How to power up community repair with Restarters.net

Power up your community repair events

Click on the link below that best describes how you’d like to be involved:

:raising_hand_woman:t3: :raising_hand_man:t4: I (want to) organise repair events

:woman_mechanic:t5: :man_mechanic:t2: I (want to) repair stuff at events

:woman_technologist:t4: :man_technologist:t2: I want to help out online

:man_pilot:t3: :woman_pilot:t5: I want to co-ordinate a network of repair groups

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I want to organise repair events

Organising a successful repair event is incredibly rewarding and easier than you might think, especially with the Restarters community supporting you all the way! Here’s how Restarters.net can help make planning your events easier:

Manage your group

1. Set up your group’s space :house:

Set up your own space by creating a group and customise it with your own logo, links and description. Your group will become your organising hub. Once fully set up, it can take out some of the admin that comes with managing a team of people.

Plus, you’ll automatically get your own visitor-friendly page on our main site (like this one for Leicester Fixers).

:toolbox: Need repair tools? If you’re a new group and need a hand stocking up with some tools, we can provide a starter bundle containing an iFixt Pro Tech Toolkit worth £60 for just the price of shipping. Click/tap here for more info.

2. Bring your team together :busts_in_silhouette:

The next step is to invite fellow organisers and repairers to join the group. You can do this via email from your group’s page (under the ‘Group actions’ menu in the top right). A window will pop up where you can write an email inviting people to the group (or event). Feel free to customise your email to suit whomever you’re inviting:

If you’d prefer to use a link, click on ‘Invite via shareable link’ in the top right. You can then copy the link and share it with anyone you want to invite.

click/tap to see how

You can also find and invite new repairers and organisers in your area by clicking the ‘Volunteers nearby’ button in the ‘Group actions’ menu on your group page — especially useful if your group is just getting started:

Inviting other people can make your life easier in a number of ways:

  • :spiral_notepad: Stay organised: you’ll have a list of everyone who’s involved, who you can contact through Talk (i.e. this forum).

  • :email: Keep volunteers up to date automatically: members of your group will receive email notifications whenever you add an event (if they haven’t opted out).

  • :white_check_mark: See who’s coming to your next event: volunteers can RSVP to events you create, letting you know they’ll be there at the click of a button.

  • :toolbox: Know what skills you’ll have in the room: if your volunteers have added skills to their profile, you’ll also see those, so you’ll know in advance what kinds of repair you can handle.

:busts_in_silhouette: No team yet? Share your plans with us in #community-repair and we can help.

3. Start communicating :mega:

Restarters Talk (this forum) lets you send messages to your group members individually - as long as they’ve visited it at least once - without having to store their email address. So when it comes to GDPR, you’re covered! Learn how to use Talk here.

:bulb: Restarters Talk is also a great place to meet the rest of the network: ask fellow organisers for advice, share learning and connect with others passionate about community repair events.

If you’d like a space for private group discussions, we can set up a private discussion space for you and your group, just like the ones here. This works a bit like a mailing list and gives you a place to co-ordinate while keeping a neat record of conversations. It also integrates fully with email, so your group members don’t have to log in to read or reply.

Plan events :spiral_calendar:

Add events to your group to let the world know your plans - don’t forget to read our event-planning guide for help. Once approved, your event will automatically get published on the Restart website (like this one) and appear in our monthly newsletter to help spread the word. If your event is also on Facebook, we can shout about it there too.

For a more personal touch and to confirm attendance, invite people via email straight from the event’s page.

:bulb: Remember that your group members will get notified automatically when you create an event. But an invitation sent a few days before the event can be a nice reminder to RSVP.

Celebrate your impact! :tada:

Quantify how awesome you and your repairers are by adding repair data during or after your events. The tool will automatically measure your environmental impact, letting you and your volunteers know how much CO2 and e-waste you’ve diverted. As you run more events, your group page will keep a track of your total stats too.

:warning: If you already record repair data on the Repair Café Foundation’s Repair Monitor, please continue to use only this. We collate data from both tools for the Open Repair Alliance so it’s important to use just one tool to avoid double counting any repairs.

:loudspeaker: Coming soon: we’ll soon be adding support for non-electrical devices. See updates here.

Saving waste and CO2 is definitely worth shouting about, so you can also share your stats with anyone, such as your community or funders. :green_heart:

:loudspeaker: Coming soon: automatically generated, beautiful infographics you can share on social media!

As you collect more data, you’ll be able to analyse the types of item you see at events (e.g. which devices are most common, have the highest fix rates and so on).


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I want to repair stuff at events

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of fixing something that was broken — especially at a community repair event! But it can be equally frustrating when a repair proves too difficult or even impossible due to lack of decent documentation, unavailable spare parts or repair-unfriendly design.

Restarters.net is our answer to this. It’s a place to share problems, solutions and skills with other repairers as well as record the repairs you make to help us campaign for more repairable products.

Improve your repair knowledge & share your skills

We are a community of repairers with literally centuries of experience between us! If you have trouble with a particular device, chances are there’s someone on the forum—Talk—who’s come across something similar and would be happy to help out. This is also where we share #repair-stories : successes :tada:, questions :thinking:, and oddities :exploding_head:

But more than talking about specific devices, we’re interested in sharing transferable repair skills, which we document on our collaborative repair wiki. This is a great resource for anyone getting started with electronics repair as well as those with more experience.

The Wiki is written and owned by the community and any member is welcome to contribute.

Stay connected with your local repair group(s)

It’s easy to keep up to date with repair events happening in your area. Simply find and follow your local repair group(s) to receive a notification whenever they plan a new event (assuming you’ve opted into emails).

