A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

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Entries with tag geek .

Looking at the tech and organising of UK alt/grassroots media

Many people find it hard to understand the underlining understandings that push projects based on flow and linking such as OMN and openweb. Here is a short list of activish projects.

Silo

Is a place for holding/hoarding closed data – this is used by the #dotcons to extract funding form “free users” when mainstream/alt silo projects finish, as 99.9% do, the data varnishes and is lost, and in this the effectiveness of any alt building is diminished. Silos do not use open licensing for content re-use. Just about every alt/grassroots media project is a silo. It's about capturing data. Its obvious that this is a unthought through issue of "churning"

Portal

Is an idea that you can be the big one, all the small fashionista websites aspire to be the big one and by doing this they are working to the logic of the #dotcon and working against the logic of the openweb. They are building a project to lock there users into their project. Portal and silo are overlapping (but different) ideas for building web projects. In the mainstream, Apple is a prime example of this working. In the alt/grassroots almost all alt/grassroots media projects are portals. It's about capturing users, just as silos are about capturing data. For a left wing group this looks much like "recreating the Soviet Union" the one party to rule the state.

Dotcons

Are for-profit data silos in the old days working as portals, more recently they are building out siloed networks as a pseudo networked portal. Its both sad and bad that many alt media projects unthinkingly aspire to be #dotcons

Link

Is where ALL the value is on the open web. Without links content has NO VALUE. This is a obvious statement, its hard to understand the the lack of understanding around this simple thing.

RSS

Is a grassroots web standard that is still at the base of many of the dotcon world but is being pushed into the background of the openweb by building silos/portals in the grassroots/alt. RSS is like an open LINK with added data,  thus adds value to the web. Its a powerful open tool that we still have. An API is like a geek control freak super power of RSS - the problem is in the complexity/control freak bit...

Geek

A subculture that is control/obscurity and more recently technical solutions to trust (wraparound right) this has always been a closing force on open projects.  This helped to strangle the original successful alt/grassroots media projects and is pushing for the shrinking of the open web.

Fashionista

The unthinking desire for new/innovation/conformity. A wider subculture that churns the growth of alt/grassroots so little can grow beyond seedlings.

NGO

Are greedy dispoling of resources both human and money. The liberals that use bureaucratic funding to push out the geek/fashernista agendas over alt/grassroots projects. These are uneasy friends and clear (invisible) enemys.

Network

Is both a technical thing of wires and frequency and  an understanding of mutual aid and of “diversity of strategy”. It's native to the openweb and should be at the base of any alt/grassroots media project. In the closed #dotcon the widespread use of A/B testing is a pail controlled shadow of this.

4opens

wikipedia is an example of this. It's basic stuff open source project stuff. LINK


 

Looking at the tech and organising of UK alt/grassroots media. Do sites link to other alt-media projects? Do they support/display openweb standards (RSS)

First DRAFT (please message me with corrections/info)

the canary

http://www.thecanary.co/

Has a RSS feed, regular updates, copyright group silo, it has no outside linking

Reelnews

http://reelnews.co.uk/

UPDATE: site back online, no visible RSS but can find a hidden one. Its likely copyright and a silo.

(Their website is hacked/down so posted the #failbook link used to have RSS and regular updates. Anyone know what's happening? Update they hope the site is back online soon.)

Real Media

http://realmedia.press/

UPDATE: website back online copyright, no visible RSS feed but you can find ones. Its a a bit of an aggregater but has been suffering from poor spam control. Its pretty much a portal/silo – but could be more.

(They used to have an interesting website for the tec used, but it ended up being just a silo, they look like they are rebooting? Maybe a another silo? we shall see.)

Update they are rebooting as a linking site, lets hope its not a silo.

