Monthly Archives: March 2007

Nouveau Dragon

[fr] I've got Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 working in Parallels. Yay!

Je suis assez épatée. En relativement peu de temps, j’ai installé Parallels, Windows, et le Dragon sur mon Macbook. Je ne sais pas encore si je parviendrai à dicter dans des applications Mac facilement, mais en tout cas, c’est bon, je vais pouvoir dicter mon livre sur mon Macbook.

Avec la version cinq de Dragon, j’avais créé toute une série de raccourcis qui me permettaient d’insérer du HTML dans ce que j’écrivais. Il est clair qu’il va falloir le refaire à nouveau.

Et là, en mode « cohérence », la fenêtre Windows dans laquelle je dicte apparaît sur mon bureau juste comme une autre fenêtre OS X. Je peux copier et coller du texte entre les fenêtres. C’est déjà pas mal !

Similar Posts:

Posted in Speech Recognition | Tagged dragon, dragonnaturallyspeaking, naturallyspeaking, osx, parallels, Speech Recognition, speechrecognition, windows | 7 Comments

Disturbed About Reactions to Kathy Sierra’s Post

[fr] Comme cela avait été le cas lors de l'affaire SarkoWeb3, la blosophère s'est maintenant emparée de la triste histoire des menaces reçues par Kathy Sierra, telle une meute affamée et sans cervelle. Hypothèses présentées pour faits, coupable car non prouvé innocents, noms, déformation d'information, téléphone arabe, réactions émotionnelles trop vite bloguées et sans penser... tout y est.

Encore une fois, je suis déçue des gens.

Since I read and posted about Kathy Sierra’s latest post, and stayed up until 3am looking at blog post after blog post pop up on Technorati and Google Blogsearch, I’ve been growing increasingly uneasy about what I was reading in the blogosphere.

Like many other people I suppose, I was hit with this “tell me it ain’t so” feeling (denial!) that makes one sick in the stomach upon reading that Kathy had cancelled her ETech appearance out of fear for her safety. My heart went out to her. Of course, I felt angry at the people who had cause her such fear, and I also felt quite a bit of concern at seeing known blogger names appear in the context of this ugly affair.

And then, of course, there was the matter of getting the word out there. I blogged it (and blogged it soon — I’ll be candid about this: I realised it was breaking news, heck, I even twittered it before Arrington did!), and although I did use words like “horrible” and “unacceptable” (which are pretty strong in my dictionary, if you are familiar with my blogging habits), I refrained from repeating the names mentioned in Kathy’s post or demanding that the culprits be lynched.

One of the reasons for this is that I had to re-read some parts of Kathy’s post a couple of times to be quite certain to what extent she was reporting these people to be involved. Upon first reading, I was just shocked, and stunned, and I knew I’d read some bits a bit fast. I also knew that I had Kathy’s side of the story here, and though I have no reasons to doubt her honesty, I know that reality, what really happened, usually lies somewhere in between the different accounts of a story one can gather from the various parties involved. So I took care not to point fingers, and not to name names in a situation I had no first-hand information about, to the point of not knowing any of the actors in it personally.

In doing this, and taking these precautions, I consider that I am trying to do my job as a responsible blogger.

Unfortunately, one quick look at most of the posts coming out of Technorati or Google Blogsearch shows (still now, over 15 hours after Kathy posted) a collection of knee-jerk reactions, side-taking, verbal lynching, and rising up to the defense of noble causes. There are inaccurate facts in blog posts, conjectures presented as fact, calls to arms of various types, and catchy, often misleading, headlines. I tend to despise the mainstream press increasingly for their use of manipulative headlines, but honestly, what I see some bloggers doing here is no better.

Welcome to the blogmob.

The blogmob is nothing new, of course. My first real encounter with the mob was in May 2001, when Kaycee Nicole Swenson died (or so it seemed) and somebody dared suggest she might not have existed. The mob was mainly on MetaFilter at that time, but there were very violent reactions towards the early proponents of the “hoax” hypothesis. Finally, it was demonstrated that Kaycee was indeed a hoax. This was also my first encounter with somebody who was sick and twisted enough to make up a fictional character, Kaycee, a cancer victim, and keep her alive online for over two years, mixing lies and reality to a point barely imaginable. I — and many others — fell for it.

