Incident diplomatique [fr]

On m’a demandé récemment de retirer un nom de quelques billets, ce que j’ai bien entendu fait. Prétexte à  une petite réflexion sur la façon de contrôler son image sur internet.

[en] I was asked to remove a name from some of my posts. First of all, this led me to realize that even though I name names pretty happily when the people in question are "online people" and happy about the exposure, I wouldn't dream of mentioning my friends' or collegues' names in my blog.

In this case, the person was a journalist, and I unwittingly treated her as an "online person" (because her name appears in print, and online, and it's a "normal thing" that it does), when in fact, her sensitivity about online presence is more that of an "offline person".

A pretty clumsy side-effect of my mentioning her was that my site came up first in Google results for her name -- which was clearly not my intention, but which was embarrassing to her. You should read Anil Dash's Privacy Through Identity Control if you're interested in the topic.

Il y a quelque temps, mon blog a vécu son premier véritable incident diplomatique. Oh, rien de bien grave (et tout est rentré dans l’ordre sans que cela ne coûte trop à  quiconque), mais tout ça m’a donné à  réfléchir.

J’ai l’habitude de fréquenter des gens “en ligne” qui (avouons-le) sont généralement très contents de voir apparaître leur nom sur le toile, ou pousser des liens vers leur site. Du coup, quand je peux nommer quelqu’un, je nomme la personne. Et je lie. J’aime bien citer mes sources et les personnes impliquées, voyez-vous.

Par contre, j’ai bien conscience que mes fréquentations “hors ligne” ne verraient pas forcément d’un très bon oeil que je mentionne leur nom dans mon blog. Il ne me viendrait d’ailleurs pas à  l’idée de donner le nom complet d’une de mes amies, ou de mes collègues.

En somme, il y a les gens qui ont déjà  une présence en ligne, dont je vais volontiers citer le nom lorsqu’il est question d’eux dans ce blog, et les personnes hors ligne, que je traite avec plus de discrétion.

L’incident diplomatique en question? Une personne à  qui j’ai eu affaire lors de mes divers interviews m’a demandé de bien vouloir retirer son nom des billets où je la mentionnais. En effet, mon site apparaissait en premier dans Google lorsque l’on faisait une recherche sur son nom, et ce n’était pas forcément l’image qu’elle désirait donner d’elle. (Je précise que mon billet ne contenait rien de négatif, bien au contraire; ce n’est pas difficile pour qui le désire de retrouver de qui il s’agit, mais je vous prierais de bien vouloir respecter le désir de discrétion de cette personne.)

Il est vrai que vu la visibilité dont jouit ce site, il n’est pas difficile de le faire sortir parmi les premiers resultats pour un terme que je mentionne. Alors quand je mentionne le nom de quelqu’un, c’est un peu comme si je débarquais avec mon gros rouleau compresseur qui oblitère toute autre présence en ligne sur son passage.

Je me suis sentie un peu bête. J’avais voulu lui faire plaisir (voire éventuellement ensuite lui rendre service, en mettant un lien vers sa page ‘carte de visite en ligne’), et en fait, j’ai obtenu l’effet contraire. Quand j’y repense à  froid, je me rends compte que j’ai traité cette personne comme un personne “en ligne”, parce qu’elle appartenait au milieu du journalisme. En fait, j’aurais dû la traiter comme un personne “hors ligne” et rester discrète sur son identité. C’est vrai que ça ne va pas de soit, son nom apparaissant bien sûr dans les articles de presse qui se retrouvent en ligne.

Cette histoire, à  mon avis, met bien en avant l’importance pour un professionnel (et finalement, toute personne) d’avoir un site à  son nom, dans lequel il met en avant les aspects de sa personne et de son travail qu’il désire. Il sera alors assez naturel que l’on fasse des liens vers ce site-là  lorsque l’on parle de la personne, ce qui garantit qu’il sortira en bonne place dans les moteurs de recherche lorsque l’on cherchera son nom. Ainsi, chacun peut contrôler (toujours dans une certaine mesure) la couleur de sa présence en ligne. Le blog est bien entendu un format idéal et pratique pour ce genre de chose, surtout si l’on désire donner à  sa clientèle des “nouvelles du front”. Un simple site composé de quelques pages statiques peut cependant aussi suffire.

A lire à  ce sujet, un article de Anil Dash datant de 2002 (déjà  plus de trois ans!): Privacy Through Identity Control.

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Teens, Schools, and Blogs [en]

Teenagers are getting in trouble in France for saying insulting things about their teachers on their blogs.

[fr] Un article dans Le Monde et un passage sur France 3 pour les ados virés de l'école à  cause de leur skyblog. Cet article fait un peu le tour de la mauvaise presse de Skyblog, et de la problèmatique générale des ados et des blogs telle que je la vois.

As I mentioned yesterday, the French press is talking about the fact that more and more school kids are being chucked out of school for having insulted their teachers on their skyblogs. After the article in Libération on Tuesday, today we have another (very similar) article in Le Monde, and coverage on French national TV midday news.

No big surprise for me. First of all, despite employing three full-time moderators (my sources will remain confidential), Skyblog’s prime interest remains money, and is in no way trying to provide a service where teenagers can be constructive, learn, and be protected.

This isn’t the first nasty blogging story they are involved with: a few months ago, two teenagers reportedly commited suicide after having announced it on their skyblog. A few weeks later, when the documentary for Mise au Point was being prepared, the journalist was investigating an episode in Geneva where racist statements on skyblogs leading to real fights made a youth centre decide to forbid access to the platform from their computers. Skyblog refused to comment, when he contacted them to enquire about their moderation policy. As I stated in my interview after that, moderation is technically possible. You only need to decide to attribute sufficient ressources to do it properly, which means it must be pretty high up on your company’s priority list. 🙂

The two incidents I’ve had first-hand accounts of in local schools involved skyblogs, too.

The second reason I’m not too surprised this kind of issue is coming up is that teens are left to explore the internet and blogging on their own, for the most part. Parents don’t know much about what is going on online, though they probably do know about e-mails and search engines. I remember an article (unavailable now, thanks to paying archives) which stated that many consumers of child porn are in fact teenagers. Teachers don’t know much more. Of course, schools do the usualy prevention stuff (don’t talk to strangers, don’t give your name, beware of porn and pedophiles), which is good — but it is not sufficient.

Teenagers are content providers on the internet. They are putting loads of their photographs online. (I’ve noticed that the representation teens around here have of a weblog is in fact a “skyblog”, meaning an online photo album where friends can comment.) They are talking about themselves. For them, blogs are an extension of recess talks, text messages, and MSN messenger.