Novaramedia

http://novaramedia.com/

Has regular good content, RSS, they are a product of the #dotcon social media wave and good at it. Copyright/CC is not stated. The site is a silo with no outside linking

Counterfire

http://www.counterfire.org/

No RSS feed, starting to look a bit “old left” regular updates, no copyright/CC notice. A silo with no external links

The Bristol Cable - Bristol

https://thebristolcable.org/

No visible RSS feed, it kinda probably tries to obey the 4 opens maybe. It's a WP blog site in this it's a media silo with no external links.

Port Talbot Magnet

http://www.porttalbotmagnet.com/

no visible RSS feed, it mostly fails the 4 opens due to copyright, data and organising. It's a WP blog site, in this it's a media silo with few if any external links.


 

New Internationalist - based in Oxford

https://newint.org/

Has RSS feeds, it kinda passes the 4 opens using a CC licence for its content.  It links to the visionOntv project.


 

The Ferret - Scotland, based in Edinburgh

https://theferret.scot/

Looks like the old media transitioning to the new media. No visible RSS feed or copyright/CC notice. Is trying to be “open process” looks like a WP site.


 

Strike! - based in London

http://strikemag.org/

looks like a archive of a print mag? Has a RSS feed :)


 

Positive News - based in London

http://positive.news/

Dated looking site, hard to read, no RSS feed and a copyright notice. A silo.

Slaney Street - Birmingham

http://www.slaneystreet.com/

Did not load

Manchester Mule - Manchester

http://manchestermule.com/

 Has RSS feed but last article end of 2015 so not an active site. Probably for fills the 4 opens.

Co-operative News - based in Manchester

http://www.thenews.coop/

Nasty looking site and no RSS, copyrighted, its a silo

Ethical Consumer

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/

No RSS, copyrightish, old looking site.

Marlborough News Online

http://www.marlboroughnewsonline.co.uk/

no RSS, copyright

West Highland Free Press

http://www.whfp.com/

no RSS, copyright, its a silo.

Star and Cresent - based in Portsmouth

http://www.starandcrescent.org.uk/

No RSS, no copyright notice? Its a silo.


 

Morning Star - based in London

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/

Has a RSS feed but its empty, copyright, silo.


 

Cambria Publishing Co-operative

http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/

publishes paper books?

Zed Books - London

https://www.zedbooks.net/

paper books and online reading lists, no RSS I can see.

Sheffield Live!

http://web.sheffieldlive.org/

copyright, has a RSS feed, looks bureaucratic open.

Blake House - based in London

http://blake.house/

no RSS, fashionable calling card website with out content, probably copyright?

Media Co-op

http://mediaco-op.net/

Calling card website with out content, no RSS, likely copyright.

Ignite Creative - based in Oxford

http://ignitecreative.co.uk/

Calling card website with out content, no RSS, copyright.

Shedlight Productions - based in Southampton

http://www.shedlightproductions.co.uk/

calling card website with out content, no RSS, copyright.

Steel City Film and Media Co-op - based in Sheffield

https://www.facebook.com/SteelCityFAM

its a #failbook page, maybe open?

Trafford Media & Communications - based in Manchester

(mostly a printer, but also do film production)

http://www.traffordmc.org.uk/

 calling card, no site.


 

The Community Channel

Community Channel

The granddaddy of NGO media, no RSS feed, likely copyright silo.

Jammu Kashmir TV

http://www.jammukashmir.tv/

it has content, silo?

Open Audio

http://openaudio.co.uk/

Has a working RSS feed

Inform My Opinion

https://audioboom.com/channel/informmyopinion

Has working RSS feed but it fails in my pod catcher, its a page on a #dotcon?

Mydylarama

http://mydylarama.org.uk/

has RSS feed, copyright, silo?

AMP Worcs

http://www.ampworcs.co.uk/

calling card.

A Television

http://www.afro-media.org/

Half finished calling card site.

Salfordstar

http://salfordstar.com/

Hastings independent press

No RSS, no copyright/CC notice, a silo with no external links.

http://www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk/

Copyright, no RSS feed, has some old school widgets which might show external links. Its a local news silo.

