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Session 4- The Future of the Global Conversation- Part 1 December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 4.
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How can Global Voices and potential partners in professional and citizens’ media work to build a more democratic, equitable Global Conversation – a conversation in which all people who want to speak not only have a safe and accessible way to do so, but also a chance of being heard? To what extent are the solutions technical (software, etc.) and to what extent is it a question of human efforts, methods and organization? By popular demand, the second half of this session will focus heavily on translation issues.Led by Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon, with input from Ahmed (Saudi Arabia), Haitham Sabbah (Middle East/North Africa Editor), Farid Pouya (Iran), Kevin Wen (China), Jordan Seidel (Polblog), Pat Hall (Blogamundo), and Chris Ahearn (Reuters)

Introduction to Chris Ahearn from Reuters.. Unfortuately during the beginning of his speech the sound went out as well as the transcription…

… on the one hand, the people in this room can give talkback about what’s going on in the most important news; or that these people might become virtual stringers [for Reuters, etc] these are some of the possible interesting things that we might do in the future.

Rebecca MacKinnon – one of the reasons we were quite excited when Reuters started talking to us; a lot of our friends don’t understand the extent to which other organizations couldn’t function without Reuters; cnn couldn’t function with out it. some for every paper on earth, practically. If Reuters has its finger on the pulse of the blogosphere; that is a tremendous opportunity for all of you … and for citizen media to be heard in a new way.

Ethan Zuckerman – the goal of this session is to talk about where we could go in the future. Part of our afternoon of getting down to brass tacks. In the last session we talked about evangelism; how we might learn from each other. Now we want to talk about what is in some ways the hardest problem for us –the tower of babel. Ultimately, there’s a lot of languages around the world. At the moment, we’re an English-language service. Right now we have a lot of people going out and finding content an bringing it into English for our readers. But not a lot of content going in the other direction. What would it mean if there were a global voices in Spanish, or in Arabic? what would it mean if that were the case? And while we have a lot of bi/trilingual polytglot people around the room; everyone knows that it takes a long time to translate; it’s hard to do. You can sometimes get friends to /write/ stories for you, but it’s hard to get them to translate for you. How could we make this more multilingual; and strategies to get going with this. I’m going to ask pat, first to talk about this; b/c he’s been thinking about a lot of ideas; and he’s even starting to put some to code. So if he would come up a bit…

Pat Hall – Hi, ok. so… the first amazing piece of news is that the third third of blogamundo just arrived from sao Paulo. Thanks to a phone call with Rebecca… what I want to talk about today is what blogamundo can do for Global Voices. I have a simple…ideally, as Ethan mentioned, some day we’d have a dropdown menu in the upper-right Global Voices, and you could pick your language. That’s the dream. [a dream] well, it’s not going to happen…

Ethan Zuckerman – it’s a dream you’re working on.

Pat Hall – well, sort of. The question is, is that the goal, to have that sort of content? This is our development log…This is the first time we’ve met in person. we’ve… there’s jonas? you can wave… behind it. he’s the plumber as he likes to call himself. we’ve been working on this for several months now (brothers?) the problem is as we’ve seen very concretely that distance becomes a non-issue; political boundaries disappear, but languages become more of a boundary. In ways they are /the main/ boundary. You come to Global Voices and read a great roundup (happened to me the other day in turkish), there as an interesting post in English; I followed the post, read the post, at the bottom there was a comment with photographs that were clearly related to that post, with more information; and it was in Turkish. At that point, what I wanted was some way to say there has got to be someone out there who is bilingual and Turkish who’d be willing to translate that. Maybe if they knew the demand was there, they might do it. We want to be there in that situation. We want people to know we’re a place where they can go and have them done; or just do them myself. Ok, here’s my basic idea. Here’s a simple post I’ve spidered off of the site; a typical Global Voices post. It’s in English, links to some posts in Chinese, some in English. My suggestion, and this is what we’ve been working on building is for a post like this, someone comes and reads this and translates it into Arabic or Chinese; what we’re building is a system – the formatting is up to Boris — to get the idea across, we think we can build something like this. You can see what this is? There are language tags (at the bottom) and there would be a page on blogamundo with links to translations in whatever people happen to be us[ing] [trying to reload… some tech trouble] [murphy is blamed.. and directory-moving] What I’d like to hear from you guys is, when you’ve had similar experiences hitting that language barrier. Most of all, what you guys want from translation, for Global Voices. There’s something about the words “globalvoices” and “blogamundo” that have certain dna…?