As I’ve said before and will keep saying, blogging is good, teens need to “learn” it, but they need guidance — and for that, they need to come in contact with adults who know what they are talking about. And we need people amongst those designing the “internet prevention” modules who are experienced bloggers.

The nature of the internet is tricky when it comes to privacy (I mean, we as adults have a hard enough time dealing with some of these issues!) and teens tend to consider that what they put online is personal, in a sense that school shouldn’t meddle with it. They don’t realise they can be held accountable by their school or justice for silly things they write on the net, even when it is done outside school hours.

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Réponse à  Luc-Olivier Erard (La Côte) [fr]

Un article relativement peu flatteur pour le projet de weblogs scolaires que j’ai initié avec mes classes est paru ce matin dans La Côte. Voici ce que j’ai à  en dire.

Jusqu’à  maintenant, je n’ai pas eu à  me plaindre de mes contacts avec les journalistes. J’ai eu affaire à  des professionnels respectueux et soucieux de faire au mieux leur travail d’information.

L’article au sujet des weblogs de Saint-Prex paru ce matin dans La Côte et signé Luc-Olivier Erard semble en revanche tomber quelque peu dans le piège du sensationnalisme. Sans vouloir accorder une importance démesurée à  cet article, je tiens à  clarifier certains points, face à  ce qui m’apparaît friser la désinformation.

Je ne réponds pas ici en tant que porte-parole de mon établissement ou du département, mais à  titre personnel; d’une part parce que je suis mise en cause (j’ai particulièrement apprécié le montage qui illustre l’article, pour lequel on a soigneusement inséré un morceau de saisie d’écran en bas à  droite qui ne joue clairement aucun rôle à  part rendre mon nom visible), et d’autre part parce qu’il est question d’un sujet (et d’un projet) que je connais bien, et que je ne peux pas laisser passer un article pareil sans faire entendre un autre son de cloche.

Pas interviewée

Précisons tout d’abord que je n’ai pas eu le plaisir de parler avec Luc-Olivier Erard. Celui-ci, comme nombre d’autres personnes, m’a envoyé un e-mail dès la fin de l’émission Mise au Point. J’ai tardé à  lui répondre (comme à  tous ceux d’entre vous qui m’avez écrit) car il se trouve que j’ai une vie en-dehors d’Internet, qui consiste entre autres à  donner des cours aux élèves de St.-Prex (la rentrée scolaire était lundi).

M. Erard, si vous me lisez, veuillez donc accepter mes excuses de ne pas vous avoir répondu plus tôt. Je l’ai fait mardi soir (mon directeur m’ayant informé dans la journée que vous sembliez très anxieux de me parler) — mais j’ignorais à  ce moment que votre article était déjà  sous presse. Je déplore cependant qu’il ait paru plus important de publier rapidement cet article que d’attendre de pouvoir me parler directement.

Les weblogs des élèves suscitent l’inquiétude!

Ce thème est repris au fil de l’article (surtout dans les titres et les légendes de photos). En ce qui me concerne, j’attends encore de savoir qui est inquiet. Le journaliste, très certainement. Je ne vais pas démonter mot par mot cette rhétorique alarmiste, mais je relèverai tout de même une phrase: Si son utilité n’est pas clairement justifiée, l’activité proposée à  Saint-Prex, une parmi d’autres, devra s’arrêter. C’est une affirmation un peu gratuite. Qui a dit ça? Quand? Dans quel contexte? D’après ce que m’a dit mon directeur ce matin, cela n’a rien de vrai. A notre connaissance, le projet weblogs ne semble pas menacé par une quelconque censure — hormis celle que nous imposons au spam de commentaires.

Le spam de commentaires

Parlons-en, justement, du spam de commentaires — car c’est bien de ça qu’il s’agit ici.

Chacun sait que lorsqu’on possède une adresse e-mail, on reçoit des messages publicitaires non sollicités. Du spam: pornographique, pharmaceutique, financier… tout y passe. Dit-on pour autant que l’e-mail est un outil dangereux dont on doit protéger nos enfants?

Les weblogs, comme les adresses e-mail, sont les cibles des spammeurs. Ceux-ci écrivent des programmes qui vont automatiquement soumettre des commentaires abusifs à  tous les weblogs qui se trouvent sur leur chemin. Ces commentaires ne passent même pas par le formulaire qu’utilisent les êtres humains qui désirent laisser un message sur un blog — ils s’attaquent directement à  la partie de l’outil de weblogging qui insère les commentaires dans la base de données.

Le spam de commentaires est donc un fléau au même titre que le spam d’e-mails. En l’occurence, les weblogs de Saint-Prex ne sont nullement visés en tant que tels. Ils sont, comme la grande majorité des weblogs que l’on peut trouver sur internet, les victimes d’une énorme opération de marketing. La cible principale de cette opération de marketing, c’est le moteur de recherche Google, et non pas les personnes qui tomberaient en passant sur ces commentaires parfois peu ragoûtants: en indexant les weblogs spammés, Google indexe également les liens vers les sites des spammeurs, et fait grimper ceux-ci en tête des résultats pour les recherches en rapport.

Lutte contre le spam

Sommes-nous impuissants? Non. Il existe des outils qui filtrent les commentaires, tout comme il existe maintenant des filtres à  spam pour les adresses e-mail. Les outils ne sont bien entendu jamais parfaits, et doivent sans cesse être mis à  jour. Certains spams passent entre les gouttes.

Qu’avons-nous fait pour les weblogs des élèves? Tout d’abord, précisons que durant la période “active” du projet (la première période), nous n’avons pas été confrontés au spam de commentaires.

M. Erard s’émeut donc dans son article du fait que nos élèves soient confrontés au spam de commentaires, mais il omet de préciser que les élèves ne se retrouvent plus à  travailler sur ces weblogs chaque semaine. De plus, ces weblogs sont très peu visités. Un bref coup d’oeil sur les statistiques de visite pour le mois de janvier montre entre 50 et 70 visites par jour pour l’ensemble des weblogs (une bonne trentaine). En regardant de plus près, les weblogs d’élèves les plus visités comptent deux ou trois visiteurs par jour, y compris les moteurs de recherche. Pas de quoi en faire un fromage.

Lorsqu’on a attiré mon attention sur le fait que nous étions victimes de spam, j’ai pris un certain nombre de mesures pour minimiser l’impact de ces attaques. L’article de M. Erard laisse entendre que les weblogs de Saint-Prex sont de véritables nids à  spam — la réalité est bien moins dramatique.