Much more recently, I’ve seen the larger, proper blogmob at work in two episodes I had “first-hand knowledge” about. The first, after the LeWeb3-Sarkozy debacle, when bad judgement, unclear agendas, politics and clumsy communication came together and pissed off a non-trivial number of bloggers who were attending LeWeb3. There were angry posts, there were constructive ones and those which were less, and then the blogmob came in, with hundreds of bloggers who asked for Loïc’s head on a plate based on personal, second-hand accounts of what had happened, without digging a bit to try to get to the bottom of the story. Loïc had messed up, oh yes he had, but that didn’t justify painting him flat-out evil as the blogmob did. In Francophonia it got so bad that this episode and its aftermath was (in my analysis) the death stroke for comments on Loïc’s blog, and he decided to shut them down.

The second (and last episode I’ll recount here) is when the whole blogosphere went a-buzz about how Wikipedia was going to shut down three months from now. Words spoken at LIFT’07 went through many chinese whisper (UK) / Telephone (US) filters to turn into a rather dramatic announcement, which was then relayed by just about anybody who had a blog. Read about how the misinformation spread and what the facts were.

So, what’s happening right now? The first comments I read on Kathy’s post were reactions of shock, and expressions of support. Lots of them. Over the blogosphere, people were busy getting the news out there by relaying the information on their blogs. Some (like me) shared stories. As the hours went by, I began to see trends:

  • this is awful, shocking, unacceptable
  • the guilty must be punished
  • women are oppressed, unsafe
  • the blogosphere is becoming unsafe!

Where it gets disturbing, and where really, really, I’m disappointed and think bloggers should know better, is when I read headlines or statements like this (and I’m not going to link to all these but you’ll find them easily enough):

  • “Kathy Sierra v. Chris Locke”
  • “Kathy Sierra to Stop Blogging!”
  • “Kathy Sierra hate campaign”
  • throwing around names like “psychopath” and “terrorist” to describe the people involved
  • “Personally I am disgusted with myself for buying and recommending Chris Locke’s book…” and the like
  • the assumption that there is a unique person behind the various incidents Kathy describes
  • taking for fact that Chris Locke, Jeneane Sessum, Alan Herrell or Frank Paynter are involved, directly, and in an evil way (which is taking Kathy’s post a step further than what it actually says, for the least)

In my previous post, I’ve tried to link to blog posts which actually bring some added value. Most of the others are just helping the echo chamber echo louder, at this point. Kathy’s post is (understandably) a little emotional (whether it is by design as

I’d like to end this post with a recap of what I’ve understood so far. (“What I’ve understood” means that there might be mistakes here, but I’m giving an honest account of what I managed to piece together.) I’m working under the assumption that the people involved are giving honest accounts of their side of the story, and hoping that this will not unravel like the Kaycee story did to reveal the presence of a sick, twisted liar somewhere.

Please, Blogosphere. Keep your wits. This is a messy ugly story, and oversimplications will help nobody. Holding people guilty until proven innocent doesn’t either. (Trust me, I’ve been on the receiving end of unfounded accusations because somebody didn’t hear my side of the story, and it sucks.)

The problem with bullying is that perceived meanness isn’t the same on both sides. Often, to the bully, the act is “just harsh” or “not to be taken seriously” (to what extent that is really believed, or is some kind of twisted rationalisation is not clear to me). To the bullied, however, the threats are very real, even if they were not really intended so. Bullying is also a combination of small things which add up to being intolerable. People in groups also tend to behave quite differently than what they would taken isolately, the identity of the individual tending to dissolve into the group identity. Anonymity (I’ve blogged about this many times, try a search) encourages people to not take responsibility for what they say, and therefore gives them more freedom to be mean. Has something like this happened here?

If you have something thoughtful to say, then say it. But if all you have to say has already been said out there ten times, or if you won’t take the trouble to check your sources, read carefully, calm down before blogging, avoid over-generalisations, and thus avoid feeding the already bloated echo-chamber — just go out for a walk in the sun and let the people involved sort themselves out.

The word is out there, way enough, and I trust that we’ll get to the bottom of the story in time.

Update: I’m adding new links which actually add something to this story to my first post as I find them, so check over there for updates.