(Someone else is speaking but I don’t know who)- as a language teacher – teaching Persian at u.manchester — not until doing this did I realize the cultural gaps in translation. What I wanted to say is : I don’t think that e.g., translating from en to that language is so difficult, you often have trouble with synonyms that are appropriate; this experience, with hrw and af ew other … the committee for the protection of bloggers have been experiencing this. The challenge is the other way around; e.g. there’s this concept that radical Islamist webloggers use that they are immersed in the personality of the supreme leader. Tt sounds ridiculous perhaps for someone who speaks English; it sounds like they have been melted in his body if you want to translated. The challenge comes when you want to translate complicated concepts; there you get into problems of lost in translation, perhaps; or you might get lost yourself. Either way – I wanted to suggest (if it could be developed) a module; with 3-4 people who could back each other up; if you could diversify the number of translation experts depending on the type of text you’re dealing with… political, diplomatic, domestic, environmental… literature.

Pat Hall – we have some plans for collaboration and suggestions for terminology where people will be able to collaborate on particular terminology that’s difficult…

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

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Session 4- The Future of the Global Conversation- Part 2 December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 4.
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Ethan Zuckerman – I’d love it if we could get Kevin Wen who does a huge amount of work in Chinese/English blogosphere; what are the sorts of tools that would make it possible for the Chinese and English blogospheres to interact better?

Kevin Wen – Finally I can talk about the chinese blogosphere again! From the numbers of bloggers, there are now ~10M blogs, not bloggers. One created every second. Back at UT Austin, we created the first web blog-hosting service in china; now I’m working on boke — form the Chinese blogosphere, a lot of guys get news from the newswire talking about Chinese bloggers; especially female Chinese bloggers. On the 24th there was an article in New York Times magazine, about a party? blogger, and back to 2003 there was a famous cemal blogger, mu zimei, sharing sexual experience on the blogs and becoming really popular. So the NYT was really enjoying talking about the female bloggers…But there were also some impact… all the things happening in the Chinese blogosphere right now aren’t really well-communicated because the language gao is pretty big over there. There’s also limited options for Chinese blog posts to communicate with outside blogosphere? On the English site, there are blog-[engines?] like technorati, but they don’t quite have that in china right now. Chinese blogs: very big impact on main stream media…very interesting: china has 3 very big parts : xinha? shouhu? web66? These 3 major players opened portals in china right now. They all were enabled to provide blog services this year, and tv services right now cover lots of stories and blog things… with the podcsters and one of the local tv stations in shanghai are using podcaster content to put in their programs…Also bloggers right now cover a lot of local events…[disaster events are being] covered by bloggers right now… with some guide to help people to rescued people from coal mines…

Ethan Zuckerman – I actually went and looked at some sites about the coal mine disasters, but I don’t read mandarin. What are the solutions? For people who don’t read mandarin… what would help for ‘are Chinese bloggers interested enough?

Kevin Wen – we were talking today about how to break the language scapes; English-speaking and mandarin-speaking [contributors] not a lot of people in china read English blogs. .though I was talking with isaac (mao) who joined the Global Voices meeting last time, and is one of the most active bloggers in china. one of the ways to figure out, ok, we just created a Chinese version of Global Voices, a local version; in which we have some volunteers cover… summarize the blog event and activities every day or week… then we could invite some people with translation ability to help with the local Chinese version. Having people blog directly into English might not work; people don’ t want to.. maybe (?) of typing in English, or about grammar.

Pat Hall – do you think if you had a project like that; where you tried to organize people to translate all of the roundups, that it would happen?

Kevin Wen – absolutely it would. Have you heard about endgadget.com ? They have a Chinese version…

Pat Hall – but they hired translators to do that?