Les blogs de Saint-Prex tournant avec une installation modifiée de WordPress, je ne peux malheureusement pas utiliser les meilleurs outils anti-spam disponibles aujourd’hui. Je peux par contre lancer à  la main une opération automatique de “nettoyage” de commentaires (un filtre basé sur des mots-clés), ce que je fais régulièrement. Certains passent entre les gouttes. Je n’imaginais honnêtement pas que l’on puisse faire un foin pareil pour quelques spams de commentaires sur des blogs inactifs et presque pas visités (sinon, j’aurais passé quelques nuits à  modifier l’installation pour pouvoir utiliser des solutions anti-spam plus musclées).

Le volet “scolaire” de mon activité sur le web.

Stéphanie Booth, spécialiste des «blogues» romands, n’a pas souhaité aborder le volet «scolaire» de son activité sur le web. Il existe pourtant.

Quel effet ça fait, une entrée en matière pareille? Comme je l’ai expliqué aux journalistes concernés (qui l’ont d’ailleurs très bien compris), j’ai en effet demandé que l’on laisse de côté mon activité professionnelle lors des interviews.

La presse s’est intéressée à  mon activité de blogueuse et à  mes compétences en la matière. C’est une activité que j’effectue à  titre personnel. Ma vie professionnelle est une autre histoire. Pour commencer, j’ai un devoir de réserve vis-à -vis de mon travail. Je ne suis porte-parole officiel de rien du tout, et je n’ai pas l’intention de donner dans la presse des détails sur le travail que je fais avec mes élèves — que ce soit sur internet ou durant mes cours de maths.

Cela n’a rien à  voir avec la nature des activités, leur succès, ou la présence de spams de commentaires dans les weblogs de mes élèves. C’est une question de principe. De même que je ne raconte pas dans mon blog mes expériences en classe avec mes élèves, ou les opinions que je puis avoir sur l’enseignement vaudois ou le collège dans lequel je travaille, de même, je ne le ferai pas dans la presse. J’espère que cela clarifie la raison pour laquelle je n’ai pas souhaité aborder le volet ‘scolaire’ de [mon] activité sur le web lors de mon interview pour Mise au Point, ni pour aucune autre interview.

Et les parents…?

Luc-Olivier Erard termine son premier paragraphe ainsi:

[L’activité] organisée depuis le début de l’année scolaire, qui consiste à  fournir à  chaque élève de deux classes de huitième son weblog (ou blogue) risque de ne pas plaire aux parents vaudois.

Précisons d’entrée que les parents sont parfaitement au courant de ce projet. Avant de donner aux élèves les “clés” de leur weblog, nous avons passé plusieurs périodes à  réfléchir avec les élèves sur l’implication d’une publication sur internet. Les parents ont co-signé la charte de publication avec leurs enfants. Nous n’avons à  ce jour reçu aucun écho négatif au sujet de ce projet.

Il y a eu quelques infractions à  la charte en début de projet, et nous avons réagi en conséquence.

Un grand nombre d’élèves ont également des Skyblogs, et des adresses e-mail. Il est certes malheureux qu’ils aient pu être confrontés au “côté sombre” d’internet dans le cadre d’une activité scolaire, mais faut-il (comme le laisserait presque entendre l’article) réglementer de façon encore plus draconnienne les activités scolaires sur internet? Le rôle de l’école n’est-il pas justement d’outiller les élèves pour qu’ils puissent affronter le monde?

En guise de conclusion…

…et pour ceux qui n’auraient pas la patience de tout lire.

L’article de M. Luc-Olivier Erard peint une image déformée et très alarmiste de la situation. Je n’ai pas pris la peine de relever toutes les inexactitudes de cet article, ni les raccourcis et sous-entendus un peu douteux que l’on retrouve au fil des lignes.

Le projet de weblogs de Saint-Prex n’a rien de bien extraordinaire, et les quelques spams de commentaires qu’a pu rencontrer M. Erard, non plus (bien que ce soit regrettable que les spammeurs de commentaires n’épargnent pas les projets pédagogiques). Ce projet a été mené avec l’accord de la direction, et en ayant informé les parents. Ce n’est de loin pas la première fois que des élèves publient des choses sur internet dans le Canton de Vaud, et ce n’est certainement pas la dernière.

Si on désirait être constructifs plutôt que sensationnels, je pense qu’il y a deux problématiques en rapport avec le contenu de cet article qui mériteraient un traitement plus en profondeur:

  • le spam de commentaires en général, et les mesures que l’on peut prendre pour minimiser leur impact sur les projets pédagogiques qui s’y exposent;
  • la prévention faite dans les écoles au sujet d’internet aborde-t-elle assez les activités privées des élèves sur internet? Je sens souvent un grand décalage entre ce que les enfants font sur internet à  la maison, et ce qu’ils font à  l’école. En particulier, internet est de plus en plus un lieu d’expression et de relations humaines, et non pas une simple encyclopédie.

Concernant ce dernier point, nous sommes à  Saint-Prex en réflexion constante au sujet de nos activités “internautiques” avec les élèves, et (je crois être en mesure de le dire) assez en avance dans ce domaine. Par exemple, nous avons en ce début d’année modifié la charte internet générale de l’école pour inclure les activités de publication.

Je suis un peu désolée de voir encore une fois la presse peindre une image sinistre et dangereuse d’internet. Je crois que le grand public est déjà  assez méfiant concernant ce média, et que l’on a plutôt besoin de mettre en avant tout ce qu’il a de positif et de constructif. Les ados l’utilisent, que ce soit avec ou sans nous. Peut-être pouvons nous leur montrer qu’il y a sur internet autre chose que Skyblog et MSN?

D’autres ont réagi à  l’article dans La Côte.

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Hosted Blog Platform Test Write-Up [en]

I’ve tested 13 free platforms, and this is a write-up on the experiment. The ones I preferred were Blogsome, running Wordpress, and Mon-Blog (in French), running DotClear.

Edit 26.12.2006: For those of you trying to choose a free blogging platform, I’ve now been recommending WordPress.com without hesitation for some time now.

As the people I hang out with on Freenode are painfully aware of by now, I’ve been on a blog platform testing binge. In total, 13 free* platforms tested. Here is a quick list of my test blogs — you’ll find detailed comments about each platform on the test blogs themselves, and a general overview below. The ones I preferred were Blogsome and Mon-Blog.

The platforms were tested with FireFox 1.0 on OSX, Javascript enabled, set to block pop-ups and force links opening a new window to open in the initial tab/window (we’ll see this setting seems to have caused problems with many visual editors).