Similar Posts:

Posted in Connected Life | Tagged alanherrell, Blogger musings, blogging, blogmob, Blogosphere Interest, bullying, chinesewhispers, chrislocke, deaththreats, disinformation, Essay-Like, frankpaynter, group, history, jeneanesessum, kathysierra, kaycee, kayceenicoleswenson, leweb3, lies, lift07, llm, loïclemeur, meankids, mentality, metafilter, mob, Online Culture, Psychology / Sociology, sarkoweb3, sarkozy, subjectivity, Theories on Life and the World, twitter, unclebobism, Venting, video, Vie de la blogosphère, wikipedia | 24 Comments

Death Threats in the Blogosphere

[fr] Kathy Sierra, blogueuse réputée, fait l'objet de menaces de mort (et d'autres menaces à caractères sexuel) laissées sur son blog et sur un ou deux autres blogs gérés par d'autres personnalités connues de la blogosphère anglo-saxonne. A bout, elle a annulé ses conférences prévues aujourd'hui à ETech et est enfermée chez elle. Une enquête de police est en cours.

Kathy Sierra is somebody whose blog posts I never miss, because they’re always really really good material, and very though-provoking. I was about to head to bed when I saw a new one of her pop up in Google Reader. Just a quick nice read before I go to bed, I thought.

Not so.

In her latest post, Kathy Sierra reports that she has been receiving increasingly disturbing threats (death threats, and of sexual nature), to the point that she has cancelled her appearance at ETech and has locked herself up at home.

Many, many years ago, during my first year of discovering the internet, I received an e-mail containing quite graphicly described rape threats. I received two e-mails in total. The e-mails were anonymous, but it seemed clear from the wording that the person sending them knew at least something about who I was. They were for me, not a random send.

I started suspecting all my online friends, wondering which one of them was the nasty e-mail sender. I wasn’t too worried as I had been very secretive about my name and exact location at the time, but still — it was not a nice feeling at all. A few days, later, through an abuse complaint to Hotmail and a little sleuthing on my part, I managed to find out who it was. I played dead, nothing else happened, I left it at that and life went on, with no particularly averse consequences for me.

In this case, the threats Kathy has been getting have been left in the comments of her blog, or even published on other blogs managed by known names in the blogosphere.

For the last four weeks, I’ve been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that’s not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs… blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers. People you’ve probably heard of.

Kathy, being her smart self, perfectly understands how threats like those she received do their damage.

Most of all, I now fully understand the impact of death threats. It really doesn’t make much difference whether the person intends to act on the threat… it’s the threat itself that inflicts the damage. It’s the threat that makes you question whether that “anonymous” person is as disturbed as their comments and pictures suggest.

It’s the threat that causes fear.

It’s the threat that leads you to a psychiatrist and tranquilizers just so you can sleep without repeating the endless loop of your death by:

  • throat slitting
  • hanging
  • suffocation and don’t forget the sexual part…

I have cancelled all speaking engagements.

I am afraid to leave my yard.

I will never feel the same. I will never be the same.

Unfortunately, understanding how it works is not helping her alleviate the damaging effects of those horrible threats.

Was all this intentional? Was this somebody (or a group-effect) taking “play” too far without realising they had crossed a line into (a) illegal and (b) really damaging behaviour?

I don’t know the people involved here — neither directly, nor really indirectly. I’m not sure who sides with who, who hates or despises who, or what the history is. Reading Kathy’s post gives some ideas, but no real answers. I sincerely hope the person/people behind this are found out. What’s going on here is utterly unacceptable.

And Kathy, hang in there. We want to see you back amongst us.

Selected posts on the topic (updated as comes):

Update: a little information about the background to meankids and unclebob can be found on the blog linked to in this comment (look through the February archive too).

Update, 28 March 2007: please read my second post on this topic too — Disturbed About Reactions to Kathy Sierra’s Post.

Update, 30 March 2007: for various reasons, I need to take a little distance from this whole sad affair (reasons like: not letting issues that do not concern me directly eat me up — and don’t make me say what I haven’t said with this, thanks). If I do bump into interesting links, I’ll keep adding them here, but please don’t expect this to be a complete list. It never was intended to. And it’s going to get spottier.

