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Session 2- Best of Both Worlds (part 4) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.

Rebecca MacKinnon – I want to go to David, our Americas editor. David is not a very old guy; I know he struggled with the question of whether he should become a journalist and go to journalism school; or continue in this wild and wholly world of independent media. I’d love your perspective. I know you recently attended a training course on bloggers; how to use the web for research, etc. I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you think training etc is something bloggers should seek out…and global voices – does this change the way you view responsibility on your own blog? How do you think that changes what you do on a number of levels, on Global Voices posts and on your own blog?

David Sasaki – I do struggle with that’ I’d like to be a journalist; I do distinguish b/t what I think blogging is and what investigative journalist is what I hope happens is that investigative journalism goes to one side, does it very well, with competent journalists; decentralized, all over the world, done by everybody with Global Voices, I feel like I’m a host at a party, talking to different people, like me introduce you to this person… tracking conversations. But in my mind, the blogosphere isn’t a “medium” as much as it is a café, a conversational space. 2d question : I haven’t dealt that much – have been thinking about it, as my own blog [posts] have changed a lot – On my own blog it’s a space to have fun, while on Global Voices I can be more serious; but it’s a matter of responsibility. The Americas – all the regional editors cover very broad, diverse places; diverse linguistically, culturally. You need to know the cultural and political history; and that’s tough; you get put on this pot, and you have to know how to say “i don’t know” “talk to this person” but I think I’m getting better at that, and you have to recognize that I’m learning, you’re learning. Also, you have to realize that reporters are individuals too; often we say “the NYT said this; Reuters said this” we should be willing to name the person who said it. I’d love it if a reporter called me up, talked to me [personally] — we all know the feeling of someone quoting you and not mentioning you by name at all. We should have more contact with journalists…I often end up meeting a blogger, and say “I know you, I read you, I’ve seen you on flickr” and give them a hug and I don’t feel that way about journalists. I’d like to… would like all journalists to hug me, today.

Rebecca MacKinnon – he wants to be hugged :) I want to know more about how you think about logging on your own blog… bout giving your own opinion; but saying we’re not going to be a platform (as Global Voices) for people’s personal views… for instance when we ask someone to do an overview about a country ;it’s “here’s the conversation happening online in our country and here’s the range of opinion” we do have different views in how neutral that can be, or how opinionated that can be. For instance, Indonesia.. When the poster has a strong opinion about what’s going on to what extent is it okay for those biases to come out in a Global Voices post? Iria? When writing about the Venezuelan blogosphere, what kind of posts will give you credibility, and help people understand Venezuela?

Iria Puyosa – So far I have been trying to be as inclusive as I can be selecting bloggers from different pov’s, opposition, pro-chaves, independent, to represent them in the most respectful way, avoiding being so extreme. I try to keep [my own opinion] under control to make other people’s points of view the subject of conversation

Rebecca MacKinnon -a number of hands up… david?

David Sasaki – you asked the 2d questions before the 1st question. What do you want Global Voices to be, and how do you want it to be looked at? What do you want your audience to feel? You and I were both in china… we both had strong personal opinions about what we were seeing… the opinions I expressed to my wife at the time were different than I’d express to Europeans…. than I’d express in a diplomatic gathering (all different by degree) different than I’d express on a panel. The larger the audience, the more they’d misunderstand or blow out of proportion the extent to which your personal bias is influencing your reporting. If you want Global Voices as an organization to support many povs, fine; have people express that in individual blogs. But if you want it to be seen as a neutral source, you should be careful to have people with strong posts on personal blogs; because the audience will not distinguish b/t what is personal-personal and what is written for Global Voices

Rebecca MacKinnon – that’s a good point; its true. A lot of loggers make a big distinction b/t what they put on their own blog, what they link to…a lot of other people don’t make that distinction. The public isn’t necessarily clear what you mean when you link to something.

Brendan Greeley – Also speaking as a journalist (and I will give you a hug after lunch)


Dean Wright – I wish I were in that room.

Brendan Greeley – One thing we need as journalists, other than more hugs, is training. One of the question’s I always have, using a blog in the newsroom: how do I know I can trust that? Interesting b/c it’s something journalists learn in journalism school; you have to face this every day when standing in front of a person, to look at a thousand non-verbal cues; and those cues exist on blogs too. You live in the blogosphere, so you know these things…you know what [the cues] are. If its a legitimate entry, they’re probably young, if it has a Global Voices badge, it’s probably a little more reliable at least; What would be a tremendous resource for journalists who are getting started…– it’s all in the journalists judgment on what they should rely and on what they shouldn’t — would be if you could put together an guide on all these things that you just know that we couldn’t be expected to. A wiki of things / clues you should look for on a blog about whether to trust someone or not [or on a wiki! --Ed] would be tremendously useful.

Tom Steinberg – There’s a very strong response for something happening in Britain recently : An anonymous blogger here, a bit like the Drudge Report, called guide faulkes, running a blog called Order Order they set up something called a ‘press plagiarims of the year’ award with a fantastic trophy I hope someone find online consisting of a gold pair of scissors, a gold bush, and an old jar of glue. As he reported himself, he got astonishing traffic for this b/c everyone in the main stream media wanted to know if they’d gotten called out. There’s probably been no greater education in the world of blogs (for main stream media in England) as realizing that at doing this could have gotten them into serious trouble.