Corporatewatch

https://corporatewatch.org/

Has RSS feed and CC licence, no external links on front page, its a silo but better than most.

bellacaledonia

http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/

Has a RSS feed, its a silo but the is hope for it.

voxpoliticalonline

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/

its a blog in the old school sense, has RSS

evolvepolitics

http://evolvepolitics.com/

its a silo with no RSS and no external links


 

A lot of the original links came from https://www.facebook.com/jdaviescoates

 

Alt-geek culture is broken - indymedia

An introduction to a "unspoken" problem. Everything is "pointless" in till you do something "that is not", if we keep repeating the pointless stuff were/when is the "that is not" going to happen?

 

An example of the geek problem can be found in the flowing and fading of radical alt/grassroots media at the peek of the #openweb

 

The basis of any new media is the technology it is transmitted/mediated by. In the case of newspapers this is the printing press, and for radio and TV it is access to the transmission spectrum. The open internet changed this "traditional" media which was based on a world of (vertical) analogue scarcity. As the accessing technology improved, it created a radically (horizontal) digital media space.

 

This was intently filled with (naive in a good sense) alt-media such as the Indymedia project (IMC). In this post I am looking at how this was killed off by internal geek/process dogmatism at the same time as its space was colonised by new/mainstream such as blogging and social media.

 

We are now coming full circle to where we started with closed client/server, algorithm-determined, gatekeeper, for-profit networks dominating media production and consumption. The corporate gate keeping venture capital driven (and invisible ideology) algorithm is the new printing press/broadcast spectrum that we started the century with.

 

What part did radical geeks play in this?

 

Let's look at the successful global indymedia project, which was based on open publishing and open process through a centralised server network. Before this the radical video project undercurrents, while not so open, was again based on a technical hub. They had the only free digital editing suite for production of grassroots video, thus anyone wanting to produces radical content was funnelled though this grassroots gatekeeper. With IMC, it was publishing to their hosted servers.

 

The indymedia network was setup in the very avant-gardist open model that was to dominate the internet for a time. Like undercurrents it succeeded because of its technical centralisation – the server was the ONLY place citizen journalist content could be published without hard technical knowledge. This monopoly was later lost to the growth of individualistic blogging platforms and later corporate social media. But what I want to argue here is that it died before this due to internal (process) pressures.

 

Indymedia was set up on the open, open, open, open, pseudonymous model.

 

* Open source (free software)

 

* Open publishing (post-publishing moderation)

 

* Open licence content (non commercial re-use)

 

* Open process (everything was organised on public e-mail lists, open meetings)

 

* Pseudo-anonymous (you didn’t have to provide an e-mail address or a real name to publish)

 

Let's look as some of the pragmatism that allowed the project to take off:

 

* The project was initially pragmatic about open source as it used the closed realmedia (RM) video streaming codec and servers. But the core project was committed to the free software path where technically possible.

 

* Open publishing was the basis of the project, things could only be hidden (not removed) because they broke a broad public editorial guideline. Even then they were added to a background page so were still public. In this the publishing process was naïvely open.

 

* Open licence stayed with the project to the end.

 

* Open process was gradually abandoned, a clique formed then fought and split, this was the main reason the project ossified and could not adapt to keep its relevance in the changing world of blogs and social media.

 

* (Pseudo) anonymity was part of the abandonment of open process and led down many of the technical dead ends that finally killed the relevance of the project to most users.

 

Lets look at this final one in more depth

 

Firstly, it's important to realise that any attempt at anonymous publishing in a client server relationship even at its most restrictive and paranoid would produce pseudo anonymity. ie. you might be able to hide from your mates and your employer but you cannot hide from the “powers that be” if they are interested in subverting your server and its internet connection.

 

The internet is inherently naïvely open, its built that way, this is why it works. The recent Edward Snowdon leaks highlight this to the wider public view.

 

- the integrity of the ISP and hosting was always based on trusting a tiny anonymous minority of geeks

 

- the physical security of the server could never be guaranteed.

 

- as the project process closed the identity of these core geeks became tenuous/invisible.