My main interest was to have a peek at what existed (personal curiosity) and see if it was possible to claim the blogs on Technorati. What follows is an account of my personal user experience on these different platforms. It is not the result of a battery of systematic “benchmarking tests”, though here are some of the points I paid attention to:

  1. was it easy to create an account, or did I have to fight?
  2. how easy was it for me to sign back in, afterwards?
  3. overall, did I find the features I expect from a weblog? (note how subjective that is)
  4. how did writing a post go?
  5. could I add images?
  6. could I change the template?
  7. could I add links to my other test blogs? (linkroll management)
  8. could I claim the blog as mine at Technorati?
  9. did I bump into availability problems?

Lets get the last point over with first. I succeeded in claiming blogs on all platforms except three: NRJ blogs, Skyblog, and LiveJournal. The reason for that is that the last two platforms limit links in the blogroll to weblogs using the same platform. This prevented me from using the blogroll to add the Technorati code necessary to claiming the weblog.

Note, by the way, that I am talking about the free version of LiveJournal, as the paid version does not have this limitation. NRJ blogs, by far the worst platform amongst those tested, does not permit linking at all (even in posts!) I’m not even sure if it deserves to be called a “blogging platform”.

As far as linkrolls or blogrolls are concerned, ViaBloga gets top marks for their “almost-automatic linkrolling”. You can simply type in the URL of the blog/site you want to add, and it retrieves title and rss feed, and also creates a screenshot and thumbnail of the site. It really makes you want to add links to your sidebar. One-click blogrolling, if you like. Otherwise, most link management systems are pretty standard.

Some, like MSN Spaces, make you click “Add Link” between each links, instead of systematically presenting you with a form allowing you to add a link each time you go in link management. This is one of the minor but irritating usability problem which plague MSN Spaces. There are major ones too, but I won’t list them too (no paragraph breaks for me, login problems, timeout problems, clunky interface, ugly permalinks, horrible markup) — they are detailed on my test MSN Space.

Visual editors are neat when they work, but they are a great pain when they do not work. Because of my browser settings, I failed adding links to my posts at ViaBloga, for example. I also failed to add photographs at CanalBlog, HautEtFort, and 20six because of this. BlogSpot is clear enough about the fact you need an external service like Flickr if you want photos on your blog, and both LiveJournal and U-blog seem to fail the photo test for various reasons.

Both Skyblog and NRJ blogs are very limited blogging services, the latter being a very pale imitation of the former. Skyblog focuses on making it easy for teens to put photos on the web with brief comments, and, despite many other shortcomings (no permalinks, interface issues, server overload at peak times), I’m forced to admit it does it pretty well — which partly explains its success (it’s the main French language blog platform in blog numbers). The other services passed the photo test with more or less ease (don’t forget I’m a geek, so uploading a photo first, copying the URL and inserting it into a post isn’t an issue for me — it could be for some).

At some point, I had trouble connecting to the following services (or timeouts): Skyblog, MSN Spaces, and 20six (I can’t remember any others, but my memory might be failing me. NRJ blogs distinguishes itself by refusing to publish certain posts, or waiting a day or two before being so.

Now, before I get lost in random comments, I’ll give you a quick low-down on each of the solutions tested, as well as links to other people who have recently reviewed some of them.

Blogsome
  • Pros: WordPress, very easy to sign up
  • Cons: might need to be a bit of a techie at times

Being an avid and enthusiastic WordPress user, the idea of a hosted WordPress-powered blogging platform was very exciting to me. No bad surprises as I already knew the interface (I’m biased, of course), and no major bugs that couldn’t be addressed after posting about them in the forum. I didn’t try the visual editor there, but I assume it will make it more newbie-friendly. Definitely the platform I recommend for the moment.

MSN Spaces
  • Pros: none
  • Cons: way too beta (buggy)

After Roland Tanglao, Robert Scoble, and a dirty word test at Boing Boing, let me add my two cents by saying I am unenthusiastic about MSN Spaces. It’s still way too rough around the edges. Not usable as far as I’m concerned.

LiveJournal
  • Pros: community, well-established
  • Cons: lots of settings, limitations of free accounts (no Technorati claim possible)

Well, LiveJournal is LiveJournal, and I know that to get a good idea of what it can do you need the paid version. My first impression was that it seemed to have lots of options in the admin part (a bit confusing), but other than that, it was pretty easy to get going and posting. Google will point out to you many more complete reviews of LiveJournal, so I’ll stop here. My main point was, however, to see if I could claim a free LiveJournal as my blog at Technorati, and that was not possible (short of adding the code via JavaScript in the head of the page, but honestly, I wouldn’t want to go that far for my test.)

BlogSpot
  • Pros: well-established, nice admin interface
  • Cons: lack of categories, trackbacks, and image hosting

No big surprise here. I used Blogger for years (though not BlogSpot), and I liked the interface I found during my test a lot. They should wake up and get categories and trackbacks though. We’ll be in 2005 in less than 3 weeks. A good, solid option for people who can live without categories, trackbacks, and hosted photographs.

ViaBloga*
  • Pros: great link management, wiki-like features, active development
  • Cons: some usability issues and minor bugs; not free

ViaBloga has many good features. The “configurable blocs” system (invented by Stéphane for Joueb.com), which allows you to easily move about elements of your page, is just great (once you’ve figured it out). The platform has real wiki-like capability via keywords, and “cross-links”, which work like a kind of automatic trackbacking system. On the shortcomings side, I would say that although the features are great, the usability and user-friendliness of the administration aspect, which is a little confusing, could still be improved. I’m not a beginner, and it took me quite some time to figure out a certain number of things (and I know Stéphane and Delphine, so it’s easy for me to get direct help). And no, it’s not just because I’m “used” to other systems — I should still be able to figure things out easily.

Joueb
  • Pros: well-established, community
  • Cons: community (!), some usability problems (cf. ViaBloga)

Joueb is ViaBloga’s community-oriented little sister. The first French language hosted blogging platform seemed to me a little more kludgy than ViaBloga, but there is a happy community there, and Stéphane is an active developper, always ready for feedback and making improvements to his babies. If you’re looking for a French weblogging platform with a strong community, I’d say this is a good choice.

Skyblog
  • Pros: great if all you want is upload your phone photos, spit out a comment, and allow people to comment (though Flickr does it better)
  • Cons: no permalinks or trackbacks, limited server availability, teen-sms-talk and link-whoring comments

I remember when Skyblog was launched, the francoblogosphere was boiling over in horror at this kind of bastardized blogging solution where teens posted pics of their friends and commented in sms-speak. (Sorry, can’t find any posts right now, will add links later if I do.) As I said, Skyblog does not do much, but it makes publishing photos and short texts easy, and it’s pretty successfully targeted at a certain audience. My pupils have Skyblogs and they are obviously all the rage. Lots of photos, hardly any text, and comments abound which either say “ur 2 kool”, “u suck”, or “com visit my sky http://somecoolnick.sykblog.com/”. Not very interesting as a blogging platform, as far as I’m concerned, but obviously successful.