Cecile Landman – I want to… address the trust issue. It is not the same as looking at Fox, CNN, BBC, and at the paper you read you always make a choice about trusting that. Blogging is growing and people trust less and less the main stream media…There are so many organizations in the media who try to get people to think in one direction; especially in this time when war is [to the fore]…

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 2- Best of Both Worlds- (Part 5) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.

Rebecca MacKinnon – to Dan Gillmore: You’ve written a guide for bloggers. What is your take on this? observations?

Dan Gillmore – Global Voices has to make its own decision about what it would be. If there’s an aim to be more journalistic in some way, there’s going to be a need for greater transparency of who are the people writing. Where are they from, motivation…? Transparency illuminates a lot; you can’t illuminate bias or point of view, and in blogging you may not want to try, but you may have a better shot of getting through the speedbump you’re going to hit too, that someone games the system in a way that will discredit the whole thing…

Dean Wright – following up on Dan’s point about transparency…This is also a lesson the main stream media can learn – in being more transparent about their research and sources. Why do people in particular main stream media tend do be suspicious of (content especially) blogs? A: we use sources, go to thinktanks and politicians; go to people who have a title, maybe an academic. We’re comfortable with that level of authority. Now online we have people establishing authority through lots of different methods; compelling stories to tell, good writers; a lot of main stream media folks aren’t comfortable with thee alternate methods of establishing authority. I work for a global discussion program; it’s my job to be subjective. I don’t care if you’re subjective, I want your view on things. We have discussions about the death penalty, elections, free speech; it isn’t whether you are objective or not – but what I ask my colleagues to do is, “take out ‘blogger’ and put in ‘first-person eyewitness’…”and they’re a lot more comfortable with that. Tthese are just some of the discussions we have…

Rebecca MacKinnon – when you read blogs from Egypt, e.g., it ‘s just linked going down to a cafe, listening to conversations, finding out what the buzz is.

Onnik Krikorian – I’ve gone into journalism. I don’t see this as making me different from any other blogger… as someone else said, as long as the content is good, if you like the way it’s presented; you will choose whether to respect it or not. Just one other story. I suspect, and others may as well, that some media feel very threatened by blogs. I just want to tell a story re: elections an Azerbaijan . I’m based in Armenia, but looking into Azerbaijan. and someone posted a photoblog; they also said on the page “you’re free to reuse… as long as proper attribution? is given”. Ironically, I’d just started writing for these people as well. They sent me a warning… asking me to remove the photos. I sent back a note, and said, on your disclaimer page, it says…and they wrote back and said, no no, we don’t want it…I personally think they highlighted me, and didn’t want a blog to use their material…. maybe they’re worried b/c we can update more interesting info than this site can. During the Azerbaijan thing, maryam’s ost about ? info was some of the best info out there. I want to ask Jeremy a question — he also has an online publication dealing with former soviet space; he is also one of the reasons I considered blogging in the first place. I want to know as the editor in chief of an online publication, why is he considering blogs?

Jeremy Druker – I was going to [speak] anyway, I think all this talk about the mainstream… was framed improperly from the beginning. It was really a good story that this new medium could threaten conventional journalism. But it gets to the point, really what people have said — it’s a great complement to traditional media. Our mission : we’re about freedom of expression and getting local voices out. so we’re main stream media but we have a mission. We’re interested in getting local-language blogs, and promote them; and to promote freedom of speech locally. As an editor of a net publication, I see it as an incredible complement to our content. We have rather heavy analytical articles not often ‘slice-of-life’ and I see blogs as an incredible way to tell our readers something we’re not telling them in our normal content. In that, very heavy political articles about transformation, transition, where things are going; once we get these blogs [set up] — someone in … Ireland, Iceland, Asia — we’ll have an idea of what [these people] are doing. Then we [can] have a great amt of commentary and a great amt of slice-of-life. People will still want analysis, and will want it from people in those countries, not from journalists that parachute in…

Onnik Krikorian – One of the things about Azerbaijan is there are [basically] no local reporters. Bloggers are just a source; journalists have always worked with sources; you’ve always worked with local people, and attendees at some protest meeting giving their very opinionated view. I’m lucy from the bbc; getting schizophrenic here, trying to describe why that is I’ve been a main stream journalist and a reporter; I’m not sure what I will be in the future. Will I be a ms reporter again, I’m not sure; will I be a blogger in the future, certainly. We’re certainly very interested in being in contact with bloggers; and we want to know from bloggers, and from Global Voices — what do you want from main stream media? What idea would you like to see in your next phase of development as paper retreat from? on the ground for various reasons, like it or not; there are many reasons why working together will be fantastic. atm, the resources are weighted on the main stream media side; but whether this will continue who can say? [a couple more questions, then sj with a quick wiki-demo; then steinberg talking about pledgebank]

Dan Gillmore – it’s not a journalistic competition; at least it shouldn’t be. The more the merrier, the competition that worries mass journalists is financial. That has relatively little to do with bloggers; it’s the swarm of companies tracking the main media revenue base So just keep doing this… don’t worry that it’s scaring journalists from a journalist point of view. They’ll respond in a good way to this (kind of competition) re Asia blogging (newyouasia.net): What do you make of all this? just quickly, we have a local girl who started writing for our blog… there are quite a few English-speaking posters in Central Asia, and they are some of the more active people and regard blogs as proper journalism; this is what I take from the discussion: I’m not really interested in what we’re doing, if we’re in competition with normal news sources; but what do people in the Caucasus and Central Asia think; how can we make them blog more?

