Multilingual Proposals (Reboot, BlogCamp) [en]

The famous conference [reboot]( will take place in Copenhagen on 31.05-01.06. [I’ll be attending](

I’m also going to make a proposal for a talk (as the [(un)conference format]( encourages this). I’m being a bit shy about [putting it up on the reboot site]( before I’m happy with the title and description, so for the moment it’s a Google Doc tentatively titled While We Wait For The Babel Fish.

Those of you who know me won’t be very surprised to learn that it’s about multilingualism online. By “multilingualism” online, I’m not only talking about [localisation]( or [stupid default languages](, but mainly about what happens when one wants to get off the various monolingual islands out there and *[use more than one language](* in one place, for example. How can we help multiple languages coexist in a given space or community, as they do at times in the offline world? Can the tools we have help make this easier?

Another thing that interests me is this “all or nothing” assumption about knowing languages (when you have to check boxes): I wouldn’t check a box saying I “know” Italian, but I can understand some amount of it when it’s written, if it’s necessary. What are we capable of doing with that kind of information? [Read the draft]( if you want more.

I’m also proposing a session at Saturday’s [BlogCamp in Zürich]( which will be around similar issues, but which will focus precisely on the topic of [multilingual blogging](

Feedback on these ideas (and anything here) is most welcome. Is this interesting?

**Update 19.03.2007: [proposal is now on the reboot site!]( Don’t hesitate to leave comments there.**

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Lara Srivastava [en]

Lara Srivastava

Mobile phone everywhere in our life.

We’re at the beginning of the “digital revolution”.

Much of human relationships is now mediated by some form of technology. We spend more time consuming digital media than any other media.

Acceleration: what on earth are the next ten years going to bring?

Social networks: added value to the individual, especially when the social network is visible by others.

Connectedness and the marginalisation of space and time in our interactions.

We keep our social contexts separate because of space and time. With technology, we get to merge them.


Shared experiences create friendship and intimacy. *steph-note: great minds meet*

We don’t live by scientific methods or statistics.

Ambiguity of communication: open-endedness (e.g. who ends the conversation, bye-bye ping-pong)

Need to re-create ourselves online. => “who am I?” Shadows of ourselves everywhere we go. Painting ourselves online. We fragment our identity online. Where do we find our “true” identity in there?

Managing online identity is a bigger and bigger challenge (not talking about privacy or legal issues here). What design to facilitate this?

“Vivons heureux, vivons connectés!”

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Sugata Mitra: Outdoctrination (Hole in the Wall) [en]

*As always, these are just my notes and I may have misunderstood stuff. And as always too, check out [Bruno’s writeup](*

Build an argument for family eduction. 4 ideas.

Sugata Mitra

#### Remoteness of quality of education

– as you go further from the centre, you can… ?
– socially/economically remote from the rest of the society

Guess: schools in remote areas don’t have good enough teachers, and if they do, they can’t retain them.

Test taken by students, plotted against remoteness from Delhi. More remote = worse, but did not correlate with infrastructure (?).

Pilots for educational technology are usually the best schools => usually perceived as over-hyped and under-performant. ET should reach underpriviledged schools first, and not the other way around. Improvements at the bottom of the scale are proportionally higher at the bottom of the scale.

So… alternative primary education where there are no schools, not good enough, no teachers, teachers not good enough (“can be replaced by a machine”!!)

#### Children and self-organisation

The Hole in the Wall experiment. 1999-2004 (HIWEL project)

The Kalkaji Experiment. Hole in the wall of the office and pretty powerful computer with touchpad and internet connection, altavista etc in it. Within eight hours, one of the kids was teaching a younger one how to browse.

Second: Shivpuri. Children in groups can self-instruct themselves to use a computer and the internet.

Madantusi experiment, 2000-2001 (village near Lucknow). No internet, just CDs. 3 months later: “we need a faster processer and better mouse.” They were using 200 english words they had “learnt” from the computer.

=> language is not a barrier, it could even teach them some of the language.

Many other experiments in other places. *steph-note: lots of footage shown*

6-13-year-olds can self-instruct, irrespective of background, in *groups*

300 children become computer literate in 3 months (windows, browsing, chatting, e-mail, painting, games, educational material, music downloads, playing video), with one computer. Usually, one at the computer, 2-3 around advising, often wrongly… but they learn.

Letting it happen. [Hole in the Wall site.](

#### Children and Values

Example of confusion: sometimes it is necessary to tell lies: 50% yes, 50% no.

Natural self-organising systems: galaxies, molecules, cells, etc. traffic jams, stock markets, society…

– remoteness affects the quality of education
– educational technology should be introduced into remote areas first
– values are acquired, doctrine and dogma are imposed
– learning is a self-organising system

A digital, automatic, fault-tolerant, minimally invasive, connected, and self-organised educational technology. To address remoteness, values, and violence.

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Some Notes of Florence Devouard's LIFT Talk (Wikipedia) [en]

***My unedited notes of the talk, may be inaccurate.*** Check out [Bruno’s notes]( too, they look more complete.

What is the big picture of wikipedia?