NRJ blogs
Edit 18.12.04: it seems confirmed that NRJ blogs hasn’t launched yet, and Google caught them by surprise.

  • Pros: none
  • Cons: sucks (I mean, some posts don’t even get posted, and finding your blog URL demands a thorough investigation)

I’ll say it loud and clear, NRJ blogs suck, and as a pretty obvious consequence they aren’t taking off really well: less than 50 blogs created since they launched (and NRJ is a major popular radio!) However, I can’t find a link on their home page, so there is a possibility this was a preliminary soft launch. In any case, I’m getting my few days of fame as an NRJ blog star. Neuro, Mr_Peer, and Kwyxz also tried NRJ blogs and were all but impressed. See their posts or my test blog for detailed complaints.

CanalBlog
  • Pros: has the usual set of features you expect from a blog
  • Cons: admin interface can feel a little rude at times

CanalBlog was a pleasant surprise. The admin interface takes over your browser, but it works pretty well and it’s user friendly enough in a “MS-Office-lookalike” way. The layouts you can choose from are clean, and they have comments and trackbacks. They have ads, though. I’d say they are a viable platform (er… a viable choice of platform).

HautEtFort
  • Pros: nice admin interface
  • Cons: no trackbacks

Too bad they don’t have trackbacks! I like what I’ve seen of the admin interface, nice and clean and uncluttered. As many other platforms do, they force me to go through the home page to log in (which I dislike), but honestly, like CanalBlog (and maybe more, if it wasn’t for the lack of trackbacks), I’d say they are an honest French language blogging platform.

20six
  • Pros: has the set of features you expect from a blog
  • Cons: ugly, cluttered admin interface, server downtime

I really didn’t like 20six. I find their layouts ugly, the admin interface is hell, and their server was unavailable for hours at one point when I was about to do my photo upload test. Even though they know what trackbacks are, I wouldn’t recommend them (go CanalBlog instead).

U-blog
  • Pros: community, features more or less ok
  • Cons: probably doomed

Well, I’ve spoken a lot about U-blog already, but more in a blogo-political context. When there weren’t so many French language blogging platforms around, U-blog used to be my recommendation. On trying it now, I can’t help saying that it feels a little broken, or abandoned. I was faced with an error when trying to upload a picture, and some of the links in the admin section tell you that this or that feature is only available with the paid version. Given the platform doesn’t seem in active development anymore, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Mon-Blog
  • Pros: DotClear (clean, beautiful, all functionalities)
  • Cons: launched three days ago

Now this, ladies and gentlemen, was a last-minute and very pleasant surprise. Mon-Blog is based on the weblog engine DotClear, which I have long held in high regard. For the first time, I’ve had a chance to see the DotClear admin interface, and let me tell you, it’s as beautiful as the themes they provide to dress your weblog in. Nothing really missing feature-wise, though it seems templates won’t really be customisable at Mon-Blog for the moment. The service has just launched and some creases need ironing out, but the forums and the developer are reactive. Just go for it. This is clearly my first choice for a French blogging platform.

I hope this will have been of interest to some. Thanks for your attention, and I’m glad to be over with the testing!

Edit 16:20: I’ve just add quick pros/cons bullet points (thanks to acrobat for the suggestion and the proof-reading).

Edit 13.12.04: ViaBloga was included in this survey although it is not a free platform. It is free for non-profit organisations, however. The mistake is mine — being an early tester, I was offered six months free, and in my mind had not switched ViaBloga to the “paying platforms” category. See my comment and Stéphane’s on the subject.

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U-Blog, Six Apart, and Their Angry Bloggers [en]

This very long post is, for the first time in English, a pretty complete account of what has been going on with U-blog and Loïc Le Meur in the French blogosphere for some time now. With the acquisition of Ublog by Six Apart, these problems are bound to take another dimension for the English-speaking blogosphere.

[fr] Ce très long billet expose en anglais l'histoire de U-blog et des problèmes s'y rapportant. J'ai déjà écrit à ce sujet en français (lire également les commentaires) -- pour une fois que la "barrière linguistique" empêche les anglophones de savoir certaines choses, plutôt que le contraire!

So, why on earth are U-bloggers so angry?

I’m often concerned that the language divide makes non-English-speaking people miss out on a whole lot of interesting stuff. These past few days, I’ve been concerned that the language divide may be preventing English-speaking people from knowing about certain things. U-bloggers are angry, and they also have the sympathy of others in the franco-blogosphere, but all that is happening in French.

How aware is Six Apart that they have a bunch of angry french customers, who were encouraged to sign up for a paying version before the end of last year under promise of new features, which weren’t developed and seemingly never will? Edit 06.01.05: see note.

Let’s rewind a bit, shall we? I always think that history explains a lot. Many of the dates here are taken from Laurent’s short history of the franco-blogosphere, a work in progress. Other information comes from my regular trips around the blogosphere and my conversations with people — in particularly, here, with Stéphane, the creator of the U-blog weblogging platform. This is the story to the best of my knowledge. If there are any factual mistakes, I’ll be glad to correct them.

In November 2002, Stéphane Le Solliec starts working on a blogging platform he calls Meta-blog. A few months later, in December, U-blog (the new name for the platform) already has a few hundreds of users.

The interface is good, U-blog is pretty zippy, and it has a great community. Also, it’s French. Setting aside any primal xenophobia or anti-americanism, a great product designed in your language by a fellow countryman is not the same thing as another great product translated and adapted from English. (Ask somebody who lives in a country where most of the important stuff is “imported” from the German-speaking part…) And let’s face it, one does like to support a local product, whether one is French, Swiss, or American. I actually considered U-blog the best hosted solution for French-speakers, at some point, and recommended it to a few friends, who started weblogs. Joueb.com is a native French weblogging platform which has been around for far longer than U-blog, but for some reason it isn’t quite as popular.

About a year later, Stéphane is thinking about abandoning the platform. He’s doing it on his free time, he has a baby, and U-blog takes up a lot of time. He stalls development, and stops allowing the creation of new free blogs. (It will again be possible to create free blogs a few weeks later.) Existing free blogs remain in place, but lose visibility (pinging and home page) compared to paying blogs. (Paying U-blog customers pay 1€ per month.)