Rebecca MacKinnonack – that’s a great segue into the next session, since we’re talking about how to bring people more into the conversation. I’d like to thank Dean again…many more thoughts before we say goodbye?

Dean Wright – these are thee kinds of conversations we need to be having. I think the reporting Global Voices is doing a round the world, is in line with what Reuters needs to do more of in the future…

Rebecca MacKinnon – I’m hoping we can continue to discuss precisely how we move forward… on the email lists, on irc, on the blog[s]…

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 3: What makes a successful blogosphere? (Part 1) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.
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Why is it that some countries have developed vibrant local blogospheres (Iran, Jordan, Cambodia etc) while others haven’t? What conditions are required and what outreach can be done by the Global Voices community to help enable and encourage blogging in communities that could greatly benefit from this new citizens’ medium?

Led by Ethan Zuckerman, with input from Roba Al Assi (Jordan), Ory Okolloh (Kenya), Neha Viswanathan (Global Voices South Asia editor), Sokari Ekine (Sub-Saharan Africa editor), Iria Puyosa (Venezuela), Bun ThaRum (Cambodia), Enda Nasution (Indonesia), Andy Young (SiberianLight), Hossein Derakhshan (Iran)

Ethan notes that there is in fact profiling going on… and that if there were 2d and 3d days, we would break up into groups and do brainstorming. He encourages people to use the time immediately after this meeting and take a walk, have a smoke, go to dinner togther; another way to have the collaboration continue beyond the session. This session is mainly about talking about what’s worked in terms of building local blogospheres. Part of the problem we’re confronted with jointly, is how to build more really vibrant, dynamic blogospheres. If our whole job is to point to conversations, we need them to take place.

so we owe it to ourselves to get engaged in the work of building these local blogospheres and bringing people into these blogospheres who might not otherwise be there… There was this dinner I was at with robba with haitham in amman; everyone was saying, this is great; we all know eatch other, we’re excited, but we’re all from west amman. So how do we make tihs broader? how do we learn from other blogosphres that have been doing this well? In areas where this is already working, where there is another dynamic blogosphere…

What can we do to work on this? Let’s focus on what has worked, but also on what hasn’t worked. Look at kenya: for people not familiar, there are hundreds of blogs; great aggregators -it’s really political… I’ll let ory talk about it.

[Mic handed over to Ory by Ethan]

Ory: when I found the kenyan blogosphere … it was mostly linking to personal notes…I made it my business to study technorati and the best way to find other kenyan blogs was to come to my website b/c I would go through technorati religiously every day, and say ‘guys check tihs out, go to them!’ It’s important to support new bloggers by linking to them; encouraging them to keep linking. A lot of times noone thinks new bloggers are interesting, or thatanything they say matters. The second imporant thing was to creat a home where it became more esay to find everyone…We created a kenyan ring. Another home is kenyaulimited.com — a brand new site alunhced last week. redesigned, done by volunteers… It’s rpetty nifty. there’s as wahili version available, translated by a blogger… you can see al the posts down there an open blog: a group blog. if you do a gv roundup you can crosslink to it from the kenyan home, there’s this guy, we call him the godfather who created the kenya ring… this is mentalacrobatics.com and there’s actually – it’s funny, it’s become tall these personalities now, people who compete to be first to comment on each post… turned into a community.

I think a lot of it was finding people woh are just doing it… There are a lot of peopel -= a woman doing political stuff; they felt more comfortable reading about it? b/c she was a woman. And [some] people write about sex, some about other things; there’s a lot of diversity, there were memes that got everyone excited; then we got tired of doing it; but it got pepole involved in the group. We’re also turning this into a place to work on projects offline; when I went to kenya, I would find people who commentedon my blog, and say you commented, why don’t you start your own blog; you have something to say.

Ethan: you mentioned most of these bloggers are from the diaspora. are there ar lot of f2f get-togethers?

Ory: some people meet.. but some are anonymous, and want to keep their identities separate. Some people were resistant to have connections, as if they were pen pals; eithre b/c they weren’t social, or b/c they preferred 1-to-1 interactions. But there’s a lot of online interaction; kenyaunlimeted has a chat room; im; phone… with people I’ve never met… people will sometimes clal e, email me, say ‘are you okay?’ The sense that it’s more than a virtual world, but also a community – it’s made a lot more people comfortable; you feel like you can write — there’s very litel censorship and we’re all very young; this is another important htin. it’s become a psace for young kenyans who don’t have ioutlets anywhere to tpexress themselves to write without feeling judged.

Ethan: to take a couple lessons away… supporting bloggers by linking, commenting as they come along, religiously linking to new lbogs, creating a home a center for all these with instructions, including in local languages; trying to build up behaviors; like a competition to post together; let people know you’re there and recognize that, despite being virtual, this is a real community.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 3: What makes a successful blogosphere? (Part 2) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.
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Ethan: Another community I’ve bene really impresed by and wat to talk about: jordanian blog community. I want to ask roba two things; [what's going on today with blogging], and what happened after the bombings.

Roba: I blog on jordan now; and haitham, etc are also blogging there; we discuss all kinds of tihngs. we discuss wikipedia, we discuss what we can do around jordan; for instance — [mentions initiative to allow students in high school and college to blog] including methods of how to blog, what not to blog, and tips and stuff.

