inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #51 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 28 Oct 04 14:04
    
(slipped with the same kernel)
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #52 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 28 Oct 04 15:18
    
re <44>,

"Since it bears no official regulation, could blogging benefit as a
medium (if not in its image) from the proposal of any sort of ethical
code that might be attractive to mass adoption, a la Creative
Commons?"

I believe Rebecca Blood proposed just such a code in her Weblog
Handbook. I think a wide discussion of ethical issues is a good ideas
and perhaps some sort of open attempt to identify some key ethical
guidelines that blogs could sign onto (say, by featuring a link to a
site, as you say, a la Creative Commons) would be a worthy project, but
I'm sure that there would also be a lot of resistance and people
saying that this is antithetical to the way of blogging, which for some
people means unedited voice of a person.

In the profile of Markos Moultisas over at PDF today, the Brian Reich
mentions how Zephyr Teachout blogged at BOPnews during the Dem
convention that liberal bloggers should all voluntarily agree not to
blog about clients or anyone they had a financial relationship with, at
least during the convention. This was implictly aimed at Kos, whose
Armstrong Zuniga firm (which, as I mentioned above, I am currently
affiliated with) does not list its clients anywhere. Markos chafed at
the implication that he should meet someone else's ethical standards
and claimed that he needed to be free to blog about people he believed
in, regardless of whether he had or appeared to have a conflict of
interest.


"Got any thoughts on what such a code should urge?"

Well, I'd say that transparency is important. I try to note when I
have conflicts of interest, but that's more to do with my own sense of
how I earn credibility - I don't want to be viewed as a shill for
advertisers or people paying for placement, etc. 

Beyond that, I'm not sure. Are there widely held codes of journalistic
ethics? They might provide an easy checklist for bloggers to run down,
saying yea to those standards that seem appropriate to blogging and
nay to those that maybe make less sense in this distributed multitude. 
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #53 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 28 Oct 04 19:16
    
My response to Ari would be that you can't evaluate blogs by
traditional media standards. Blogs are vetted and balanced by other
blogs; the way to approach news via blogs is to read multiple
perspectives on particular stories, rather than attending to one or two
information channels that are supposedly objective and authoritative.

Christian, you quote Kos on "open source politics," something Adam
Greenfield has also been writing about
(http://extremedemocracy.com/chapters/Chapter12-Greenfield.pdf). How
does a software licensing concept relate to poltics, and to your
thoughts about "the power of many"?
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #54 of 78: Ari Davidow (ari) Fri 29 Oct 04 04:56
    
I don't think I accept the idea that "Blogs are vetted and balanced by 
other blogs". That may be a good way to find blogs with which you might 
agree, or that might be interesting reading, but the fact that lots of 
people believe something or prefer something doesn't make it true or 
preferable to me. It does worry me that "all of my friends value this" 
replaces "I have some objective, or reasonably-objective way to evaluate 
this".
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #55 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 29 Oct 04 07:38
    
Ari, I think you're missing the conversational aspect of weblogs. The 
purpose of comments and trackbacks is to facilitate response, and 
respondents can post corrections and voice disagreements. Readers see 
comments, follow trackback and other links, also follow links in such 
aggregate services as blogdex, daypop, and technorati. It's a different 
way of processing information (and note that it doesn't include 
traditional "mediated" content, so it's part of the mix.)

Reputation is an aspect of this, too: bloggers who post about current 
events but consistently make flaky posts will lose their following.

The echo chamber you've mentioned is an acknowledged problem, but it's not 
just a problem with blogs. I think it's more about how people consume 
news: many search for perspectives they can agree with, while some prefer 
to be challenged. I see it as a social problem, and there are people who 
are trying to correct it, often with face to face facilitated gatherings 
where they hope to attract people with differing views and help them 
understand each other (e.g. Let's Talk America, 
http://www.letstalkamerica.org/). The hope is that, as people become more 
tolerant of and interested in views that differ from their own, dialogs 
will emerge.

The Wikimedia folks are starting Wikinews, a current events version of 
Wikipedia: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikinews  It'll be interesting 
to see how that goes.