Around that time, Loïc, whose interest in weblogs has been sparked by meeting Joi at the World Economic Forum, and who has unsuccessfully approached the founder of Joueb.com, Stéphane Gigandet (yes! another Stéphane!), gets in touch with Stéphane Le Solliec in September (2003). As a result, he acquires the platform and user-base, and founds the company Ublog.com. Loïc really wants Stéphane to stay on board, and he does, before leaving a couple of months later (company-life isn’t really his cup of tea).

Loïc does a great job getting the French press (and later, politicians) interested in weblogs. He calls up journalists, educates them, and before long Loïc, fondateur de Ublog regularly appears in articles about weblogging. Inevitably, he starts appearing as “the guy who introduced weblogs in France”, and the expression “founder of Ublog” entertains a confusion between the blogging platform and the company (“founder” being at times replaced by “creator”). Loïc founded the company, but he in no way created the blogging platform U-blog.

You can imagine that the U-bloggers, who already weren’t very excited about having been “bought” (particularly by a guy who had the bad taste to start blogging in English), didn’t really like seeing Loïc shine so bright and Stéphane slowly fade into oblivion. Some long-standing French-speaking webloggers external to U-blog will start keeping a suspicious eye on this newcomer that so many are talking about, and who seems to be (God forbid!) making weblogs into a business (complete with press pack).

End October, when Stéphane announces the changes at Ublog following the association with Loïc, the following structure is presented (as an aside, the fact that this page seems to have been taken down doesn’t make Ublog look good. If it’s a mistake, they should put it back up again):

Free U-blog
The basic offer, with an advertising banner.
U-blog Plus
The paying offer, with a few more bells and whistles than the free one (ping, home page listing) and lots of exciting new features (for 4€ per month instead of the actual 1€)
U-blog Pro
More advanced, with own domain name, multi-author, etc… to be defined

In a smart move, existing U-bloggers were given the chance to sign up for the second offer for 1€ instead of 4€ for the coming year, starting January 1st (date at which the new tariff would become active). It sounded attractive, and quite a few went for it. The future seemed bright, with promise of dynamic future development, despite the complaints about the increase in pricing (but which did not impact existing users that much).

During the next months, some new features are introduced. More are announced.

In March, Six Apart and Ublog SA sign an exclusive representation agreement in Europe. An announcement is made in the U-blog newsletter. April 29th, TypePad arrives on U-blog. The official Ublog weblog will publish another four or five brief posts related to TypePad before going quiet.

One can wonder: what sense does it make for a blogging platform like U-blog to sign an agreement with another, similar, hosted blogging platform like TypePad? Was the U-blog platform not good enough? Will development be stalled on the “old” platform, will it be abandoned? Overall, U-bloggers are worried and unhappy (I could add more, but those are two good starting-points and seem to sum it up pretty well). They are now offered three possibilities (as often, what is said in the comments is much more interesting than the post itself):

Free U-blog
The basic offer, same as before.
U-blog Plus
The paying offer for those who already have it, same as before, but no new features.
TypePad
A more advanced platform, where the active development will take place. Approx. 15€, but discount prices for current U-bloggers.

In short, all new development efforts seem to be going towards TypePad, and U-blog Plus will stop evolving, unlike what had been promised end of October. Reactions are aggressive (we all know that end-users are not kind when they complain). When U-bloggers ask about the new features that had been promised to those of them with paying accounts, they are told that the features are on TypePad. Loïc, who has already ruffled a few feathers by demanding that a popular blogger remove a post about him, under threat of lawsuit, does not distinguish himself in the area of good customer relations. (In particular, his comment regarding the contents of Aurora’s weblog (bondage and S&M), in the middle of a thread about U-blog and TypePad, didn’t look very good.) U-bloggers (particularly the paying ones) feel a bit cheated.

There is no question for me that Loïc is being given a harder time than he deserves, but it is pretty clear that he is not doing a very good job communicating with his unhappy customers.

TypePad.fr does not seem to be a howling success. I have heard complaints of people who find it slow (slower than U-blog, in particular) and not intuitive. Jean-Luc Raymond, the blogger who runs MediaTIC, publishes a critical post about TypePad.fr. Now, JLR isn’t the blogger I respect the most. He doesn’t always verify his sources, and has been known to remove embarrassing comments and posts with little ceremony. However, if his article on TypePad is over the top (as I suspect it might), it would in my opinion deserve more precise refutation than this dismissive comment of Loïc’s.

So, what is going on today? Basically, a continuation of what was already going wrong. Now that Six Apart has bought Ublog, the U-blog platform and communitydefinitely seem doomed.

No official announcement of the transaction has been made on the U-blog site (as I mentioned, the official “corporate” weblog is dead). Loïc’s answer to my post raising the point is that U-bloggers who want information can contact him on his blog. Worse, in my opinion, Loïc withheld the announcement on his blog until it was published by the media. So in the franco-blogosphere, we learnt about it through the press rather than through Loïc’s weblog (the de facto official source of information for U-blog, as the company site has not been communicating anything these last months).

Aurora goes to war, and other U-bloggers are following suit. One can disapprove of their virulence, but calling them “Aurora’s fan-club” (in the comments to my post) does not get anybody anywhere, and mocking Aurora’s sexual preferences in response to her criticisms is distasteful, and unbecoming of the Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle-East and Executive VP of Six Apart.

Loïc may have a squeaky-clean image in the anglo-blogosphere, but it is far from being the case in the franco-blogosphere, particularly when you start digging around in comment threads. I find it especially disturbing that there seems to be a discrepancy in attitude between Loïc’s discourse on his weblog and his comments on other people’s weblogs.

I personally do not think Loïc is a bad person, or has bad intentions. He’s interested in “the business side of weblogs” (and in that we differ), and that of course will make him unsympathetic to some, but I do believe he is genuinely interested in what he’s doing. However, I think he does not understand his customers very well, and does not communicate with them well either. His ambition as a businessman, excited by the challenge of managing an American company, leader in its domain, does at times seem to overshadow his concern about his end-users well-being.

This has been a long post. If you’ve read it, thank you. If you’ve just skimmed it, let me briefly come back on my main points:

  • U-bloggers have been promised features for their pay-version, which will not come.
  • The acquisition of Ublog by Six Apart seems to point to a near death of the old blogging platform, and more dramatically for its users, of the very strong community built around it. (Typepad doesn’t really have this “community” thing to it.)
  • Ublog (and now, Six Apart Europe) is demonstrating pretty poor communication with its unhappy users

Update, 24.07.04: a brief update after some comments I’ve received about this article.