 

In activism just as the man driving the white van repeatedly turned out to be the police/corporate spy, the invisible server admin is the obvious opening for the same role – am not saying this is what existed, rather just trying to highlight how you cannot build a network based on this closed client server infrastructure/culture that IMC became. Given the open nature of the internet, it became dangerous to push IMC as an anonymous project.

 

There were four fatal blocks:

 

- the repeated blocks and failure and delay of decentralisation of the servers to the regions.

 

- the blocks on aggregation, then the closed subculture aggregation that final happened as a parallel project

 

- the focusing on encrypted web hosting and self-signed certificates put a block on new non-technical users that proved termanaly offputting.

 

- the failed "security theater" of not login IP address locally on the server as a limited security fig leaf. They could simply be logged on the ISP/open web instead.

 

These, together with a shrinking of the core group, led to the project becoming irrelevant in the face of the growth of more openly accessible blogging and then social media.

 

Let's get positive and suggest some ways the IMC project could have flourished and still be a dominant grassroots project:

 

* The base level of the project should have actively decentralised as the technology matured to make this feasible. Every town needed its own DIY run server.

 

* Then regional aggregation using RSS (really simple syndication) would make this grassroots media presentable as outreach media.

 

* A national aggregation site could then have compete directly with the (then) declining traditional media outlets.

 

* Recognising that the IMC project was pseudo-anonymous at best, IMC could have built a parallel encrypted peer-to-peer gateway app/network to feed into this to provide true(ish) anonymity for publishers to this ongoing open media project.

 

* The decentralisation would have been a force to keep the process open by feeding though new people/energy – this would have naturally balanced the activist clique forming/closing in the centre.

 

* As blogging became popular and matured these could have been “ethically” aggregated into the network to build a truly federated global open media network such as http://openworlds.info is working to be.

 

* Social networking could have been added as an organic part of this flourishing federated network.

 

If this had happened, it's not too much to say that the internet would have been a different place to where it is now. The IMC project highlights some of the failures of activist/geek culture. If we are to (re)build the open web we need to learn from this and move on.

 

(find photo of indymedia Sheffield masked up photo)

 

This is sadly not a metaphor for an open media project

 

It should be obvious to people now that even the most paranoid centralised closed internet is only pseudo-anonymous at best. We need to learn how to live with "open" to build the world we want to see. And our geeks fighting for closed are actually a problem for us, just as much as "them".

Draw a line in the sand

None of the current alt/grassroots media projects link to each other. Message them and ask why and refuse to support them till they do #thecanary #Reelnews #RealMedia #Novaramedia is basic KISS of lefty/radical/progressive thinking.

What's the solution?

The minimum outcome a prominent small sidebar box front screen linking to other alt/grassroots project on each active project. it's a KISS no brainer and a line in the sand for lefty/radical/grassroots.

This can be done manually or as part of a bigger network project such as OMN

 

How to re-boot grassroots media to help to re-boot the open web to create real social change

DRAFT

We need to get our current dispurate and weak activist sites to link to each other, then get NGO's to do the same. Then push out news river embeds to more mainstream sites to expand the network.

This project needs to be run as a non-branded open network based on open social and technical standereds.

The social side is based on linking flows of information.

Producers

Consumers

Aggregates

Of course you can and should be all of the above, but to aid expansion and growth this is not insisted on.

The first two paths are easey, the last more complex:

* Producers, this is any web site that puts out an RSS feed, this is most sites on the internet [tick]

* Consumers, are at a basic level very easy to do using a javascript sidebar code or a custom CMS plug-in using the javascrit plugin the barrier to upkeep is slight so this can spread easily. [half tick]

* Aggregates are slightly more complex as they will need custom codeing, this all ready exists in a basic form for Drupal and Wordpress and the miro project. [needs work]

As the production side is already solved and the consumers side is relatively trivial this only leaves the Aggreaters as a steep path to take. We have a small budget to kick this off and is technically feasible.

