Hi people, I am new here. My name is Matthias Melcher.
(I had a bad start here: first the confirmation emails did not arrive for many days, and after that I had forgotten how to create the tool page from the template -- and spoiled the template, sorry! Fortunately it could be undone immediately.)
If I'm supposed to answer the "guiding questions" for my tool Condensr, this is my attempt:
Where does power lie, and where are we expected to place our trust?
The tool works completely locally on the user's desktop, so I think the power remains with the user, and the trust is the trust to their Operating System, to Java, and to my source code which is available on GitHub.
To whom is it accessible—for instance, in terms of usability and cost?
Cost is zero. Usability is, IMHO, dependant on taste and style. The style of people who might like my tool is probably: visual more than verbal, and spatially visual more than object visual. Holistic more than narrow focus. A good comparison may be planarity.net -- who does not like this, won't like my tool, either.
Does it lock us into closed, commercial systems or invite us into open communities?
My tool uses a new (i.e. 'proprietary') format within XML, but this is minimal and it can be easily extracted or even read by humans. Furthermore, it offers many export formats. Communities: The tool is not directly collaborative beyond exchanging the saved files. However, I think it fosters collaboration by helping the user to clear their own thoughts, before returning them to the community.
Does it give us more control over the learning process, or does it cede that control?
Teacher control is limited to the input items; student's control is all the links between the items which are gradually created. There is even the option to create weak links (pale) or just proximity without explicit link, and the freedom to add or change all text.
Does it respect and protect our privacy appropriately?
Since it is totally local, there is no data transmitted anywhere, and it does not leave hidden data in the (readable) XML.
Can we access, study, and modify the underlying code or design?
Access and study: yes, on Github, and modify: yes, by forking. Design change suggestions are welcome except for the basic two-pane structure.
Who owns the infrastructure and our usage data? Does it produce private profit or public commons?
There is no infrastructure for user data, just a site for the download.