Kevin Wen – actually for my source, Chinese bloggers; they sent email to Jason; saying can I do the job to have endgadget.com for a Chinese version? So he invited them to do that.

Ethan Zuckerman – there’s a really interesting idea that’s part of this – that a Chinese Global Voices might not just be translations of what’s on the English Global Voices, but also news and tools and discussions specific to the chinese blogosphere.

Nick Moraitis – Global Voices is not the first website to come upon this challenge; I’ve personally been involved with Taking ITglobal.org quite a mature website now. after 2 years, when it started getting the in of traffic Global Voices is getting now, we really started getting into translation; the group of people involved — now the success story is that it’s in 8 languages, the latest in Chinese, that’s built on the contributions of 300 or more volunteers who continually translate the site; and a sophisticated backend which helps them translate phrases and it’s very important to engage with young people who are university students who are studying translation; We did this in Chinese 10x as much as in French; we found this amazing person who mobilized his entire university in shanghai b/t august and September, and it all happened; translating 20k phrases. It is possible, an I think there should be hope.

Ethan Zuckerman – this is tremendously optimistic, to think there might be a lot of people who might want to do this.

Pat Hall – I want you to come back to what you were talking about. You showed us Global Voices as we know and love it. Allowing me to click on it and getting it translated into welsh. The heart of the application, will in beta, is :An infrastructure for doing the translation in the browser, easier than doing it without our software; we want to show it but it’s still young and full of features. (‘features’ and no bugs) the basic idea we have is that it’s impossible to force people to translate everything; what you do instead is you have a link that says “translate this” right under very post. And if you click that link, you’re in our software which helps you translate more efficiently not machine translation, but tools; vocabulary tools, etc. they’re still in development, but it’s the way professional translators work.

Ethan Zuckerman – as I start reading Global Voices, my Spanish is decent; I think gee, it would be great to have this in Spanish; I click it, I would have an online dictionary, thesaurus, various things I can use to translate this…

Pat Hall – this could change; if you’re not certain about a certain phrase you could mark that and have someone else come along and look at it later…So Beth could have come along an translated that post into khmar a year from now, when you’re fluent 🙂 it’s the same ethos as blogging — the same point o view [I mean If people want to do it, you enable them to. but you can’t force them to…in this situation the first stage would be having this stuff hosted on blogamundo. at a later date, with tech stuff worked out with Boris, we could have that hosted right there on the site; in the mean time that would be our… [process]

Rebecca MacKinnon – I want to distill out some of the approaches to this. In the future we can continue to discuss this…See where the community wants to go. one is that we have this distributed method where you have whatever posts, people can decide on a volunteer basis whether individual ones are getting translated into what language; hosted either on blogamundo or Global Voices, but no separate Chinese Global Voices, or Spanish Global Voices…just a site that links you through to translations of posts in particular languages. The other model is of different lang-versions of Global Voices, and the potential for a Chinese voices, or Spanish voices, or Arabic…or whatever it is… and whether there’s a demand for that, people would do it… who would be responsible for it. it seems it would make sense for a community to use the model and initiate it themselves and officiate it rather than being all under the Global Voices hosted site. It becomes probably the ecosystem… one thing to emphasize with what we’re doing – I’ not super familiar with takingitglobal – I take it the content’s all produced and hosted on your site…we don’t have that much content actually; it’s all linking out. The idea is not bringing everything onto our server and site; but having a cross-linkage, across languages, across communities & the web, of people who share our goal and are working with us… but there are different way to et at that; whether it’s this loosely distributed post-by-post method, or lang-by-lang and site-by-site…

Pat Hall – one quick thing, I think… was it David mentioning posts being translated form es to zh? That’s really awesome. If Global Voices can enable a situation where you have something… the other thing is: machine translation isn’t going to do that. Machine translation is a huge piece of software; es to zh? It’s not going to happen. If you’re waiting, you’ll be waiting for a long time.