  • I have now learnt that Six Apart did know about the problems at Ublog (since before the acquisition).
  • Although I considered it a possibility that they might not know, my main motivation for writing this article was that there was more to the Ublog story than what the English blogosphere in general was getting.
  • Of course, not all U-bloggers are unhappy. We’re talking about a bunch of very vocal and very angry people, not about the whole community. But in my opinion, the fact they are a minority does not mean they should not be taken seriously.

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Cours de maths-base [fr]

Avec la suppression des “sections” en VSB, l’enseignant en maths se retrouve à  devoir gérer jusqu’à  la fin de la scolarité obligatoire des classes passablement hétérogènes quant à  leur facilité dans cette branche. Un commentaire sur mon expérience.

[en] In canton Vaud, the school organisation has changed a lot during these last years, resulting in more heterogenous classes. I talk about my experience teaching maths in classes where you have "maths-specialists" and "language-specialists" (who are often less at ease with maths) in the same classes.

Mon premier “challenge” d’enseignante, lors de mes remplacements, cela a été les cours de “maths-base” — à  savoir les cours de maths donnés à  la classe entière, sans faire intervenir les différents choix d’options spécifiques qu’ont fait les élèves. En effet, on trouve maintenant dans une même classe de VSB aussi bien des latinistes, des scientifiques, que des élèves ayant choisi comme option spécifique l’italien (“langues modernes”) ou l’économie.

Ces élèves suivent en commun les cours d’allemand, d’anglais, de français, de maths, d’histoire (etc.) et se séparent pour suivre les quatre (cinq) heures de cours hebdomadaires consacrées à  leur option spécifique: l’italien, le latin, l’économie, ou des maths supplémentaires. Les cours “maths-option” couvrent des domaines qui ne sont pas abordés par le cours maths-base. Ainsi, les élèves de maths-option ne se trouvent pas favorisés lors de ceux-ci.

Mais, il y a un mais. Nous ne sommes pas tous égaux devant les maths. Si je crois fermement que chacun est capable de comprendre et maitriser les mathématiques enseignés au collège (si on fait preuve de patience et de compétence pédagogique, et qu’il y a assez de temps à  disposition — ce qui n’est en général pas le cas), il me parait cependant évident que certaines personnes comprennent plus vite que d’autres. Au risque de tomber dans le cliché (mais en étant consciente que ceci est une généralisation, à  manier donc avec des pincettes), il y a fort à  parier que l’on trouve chez les élèves ayant choisi les maths en option spécifique une forte proportion de personnes ayant de la “facilité”, comme on dit, et dans les options plus littéraires, un plus grand nombre d’élèves ayant besoin d’un peu plus de soutien pour appréhender les mathématiques.

Lorsque l’école secondaire était divisée en sections bien distinctes, on attendait clairement plus des scientifiques durant les cours de maths, quel que soit le sujet abordé, que des modernes (pour rester dans les gros clichés). Les latines étaient considérées comme des littéraires, certes, mais puisque c’étaient des latines (traditionnellement la section pour les “meilleurs” élèves, à  tort ou à  raison), certains enseignants avaient tout de même des exigences un peu plus élevées que pour des élèves en section moderne.

On va tenter de s’arrêter là  avec les clichés, espérant tout de même que mon argumentation aura été claire: certains comprennent plus vite les maths que d’autres. (Et ne nous limitons pas aux maths, les problèmes que je soulève ici se retrouvent dans l’enseignement des langues et probablement d’autres branches encore.)

Prenez donc une classe de 7VSB. A force d’exercices et de persuasion, on leur présente l’addition et la multiplication des fractions. Quelques élèves auront compris dès la première explication ou le premier exercices. D’autres auront besoin encore de longues heures d’explications bien plus détaillées, accompagnées de force schémas et analogies, mettant à  l’épreuve la créativité de l’enseignant et dans bien des cas, sa patience. (Et très personellement, c’est là  un des aspects de l’enseignement que je trouve le plus stimulant.)

Reste la question: que faire avec ceux qui ont compris, qui ont fini en cinq minutes l’exercice que vous avez donné à  faire, et qui s’ennuient durant les explications que vous donnez à  ceux qui ont encore du chemin devant eux? Si vous leur faites prendre de l’avance dans les exercices à  faire pour les occuper, cela ne fait que repousser le problème. Leur donner à  faire des exercices supplémentaires, que ne feront pas les autres élèves? Cela me paraît la moins mauvaise solution. Elle demande bien entendu préparation, organisation, et travail supplémentaire de la part de l’enseignant.

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Taking Collaborative Notes at BlogTalk [en]

A detailed write-up of the collective note-taking operation we ran at BlogTalk. We took notes together using SubEthaEdit and then posted them to a wiki so that they can be further annotated. The story, and questions this experience raises for me.

As many of you now know, a bunch of us were taking notes together with SubEthaEdit during the BlogTalk 2.0 conference. In this post, I’d like to give some details about what we did, how we did it, and what can be said or learnt about our experience.

I’d like to stress that this was not my idea. I think this collaborative note-taking is a very good example of what happens when you put a bunch of people together with ideas and resources: the result really belongs to all, and credit should go to the group (even though in this case, I don’t think I can identify all the members of this “group”).

The Story

At the beginning of the conference, I was discovering the joys of RendezVous and eagerly saying hi to the small dozen of people I could see online. Sometime during the first panel, I was asked (by Cyprien?) if I had SubEthaEdit, because they were using that to take notes. I downloaded it (thus contributing to the death of wifi and bandwidth), and after a brief struggle managed to display a RendezVous list of users on the network (shortcut: Cmd-K) currently running SubEthaEdit.

I joined Lee Bryant‘s document, which was open for read/write sharing. It contained text (what a surprise!) mainly highlighted in yellow (Lee’s colour, the main note-taker). We were four or five in there at that point. (From Lee’s first publication of the notes I gather that the two others were Roland and Stephan — or rather Leo on Stephan’s computer, like later in the day?) It took a couple of minutes for me to feel comfortable in there, and I started contributing by adding a few links I knew of, on the subject of video blogs. The act of writing in the document made me feel quickly at home with the other note-takers. At some point, I started actively pestering those logged into RendezVous so that they would join us if they had SubEthaEdit (particularly if they were already visible in SubEthaEdit!)

Lee wasn’t there at the beginning of the third panel, so I opened up a document myself in SubEthaEdit, and with a little help managed to open it up to others for reading and writing (File > Access Control > Read/Write) and “announce” it so that other participants could see it. There had already been some hurried talk of publishing our notes, and at some point, Suw (who was keeping up with what was going on on my screen) suggested we should publish them on a wiki. After a quick check with other participants (and with Suw: “you don’t think Joi would mind, do you?”), I grabbed Joi’s wiki and started creating pages and pasting the notes into them.