Ethan: the blogosphere reacted in an interesting way to [the recent bombings in amman]. maybe you can comment on this…

Roba: all the media is gov’t-controlled, except for two channels that came out ecently, in september of this year. So everyone was very upset with how the media is covering the bombing events; all bloggers took it to heart to take pictures of demonstrations; to get uncensored civilian view. It was amazing…everything was completely unedited. People were able to say whztever they felt, pro-islamists or whatever.

Ethan: two responses that interested me… one was that a number of bloggers put together a virtual newsroom. For instance haitham put together screenshots of tv coverage, with translated captions and it was an example of how bloggers can respond to a real public event; j to mobilize and become a force of reporters.

Roba – I was impressed by the reactions of bloggers; I got news from them before I got it from tv stations, which was amazing on a different level. One must not forget that 50% of jordanian bloggers don’t live in jordan. I found out about the bombings from lebanon, not jordan… it’s amazin ghow linked each country is.

Ethan: asking tha rum to talk about the cmbodian blogosphere.. which has been a huge surprise to many of us; and really exciting to discover. Maybe you can tell us how blogging has come about, how bloggers are finding out about it, and what’s worked to create that community?

tha rum: I think blogging in camb is starting to grow or be popular, when local media write about it. There are 3 articles as far as I know about blogging…then I found out more people create their own blogs, and provide their own ? in cambodia… the country is low-internet penetration. But young college students, with access to computers and the internet, can create their own blog. and they — it’s beocme bigger and bigger. We had a blogger meeting, but not many cambodians… mostly for any bloggers… they try to organize meetings and few cambodians ttended this meeting.

Ethan: do camb bloggers interact much with one another? do the ycomment on each other’s blogs?

tha rum: I know some cambodian bloggers living in oc, and starting to comment to one another…for the time eing, mostly people blog in english. b ut there are some in khmer…input also, the unicode, the standard form [is just now becoming available] recently there were many problems wiht khmer charcters…

Ethan: on india : a lot of people took to livejournal and other community sites a while back most of the indians are on blogspot .com

Neha: People who hadn’t heard of blogging became part of the blogging scheme (neha speaking) and eventually started out on their own individual blogs. I find that the indian blogosphere is a bit inward-looking. it’s not as linked up to the int’l blogosphere as it probably should be. There is a wonderful site, called theysaypundits?.com, not a reblogger, but links to a lot of indian blogs much like gv. it focuses on other issues, like humor and movies and music; and there are a huge number ofNRI (non-resident) blogs. The level of interaciton [ /there/ ] is prtty high. For instance, when a blogger qut his job; the mainstream media took note of thta. And every time there’s a major controversy on the indian blog scene, the # of blogs goes up 5-10%.

Ethan: background; a blogger accused an indian uni of givin gout more or less useuless degrees; and the uni went very aggressively after him that some might argueended up costing him his job. And theysaypundit started to focus on this. In support of this blogger, all the other ones started putting up individual posts; there was a meta-post with 200 or so links to other bllogs coming out in support of this blogger; people who never had a blog, and wanted to speak up about this issue, sarted a blog with this one post; support gauram[sp]!
There is a blog called everymancity? a group of bloggers that want to help out an ngo in na education endeavour. So I see lots of collaboration with issues, including education happening on blogs.

Neha: wikis haven’t caught on yet in india, but there is huge potential for that as the regional editor for se asia, I feel there is sometimes a competiton b/t the indian and pakisatani blogosphere; recently there was a huge issue, with an open lestter written to th epakistanis, which was probably responded to by an open letter to the indians; it wasn’t a pretty scene. people were taking sides. and on the one hand, some people were saying about ‘this is what blogs are about, [baad!]‘ and other saying, If you want somehting to argue about, go take on bush… but there are all kinds of things going on, music, movies, etc; but whenever there’s a big issue, people really wake up.

Ethan: it sounds like if we really want to encourage the indian blogosphere, we need a really big lawsuit. But the people who came online about iipm, have they continued? was it a one-time thing for them

Neha: it’s interesting; there were a lot of journalists who became bloggers after this. They came online, there was a lot of nasty google-bombing that was going on. Istarted a thread, just asking anyone who started a blog on blogger to leave a comment; about 40 of them left a message.

Ethan – what hasn’t worked well in india? are there things you’re hearing in kenya, jordan, other parts of the world, that haven’t worked in india?

Neha: I can tell you what works in india; popularity contenst. there’s a lot of contest about gtting the highest technorati ranking; I’m sure this is in every blogopspherre. For that reason, collab-blogging hsan’t really taken off. there are som ewho are really into it, but you’ll find the same group of 10 bloggers on /every/ collab blog, an thee others aren’t taking to it. [similar to wiki growth --Ed]. The other thing is exclusion form the indian blogosphere; they konw about the 10-15 ibiggest blogs; but they’re not attending to the smallest blogs who are really international. This worries me a bit…

[Ethan is trying to pull up indiablogstteet... url?]