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 4- The Future of the Global Conversation- Part 3 December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 4.
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Iria Puyosa – I’ve been working on project to promote the idea of having a Spanish-speaking kind of Global Voices, more on building the community of Spanish speaking brothers.. I was thinking of connecting that community to Global Voices something with translation, interviews, and polls…giving people … more efficient translation, better distribution; shared resources, building community, having personal relationships

Ethan Zuckerman – I want to say something re: how we take on projects. Pat approached us and said, ‘we’d like to do this blogamundo idea!’ and we said ‘hey, go for it’ this is how we’d like to develop collaborations around Global Voices. b/c Global Voices has 0 full-time staff, and is likely to have in the near future maybe 1 full-time staff, there’s unlikely ever to be a Global Voices program manager to take this thing forward.. Whether it’s the dream of a translation service that works within it, or a Global Voices espanyol; the weight is on your shoulders. we can find ways to collaborate, to cooperate, to give feedback. It’s also an invitation from everybody here to use this as a platform. We’ve go to some exciting things going on; great content, a great community; really this means we have a great opportunity for people to build on top of it. With that in mind I want Farid to talk about an idea he’s been playing with…and to think about different ideas we might try to do with the framework we already have.

Farid – I had an idea a few weeks back… bloglogue; a bridge b/t blogger and non-bloggers. What we do with Global Voices is fascinating; we go after other blogs, and bringing in information and translate that, provide that. What about on the demand side, people reading, participating actively I know people, communications professors, who are not blogging; but really want to participate through emails and writing them. we can create a reservoir of information, from journalists, citizenries, academics, everyone and on the other side let some cliches that people have about each other, neighbors, cultures, etc, start to debate these questions… the whole idea.

Ethan Zuckerman- one thing I think is so exciting about farid’s idea, is something that is said to me just as we took a break b/t sessions – bogs blogs blogs blogs, why do we just talk about blogs? When we started talking about Global Voices, we were talking about communication and interaction in a much more global sense. It just so happens that the first thing we did well was round up blogs form around the world. It had some great success.. but no matter how much of an advocate we are, some of the people we reach out to are not going to become bloggers; you can think of elderly relatives, people in your community who have a great deal of insight, who aren’t going to set up blogs even if you hook them up with typepad; the idea that you can open a bloglog to members of the media, whether its=’s tape recording them, copying an email with them, etc; I want to open this conversation up to other things people here are dreaming, thinking about, talking about.

Becky Hogge – I’d like to talk about something that came up with opendemocracy started using CC licenses…We wanted to really look at translation in terms of remix, so, wanting a translation-only license, a place where Global Voices could be active is, if this came about, thinking about using that kind of license. This notion of cc in a way that enables translation is something that opendemocracy could be behind…other idea, big ideas?

Tim Morley- active in the Esperanto movement the past 4 years. When I came cross Global Voices and their manifesto… bonds, conversations across boundaries half of my mind thought, yeah, that’s what I’m used to seeing, all the boxes ticked.. but then I realized, no, that’s not an Esperanto organization 🙂 It seems to be a whole group of esperantists who haven’t discovered Esperanto yet! And on the Esperanto wiki there’s already a longish list of blogs where people write in Esperanto I’m not one of them but I do read some of them… thinking long-term, if we’re talking about citizen participation, ordinary people starting blogs; if we want those to be available for real global communication, expecting it to happen in English is wildly unrealistic. The more blogs you have, if we’re going to rely on translators, the more translators you need. There has a valuable place; but there’s also a place for writing. it’s much easier to pick up and get to a good communicative level than any other language you’ve tried to study; I promise you; from learning it and teaching it. It’s spreading the load a bit; not expecting people to blog in my language to read; they’ve got to put in to some effort to learn the language; I’ve got to put in effort to read the language; we meet in the middle in wiki it’s currently 16th in # of articles… for a language that half the room hasn’t heard of, above a large # of articles; that’s quite an achievement and pledgebank.com also has an Esperanto version as of 10 days ago. So, like pledgebank, you don’t need to be afraid of being the only person to speak this language or start blogging in this language. See the globalvoices wiki… and I have some articles here about international communication. and I have some teach-yourself cds 🙂