You can also add events to your personal calendar (Google, Outlook, iCal or Yahoo). This is particularly useful if you don’t log in very often but want to remember when events are happening.

Click/tap here to see how

Just click the ‘Add to calendar’ button below the location map:

To help out the organisers, you can also let them know you’re coming by clicking on the RSVP button on the event’s page. Knowing who plans to be there can remove a whole lot of stress for whoever is planning the event.

Your local group has the option to use Talk (this forum) to send out messages. Is your group/area on the list? If so, make sure you join the discussion group to stay in the loop.

:email: You can choose whether or not to receive messages from Talk via email in your email preferences. Emailed messages are helpful if you don’t log in often, especially as you can reply to them directly from your email client. Learn more about adjusting your notifications or about how to use Talk.

Bring down the barriers to repair

Every repair you make not only reduces waste and CO2 emissions, but can also help us learn more about why devices fail and what makes repairing them difficult.

We can all probably list common issues with various products (like failing elements in a toaster and smashed screens on phones) as well as lots factors that make repair more complicated (such as the use of glue not screws, unavailabity of spare parts and so on). But wouldn’t it be useful to quantify these?

For every event, we record as much data as we can about each repair. So far, we’ve logged well over 10,000 repair attempts together and are starting to use this data to help us campaign for our Right to Repair.

We can also use this data to learn more about what goes wrong with our devices, such as why computers break.

It’s easy to record your repairs yourself, and by doing so, you might just be helping shape the products of the future!

:loudspeaker: Coming soon: we’ll soon be adding support for non-electrical devices. See updates here.


:top:

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I want to help out online

If there’s nothing happening in your local area yet or you’d prefer to get involved online, there are a number of ways to help the network promote repair.


Explore our repair data

We’ve recorded data on over 12,000 repair attempts made at events across the network. We’re trying to use all this data to work out the positive environmental impact we’re having as well as find out why devices break, how they can be fixed and identify systemic barriers to repair.

:bulb: See our topic about why computers break :bar_chart: to see an example of this in action.

Help us make sense of the repair data we collect.

We’re always looking for people to help with the following areas:

  • data analysis
  • data visualisation
  • internet research

If you’re interested in helping out, send a message to @Monique, who is co-ordinating this activity.

And be sure to check this topic for a list of current ways to get involved:


Share your repair knowledge

Together, we’re building up a knowledge bank of useful repair information on our Repair Wiki. It’s a place where those of us in the Restart community with experience and skills in mending appliances and gadgets can share them with those who are starting out, or whose own knowledge lies in different areas.

Being a wiki, anyone with an account on Restarters․net is welcome to contribute, by adding to the pages that already exist or by writing new pages that are missing.

If you’re a skilled electronics/electrical repairer and would like to share your expertise with the community, just send a message to @philip who is co-ordinating activity on the Wiki.


:top:

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I want to co-ordinate a network of repair groups

As well as individual community repair groups, we work with repair networks - groups or organisations that help support other groups across a specific region or country. Some of these networks include Leicester Fixers (who work across Leicestershire), Repair & Share (who work across Flanders), Restarters Oslo (who work across Norway).

We’ve begun expanding what Restarters․net can do to make it easier to manage networks on the platform. As this is an area of growing importance for us, we’ll be building on this over the course of 2019 and 2020.


Our vision

We want Restarters․net to provide all the tools that network co-ordinators need to manage and stay up to date with all their groups, including:

  • View all groups in the network & their events (upcoming and past)
  • Communicate with group organisers (individually and en masse)
  • Analyse and share data from the network, such as number of events run, repairs performed, volunteer and participant numbers, environmental impact etc.
  • Customise the Restarters platform with the network’s own branding
  • Display information about the network’s groups and events on external sites

Much of this is already possible and we’ll be working on the rest over the next year or so.

What we’ve built so far…

:white_check_mark: Communicate with organisers in your network

Restarters Talk (this forum) is a powerful communication tool. Everyone who registers on Restarters․net can get an account here. Talk allows you to communicate in a number of ways:

  • Send private (individual or group) messages to network members without having to remember their email addresses (handy for GDPR compliance)
  • Set up a space for private group discussions, just like the ones here. These work like mailing lists and gives you a place to co-ordinate while keeping a neat record of conversations.
  • Have your own forum category, visible only to network members (particularly useful for larger networks)

:email: All of these tools integrate fully with email, so members don’t have to log in to read or reply to messages.

:white_check_mark: Personalise your network’s experience

While the Restarters brand was designed for everyone involved in community repair, you may prefer your groups to see your own network’s branding, something they recognise.

  • Use your logo. It’s now possible to use your own logo on Restarters․net for groups in your network. This can help the site feel more familiar and reassure people that they are in the right place.

  • Choose your language. You can also set the default language to anything you like to make it as easy to use as possible for your network.

  • Customise your URL. To achieve all these personalisations, we can set up a unique subdomain for your network allowing you to access the platform at: yourname․restarters․net

Want an example? Have a look at Repair Together’s version to see what this all looks like.

:bulb: Translation is developed by the community. If your language isn’t currently available, you are welcome to add a translation yourself.

:white_check_mark: Display your groups’ data on your own website

If your network has its own website, you may want to use it to let visitors know when and where your groups’ events are happening. As long as your groups are adding their events to Restarters․net, our API will allow you to show your groups and their events on your site automatically. This will save you from having to upload them all manually.

Want an example? We do something similar on the Restart website.

:hammer_and_wrench: Access event and repair data from all your groups

If your network uses Restarters․net, we can send you data on events, hours volunteered, environmental impact and items repaired from all your groups.


In the future, network co-ordinators will be able to do this themselves at any time.

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