Christian, I kind of lapsed my moderator role there for a minute... what 
are your thoughts?
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #56 of 78: David Kline (dkline) Fri 29 Oct 04 10:03
    
If you want to see a real "echo chamber" in action, take a look at how
often major media outlets run a story just because other major media
outlets have run the same story and deemed it thereby "a story." Look also
at how often rumor, unsupported allegation, and outright misinformation is
replicated ad nauseum by major media until it becomes conventional wisdom.

The potential problems with unvetted, unmediated (by professional 
journalists) blog content are real, but I'm not sure they're any more 
real than they are within the major media. Personally, I still trust most 
NY Times reporting over most blog "reporting," but I've actually been 
surprised at how few errors crop up in major news/politics blogs.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #57 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 29 Oct 04 16:55
    
And how many crop up in stories in the Times.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #58 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Sat 30 Oct 04 10:28
    
Happy to have you step in, Jon! I'll try to catch up this weekend....

Today's my birthday (40) so I'll be staying offline most of the day.
Will check in tomorrow while carving pumpkins and such.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #59 of 78: David Gans (tnf) Sat 30 Oct 04 17:26
    
Happy birthday, xian!  My birthday is 10/29, but I am WAY older than you.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #60 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 1 Nov 04 12:00
    
Heh, looks like birthday + Halloween was too much for Christian! But I'm 
sure he'll wander in any minute.

Christian, Convio makes an interesting case study for technology to 
support campaigns and nonprofits using a customer relationship management 
approach. Could you discuss what you learned when you talked to Convio's 
CEO and looked at their approach?
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #61 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Mon 1 Nov 04 22:11
    
birthday + Halloween + bronchitis (or pneumonia) it seems...

spent all day at Kaiser today... antibiotics, steroids, codeine, blood
test, chest x-ray

anyway, apologies for falling behind. I will catch up ASAP. 

btw, tomorrow I and the rest of the staff of Personal Democracy Forum
(http://personaldemocracy.com/) will be blogging the election all day.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #62 of 78: David Gans (tnf) Mon 1 Nov 04 23:18
    
Feel better, xian!
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #63 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 2 Nov 04 05:39
    
Sorry to hear you were ill - we were afraid it was something like that! 
Do get well!

We'll be blogging and posting images and videos as they come in at 
http://vidvote.org today, as well.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #64 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 2 Nov 04 07:06
    
we'll be watching you. that site is part of my "beat." i'll be
interested to see if flickr comes up with anything too.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #65 of 78: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 2 Nov 04 08:27
    
ACK! So sorry to hear you've been so sick, Christian. NOT a good way to
spend one's birthday. sheesh!
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #66 of 78: Jamais Cascio, WorldChanger (cascio) Tue 2 Nov 04 08:31
    
Now you know the power of many microbes...
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #67 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 3 Nov 04 15:10
    
We told Christian to get well first, then resume the discussion here, 
which can run as long as we like. So we'll resume when he's recovered.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #68 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 11 Nov 04 08:57
    
I'm all better (it was bronchitis but not pneumonia) and I'll get
caught up on the backlog today. I hope we can still resume the
conversation for a few more days, if only to get beyond politics at
last!
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #69 of 78: David Kline (dkline) Thu 11 Nov 04 09:56
    
Great. We'd love to keep going here.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #70 of 78: David Gans (tnf) Thu 11 Nov 04 09:57
    
Stay as long as you like!
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #71 of 78: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 12 Nov 04 15:41
    
Christian, so glad to hear you're finally feeling better!
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #72 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 16 Nov 04 19:02
    
well, it's taken me longer to get back on the stick than i thought.
still a little low energy, but i would very much like to continue this
past the realm of pure politics and activism.

here's some catching up:

Jonl asked: Christian, you quote Kos on "open source politics,"
something Adam Greenfield has also been writing about
(http://extremedemocracy.com/chapters/Chapter12-Greenfield.pdf). How
does a software licensing concept relate to poltics, and to your
thoughts about "the power of many"?

Note also that Micah Sifry wrote about this exact same topic in the
current Nation ("The Rise of Open-Source Politics -
<http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20041122&s=sifry>).

I think people are talking about two different (but related) things
when they talk about open-source politics. One is literally the
introduction of open-source software into the world of political and
electoral technology. Applications we mentioned earlier, such as
Civicspace and Advokit exemplify this approach.

Most people, however, I think are using the open-source concept as a
metaphor to really mean more "open" processes in general. More
transparency, more accountability, less secrecy and self-dealing.