  • audio interview of Kathy Sierra about the whole mess
  • Kathy Sierra—When Blogs Attack — with a poll
  • Not looking for sympathy or anything by Dave Winer: Everyone played a role in this, the people who stopped blogging, the people who threatened their friends, the people who called it a gang rape, and yes indeed, the mean kids. But they’ve paid enough. It’s time to welcome them back into the blogging world, and in a few weeks, ask them to reflect on what they learned. These are all intelligent and creative people, who have acted badly. But they didn’t deserve what they got.
  • In the Matter of Kathy Sierra by Ronni Bennett
  • It’s all about Control by Shelley Powers
  • I Own my Own Words, indeed by Tara Hunt (apology re here)
  • Kathy Sierra, Meet Chris Locke. This is CNN. by Joey deVilla (Monday 6-9 Eastern)
  • Just a Few Words by Jeneane Sessum
  • Coordinated Statements on the Recent Events by Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke: Kathy Sierra and I (Chris Locke) agreed to publish these statements in advance of the story which will appear tomorrow (Monday 2 April 2007) on CNN, sometime between 6 and 9am on “CNN American Morning.” As used in the somewhat Victorian title slug, above, “coordinated” is meant to signal our joint effort to get this stuff online, not that we co-wrote the material you see here, or had any hand in prompting or editing each other’s words. We hope something new comes through in these statements, and that they will perhaps suggest more creative ways of approaching the kind of debate that has been generated around “the recent events” they relate to.

Similar Posts:

Posted in Connected Life, Stuff that doesn't fit | Tagged Anecdotes, Announcements, bloggers, blogosophere, Blogosphere Interest, blogs, Citations, deaththreats, etech, etech07, kathysierra, meankids, Offsite, threats, unclebob, unclebobism, Vie de la blogosphère | 19 Comments

BlogCamp: Multilingual Blogging Session

[fr] Mise par écrit des notes de préparation pour ma présentation hier au sujet des blogs multilingues, lors du BlogCamp à Zürich. En deux mots: il faut des gens pour faire le pont entre les îles linguistiques sur internet, et la façon dont sont conçus nos outils n'encourage pas les gens à être multingues sur leurs blogs. C'est pourtant à mon avis la formule la plus viable pour avoir de bons ponts.

I presented a session about multilingual blogging at BlogCamp yesterday in Zürich. Thanks to all of you who attended (particularly as I was competing with Xing’s Nicolas Berg!) and wrote about the session (Bruno of course, Sarah, Sandra, Maira, Jens-Rainer, Waltraut, Jokerine, Antoine…let me know if I need to add you here), and to Greg in particular for filming the session.

Although I’m rather used to giving talks, this was the first time my audience was a bloggy-geek crowd, so it was particularly exciting for me. I prepared my talk on the train between Lausanne and Bern, and unfortunately prepared way too many notes (I’m used to talking with next to no notes), so I got a bit confused at times during my presentation — and, of course, left stuff out. Here’s a rough transcript of what I prepared. Oh, and don’t forget to look at this photo of my cat Bagha from time to time to get the whole “experience”.

Steph giving her talk. Photo by Henning

Talk notes

In the beginning there was the Big Bang. Space, time and matter came to exist. (Physicists in the audience, please forgive me for this.) We know it might end with a Big Crunch. Internet looks a bit like this Big Crunch, because it gets rid of space. With the right link to click on, the right URI, anybody can be anywhere at any time.

However, we often perceive the internet as a kind of “space”, or at least as having some sort of organisation or structure that we tend to translate into spatial terms or sensations. One way in which the internet is organised (and if you’re a good 2.0 person you’re acutely aware of this) is communities.

Communities are like gravity wells: people tend to stay “in” them. It very easy to be completely oblivious to what is going on in other communities. Barrier to entry: culture. Language is part of a culture, and even worse, it’s the vehicle for communication.

What is going on in the other languageospheres? I know almost nothing of what’s going on in the German-speaking blogosphere. The borders on the internet are linguistic. How do we travel? There is no digital equivalent of walking around town in a foreign country without understanding a word people say. Note: cultural divides are a general problem — I’m trying to focus here on one of the components of the cultural divide: language.

Who speaks more than one language? In the audience, (almost) everyone. This is doubly not surprising:

  • Switzerland is a multilingual country
  • this is the “online” crowd (cosmopolitan, highly educated, English-speaking — though English is not a national language here)

Two episodes that made me aware of how strong language barriers can be online, and how important it is to encourage people to bridge the language barriers:

  • launching Pompage.net because at the time of the browser upgrade initiative I realised that many French-speaking people didn’t have access to all the material that was available in Anglophonia, because they just didn’t understand English well enough;
  • the very different feelings bloggers had about Loïc Le Meur when he first started being active in the blogosphere, depending on if they were French- or English-speaking, particularly around the time of the Ublog story.