The second part needed is actually the more complex one, how to get groups and individuals to implement open cooperative working practices. The issues that have to be bypassed/addressed/ignored:

* Geek culture is infeactured with encryption and fake technical privacy, this is fading with the victory of failbook and its fellow dotcoms and the disintegration and fading into obscurity of the geek privacy projects. But this will comeback and bite at the OMN as it grows out and builds the basic open tech. So we have to harden the project against this agenda by codeing the opens into the foundations of the project.

* The Trots and the Authoritarian tendency left jumping on the band wagon, this is solved in the same way as the geek problem as they actually share the same pathology of the 20th century illusion of control.

* NGO's this is solved by moving to fast for them to react, if we get bogged down this might become an issue of co-option. Keep moving fast.

To sum up build soled open foundations and keep moving fast.

How would the project look/feel

The open web and the sites that make it up would look much like they look today.

But the OMN project would socialise linking and sharing to create a network out of all the small disparate bits that make up the remains of this fading open web.

Production and consumption sites would gain a sidebar containing realtime updating links to “tag” based rivers of relevant content.

Aggregating sites would contain rivers of subject based content that they would sive and add value to be re-tageing. And creating meta articles linking to original sources. The feeds that production and consumption sites display would come from one of these aggreating sites.

The network would grow out organicly based on subject:

* a aggregating site could only handeal so many feeds before the human moderates are overwlemed this would lead to specialisation and a hirakey of subject aggreaters that would organicly mirror the existing real social interest groups.

* we would end up with specialisation, and a shifting network of overlapping bottom, middle and top sites which would all find ordnances and drive traffic back to the producing sites that feed the network.

* bottom sites would aggregate mostly original producer sites, middle sites would aggregate a mixture of original sites and tags from subject based bootem sites, finally the top sites would aggregate tag based feeds from the middle sites.

How would this look to the “users”

* It would be much easer for “normal” users to find relevant content on subjects that they are interested in, they would be introduced back to the open web by links on #failbook and #juduceserche engine. This growth of traffic would re-energise peoples websites and inspire the upgrading of meny moribund website projects and a move away from current hegemonic dotcom aggregation of #failbook and its siblings.

How would it affect “producers”

* publish ones and your content appears on 100's of sites driving traffic and commenting back to your blog/website and away from #failbook atel. The open web is being straggled by the pay to view throttling on these copurte silos, its a no brainier to move to escape this now. With the increased trafic you can put energy into upgrading your existen website to make it more relevant, the OMN would be active in providing the open tools and plug ins to make this happen.

What would this look like from tech prospective:

KISS open industrial standards based on trust and redundant data roll-back back functions to Handel the breakdown of trust that will happen some times.

RSS will be used as a database object exchange format, a tagging taxonermy will be used to shift and create the flows of these objects. Subscribing to tag based RSS feeds will be the bases of the trust network.

Open databases will hold duplicate meta data linking back to the original source of the RSS object.

*** the is a creative way of making the consumption of content more transparent and develop/user friendly – this will be talked about later ***

RSS feed aggregation would be base on trusted, strate through or moderated ie adding to a moderation cue in the aggregating sites.

Timeframe:

3 months to build the seed aggreaters and basic javescript embeds/plugins

6 months to build out the seed networks

9 months to major launch

12 months to being a real alternative and play a role in saving the open web.

Food for thinking:

If you think this sounds oldfaserned you would be right it is, its the basics that needs to happen to create a pool of metadate enhanced media objects. What happens after this? for ideas will add some links:

http://mashable.com/2015/07/06/why-web-design-dead/

 

Some thoughts on the OMN idea

You would have to be very out of touch not to see that echo chambers are inherent to #failbook and historically less on #twitter though they have changed over to a algorithmic time line you have to opt out of. The OMN is only moderated by humans. It has a built in "market" that rewards trust thus actively builds out human networks. Groups that link will grow, thoughs who do not will slide back as others move forward.