Neha: this worries me a bit b/c it’s becoming really inward-looking. We seem to have more for ranking than for links now in india that’s incredible, b/c there’s a lot of ‘you scrtach my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of thing. About a year and a half back, there were a lot of people who were outside of india pointing into india…

comment : I wish there were a technorati contst about who has the most /outbound/ links, not the most inbound links… (scoble, from the techno to p 100) there are 200k? people on the ‘net in singapore. in indonesia, it’s 5 times bigger. but this is still a small % of the whole population.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 3: What makes a successful blogosphere? (Part 3) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.

Indonesian Blogger: A similar thing in other blogosphere; people write about their personal life, which is ok, but looking at gv, I think we have different directions b/t the personal and what we put on gv. I see two steps we can do here. first we can, in indonesia, get people on the net to blog… so there’s about 10k estimated bloggers in indonesia right now. from 10M to 10k is still a smaller % … every day there are pepole syaing I want to get on the net, please teach me. So I tried to make that one. Second, people already blogging should have more awareness of their surroundings. Not only writing about their presonal life, but also better-awareness about what happens in their environment and higher awareness of using the blog as tool to achieve a goal.

Third : using blogging as a tool… as I said before. getting more people blogging, then using it to write more about what they should achieve. There are 3 gen of bloggers right now in indo; 1) personal/? , 2) peopleworking in IT and 3) focus on media. The media is too /liberal/ in meedia, unlike other contries; it’s grown less in quality, and bloggers have become the watchdog; we even started a mediawatch org trying to correct the media making mistakes.

Ethan: great stuff. so I think this idea hat blogers come in generations, is somethign that has a lot of familiarity to a lot of us. I know that as a US blogger, first there was a closed club; then there was a lot of geeks doing it; I think it my have tone further in the us right now. the notino that there may be one path as this evolves; what stage are we in? whta phase are we in? I’ll ask iria to talk about what’s going on for her and her community.. so if you an just pass that mic back?

iria – the first ones were the geeks; the pioneers. people share a lot ofresources, and tech issues; console, interface, how to add resources like commenting tools, and linking, and tools for feedback. There’s a lot fo conversation about that; many people interact and share more [things] personally. I think it’s a fact of all this that building personal relationships is also tied to the, maybe cultural identity; people tend to get together for meetings and parties, getting into personal relationships with other bloggters, linking going back/forward… sometimes difficult to udnerstand posts b/c they can’t — had sometihng personal about othre bloggers, and you can’t figure it out. some people are in the know, others have to figure it out. 2d generation – not all the tech knowledge of the previous one, ubt cfocused on conversation; entering other types of relationships. One thing that worries me : we’re hypercritical; there is a lot of self-criticism about tahat impasse. We talk and talk and nobody listens to us… but we are comparing outselves with france or italy … so we want to change the world, and be quoted by the nyt.. but this isctually getting more tools than would be expected by the size of tech in venezuela

Ethan: as people are blogging about [vz] politics, [there's this high expectation] that people will be writing about it, getting storeies into the nyt… are local media taking interest?

Iria – not really; a few magazines… but it’s kind of trivial. I don’t see any msm taking it into considerinag. even though a lot of blogs are taking various information; we have video, audios ,interviews with chiefs? of industry… first-hand informatoin. msm isn’t taking interest in this…

Ethan: two brainstorms: hook up iranian with cambodian blogosphere to solve the char issue hook up the vz with the indian blogosphere, wher the media takes blogs far /too/ serously. I want to put hoder on the spot, knowing that he’s written sometihng about how to build the local blogosphere…

Hoder – maybe it’s a cultural thing; maybe it wouldn’t work outside iran… but I can give you some suggestions about what to do if you want to promote the b’sphere. When we started this thing in iran, we didn’t have any credibility… and that’s a v big and important issue.
so I did my best to try to find some big names; some journalists, writers… journalists are begtter known than writers,a and could befome better bloggers; into curent news. and writinga bout the situation right now. So I really tried; spent so much time gteting one person who I thought was a good candidate to do that. He proved v. successful and now his site has been around since the beginning almost… his name is ? There are many things I think are importantin the community. one of these things is : maintain a list of every othre blogger; people can go there, find other blogs, start reading htem; b/c especialyl for the newcomers, it’s very difficult to get attention, and not to lose the motives l, the motivations that are there in the begininng. And the well-known bloggers have to take care of the newscomers; it’s important to support them,linking to new posts, intertsting posts, and all that. It’s like gardening in some ways; you plant a seed and then yhave to take care of it for 6 mos or something. The whole blogging thing is about individualism; and some communitieis and cultures aren’t open to theat level of india. expression. In some communities, if youf do all these things, and they don’t have all this room for it to grow, it wouldn’t work out.

Ethan: I’m asking sokari about these ideas that have been bounced around… maybe we can turn this convo into a brainstorm based on discussions we’ve had already about what has bene tried already, what are some new ideas…Then think about this within our community.

Sokari: more focues on a population of individuals… in nigeria, we have a po pof 150M and only maybe 100 blogs, with half of them active. The kenyan blogosphere is really amazing; one thing we have to do in nigeria is create a kind of community. it is v. different, politically and ucltureall than kenya; we’re much more diverse; there is debate – -are we nierians or ebo or hausa? those dscriptions are often much more powerful, whic might be one of the reasons we don’t have the same community. There have bene a # of initiatives; such as a forum called nairoworld, which feeds the bloggers… but what’s happene there, is that it’s so confrotntatnional is thatpeople are leaving as soon as they’re joining. [wait, nairaland] and there is a blog aggregate which was set up, just a list of nigerian blogs (nigerianbloggers.com)For me, for the nigerian blogosphere, which is practically nonexistent… the [comuniyt-building] is slow. I think the kenyan example is the one we should be following ourselves; but I don’t know if it will work…

Ethan: an intersting question is if the same strategies can work somehwere else.