A few questions I asked the audience (mini-survey):

  • who reads blogs in more than one language? (nearly everyone)
  • who blogs in more than one language?
  • who has different blogs for different languages?
  • who has one blog with translated content in both languages? (two courageous people)
  • who has one blog with posts in various languages, mixed? (half a dozen people if my memory serves me right)
  • who feels they act as a bridge between languages?

So, let’s have a look at a few multilingual blogging issues (from the perspective of a biased bilingual person). Despite the large number of people out there who are comfortable writing in more than one language (and the even larger number who are more or less comfortable reading in more than one language), and the importance of bridging cultural/linguistic gaps, blogging tools still assume you are going to be blogging in one language (even though it is now accepted that this language may not be English).

What strategies are there for using more than one language on a blog, or being a good bridge? Concentrate first on strategy and then worry about technical issues. Usage is our best hope to make tool development evolve, here.

A. Two (or more) separate blogs

  • not truly “multilingual blogging”, it’s “monolingual blogging” twice
  • caters well to monolingual audiences
  • not so hot for multilingual audiences: must follow multiple blogs, with unpredictable duplication of content

B. Total translation

  • a lot of work! goes against the “low activation energy for publiction” thing that makes blogging work (=> less blogging)
  • good for multilingual and monolingual audiences
  • technical issues with non-monolingual page (a web page is assumed to be in a single language…)

C. Machine translation!

  • getting rid of the “effort” that makes B. fail as a large-scale solution, but retaining the benefiits!
  • problem: machine translation sucks
  • too imprecise, we don’t want more misunderstanding

D. A single blog, more than one language (my solution)

  • easy for the blogger, who just chooses the language to blog in depending on mood, bridge requirements, etc.
  • good for the right multilingual audience
  • technical issues with non-monolingual pages
  • how do you take care of monolingual audiences? provide a summary in the non-post language

“Monolingual” audiences are often not 100% monolingual. If the number of people who are perfectly comfortable writing in more than one language is indeed rather small, many people have some “understanding” skills in languages other than their mother tongue. Important to reach out to these skills.

For example, I’ve studied German at school, but I’m not comfortable enough with it to read German-language blogs. However, if I know that a particular post is going to be really interesting to me, I might go through the trouble of reading it, maybe with the help of some machine translation, or by asking a German-speaking friend.

A summary of the post in the language it is not written in can help the reader decide if it’s worth the trouble. Writing in a simple language will help non-native speakers understand. Making sure the number of typos and grammar mistakes are minimal will help machine translation be helpful. And machine translation, though it is often comical, can help one get the gist of what the post is about.

Even if the reader is totally helpless with the language at hand, the summary will help him know what he’s missing. Less frustrating. And if it’s too frustrating, then might give motivation to hunt down a native speaker or do what’s required to understand what the post is about.

Other bridging ideas:

  • translation networks (translate a post or two a month from other bloggers in the network, into your native language)
  • translation portal (“news of the world” with editorial and translation work done) — check out Blogamundo

Problem I see: bloggers aren’t translators. Bloggers like writing about their own ideas, they’re creative people. Translating is boring — and a difficult task.

Some more techy thoughts:

  • use the lang= attribute, particularly when mixing languages on a web page (and maybe someday tools will start parsing that)
  • CSS selectors to make different languages look different (FR=pink, EN=blue for example)
  • language needs to be a post (or even post element) attribute in blogging tools
  • WordPress plugins: language picker Polyglot and Basic Bilingual
  • excerpt in another language: what status in RSS/atom? Part of the post content or not? Can RSS/atom deal with more than one language in a feed, or do they assume “monolingualism”?
  • indicating the language of the destination page a link points to

Extra reading

The nice thing about having a blog is that you can dive back into time and watch your thinking evolve or take place. Here is a collection of posts which gravitate around language issues (in a “multilingual” sense). The Languages/Linguistics category is a bit wider than that, however.

