal data openly visible. A message that hasn't been encrypted travels "in plain" and you don't need a brilliant computer scientist to intercept your mail and read it or change its content.
A/I provides both an online encryption system (https instead of http, whereby 's' means 'secure') and the encrypted protocols IMAP-SSL and POP3-SSL for downloading your mail. These system do not grant total security, which can only be afforded by encrypting your mail with GPG. To learn more, read our howto about privacy.

6.7. I'm receiving a lot of spam. What's happening?
We do use some anti-spam filters, but they are never exact. Apart from being patient, you could use the spam filters available with several mail clients, for instance with Thunderbird.

6.8. Valid messages are marked as spam, why ?
Send us the complete headers of the message, hidden headers X-Spam-Status and X-Spam-Report explain why a message is tagged as spam.

6.9. How often do you send your newsletters?
A/I's newsletter is not sent regularly: this means you'll receive, once in a while, an e-mail messages from us. Usually our newsletters are about:
  • Technical issues
  • Updates about the project and services
  • News we find particularly meaningful
We have lately sent our newsletters once every 2-3 months, and give more information in our blog and in your user panel.

6.10. I don't want to receive your messages any more. What should I do?
Well, if you have a mailbox in our servers, you need to receive the few messages we send (sent by A/I). This is the only way we have to contact you directly, to keep you updated about services and catastrophes and to inform our community. You don't need a big effort to read them, so try to do it. At any rate, there are a lot of other free mail services you can use.
If you receive messages from mailing lists hosted in our servers, which you didn't subscribe to, read on.

6.11. How come do I only manage to send messages to inventati.org and/or autistici.org mail addresses?
If you face such a problem while using webmail, please, notify it to us immediately. If you're using a mail client, probably you aren't using SSL correctly to connect to our SMTP server. Check your client configuration with our mail howtos.

6.12. I would like to unsubscribe from a mailing list: what should I do?
If you want to unsubscribe from a mailing list in our server, go to https://www.autistici.org/mailman/listinfo/LISTNAME (replacing LISTNAME with the particular list name, for example https://www.autistici.org/mailman/listinfo/test if the list is called test@autistici.org). At the bottom of the page you'll find the option unsubscribe, and if you don't know your password, you can ask for it to be sent to your address through the specific box in the same page.

6.13. I'd like to open a mailbox on A/I's servers. What should I do?
Go to the dedicated web page and sign in

6.14. Will you send me spam and/or marketing messages?
No, we won't. Despite our antispam filters, you'll receive spam anyway. The only thing we can assure is that we won't give away (either for free or for commercial purposes) your mail address. But, as usual, we recommend you to be cautious yourself, when giving your address around.

6.15. May I use my mailbox for commercial purposes?
If you use your private mailbox for your work, we have no problems (also because we never control the content of e-mail); but if you want a free mail address for your job and you've bumped into this project by chance, then our answer is No. For further information, read our policy and our manifesto.

6.16. Is my mailbox content safe, if I leave it in the server?
No, it isn't. As any other server, also our servers can run into accidents that could undermine its security. Besides, unlike other servers, our servers are potentially more under control. We do our best to protect our users' privacy, but this could be unsufficient. We therefore always invite everyone to download their mail and every other data and/or to encrypt their archives.

6.17. I can't login in the webmail, I got an error about wrong user or password.
Be sure that the username you are using is your complete mail address.

6.18. I can login in my panel, but not in the webmail
Be sure that your password do not contains empty spaces or strange characters, and that it's not longer than 63 characters (a limit due to the authentication software we use). If you still cannot login in the webmail try to change your password from the user panel. If you still cannot login maybe you did not use your mail for some time and it has been inactivated (see below).

6.19. I can't access my mailbox after I've not used it for some months
Probably it has been deactivated, go to https://helpdesk.autistici.org and ask for re-activation (remember to use a different email address in the form to receive our answear).

6.20. All my mails have disappeared !!!!
Maybe your mailbox has been moved to another server, and mail are syncing, check our blog for news: http://cavallette.noblogs.org. Anyway, remember that we do not keep backup of your emails, so if your emails are so important, download them with a client.