We continued like that throughout the afternoon and into the next day. As soon as a speaker would have finished and the note-taking seemed to stop, I would copy and paste everything into the wiki.

Update 17:30: Malte took a screenshot of us taking notes in SubEthaEdit. It will give you a good idea of what it was like.

Reflecting on the Experience

So, now that I have told you the story, what can be said about the way we worked together during this conference? I’m trying to raise questions here, and would be really interested in hearing what others have to say.

Working as a team to take notes has clear advantages: Lee was able to go out and get coffee, and catch up with the notes when he came back. When I couldn’t type anymore, Suw took my computer over and literally transcribed the last couple of panels (OK, that could have been done without the collaborative note-taking, but I had to fit it in somewhere.)

Still in the “team theme”, different roles can be taken by the note-takers: sometimes there is a main note-taker (I noticed this had a tendancy to happen when people wrote long sentences, but there might be other factors — any theories on this welcome), sometimes a few people “share” the main note-taking. Some people will correct typos, and rearrange formatting, adding titles, indenting, adding outside links. Some people add personal comments, notes, questions. Others try to round up more participants or spend half a talk fighting with wiki pages 😉

At one point, I felt a little bad as I was missing out on the current talk with all my wiki-activity. But as Suw says about being part of the hivemind, I don’t think it matters. I acted as a facilitator. I brought out notes to people who were not at the conference. I allowed those more actively taking notes to concentrate on that and not worry about the publication. I went out to try and get other/more/new people interested in collaborating with us. I said to Suw: “keep on tzping, and don’t worrz that zour y’s and z’s are all mixed up because of mz swiss kezboard layout,” while Horst patiently changed them back.

What is the ideal number of note-takers in a SubEthaEdit session? Our sessions ranged from 5-10 participants, approximately. When numbers were fewer, a higher proportion were actively participating. When they were larger, there were lots of “lurkers”. Where they watching the others type, or had they just gone off to do something else, confident that there were already enough active note-takers?

The “Lee Bryant Experiment”, which I will blog about later, set me thinking about the nature of note-taking and notes. What purpose do notes serve? Is it useful to watch others taking notes, or does it really add something when you take them yourself? How concise should good notes be? How does a transcript (what Suw was virtually doing) compare to more note-like notes?

Formatting is an issue which could be fixed. SubEthaEdit is a very raw text editor, so we note-takers tend to just indent and visually organise information on our screen. Once pasted in the wiki, though, a lot of that spatial information is lost. It got a bit better once we knew the notes would be wikified, as we integrated some wiki mark-up (like stars for lists) in our notes, from the start. What could be useful is to put a little cheat-sheet of the wiki mark-up to be used inside the SubEthaEdit document, for the note-takers (just as I defined a “chat zone” at the bottom of the working document, so that we could “meta-communicate” without parasiting the notes themselves).

Some have found the notes precious, others wonder if we were smoking anything while we took them. Nobody really seems interested in editing them now they are on the wiki — or is it still a bit too soon after the conference? Here is the Technorati page for BlogTalkViennaNotes.

How groundbreaking was what we did? How often do people take notes collaboratively with SubEthaEdit in conferences? It seemed to be a “first time” for many of the participants, so I guess it isn’t that common. Have you done it already? What is your experience of it? How often do people put up notes or transcripts of conferences on wikis?

Discipline is needed to separate the actual notes (ie, “what the conferencer said”) from the note-taker comments (ie, extra links, commentary, questions, remarks). This isn’t a big issue when a unique person is taking notes for his or her private use, but it becomes really important when more people are involved. I think that although we did do this to some extent, we were a bit sloppy about it.

Information on the wiki page, apart from the notes, should also include pointers to the official presentation the talker made available (not always easy to find!), and I’m also trying to suggest that people who have done proper write-ups of the talks (see Philipp’s write-ups, they are impressive) to add links to them from the appropriate wiki pages (Topic Exchange is great, but lacks detail).

Participants, as far as I could make out, were: Leo, Lee, Roland, Cyprien, Horst, Mark, Malte, Björn, Omar, Paolo, Suw and myself. [to be completed] (If you took part in the note-taking, please leave a comment — I’m having trouble tracking you all down.) I did see Ben Trott online in SubEthaEdit while he and Mena were giving their talk, and was tempted to invite him into our note-taking session — but I was too shy and didn’t dare. And thanks to Joi for being so generous with the Joiwiki!

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Site francophone [en]

Spécialement pour vous, amis frémissant devant la langue anglaise, un portail francophone pour ce site. Le lien “français” dans la navigation vous y emmènera joyeusement, où que vous vous trouviez.

J’en ai profité pour mettre en ligne un petit texte écrit sur le choc culturel et ses bienfaits.

Un avertissement toutefois: ces pages utilisent la “nouvelle version” de mon site, qui est encore en phase de fignolage. Plus de tableaux, mais quelques problèmes encore pour IE5 Mac (et aussi IE4.5). Je vous conseille de désactiver les feuilles de style si vous voulez lire en toute tranquilité. J’espère trouver bientôt une solution!

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Match de hockey [en]

Hier soir, je suis allée voir mon premier (et probablement dernier) match de hockey: Lausanne contre Bienne. Prétexte à  une petite étude socio-anthropologique sans prétention, si vous le voulez bien.

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Ice Hockey Experience [en]

So yesterday I went to see an ice hockey match. I have to tell you that I’m everything but a sports enthusiast. So this was my first match. And probably last.

First of all, I thought I was back in the EPFL corridors: 95% male population.

So I had a chance to check Aleika’s mother’s famous male IQ law. The law states that in a pack of males, an individual’s IQ is inversely proportional to the size of the group. In other words, the sum of all the individual’s IQs is a constant.

This means that a guy alone is nice company, that two guys can already be troublesome, and that three or more is a pain (split that 120 IQ between them, and see what you get!)

There were 8500 spectators last night. Not many girls.

The game in itself is not uninteresting. The only thing that bothered me (and it’s what bothers me with sport all the time!) is the lack of fair-play.
Now, Switzerland is a nice country as far as fair-play is concerned, and the match I saw was normal (yep, I asked). Well, I saw far too many aggressive players and nasty shoves for my liking.

Competition judo is much more fair-play than that, and I always complain about people being “unfair-play” over there.

So you see. I don’t have anything against sport in itself – but I don’t like the mentality that goes with competition. Yes, encourage your team. No, don’t throw rotten tomatoes at the other team – especially if they are losing!

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