Blogging in more than one language:

About the importance of language, etc.:

Similar Posts:

Posted in Language Geekiness, Wordpress | Tagged atom, bilingual, blog, blogcamp, blogcampswitzerland, Blogger musings, blogging, bridgeblogging, communities, Culture, Essay-Like, Events, internet, languages, Languages / Linguistics, linguistic, multilingual, notes, présentation, rss, session, stephaniebooth, talk, Weblog Technology, Wordpress, zürich | 28 Comments

Brainstorm/Discussion — The Future of Blogging Technology (Gabor Cselle)

[fr] Le futur du blog... discussion.

blogcamp.ch notes, may be inaccurate

with Gabor Cselle

Barcamp: talk about stuff. Where is blogging technology going to go? What are the trends?

Future of blogging conversation/brainstorm

Blogging software is about adding features, growing ecosystem (technorati, digg etc. steph-note: god am I sick of those popularity things), pseudo-blogging things (Twitter etc. steph-note: I don’t agree with Twitter being called a “microblogging” platform.)

Who writes for who? (Twitter: an individual writing for a small bunch of friends.)

Getting paid for blogging? Ads… or indirect revenue. Micropayments (indiekarma — looks interesting).

steph-note: this is going to be more about my ideas following the discussion more than an account of what is said

Where I see blogging technology going: ajaxy flickr-like interfaces (the death of the admin panel for posting and editing), smarter privacy management (à la Facebook: blog tool knows who you are and shows you stuff you are allowed to see based on your relationship as defined by the blog author), of course, smarter language stuff. Maybe smart internal linking: post something, and have the blog tool dig through old posts, offer you possible related material to link to (yes, there are already related posts plugins).

Wiki and blog technology will not merge, because blogs are about the person behind it, and wikis are about diluting authorship and crowd-voice.

Similar Posts:

Posted in Stuff that doesn't fit | Tagged blogcampswitzerland, Blogger musings, blogging, conversation, development, discussion, Events, future, gaborcselle, ideas | 1 Comment

Dannie Jost — Blogging is not about blogging

[fr] Bloguer, c'est une histoire d'expression personnelle. Une discussion lors de la rencontre BlogCamp à Zürich.

Notes from blogcamp.ch presentation. May be inaccurate.

(steph-note: it’s a discussion, so a bit hard for me to blog — particularly as I’m participating.)

Dannie Jost -- Blogging is not about blogging

Why do people blog? Different reasons. Asking the audience. Blogging isn’t about blogging, it’s about expressing yourself. It’s about personal expression.

Blogging is about communication.

It’s a evolution (from a communication point of view, the biggest since the printing press): instantaneous access to a global readership. Being heard is a different bag of beans.

Another element of revolution: community. A single blogger with hot news means nothing and achieves nothing, before the network comes into play to make the news float to the top.

Blogging: technology (easy!!) and culture (more complicated) steph-note: exactly what I try to explain to my clients…

Shift of power. For Dannie, it hasn’t really happened yet, except some small cases. cf. phase transformations in chem/physics. My comment: the shift has already started happening, it’s not because it hasn’t impacted events the mainstream press reports on much that it doesn’t mean it’s having much impact.

Ideas//crystals.

Self-organisation.

Similar Posts:

Posted in Stuff that doesn't fit | Tagged blogcampswitzerland, Blogger musings, blogging, community, conversation, danniejost, discussion, Events, expression, Media, power, revolution, talk, Technology | 5 Comments

BlogCamp: Bruno Giussani — Bondy Blog Story

[fr] Bruno Giussani nous raconte l'histoire du Bondy Blog. Naissance d'un média qui est devenu national, mais de la perspective des banlieues.

notes from blogcamp.ch presentation. may be inaccurate.

Bruno Giussani: special projects for l’Hebdo => involved in Bondy Blog thing.

Bruno Giussani speaking about Bondy Blog

The Story

Riots for 3 weeks. 9000 cars burned. 2921 people arrested. Outskirts (suburbs).

Special reporters flocking there from everywhere, and then disappeared (as soon as the curve of violence started going down).

Suburbs: journalists stay in a nice hotel in Paris, eat there, go out reporting during the day, then back to nice hotel. Don’t actually stay there.

L’Hebdo did things differently: chose Bondy, one town in France, to do old-fashioned reporting. They sent their 20 reporters there (weekly rotations). Set up an office in the local football warehouse thing, slept there, with a DSL connection.