6.21. I am the owner of a mailing list, but I can't remember the password to login in the administration panel.
You can reset the password from the user panel of the owner of the mailing list. If this does not work, you can go to https://helpdesk.autistici.org and ask us to have a new password.

6.22. I am the owner of a mailing list, one of subscriber do not get any message from the list.
Ask to that user to check his/her spam folder, maybe messages are there.

6.23. I receive more than one daily digest
Contact the mailing list admin and tell him/her to modify the digest_size_threshhold parameters in the digest section of the list control panel.

6.24. I can login in the panel but webmail link gives me an error. The password I'm using is correct, since I can read mails using a mail client
Probably you are using a password longer than 32 characters, or strange characters. Choose a shorter password and avoid weird characters.


7. About websites

7.1. I need a counter. What should I do?
You can consult our stats, which include every website.

7.2. May I use a counter or other commercial services in my webpage?
No! Commercial counters are BAD. Apart from being commercial (which would be a reason enough), external conters make our efforts not to violate surfers' privacy vain. These counters record data bases with personal data and IP addresses, which are then sold away. We don't like this. As regards other commercial services, the same principle applies. You may have good reasons, and we can discuss about them, but we generally don't want commercial services in our spaces.

7.3. What size can my web space reach?
There's no specific rule about this: let's say we don't set any limits, unless a space troubles a whole server. If you want to upload "heavy" materials (mainly audio and video), we recommend you to host them in dedicated space such as http://www.arkiwi.org.

7.4. Can I upload copyrighted material, such as mp3 files and films, thus violating their rights?
No, we're sorry. Our servers provide services to thousands of people and we don't want to incur in useless problems as regards copyright violation. You can use P2P for that stuff.

7.5. I have a lot of "heavy" stuff to upload (mp3 files and videos under free licenses). Wher shall I put it?
Before you upload these files, you'd better contact us and check that there's enough space in the HD. At any rate, the right place to upload your material is your WebDAV space.

7.6. What application can I use to upload my web page?
Any WebDAV client, as detailed in our webdav howto.

7.7. I need a blog. What should I do?
Noblogs.org is our new blog platform.

7.8. I need a CMS: what should I use?
Aaaaargggh! Alright... contact us.

7.9. What database software is installed in A/I's servers?
MySql Server, and adminer for web user interface

7.10. Can I use commercial banners in my site?
No, you can't. And if you do, you'll lose our respect (and, if you insist, your web site).

7.11. How can I set my favicon for my site ?
You have to use this html code in the HEAD section of your pages:
 <link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/x-icon" href="/path/to/favicon.ico" />
where /path/to is the relative path of your website.

7.12. I can't delete some directories in my WebDAV space
Check that your WebDAV client shows hidden files, and delete the file .htaccess before removing the directory.


8. Material, merchandising, propaganda, fashion revolution

8.1. I've seen your wonderful +kaos sweaters and I'd like to have one. What should I do? How much do you ask for them?
Those sweaters were all produced and distributed in 2002. Unfortunately we have no time to manage wares and distribution. As for our whole merchandising, the production of sweaters will be linked to particular events, such as our kaos tour, when distribution becomes much easier.

8.2. I've seen your brilliant T-shirt with a locust on it. How can I get one?
That was made for the 2004 spring-summer season! Perhaps we'll distribute some T-shirts in our upcoming events, but we haven't developed an on-demand distribution system yet.

8.3. I've seen you stickers and would like to have some: what should I do?
The easiest solution is to download the relevant file and to print them near where you live! Look for what you want in our propaganda section.

8.4. May I print your stickers on my own?
Sure! This is also the only sure way to get them ;) Download the files here.


9. Press

9.1. I'd like to interview some of you: is it possible?
Sure, but we can't assure anything. We generally prefer to be interviewed via e-mail and the text of the article must be released under a Creative Commons license.

9.2. Can I write an article about you?
Of course. However, we would like to be informed about it.

9.3. I'd like to invite you to a TV show...
We don't usually like TV, but...


No Copyright 2012 Inventati/Autistici

This list of questions and answers was generated by makefaq.

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