Ory: just to agree with whatsokari said, the [online] forums are ery different… they just turn into who can shoult the loudest. and there is a lot of idversity, but rarely does it become an issue of [tribe]. there’s also a lot of support; whether you’re more personal or political, I don’t get as many comments b/c people perceive me as a serious blogger so noone wants to crash my blogs. and we also have women acting differenl online; they want a space that they can control. if I were to have the same discussion online, it’s very… you know, it’s a different dynamic than with a blog where you can control the space and ther’s a bit more respect for each person’s space. Another thing, tethered to the sense of community : sometimesI think there’s too much concern over how ‘transformative’ blogging can be for kenya or for politics; I look at it on an individual basis – what ioes it mean for someone who didn’t have this space before to have this space suddenly? It might not change kenyan media, but it has been transformative to a lot of people I know; the poets who’ve bene ble to publish their poetry; for those people, it’s made a difference (on that smaller level) not so much on a macro level for africa. maybe that [focus] can help to build more community.

Sokari – in the nigerian blogosphere there aren’t as many wonmen (I think) than in the kenyan blogopshere; ory and I were just talking about that over lunch; tehre’s a high level of ego running around. itn that sense it’s difficult to build a sense of community, if dealing with people’s egos. I don’ tknow how we break that down so we can have… so there is something we have tin common to help us work together and give people have had to delete comments b/cyou aid something that someone else didn’t like. People aren’t respecting this is a fourm, where you have yours and I have my opinion… I’m not sure how we get over that. And as neha was sayig about the indian communit, there is this competitoin about who’s got what ranking.

Ethan: I want to poen this up, specifically in the context of figuring out how do we solve sokari’s and all of our problems – how do we get more people wihtin our communities blogging; differnet people; what stuff cna we do individually, together to get ourselves there? We have a queue of people – enda, jordan, irc… I sweear, irc is third :)

1) we are not too fond of getting public figures to blog… ut it’s really true in the case of indonesia. just recntly, there’s been this nedog model? started blogging; it created a lot of attention. it is a ? model in an islamic country… that’s first. more public figures to blog would be good. second: I’m not sure about corporate blogging. but if more corps start to blog, ti will also ive more authority to this edium; more will take it more seriously; and we can also build and help this blogospehre more.

Ethan: if we can all get nude models blogging, this will /really/ get your blogosphere started. Something to consider in the future. Jordan – I’ll jump right on that one… you sort of raised one question I had; but what does a successful blogsphere mean? what’s the problem rpesumpposing this question? the # of blogs, the # of comments.

Ethan: what would you want to see started in poland?

Jordan: throw the q back at me, eh? I want to sread some information about poland, and get people to dialogue about poblems. There are a lot of people woh read the posts, but not a lot of epole who post responses. is that a success or not? what is the problem to this question?

Ethan: one question about this :L are weactivists, pushing a certain agenda, or are we documenting this?

[Cat's noting the discussion in irc is a bit behind b/c there's a problem with the audio]

[should we try to be focusing on making people have political and social blogs, and less personal blogs? At first there was agreement in the chann that personal is less interesting; another said that in the africa context, we want to get the word out about politics... since it gets more int'l coverage , so someone asked, if I'm fronm africa (which I am), I have to write about politics or I'm not interesting or important. Final comment: do we have some sense taht we could control the # of blogs or issues they could address?]

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 3: What makes a successful blogosphere? (Part 4) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.

in my carrib post today… a couple days ago, I postd the agenda for this meeting. and tyndale? who’s actually a friend of mine… he’s a journalist now blogging… with a friend of mind and myself he had? a list of predictions : #5 was, quote “a surplus of bloggers and shortage of bloggees” how can we direct the nat’l attention to lbogs that are consistent, acfurate, thoughtful, and useful? audience is probably a big issue, not so much for the #s, but in terms of impct; especially in terms of social and political, and the activism question comes into it.The link is at my post, at the top of gv today. It’s a comment, but I’m linking to it as well.

Ethan: a couple interesting discussions here … let’s talk to someone from a slightly more mature blogosphere – scoble – my 5-yr birthday is coming up dec 15; prety soon. when I started blogging, b/c 1-2 guys asked me to; I strated writing to thenm; not to change the world or get my agenda across; after reading many blogs, I realized a good blog is passionat and authoritative. if you’re not authoritative on politis, or passionate about it, youre blog’s not going to be any good. I want to read people who 1) are conected to that system, and 2) care about it. That should coe from inside. that’s … that’s the motivation should come from inside. The other reason I was blogging was just to put thigns into google. I realized that – now many search entigiens – I wanted to put things into google so I could put them back out later on.l’d write about a coffee shop that wasn’t yet in google; peopel woudl email me stuff that was interesting. One thing I wish I ‘d get more emails about – I get a lot about tech issues; if there’s somethign hot happening in your community, we should hear about it, in email; someone should just email me saying hey! there’s soemthing important happening in kenya; I don’t have enough time to read blogs from across the world. I’m reading 740 rss feeds right now. Adding a nother few 100 is difficult at this point. But I do appreciate getting emails evne if I can’t respondd to them saying something is happening; sometimes it’s oimportant enough to put it on my blog and let a new community know about it.