Arrogance & Ignorance and how to get past this blocking is the issue. You don't overcome A&I that's not an option. But getting round it is well possible. The OMN is built on the human condition of trust and serendipity. Both hard human sells, but both the only values we have if your not up for shooting people dead to get your way.

Echo chamber is just a #fashernesta word for feeding prejudice in this it's the same as buying a tabloid in the old days or listing to R4 and only shouting at the radio when you disagree. The OMN opens - echo chamber closes. Of course we understand that "open" is not a solution, but it is better than closed...

Its easy to misses the point about "open data" you don't have any control of the machine network that the #dotcon work with. And if you understand the issues with geeks you will likely never have power over complex digital tools. The way out of this is in the #4opens this "forces" the geeks lose of the power they desire and need to be motivated. In this you have a riddle which is not solved by logic - maybe solved by emotion? The OMN cannot be built with logic, It might be able to be built by emotion. I think this is likely the root of many missing understandings? You can't stop the geeks/fashernista desire to fuckup but the is hope of mediating it with the #4opens that's about it.

The are issue's with algorithmic options in general “who guards the guardians” the #4opens are a safety feature that the #dotcon will remove. You would have to be very deluded to believe that #failbook works in a society sense no matter what individuals say, you should know this.

The Q. Is how to get a KISS project past alt apathy, geek complexity and fashernista... well just fashernista... #fashernesta = "stupid individualism" if your reading my older posts.

Part 2

Am more a #fuckup rather than #conspiracy type of guy but the lack of linking is a clear issue to be addressed.

The data, it's a soup, the sites are just spoons that dip. You get to choose by linking were the value is. Every one can have a spoon if they like (but talent will out, some spoons will have more value than others) so it's #4opens to linking and content. A silo is a single site like #failbook and the sites listed in this post. On the web the value is in linking content is just something to link to.

Silos host/horde content, if they don't link they have limited value.

Alt-media

Where is alt-media and what are the issues in geek culture that stop it from having much effect.

There is no active working alt-tech and the open web that would be shaped by this open alt-tech is withering under the #dotcon push to enclose.

* 98.9% of alt-tech projects are obviously pointless.

* 1% are potentially useful but are killed by NGO/foundation funding agendas.

* .01% are useful but suffer/starve from a lack of geek focus abd funding.

There are some content projects in alt-media, but they have no working alt-tech to build out. All alt media relies on the #dotcons (Facebook, twitter etc) as distribution. Their websites are generally little more than branded portals, much like yahoo 10-15 years ago. The is minimal inter-operating between the different projects and almost no linking.

For the content producers a positive “alt-media” outcome is to play a role in old (legacey) media or move into the short lived dotcon news orgs. This is a complete failure in open web terms. In this we are fucked, and there is currently no path out within the existing projects.

Outside the existing projects, the solution to this is simple: the tech needs rebooting at a basic level. This is not a complex thing, being mostly social technology using existing open standards.

LINK OMN

Rebooting the open web

The OMN is based on a simple understanding that the last 10 years have been wasted on #dotcoms and #encryptionists delusions. In this NGO's, activists and at-geeks have wasted the open webs potential to shift society to a more humain path.  

To move beyond this decaying circle we need to #reboot the basic infrastructure that has been allowed to decay. Early “web02” was based on open features that crossed website boundary's in a way unthinkable today. A partial list of has been complied here https://medium.com/@anildash/the-lost-infrastructure-of-social-media-d2b95662ccd3#.rcs7irbas

The OMN project can be built out to overlap many of the projects listed, at its core it is Aggregation, linking and metadata. Its one of the steps for #reboot

Publishing – we have no problem with this though technically (though phones are becoming more of a isolation issue) the are lots of existing CMS and tools outside the #dontcons that can be used, many of them are kinda 4opens though most miss the KISS part.

Search – this is lost and hard to regain but the is space for a clever use of “adblocking” browser plug-ins replacing adverts with OMN content while obscuring the data mining that the #dotcons are cash powered by.

Comments – this is a hard one to solve but the problem is meditated by linking back to the source of articles. To OMN this part could be done with a a few open standards – but pushing this out would be hard. A back burner issue.