Others, such as the Well's own <bluefire> point out that we're even
further from having a kind of open-source *policy* process in which the
masses are able to influence the positions and decisions of
politicians and public servants. The grassroots part of the Dean
campaign tried to get ideas moving from the fringes into the center,
but with little success, imho.

I relating it to the power of many by pointing out that something like
Firefox could only conceivably threaten Internet Explorer by emerging
from the open source Mozilla community that nurtured and improved and
bug-tested it. If Microsoft feels threatened by Linux or even by the
way that web-application-service-platform sites like Amazon and Google
run largely on open-source and open-standards technologies, perhaps
there are analogies in the world of politics in which hub-managed
command-and-control pyramids may prove vulnerable to the many eyes of
an open movement. We'll see. Metaphors are powerful but they have a way
of leaving out the tricky bits.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #73 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 16 Nov 04 19:07
    
In (54), Ari said, 

I don't think I accept the idea that "Blogs are vetted and balanced by
 other blogs". That may be a good way to find blogs with which you
might  agree, or that might be interesting reading, but the fact that
lots of people believe something or prefer something doesn't make it
true or  preferable to me. It does worry me that "all of my friends
value this"  replaces "I have some objective, or reasonably-objective
way to evaluate this."

I'd question whether external metrics of authority have ever been
objective or even reasonably objective, but I grant that "emergent
authority" is an alien and worrisome concept for those of us who grew
up with experts and encyclopedias and intellectuals and kings and such.
I think the idea that blogs are cross-checked by other blogs does not
just mean that groups of likeminded people clump together to endorse
their own realities but that contrarian and adversarial blogs challenge
the assumptions and errors in the blogs they disagree with and in so
doing create a tension or a sort of dialectic that can potentially
strengthen or make more robust the ideas and information shared online.


However, it's always contingent. Even if wikipedia continues to get
more and more accurate and correct in some areas, you won't necessarily
know if the part you're reading is flawed or was recently vandalized
or is an unchecked hoax or something. We may have to get used to the
idea of being suspicious of all information that we can't check
directly ourselves.


In (56) David Kline pointed out

If you want to see a real "echo chamber" in action, take a look at how
often major media outlets run a story just because other major media
outlets have run the same story and deemed it thereby "a story." Look
also at how often rumor, unsupported allegation, and outright
misinformation is replicated ad nauseum by major media until it becomes
conventional wisdom.


I have to agree with this. I don't think that traditional professional
publishing is in any way immune to groupthink and the promulgation of
unexamined assumptions.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #74 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 16 Nov 04 19:13
    
Thanks for the birthday wishes. They tell me life begins at 40, but a
few days after my birthday while I was sick with the pseudo-pneumonia
my celebration was cut short by the disheartening election results. In
a way I was better off in a codeine 'n' antibiotics medicated state as
everything seemed so unreal, including the repeat of false hopes
earlier in the election day.

I don't think tnf is waaay older than me. Although I'm willing to
believe 40 is young for the time being.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #75 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 16 Nov 04 19:18
    
Re Jon's last question before my "hiatus":

"Christian, Convio makes an interesting case study for technology to 
support campaigns and nonprofits using a customer relationship
management approach. Could you discuss what you learned when you talked
to Convio's CEO and looked at their approach?"

Mostly what I noticed was that it was part of the .org diaspora that
took place after the dotcom bubble crashed. Specifically that Convio
founder Vinay Baghat was volunteering at his local public tv station
and was appalled at the slips-of-paper approach they were using to
track pledges. He realized that the nonprofits often have very low
"repeat business" rates and generally don't keep good enough track of
their existing supporters, so he imported his knowledge of
customer-relationship management software and processes to develop the
equivalnet for nonprofits and activist organizations. 

Instead of tracking customers and trying to upsell them, this software
is geared toward involving supporters: yes, getting them to donate
(fundraising) but also getting them to pass along alerts and ideally
climb the involvement ladder to the point that they are taking actions
in the real world to support the mission of the organization. 

In my book I call this kind of application ARM (for "activist
relationship management") software.


Going back to the open-source question from before, Convio is
proprietary and may eventually be subject to open-source competition.
One of the articles I'm working on for Personal Democracy Forum is a
straight-up price comparison among many of the major
political-consulting / technology service providers.
  

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