Rebecca MacKinnon and Ethan Zuckerman- thanks for the pitch-

(Someone new speaking, but I don’t know who)the trick is so far, in listing blogs from around the world, we’ve listed by country the big question has been how else to proceed…? as a person who writes mostly about Turkmenistan, I can guarantee there’s not much of a community writing about it… maybe 1 person writing in English. The thing I try to do with my blog… mostly I translate Russian language materials. Frankly it’s not speaking about the language exchanges between bloggers we’ve been discussing so far. What I’d find useful, especially in the former ussr, is a Russian English exchange; there’d be a lot of call for a forum, not so much for translating blogs, as for an informal structure parallel to what bbc monitoring does, for example; when you look into the type of next available for Turkmenistan; What I think would be useful : creating a forum for people in central Asia, blogging either in Russian or their own language ,now wish to branch out into blogging in English think of creating an informal monitoring structure for underreported countries [turkmenistan, nkorea, etc]

Ethan Zuckerman – so there are countries where not only are there not bloggers, but if there were they would be in mortal peril…

Sharon – I want to share quickly, before I get my neck cut off. I’ve been involved with a lot of offline paper[s] a lexicon project…I wanted to share 3 quick point on it. and I have a thought/process of building on the Global Voices platform. A starting point: an int’l meeting leading group to preparing for the ’95 women’s conference. I was listening to simultaneous Chinese/English but then I was alarmed b/c I hard the English speaker say “counter-hegemonic …. reification” and I said “oh my god — what was that in chinese?” there was this moment of shock, when I looked across the room at some of my federation colleagues and said ‘huh?’ so then I picked up my headphones and started listening to the translation and I started thinking — oh my gosh; we all thinks it is an exchange. but in fact it was bizarro stuff…so I started thinking we should of a Chinese-women lexicon on internet? and law and he didn’t have funding… so we’d bootstrap. and I’d say to the women: do you speak to foreigners? have you been somewhere where they speak English? After a year I had 375 or so terms which didn’t seem to make sense when translated: gender, sexuality, family, violence, violence, homophobia…what we thought was, we’d translate some of these – so it took another year coordinating a team of 20 or so women across disciplines in china and here; all online; we were spread out without funding. I was editing/gatekeeping this whole process. I’d say – ok, one week time, ny/beijing time, sending draft suggestions for definition of gender what are Chinese translations? what don’t you like about them? In the end with as a lexicon. here are the diff translations for gender they all don’t work for the purposes of empowering b/c they’re biological… they’re weird – they don’t’ show the social contractedness of sex, which is weird, so you change it; we would keep some terms as chinglish, not really Chinese sounding terms; to carry the foreign baggage…not to masquerade as what it wasn’t we only had 175 terms; we had a split and cut date, so we decided to publish. UNSECO came in to help? Publish then there was a horrible censorship story at the end, which was pretty hilarious, in retrospect; that’s published in the journal (Chinese lexicon? dreams — rock and roll??) It’s about the ineffability of [translation]… the same questions as the discussions this morning; on validity, accuracy, reliability; is it accurate? What are we saying to each other? We want everyone involve; so it’s inclusive, but still subject to the same standards of accuracy. So then I thought, here’s an idea for access. one of the things I thought after, for the pound of flesh we paid online, etc; it wasn’t important to have the lexicon product; but we argued for a year about fundamental things; across language, discipline, culture; hk chinese, mainlinad, northern, cantonese chinese… I want to suggest one of the ideas Global Voices could do around this translation effort is to think about these key words/terms. democracy is one; really contested. use the translation process itself as a way that’s the bridge; rather than thinking its” Spanish to Chinese” “Romanian to Chinese” “Chinese to English” – the process of learning what we don’t know about contest, meaning, using that and setting up …. whatever it is technically, so we all learn a lot about each other by even the basic ‘what do you mean when you say?’ So you around the Chinese proverb of “tong chuang yi? wong?” – sleeping in the same bed, dreaming different dreams

Rebecca MacKinnon – maybe you could have translation son a wiki; so you could link to a big wiki page where you’d translate it, discuss it, argue it, about their methods and terminology…which leads to some tool making; isn’t it about time to start making some blog/wiki hybrid thing?