Responses – can use the existing “open standards” maybe choosing a KISS implementation to #reboot

Likes/Favourites – we build a back end version of this as core to the OMN, how to front end this is a interesting avant-garde project that we should implement in different “standard” ways after OMN boot up.

Updates – is core to what the OMN is.

Identity – try #rebooting a KISS implementation of the existing open standards use this in the OMN roll out, use it, but don’t push it hard as its going to be hard to overcome the #dotcom on this one.

Friends list – half core to the OMN, can attempt to #reboot this as part of the RSS “object” aggregation your identity is a object to be aggregated.

Following – is a core part of the RSS OMN project.

Syndication – this is the core of the project using existing tools based on RSS

API – a #reboot of Atom pub is a likely useful part of the OMN for the synchronisation of content.

Metadata – in the OMN this is a KISS fockonermy that a more systematic labelling rules can be built on. A KISS roll-out of the semantic web is what the OMN is about. Creative commons will be at its core.

Discovery and tagging – is what the OMN is and it allows easy uptake by alt-media producers, who dues not wont there content to be seen by more people and traffic driven to there sites.

Analytics – can be built up as the project expands, the current #dotcon tools will work fine on roll-out as its just the open web.

Advertising – is up to the individual sites (with reference to the CC licensing of content) the tools of the OMN could be used to roll out a #4opens advertising network if some one was interested. The creative use of “adblockers” has a roll here?

Aggregation – is what is core to the OMN the back end of this is no more than a “small number” of people. The output is as wide as the openweb allows and can be feed as links into the #dotcom

Time shifting & reading – can be added to the OMN tools using basic user RSS lists.

The Lessons - “there's (almost) nothing new under the sun.” this is at its core a #reboot of existing projects/standerds rolled out as KISS as possible with in the small existing network of alt/grassrots media. From there...

Open Media Network

The project

The Open Media Network is a project to play a small role in revitalising the open web. It uses the tried and tested technology of RSS, taking it out of a basic personalised mash-up of feeds into an open metadata social network. Its initial focus will be around alternative media, enabling projects to grow and cross-fertilise independently of the social media corporate giants.

Rationale

The #dotcom silos are completely dominant in terms of people's identity, for publishing and for networking etc. At social events you once gave your phone number, then your email address, and now you friend on facebook.

By contrast, the open web has plateaued or is already in decline, depending on your point of view. To fix the issues of why the open web is failing we first need to look at why it succeeded:

  • KISS throughout
  • no identity checking
  • no security

The internet/web was a KISS trust-based network that took over the world we have been living in for the last 30 years, and it was no accident that identity checking and security were missing from the original internet/web.

To reboot the open web will take many overlapping streams of open projects. Here we are proposing a KISS project to that end.

Let's look at a small, once healthy stream. Alt/grassroots media used to play a large role in the world. Now all that remains is a few sprigs of green in a polluted/dry river bed. In its heyday the global #indymedia (link broken) network rivalled the BBC and CNN in its scope and coverage on the big days of action and international summits. Now all that is left are some strongly branded small projects (http://novaramedia.com), that grew from #dotcom social media and are only networked within them, and a handful of big legacy projects (http://www.democracynow.org).

The problem we face is a pre-web problem, that of silos. That is each project is a small pool in a empty/dry river and there are very few links or shared data from one to the other (link to 3 projects). The currency of the web is the "valid link"to build networks. Alt-media's growth is severely limited by this lack.

Open Media Network

The OMN is one project to fix this problem.

It is a project of the 4 opens. It is a human-based project at its core, as opposed to an algorithmic project.

Quite simply we want alt-media sites to link to each other and share content, to become a healthy network rather than isolated drying-out silos. 

The outcomes needed for it to work are easy to achieve, and they have a large possibility to grow/empower projects as a network.