Les blogs conference asked how we could build bridges /t these two communities; my wife’s iranian,a nd she can speak farsi; knowing that there are millions of blogs in china and iran, and don’t know what’s important hter, whether there’s a big news sstory I should care about; even if I knew… if someone was watching tehse and warkning me, I could translate those or get someont odtranslate them for me; sobut someone needs to be awtching for me, to build a birdge… adn say hey, there’s something important happening in shanghai or beijing… and I should be doing the same, right? watching english blogs pertaining to warning the system, hey there ‘s something here that chinese bloggesrs hould know about. I really love this conerence; it’s preobably the best hour oive spent in the lst two weeks touring around europe;’ I want to compliment you guys for that and now I know there is a central place for that to get global voices…and there’s an implicit offer here which is pretty amazing – that when you have some intersting news in your country, you can poteentially reach out to mor people throug him. Scoble – one of the things is, I work for a [global company] — for microsoft… and I can write on one mailing list to 20k people (within msft) ,if there’s something going on in the world where you need that resource, by writing me I can contact everyone at msft to let them know what’s going on to say there’s something going on out there, send money and people over. and they all have connectpors inside companies with the same kind of pwower; google has them, apple has them, gm has them; if you find that person who works at a big company, they can et your issue global-scale very quickly with one email.

Ethan: this is a particular linteresting idea; for peope who have ben blogging re: dosasters I know dina was talking before about the tsunami blogs. As we started expanding our coprorate audience to include people whoc an mobilize resources within their companies, thatis’ interesting.

My name is sharon koury? a friend of hossein and… I want to say something about self-expression and the sense of agency just entioned;
it’s very importanct from some of the feedback we got from some of the audience — is it supposed to be political? humanitarian? one of th emost empowering aspects of weblogs : re every blogosphere. is thta tehre are blogospheres within every blogosphree, sharing life experiences; there are 10s of thousands, 100s of thousands; and one fo the most iportant htings about farsi weblogs is they share lots of life stories. Lots of conversations going on like that; translating some of these would uncover a lot of things about how people live in iran; and the way… we’re always caught up in the political stories and elite politcics and power politicsl the storeis written by iranian homosexuals, e.g., not disguising but writing with a pseudonym… I thin it is incumben t on those of us who speak a 2d language more or less fluently : I’m a little bothered by the political underotne that has dominagted the conf so far; and humanitarian was mentioned but there are very true life experiencs out there, waiting to be translated; and thta should be a major focus here.


Ethan: – certainly that is a big issue here; and one of the thing we’re going to talk about later is literally translation; I’m also going toamplify a comment that beth said in my ear, and straight into the mic…

Beth: I’ll say it – I want to urge us all to share out rools and tips and materials; if you’ve already invented a wheel, for instance a tl to put the blogrooll oas a sidelink, if you ‘ve already created code for that, if I can ust cut and paste and translate into kamai, that would be great…

Ethan: maybe that’s where this discussion goes, to talk about how this discussoin would work; and hwo we could [share such content] cecile – I wonder if microsoft is beter than FOSS software; isn’t ms helping keep people off the web, instead of helping them to blog, except for your blog?

[asked directly at scoble]

Robert Scoble – we’re a for-profit corporation, and we sell a product, and we have competitors; there’s a free competitor on his computer right there…

Ethan:- steering back to a conv aout how we iprove local blogospheres… [on-screen, firefox dies... on windows...with notes trapped unsaved on the wiki...- at WSIS, we werre talking about ICANN, but when the real people who control the net are these big companies; google, msft, ibm... and there was no real discussion about that. for instance, msn was not really censoring people's blogs, but not letting people use their blogs to post about democracy, human reights, etfc; and yahoo and google are equally responsible for doing that;
we were talking last night whether it's good to have these companies in these countries, or whteher we should be putting pressure on them. also - the most interesting blogs are when the political becomes personal; which is what makes it interesting.

Robert Scoble: on the china issue, where even rebecca took issue with me... it was the chinese employees who made the decision; not an american group; to block th ewords on the title... you could psost wordes in the body, but just blocked it out of the titles. I'm very conlfieted by it. I took their position; theyr'e in a loca larea, they know the laws and what they can do in terms of theri local ethics; what is it to me as an american to orce them to shut down th egroup and be unemploeyd, baically, b/c I didn't like the way they had to negotiate with their gov't to do busines? we had lot sof debates within msft on that one; even on american sites, we block obscene text in the titles.

Rebecca: we're in danger of getting so off-toipc. after the conf, we can have a big debate about this. and I certainly hvae strong opinions.
this hour is meant to talk about specific thing we're trying to accomplish...

Ethan: how we as a group could collaborate on tools to ehlp us see wht's going on in local spaces.

[Robert Scoble is inviting us to dinner...]

Sj: how can we reach out to elementary schools, elderly, handicapped, different segments of society?