Objectives:

  • write about the situation in that city for the magazine
  • blog between magazine issues

What happened?

  • journalists used to a weekly rythm started reporting on stuff on the blog they would never have talked about. “Smaller things” which are part of Real Life and never ends up in the press. Or big things (“Les filles de Bondy parlent”) which fired national controversy.
  • journalists would come back completely enthusiastic (journalistic freedom recovered) when they left because they “had to”

Everybody wrote about this story. Old media. Curious about what is going on in the blogosphere but don’t know how to handle it. And suddenly this small magazine does something and everybody wants to copy/learn/understand. (Here, being “Swiss” had an advantage.)

Once the newsroom ran out of journalists, what to do? Successful blog, tons of comments… can’t let it die. Instead of sending people again, reached out to young people in Bondy to see if they would take over.

Brought them all to Lausanne for a week of blog/journalism training, then were given the password to the blog and were sent back. Midway between classical blogging and journalism. Have a weekly meeting, etc.

About a dozen bloggers now, covering their life. For the first time, this 50’000 person town has a local publication. Telling their story in their own voice.

Started doing reverse reporting (sending their people to rich neighbourhoods in Paris, for example).

Financed by turning part of the content of the first year of blogging into a book.

Important consequence: the banlieue had a voice at the beginning of the presidential compaign! Dec. 15, Bondy Blog guy asks Sarkozy for his phone number at a press conference, and actually gets it!

Sponsored by Yahoo France now. Have been building a network of correspondants in 15 different banlieues in France. A national media from the banlieue perspective!

Journalism in the P2P world is not about antagonism (old vs. new, professionals vs. amateurs, paying vs. free, controlled vs. open) but it’s hybrid, being complementary.

Discussion

Roughly 6000 visitors a day when they switched to Yahoo.

Background: where did the idea come from? came up during a news meeting, but the year before they had a kind of blogcamp for the newsroom.

New projects in this direction? L’Hebdo launched 8 blogs since then. Has influenced how the journal thinks.

Bruno is a little more radical about how magazines should do things (steph-note: hope I understood this right): shouldn’t have a traditional website (but journalists should blog, of course, and put the magazine content online for free), but should invest heavily in this kind of operation, including training. (Throwing blogs at people doesn’t work, we’re starting to know it.) Big problem in the newsroom: publication brand vs. personal (journalist) brand.

Bondy blog (network) become a sort of training ground for banlieue people to become recognised as contributors, and Bruno guesses that probably some of them will be hired by “old media” once the elections are over.

Bruno: l’Hebdo never planned for all that. It just happened, organically.

Similar Posts:

Posted in Stuff that doesn't fit | Tagged banlieues, blogcampswitzerland, blogging, bondyblog, brunogiussani, Events, france, journalism, lhebdo, Media, notes, politics, Politics / World News, présentation, talk | 6 Comments

Introducing Fresh Lime Soda with Episode 3 of the Suw+Steph Podcast

[fr] Notre podcast anglophone (à Suw Charman et moi-même) a maintenant son propre nom de domaine (histoire de fêter son baptême et l'épisode 3): Fresh Lime Soda.

As twittered yesterday, Suw and I are very proud to announce the christening of our previously unnamed podcast: Fresh Lime Soda. As you can see, it has a domain and blog of its own (hosted by WordPress.com), on which you can read the shownotes and of course listen to (or download) the podcast itself:

You’ll certainly want to subscribe using the RSS/atom (FeedBurner) feed, possibly subscribe in iTunes directly so that you never miss an episode!

Similar Posts:

Posted in Connected Life, My projects, Social Media and the Web, Technology | Tagged Announcements, conversation, freshlimesoda, freshlimesoda3, Internet / Computers, Offsite, Online Culture, Photos/Videos/Audio Online, Podcast, Social Software, stephaniebooth, suwcharman, talk, Technology, twitter | Leave a comment

Promote Comments Plugin Idea

[fr] Une idée de plugin que m'a soufflée Bruno Giussani: pouvoir "promouvoir" un commentaire et l'intégrer sans peine au contenu du billet.

A few days before LIFT’07, I had dinner with Bruno Giussani, who now happens to be one of the lucky people to live in beautiful Lausanne.

Amongst other things, he told of his frustrations with current blogging software (he’s using TypePad) and how the perfect tool didn’t seem to exist. I guess one simple reason this is so is that “perfect” means different things to different people.