Ethan Zuckerman- which is a *really* long discussion. What I think the most exciting underlying point is, that we tend to think of end-result and one thing we’re sort of patting ourselves on the pack for is, the end result we’ve had over the year here; but we’ve also had process and some of them have been really hard; as we expand further, looking at the bottom line, and how many people come to the site. We should maybe think about process: how do we translate, cover one region or another, expand, do outreach? The remainder that we learn a lot form the process is a great one and I’m grateful for it.

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 4- The Future of the Global Conversation- Part 4 December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 4.
3 comments

John West – everyone’s talking about how you can get people to write article but not translate…I’m not really in the blogosphere, just interested in it. I’m not sure everyone in this room knows just what waves you’re making outside the blogposphere. But in my world, no-profit development, everyone’s starting to get interested in it. If you start thinking about key languages like mandarin, you’ve got massively key resources; the question is how much it cost to hire 2-3 part time, 12 full time [people] from foundations, all kinds of foundations, those resources are really there. So firstly I’d really encourage people to think about that; you don’t need tremendous amounts of money, and it really is there to help ease some resource bottlenecks some of you might feel an issue with using pro translation; that’s a choice you can control, but you might consider that possibility. The second thing is, in terms of how easy things are to translate, writing in one way or a different way; l one of the beautiful things is … if people are interested in their blog being a bridge blog, they might chose to write in a different way that makes them much more translatable. That’s a choice, not appropriate for all contexts; but that’s part of meeting in the middle to pull the translation through. My last point: I don’t fully understand blogamundo not being machine translation;…plug for wikipedia….[sharon wants to talk more about wiki translation :)]

Becky Hogge – of course since I joined the queue I’ve had lots of stuff to respond to. He would have mentioned pledgebank is now in Esperanto b/c matthew somerville has built a backend translation/segmentation kit which I think blogamundo would be interested in. I can give you contacts for that, if you don’t know already. On the 2d point, to do wit us getting what paper is.,.. someone just asked me for a sheet of paper; that made my day. More interestingly, I found your idea of it being a two-way process, and encouraging hooking up… to be a process that if online would reflect what people have been doing offline with languages for a longtime. Finally, responding to sharon… we all know wp and the wiki environment; and I find the wiki environment a great one for translation [and that kind of collaboration] as an employee of the world news service, which has been providing news in 43 languages…it was originally a translation service employing translators to translate en to other languages; now we employ journalist in their own languages all over the world…. My question is, how much do you really need to translate? One of the things we do do , b/c there are so many different services is have people whose job it is – maybe you could have a series of interns who would love to do this — who scan constantly for things they would love to translate so you don’t have to translate everything, that would be a really really tall order. There would be some things that would be passionate that would highlight themselves and secondly there are alots of translation students all over the world who would jump at joining you for a few months. Finally, re: the difficulty of translation: I was listening to a women who had been at wsis, from Tonga. When I asked her what the conf was like, she broke out with a diplomatic nonstatement by saying “there was a young woman from Iran, speaking about press freedom and what was going on there, but it was clear the Tunisian translators were not telling the audience what this woman said “so there are all sorts of complications with this issue.

Ethan Zuckerman – I actually think Rebecca and I ran the session with that translation issue. We’ve got about 20 minutes left; I’d like to encourage people to broaden beyond translation… and about some other projects we want to get help with; thinking about; inspired about… and the whole idea behind this is, We’re doing this f2f so we know each other and keep working on them… when we all go home and are working virtually.

Rebecca MacKinnon – to jump in real quick, Chris, if you have thoughts form your perspective, please jump in with that also.

(nart—not sure who this is) – I’ve been thinking about building a feature not just to translate but request translation the more they come up the more volunteers might be wiling to do those. I find myself reading a lot of sites with babelfish; I can endure that; you could even suggest “translate paragraph 4” I can get the general sense from babbelfish, but might want to cite that paragraph… that might even be good.