[a comment about gardeing..from a pro journalist on how blogosphers can become vibrant and grow - there' s anumbe rof things which appeal to ojurnalists; one of those is as I said, high profile people who deicded to start blogs; that always attract[s] journalist attention, always loking for ascoop. also tying in to the debate about politics; and journalism. to me a blog is … not political at all. it’s like asking why not everyone witha pencil is writing about politics… so I think you’ve got to provide people with the tools to use blgsthen theyll use them for whatever they want… i had an email from soeone last weke, who said “what’s this new workd you invented, “blog” ? and I had to explain to them what a blog was; there are lots of people out there who don’t know what they are; how about just talking about tools ew can be using to communicate?]

Ethan: – blasphemer!

Ory: – a lot of poeple like reuters, bbc… sth that riased the prifiel of kenyan bloggers during the elction? debate — about what the aftrican comuinty as saying. it got really popular; oe way for africans to take part in a debat where they’re not usually heard; unless they’re a tlaking head. so if you’re a journo doing a piece and want a sense of what’s going on, try to get a quitote froma blogger, or link to a post that they’[ve done around an event; and really there was a lot of debate; and it was great; and it was done very well. in addition to what gv is already doing... somethign else : I'm for the first time blogging from kenya' I used to do it from cambrdige. it's a lot harder for me. iunles sI'm doing it from work. it's a chanllencge - I have to go to a cybercafe; bythe time I get onto worpdpress (which is pretyt good, flickr is also great) -- a lot of programs are really slow; by the time I get onto rss, it's really a pain to do. so a lot of thigns by mobile, sms, etc; flock si a new browser that is really neat; tools like flock - I know about it b/c I was at potech - if someon could do a piece on gv bout flock, etc, that are integrated; so I'm not logging onto all these things; more integrating tools, especially if you're blogging outside the us.

Ethan: a great idea that came up in passing on that is the idea of talking about tools on gv; which is really not something we've ever done.
Something we talked about a lot a year ago 0- wudl we be designing tools, woudl we build tools ourselves we'vefound that a lot fo communitie are customizing tools for their local needs; and we have the call out form beth to shrae tools; mabye we should be writing aout 'here s the right way to get on when you have 15 minutes, etc'

[Question: - how do you take this offsite, on the ground? I know in india we do very very very little of it. I think that hsa a huge role to play with it]

Ethan: thst’s a great question… I’d love to hear people’s ideas for how we can carry this out.

d: I don’t know what you think about this; I’m coming from englis-language.. if you rotate the editors to diff regions, what kinds of efect that might have; the blogosphere has more than just regions blogosphers; I have some thing her e: pososbile commont hemes could emerge; and learning; if you rotated these editors to diff reagions; and they would have to read differnt blogs…

Rebecca: can I ask for a clarification? do you mean rotating so now haitham is doing moideast, and maybe we switch and he does americaS? or are you saying, within middleeast, ech month a different person is rotated into that slot.

d – yes, that’s just the brainstorming… I iniially meant editors rotating…

Rebecca: just to give you — an explanation for why we were sort of inclined not to do that initially, or why we chose the editors we did : we felt it was important for the editor on a region to be really familirar with, and from, the blogosphere they’re covering; so they know when a particular blogger is writing about egyptian politivcs for instance; when to smell a rat; when it sounds like this person isn’t who they claim, or that it might be difficult… I’d feel relaly uncomforttable if I had to do the african roundups; I’d feel I should seek the dvice of an african bloger to make sure I really got it right. It’s a really intersting idea. and to hear what other people are thinking about; and rotation within a particular region is also intersting.

Ethan: three more people to get in; then we’ll run over a little bit…

Greg: live near dc; there rea tons of people who speak amharic (and ting?) so I hear it every day… there’s actually a pretty big community of people.. there’s a latent blogosphere ther.e what do I do? do I walk up to people in the coffee place and say’do you know what a blog is?’ that’s the core rpoblem… has anyone done that? ethan – an interesting respone to that — I will walk up to 10 people in a coffeeshop, sepaking a language I don’t know,, and tell them about blogging… only if 100 other people do it.

sj – there’s actually a [spraak??] social org in nl: which goes to poeple’s houses to speak dutch to them… marwen …was in tunisia; we were speaking to epopelwe know, and sometimes people we don’t konw; and one of them actually does go up to people in cafes and talk to them and ask if they know about blogs or not we do things like that [marwen is from tunisia, btw] that’s why we have a tunisian blogger aggregator, we have runisian blogger metepgs; to encourage eachother to keep going on. at the next metup we’re thinking of doing something outsdide the capital; most are inside the capital. we’re doing that, and will tahc them how to blog, so they can learn about blogging, how to, what about, wht the idea is. so it’s possible if we really want to make it [so]

Ethan: a really encouraging note – just as I walk around the room I want to daw out a couple big ideas I saw come out of this.part of the good news is that all of the ideas thta came out of this are now up on the wiki, b/c rebecca has done a great job of taking notes…
1) creative outreach. jiran?.com…in tunisia, going to youth hostels…

also: wide range of strageties… things that have worked in one way or another success with a central list; providing an instruction set; particularly if it’s difficult in a language[/region]

one q : can we become a centerpiece, a distributor of some of this info for how to do this? start a project where we go out to witness about blogs… and find pepole to go to and say ‘have you become a blogger yet?] it would be nice if we had the tools to use… it also sounds like we got a big reminder : when we figure out whether it’s a vibrant dynamic blogosphere; it’s not just politica.l. personal stories may also be a bit of it ,some of the metrics we use, some of the links, the traffic… may not be appropriate.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

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

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 4.

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)

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

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

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.

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)


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