Florence Devouard, Wikipedia

– First barrier to remove: languages. 250 languages. Some of these languages have no encyclopedia outside wikipedia.
– Free of charge (to read, to re-use)
– Created by you… her — problem: not everybody has a computer

In the top10 most visited websites in the world.

Collect local, collect global.

L’Encyclopédie de Diderot et D’Alembert: had a political purpose, changed society, and played a role in the French Revolution.


– unlimited space
– no restraints to information sharing

NPOV (neutral point of view): informing rather than manipulating.

Empowering people. People recognised as sources of information. (! panicked people e-mailing “I don’t know what happened, I clicked on something, and I can edit the website!” — not a bug, it’s a features)

Wikipedia: a priori trust. Open the gates rather than close them. This is *your* website, *your* responsability.

Gift economy.

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Tomorrow Will LIFT You Up! [en]

[fr] Demain commence la conférence LIFT à Genève. Deux questions capitales: est-ce que la conférence sera retransmise en direct, et y a-t-il un backchannel officiel?

Yes, [the LIFT conference]( will be taking place in Geneva from tomorrow Wednesday until Friday. If you’re there and want to meet up, [drop me a line]( — and if you’re not there, you can [drool over the program]( and vow that you’ll be there next year.

[Kevin](, who is taking that vow as we speak, asked me two important questions:

– will the talks be streamed? (this, by the way, is the [only situation streaming really makes sense](
– what is the backchannel? (just in case, we’ve joined #lift07 on [freenode](

**Update:** I’ve just [announced the backchannel]( on the collaborative [LIFT Flow blog](

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Le Web 3: Recap [en]

[fr] Résumé (sans les liens, cliquez dans le corps du billet):

Positif: atmosphère et gens sympas, bon réseautage, excellente nourriture, voir des anciens amis et en faire de nouveaux, Hans Rosling (et danah bien sûr), bon choix du lieu de conférence, en-cas dans le hall, et un compliment concernant ma brève prestation sur scène.

Négatif: mauvais wifi, fête trop bruyante, récupération politique (même si je pense que Loïc pèche plus par excès d'enthousiasme pas toujours bien placé, et par manque de "sensibilité clients", comme lors de l'épisode Ublog), niveau un peu "grand public" des présentations, pas de fête de clôture.

En somme, contente d'être venue malgré les déceptions, mais pas certaine que je remettrai ça la prochaine fois.

Right, in telegraphic style, here’s a wrap-up of how my [LeWeb3]( went.

**Positive:** overall nice atmosphere and people, good networking, excellent food, saw old friends again and made new ones, was blown away (like many others) by [Hans Rosling’s presentation]( (both by the numbers he gave and the [software]( I liked the venue, thought the sizing was right (small enough to encourage people to communicate, without being cramped). Break food/drinks were nice (even if there was no [bottled water]( Somebody said [something nice about my brief panel contribution]( Impressed at Loïc organising something this big in so little time.

**Negative:** [bad wifi](, [noisy party](, [political takeover]( (though I do believe that Loïc messes up more by excess enthusiasm and some lacking in customer care skills — like with [Ublog]( — than because he’s a “bad guy”), not being in the target audience (topics were a bit too general for me), and not having a good-bye party or some chance to say good-bye to people (people left little by little and I hardly got to see anybody before they left).

Overall, I’m glad I came, but I’m not sure I’d come to this event again.

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Michael Hampton is My Hero of the Day [en]

[fr] En principe, les problèmes de serveur sont résolus. Retour à la normale aussi vite que j'arrive à transférer les données avec la connection wifi très approximative que nous avons ici.

[Michael Hampton, also known as io_error]( just saved my life today by solving the [encoding problem on my new hosting]( It seems something went wrong when I imported my SQL dumps into the new database. Solving the encoding issue seems to have solved the “can log into admin but can’t do anything” WordPress issue (if someone can explain why, I’d be interested).

And [danah]( is my heroine of the day, because after a morning of [politicians]( and [WiFi fighting](, it was nice to hear an [interesting talk](

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Donnant-donnant [en]

J’avais l’intention de faire court lorsque j’ai commencé ce billet. Du coup, étalant la rédaction sur plus de 24 heures… il s’est allongé. Mes excuses.

Jeudi, invitée de dernière minute un peu muette à la table ronde qui a suivi la présentation d'[Alban Martin]( sur l'[Âge de Peer]( lors du [dernier First de l’année de Rézonance]( (respirez!), j’ai enfin saisi la réponse à une réflexion qu’on m’a faite concernant la co-création et qui avait fini par me mettre mal à l’aise.

Les entreprises qui impliquent les clients dans la création de produits, qui comptent sur le bouche à oreilles ou les blogs pour faire leur marketing… ne sont-elles pas, en quelque sorte, en train de profiter de la bonne volonté des passionnés que nous sommes? Lorsqu’un service web sauce 2.0 encourage une communauté d’utilisateurs à devenir également une communauté de développeurs, et à produire plugins et extensions, ou lorsqu’il compte sur la “communauté” pour répondre aux questions dans un forum de d’aide, n’est-il pas en fait en train de **réduire ses coûts sur le dos des pauvres naïfs** qui donnent gratuitement de leur temps et de leurs compétences?