Ethan Zuckerman – my wife and I do that wit on e another with french/spanish – the problems with [explaining blogs] are many; while people might suggest blogger/wordpress is easy; you have to get into a whole long explanation about what a blog is. I think it’s very worrying especially with blogging outreach. So often discusson about blogging get too technical and alienate people who want to have a conversation shouldn’t it be extremely accessible? Even to people for whom blog and static html pages are not very [preexistent] which goes back to fareed’s point about blogs not necessarily being very interesting? General broadening of the discussion. I think of the very important things to consider is how to produce many different views…when you say to people ‘we want you to be a voice,’ don’t tell them what to blog; just tell them we want them to write and we’ll help them to write. In the same way, I think we can give readers different opportunities for how to read things. Let people choose. If they only want to read a small paragraph…this is the easiest if you have time, consider rewriting it for another audience…I think this is the fastest way to do outreach by increasing the number of people who read for us. To me, people say – why the hell do people sit in front of their computers all day long? And I say, well it’s a social activity – -but you’re right, that can be really [intimidating] but when you see it as a social act, the tech issues fadaway. I was talking to Ethan about something — when I ask you to do something for me, I need to give something back. What I want to do is: I’ve given several of you my contact details. If you want help with skype orpodcasting or audiocasting, feel free to get in touch; we can bring you in on skype and better (this is from the bbc) and I’ll make it easy for you to do skype or skypecasting, etc. We run up against the same issues you guys do; perhaps together we con solve some of the problems you’re having.

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 4- The Future of the Global Conversation- Part 5 December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 4.
1 comment so far

Ethan Zuckerman – I’ll let Mary pitch her project; and let Haitham talk about some of his projects. I’m going to impose a totally unfair rule after Mary; then, totally unfair rule: you must be a blogger to speak!

Mary (Joyce or Page?) – I want to talk about my project, the open democracy project.. I just want to talk about what I saw that inspired me, and what other people might see in Global Voices. I ‘m creating a site about democracy using a series of blog posts from people talking about their [views of] democracy…also I kind of see Global Voices as a source for future activists; I’m creating a set of guidebooks…do you want to write an activism guide? have contacts in an association? I see Global Voices as a contact with people not just as bloggers but also as activists.

Haitham Sabbah –2 minutes? forget it. We had a great day of discussing a lot of topics related to blogging; there are still two main issues we did not touch. To give you a hint, I want to talk bout defining a blogosphere… what makes a successful blogosphere. Nobody asked what makes a successful one. Why aren’t there blogospheres everywhere? we know of 3 or 4 different blogosphere types these days…maybe you’re talking about 1 or 2 bloggers, who might not be active; also a 1-sided blogosphere, where all are anti-this or pro-that. The third is both-sided; you have both-this and that. It would make life easier as Global Voices; and the fourth one, the cocktail type of blogosphere; out of the UAE where you have numerous nationalities, everyone is talking about everything[ but /not/ everything] in some countries you know there are threats; some people were detained and killed… the NGOs and sponsors – how can they support this? There is a big gap still b/t the NGOs, who have to this point failed to sell themselves to the bloggers. So hardly anyone knows what article 19 of the human rights / freedom of speech is so actually I was talking to someone yesterday; they’re working on something. In each Northern African country… people can participate and give them more ideas. The 2d thing in the Mideast and North Africa : the media if you compare it to the rest of the world, nobody in the media know what blogging is. I can hardly name 1-2 journalists in the Mideast or North Africa who have blogs. They hear about them, but don’t know what they’re doing or trying to get. I believe then international media has to , maybe Reuters, talking to john [west] — the sources of these media have to have some influence in the local media.

Ethan Zuckerman – two things to take out of this, to put a positive spin on it. As we think about things to do; one is to figure out how to reach NGOs…

Hoder – the bloggers are presenting at least the middle class in some countries.. What we’ve been focusing on in Global Voices is informing; the ‘what’ in these countries; not so much on contextualizing, the ‘why’ question we should try to contextualize much more tan we’re doing now. Also, b/c the Global Voices blog isn’t interesting to me, recently… it’s full of reporting, regional reporting they’re important, but not interesting to read. I’d suggest moving this kind of regular reporting to another part; not the main part of the page; and only have interesting writing, posts on the page that would be great. I’m also worried about the sources of funding that Global Voices will get in the future. I’d be worried if any right-wing foundation would be interested; Global Voices still ironically is based in America; and the us isn’t in a very global position right now it would be worrying to see that thing happening, so please keep us informed and transparent about [financial] sources the only thing that could get political re: higher quality would be, commissioning the writers.