The project uses RSS as a data object exchange format, using a tagging folksonomy as a way of shifting the data flow between federated sites. It uses both native code plug-ins and javascript to “embed” links to this tagged data flow in open web sites and blogs (working example visionontv side bar on http://newint.org)

RSS aggregating news portals are not new, which is a major part of their strength for the realizing of the Open Medium Network. Taking this tried and tested tech into an open metadata social network is new. Another thing which will be new to some of the media side of the project is the 4 opens.

Each participant in the OMN will embed at least one news river in their sidebar. 

The plan is to build synching aggregating portals / hubs (based on existing CMSs) that feed those sidebar rivers.

Human networking based on trust is key.

Aggregators choose to link RSS feeds into their hubs.
Users choose the tags for the link streams from the hubs into their side bars. 
To facilitate trust, basic security is built in.

  • flows can be on auto or moderation
  • there would be a feed-based roll-back for when spam gets through the trust network.

User embeds, either native or JS, are boolean tag based and have metadata editing rights based on trust (hosting hub gives them this), with 3 levels: auto/moderation/rollback.

NOTES for Developers:

This project uses technology to build a human network. There's a sense in which the simplicity is as important as the code. The project can grow to work in many different ways but the base has to be KISS. 

NOTES for journalists and media makers:

You retain complete control of what appears on your site. As the trust network builds, it will become higher quality and faster to administer.

Outcomes

From simple springs big rivers grow to feed the sea.

In my 30-year experience, I have seen too many alt-media projects grow, flower and fade away, without aggregating or archiving themselves into a state of permanence.

This project can play a crucial role in solving this, as hubs will not only be able to moderate the flows of news, they could achieve it, with no extra work, in a massively redundant distributed way. 

The same basic project and tech will work fine for the blog-rolls of sites, creating more “static” dynamic linked side bars. This will reboot the idea of “webrings”. 

It can also form the basis of identity. People are just a tagged data object that can be sorted into “flows”. This opens up social networking to creative thinking. 

Sites link to each other both though trust, the human side, and through links, the machine side. Both are a good opportunity for the open web to compete with the closed silos.

The networks of hub sites become portals in their own right, driving traffic to the root news orgs/blogs that feed them.

 

300 words

The Open Media Network is a KISS hybrid client server/peer2peer project to play a small role in revitalising the open web. It uses the tried and tested technology of RSS. Its initial focus will be around alternative media, enabling projects to grow and cross-fertilise alongside the social media corporate giants.

For the full background to the project see this http://hamishcampbell.com/en/home/-/blogs/open-media-netwo-1?

  • Stage one (6-12 months) basic linking and embedding programming, basic beta roll-out – the outlandish funding.

  • Stage two (6-12 months) is synchronising and meta-data editing, then expanding roll-out.

When we have basic working code, set up a number of exemplar hubs to beta test the project in the real world and push out embeds to existing real world alt-media sites.

This project is largely social technology. The tech part is configuration and repurposing existing CMS's and their plug-in architectures.

Pre-programming - there is a need to look at the existing code/plug-in base and spec out a number of roots to working aggregating CMS to seed development.

List the parts that need scripting/programming/configuring.

Work out the basic meta-data format (RSS/atom) 

These no exclusivly act as “seeds” for the aggregating hubs. They already have some of the basic functionality needed. Take this list to open source programming projects such as LINK etc.

As an open project built peer2peer, the core is to get a lot of people at different levels of expertise working on each bit and run them all in parallel. There is no right answer and no signal point of use/failure.

 visionOntv project can offer to match the funding coming from outlandish.

I take this comment from a famous programmer as a complement "feels dated in the language and tech" that’s the point ;)

--------------------------

Briefly describe what support in addition to funding you would require to make your project a reality. This could include people with other skills, or office or event space.

The funding is nice to keep focus, but the core help is the links and knowledge network that outlandish provides. The content and media side we can handel. The running of aggregation we have been doing for over 20 years, over many generations of failing alt-tech. At the moment we only have youtube play lists and embeds, this is a crap situation, not to say embarrassing state of alt-media.

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