**Réponse courte: non.**

Réponse plus longue? C’est ce genre de dynamique qui permet aux utilisateurs de profiter de nombreux **services gratuits ou quasi-gratuits**. Si on peut aujourd’hui lancer un produit avec un budget marketing frisant le zéro absolu, parce qu’il est assez génial pour que les utilisateurs prennent eux-même en charge de faire sa publicité, cela réduit les coûts, certes, mais cette réduction est répercutée sur le prix que doit payer l’utilisateur: souvent rien.

On peut en quelque sorte dire qu’**au lieu de payer en argent un service, l’utilisateur paie en donnant un peu de son temps** pour recommander le service à des amis (réduisant ainsi la somme d’argent nécessaire à la publicité), ou bien en contribuant un peu de code qui profitera ensuite à tous.

J’aime bien cette façon de voir les choses: j’aime [GMail](, par exemple, qui fournit à mon sens un service e-mail extrêmement performant pour rien du tout (en cash). Cela ne me dérange pas de “payer” en recommandant GMail à mon entourage, ou en permettant à Google d’afficher parfois des pubs dans l’interface web. Personellement, j’aime recommander les produits que j’apprécie à mon entourage. On pourrait considérer que d’une certaine façon, Google me paie pour faire ça, et qu’en retour, je leur reverse d’argent pour utiliser leur service.

On se déplacerait presque vers une **économie du troc**, vous ne trouvez pas? L’avantage que j’y vois, comme ça un peu à froid, c’est que le “travail” que je fais pour permettre l’existence d’un service gratuit, je ne le ressens pas comme du travail. Finalement, le service devient le résultat d’un effort communautaire, avec un minimum de structure salariée pour servir de base.

Je crois qu’on commence à avoir tellement l’habitude du gratuit sur le web qu’on oublie ce qui le rend possible. Du coup, dès que quelque chose devient “un peu payant” ou se “commercialise” parce qu’il y a des gens qui gagnent un salaire, on pense que toute gratuité devrait disparaître — de la part des utilisateurs.

J’ai beaucoup entendu ce genre de réaction autour de [WordPress]( WordPress ([le meilleur outil de blog]( de la planète en ce moment, à mon avis) est avant tout un outil open source et libre, résultat du travail d’une communauté de développeurs et d’utilisateurs. Lorsque [Matt]( a fondé [Automattic](, une entreprise qui a des employés et qui fournit des services payants tournant autour de WordPress, certains ont commencé à dire “pah! les pigeons qui contribuent à WordPress sont simplement en train d’enrichir Automattic!”

Quand, dans le cadre de [mon travail avec coComment](, j’ai demandé à un utilisateur qui critiquait notre façon de faire ce que lui suggérait à la place, il m’a envoyé sur les roses en me disant que [coComment]( n’avait pas à tenter d’extorquer du public des informations que lui faisait payer à ses clients.

Ce qui échappe à ces gens, c’est que les petites contributions volontaires sont entre autres ce qui permet de leur fournir gratuitement un service qui vaut plus que rien du tout.


– [billet d’Ollie, qui était dans le public](

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See All The Blogtalk Talks [en]

[fr] Allez voir les enregistrements des conférences données à Blogtalk. En ligne presque en temps réel.

Via [Suw](, [Blogtalk talks are being put online almost in real-time]( Go look. Good job, guys. Extra brownie points for you 🙂

No brownie points, though, for not giving a mike to people who asks questions form the public. You can understand a microphone-less person asking a question *at* you, but not *away* from you. Next time, maybe?

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Give Us Time to Digest Talks [en]

[fr] Le format des conférences (particulièrement celles avec un public de blogueurs, donc producteurs actifs de contenu) doit changer. On nous fait écouter des choses intéressantes, il faut nous laisser le temps d'en faire quelque chose. Après deux présentations, j'ai de quoi bloguer ou discuter au moins une heure! En rajouter deux de plus par-dessus, même avec une pause d'une demi-heure, ne fait qu'accélérer la grillade de cervelle.

Talking with a couple of people during the SHiFT closing party, we agreed that the conference format has to change. If you’re putting a bunch of people in a room, particularly bloggy people who are used to producing content and thinking on keyboards, and you’re hopefully providing them with thought-provoking thoughts and speakers, you need to give them time to digest the talks.

After two talks, I’ve got enough stuff in my head to blog for an hour or talk for the same length of time with the people who were in the same room. After four talks in a row, even with a thirty-minute break in between, my brain is fried and I just stall.

That’s why I’m really excited to see how the [LIFT’07 concept]( works out. One day with lots of small talks (select those you want to see, skip the rest), and another day with keynotes and huge chunks of time around them.

Looking at [what awaits me tomorrow](, I’m feeling a tad apprehensive…

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