Ethan Zuckerman – I really appreciate getting a critical voice there; I can offer you a personal promise on financial transparency; that’s important to us as well.

[dan g gets on the q]

Catspaw – another topic being raised on chat here: angelo [who’s been doing cool irc -> to blog cleaned up and improved transcripts] having a virtual news room; mobile blogging going with that…next point: people going out and doing and publishing bridge writing, maybe that could be a fundraisser; and running with that next: something former soviet bloggers did to reach out to media b/c of the difficulty in getting net access, we’ve found we had to make it more attractive for people to want to blog; promoting it as something beneficial in your cv, that opens up your writing to new audiences…I know it takes away from the purity of blogging to write; when people have to connect at 56k maybe, sitting in a net cafe; you have to make it worth it to them. We found that we’ve been very successful in reaching out to them and that they end up blogging for blogging’s sake. I don’t know if that can help out in other regions.

Dan Gillmore – Take money from right-wingers provided that you pursue the transparency you’re talking about… I don’t see the problem there; if it’s visible, if it’s disclosed… let people make their own decisions. I don’t agree with them on much, but let’s hear what they want to say.

Ethan Zuckerman – in approaching funds, we’ve largely approaching [essentially] globalist organizations but there’s a huge question that will come up. It’s hard to put 90 people in an irc chat room and vote on whether we take money from someone or not. I think the best thing we can do is let Hossein say don’t and let you say do, and agree to argue it out and let this continue on irc and blogs; I hope this is one of many conversations that continue form the floor here. It’s 6pm; we need to get out of here, which is tragic; let’s give Chris the last word, then matt wants the last word here. But one of the most important things to say is : this isn’t the last word the key thing to bring away was making connections face to face so we can continue this afterwards. chris:?

Chris Ahearn – I would encourage everyone there to remember that right and left is always someone’s perspective; the more perspective you have, the better conclusion you can come to. The second thing I find really interesting is the tools and capabilities everyone is talking about are the same ones the main stream media are grappling with. The tools you’re using day in and day out to do publishing are, in many respects, superior, to main stream media – both photo and text journalists – dealing with the richness with which you can tell a story constantly amazes me. Three last quick comments. Thanks for coming to Reuters for this event; we were delighted to have everyone! I think very highly /strongly of what everyone in the room is trying to do. 2 – the mobile newsroom is important; the reason we’re involved and why we’ll supply funds to Global Voices is to expand the idea of what a newsroom is, it’s nothing other than taking a sense of what is happening around the world. Lastlty, a comment was made not long ago about regional interests v. interesting writing; sometihng worth grapping with. Something not interesting to people regionally can be extraordinarily interesting to others. How does it grow, how does it touch financial markets…like it or not, that’s very much related to how this will grow, and continue to share etc. discussions. Thanks again.

[all: thanks! applause]

Rebecca MacKinnon- procedure thing as well – the mechanics of continuing this discussion forward; I have all your emails through that google groups. I’ll transfer all of you not on the Global Voices listserv onto it, unless you tell me you don’t want on it and I’m hoping those of you who have issue and want to push them forward and get feedback. In addition to the list, we should be using the wiki to post new ideas; I’m starting a discussion about this on the wiki, please go there and add your thoughts. also irc; we’ve started to see from time to time people scheduling times on our irc channel.,..then we can have regular meetings there. I really hope those of you with initiatives to get traction on, feedback on; schedule time in the irc and have virtual meetings about this. And post the transcripts! And we’ll continue to use these tools. This is only the beginning. As many said, we could go on for days…fortunately b/c we have the online tools, we can go on forever; let’s continue.

Ethan Zuckerman – Matt, who were are ever so grateful for keeping us running today; we’ll give him the last work on closing the facility…

Matt – these are really more a housekeeping statement; I can only echo hat Chris has said; we thank you very much on coming on behalf of Reuters. We’re very used to working with the b2b environment, and we’re taking away a lot of lessons on irc…

This ends the transcription of the London 2005 Global Voices Summitt. Thank you for reading!

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)