I use WordPress, like it, and generally recommend it around me, because to my mind it’s the most complete and user-friendly platform out there, and because the plugin architecture allows for nearly any functionality to be added to it if somebody takes the trouble to code it.

Bruno shared with me one shortcoming of today’s blogging technology that he and Robert Scoble were talking about at LIFT last year (so this is not a “new” idea). Here is a write-up of this idea (with his permission of course), with a few implementation and interface details, in the hope that someone out there will pick it up and write the plugin. (I’ve heard enough people recently asking for plugin ideas to work their mad coding skillz on…)

Here’s the basic idea: there are often valuable contributions in the comments of a post, and we would like a way to be able to effortlessly “promote” a comment (or part of it) into the body of a post. This allows the blogger to easily act as an editor for the conversations taking place on his blog.

All this, of course, would have to be nice and ajaxy. Here’s how I could imagine it happening.

First of all, the plugin recognises that the author of the post is logged in, and adds a “promote” link next to each comment, in addition to the “edit” link. If that link is clicked, the comment text is automagically appended to the post content in a blockquote, complete with author name and link to original comment.

If part of the comment is selected when the promote link/button is clicked, then only that excerpt is quoted in the post.

Instead of the dreaded confirmation pop-up, a nice confirmation message should appear alongside the promoted comment in the post body, with an undo link.

From a back-end perspective, the promote link “knows” which post it belongs to (check the ID of the comment <div> it’s in). It shouldn’t be very difficult to grab author name, author url, comment permalink, format them all nicely (blockquotes, credit, microformats), edit the post, and add it to the end of the content with some introductory text (like “promoted comment”) and an “edited” stamp with time/date of promotion.

Possible problems:

  • if part of a comment is selected and the wrong “promote” link is clicked, what behaviour would be expected? Probably an error message of some sort, or even better (but probably trickier to implement), a choice: promote the whole post (based on link clicked) or the excerpt (based on selection)?
  • should promoted comments really be added into the post content, or stored as post meta data?

Taking this a step futher: wouldn’t it be nice to let the blogger introduce the promoted comment, or write a few lines after it? In this case, pressing the promote button/link would bring up a pop-up where more text can be added, with the option of displaying it before or after the quoted text.

And even another step futher (but I’m not sure it’s an interesting one): how about allowing the blogger to make a new post out of the promoted comment, instead of just appending it to the current post? Would this be interesting?

Additional thoughts on this basic idea are welcome (Bruno, let me know if I forgot something, it’s been a while since our conversation). If you’re a plugin author and you feel upto it, go for it (just make sure you give Bruno credit for the idea). I’ll be happy to try it out.

Similar Posts:

Posted in Social Media and the Web, Wordpress | Tagged blogging, commenting, comments, contribution, development, editing, editor, idea, plugin, promote, promotion, Social Software, Weblog Technology, Wordpress | 6 Comments

MindMeister: Google Docs-Style Mind Mapping

[fr] MindMeister est un logiciel de mind-mapping (comme FreeMind ou Mind Manager) en ligne, à la Google Docs. J'ai des invitations si vous désirez essayer. On peut collaborer sur des documents à plusieurs et les publier sur le web.

A quickie before I head out to write more hopefully useful stuff for teenagers: my friend Gabriel sent me an invitation to MindMeister, an online mind-mapping service. Actually, I almost spammed it, but luckily had a closer look just in time.

Sign up is nice and easy, I was able to import a mindmap from Freemind in three effortless clicks, and the whole interface is very Google Docs-like. If you like Google Docs and have use for mind mapping (you should!), then you’ll probably like MindMeister. It’s still a little green, of course, but trust me — this is screaming for an acquisition :-)

You can of course collaborate on mind maps and share them with the public (I just did that with the very ugly brainstorming related to my reboot talk proposal). They autosave, so you don’t have to worry about losing your work (like I almost did — again! — with this blog post). You can also export to Mind Manager or FreeMind, of course (guys, you need to make your permalinks more visible in the blog; I had to go through the RSS feed to find that one).

Interested? It’s a closed beta, but I have invites. Just ask!

Similar Posts:

Tagged freemind, google, googledocs, mindmanager, mindmapping, mindmaps, mindmeister, review, service, software, Software and Tools | 9 Comments