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

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views


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Entries with tag aggregation .

News - Ideas for ethical aggregation of content

The way forward for aggregation is to break away from the current failed strategies, and to make it “ethical”.

This will need the technology that Dave Winer is pushing, amongst others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markdown

We need a clear separation of display formatting and content. In other words, content is published and formatted on the home site and displayed there, but it is aggregated to other sites as metadata. The content is still loaded from the home site, but the formatting is “hinting”, not finished formatting – the finished look and feel is defined by the aggregating site – the content (and hinted formatting) is loaded from the home site.

Thus the content is viewed from both the aggregating site AND the home site. Any edits or comments are published to and loaded from the home site. How they are displayed is up to the viewing site.

*** some temporary dynamic caching can be implemented to make scaling work, as needed ***

It's simple technology that makes aggregation real rather than stealing. How does current “bad aggregation” work? A number of ways:

1) Content is simply republished onto a new server. Comments and views are separated – the content is “stolen” from the host publisher site. This is the favourite parasitic strategy for the dot-coms like huffingtion post etc.

2) Headlines or excerpts are republished with a link back to the full article on the host site. Kinda OK but limited.

3) A silo is created and people are encouraged to publish their stores directly there, as done by projects such as Oximity. This is the most common and worst outcome.

How would what I am proposing be different? The outcome of this simple technology would be a widespread explosion of different sites full of content with radically different looks, feels, interfaces etc.

Content would spread organically. It would be placed in niche sites and good content pushed to the top sites to much larger distribution than you can get on any platform at the moment.

In my opinion, all current distribution is broken, we have to reboot.

Tools to use

Use RSS as the basis of the network to get 98% coverage of content from the project launch. And to give an easy output for other projects to build on. Existing CMS's like wordpress etc can then be used as sources and with plugins can become full members of the network.



The way forward - some simple social/technical solutions

* Nurture basic journalism/story telling skills in alt-media to make better outreach media. LINK

* Linking is key, link to alternative resources where ever you can, the easiest way of competing with corporate news sources is by building a web of connecting linked alt-news sources.

* Aggregation is a way to make decentralisation work.

* Have the main way of inputing to any alt-project at a local level then let the content work its way up to the top of subject/geographic aggregation sites. While always keeping the valid link back to the original source. I know its hard but try and avoid building consensus/bureaucratic publish from the top sites/projects where possible.

* QUOTE “content is just something for conversation” This opens the question of where does the interaction around content take place – this is still a unresolved issue and needs more thought and technical work – for now a diversity of strategy is probably the best way forward. While always keeping the valid link back to the original source.

* This is a controversial point - ONLY use the corporate social media solutions for link building and feeding people into contempery media projects – corporate social media solutions should be avoided as much as possible as original sources of distribution. DO use them and abuse them but its a common mistake to build real companies and communities solely within them. Its easy, publish on a alt-newsite site/blog then publish a link on facebook and twitter, you can use tools that do this automatically.

* Be open to using all tools, but try and come down on using free/opensource and open standards were possible. For two reasons

1) there is an opportunity for people to build things with opensource and openstandards using your project that you DIDN'T think of – this is actually where almost all innovation on the web comes from.

2) all corporate tools are bound up with the need to create profit before functionality and user experience so in the end they all have to sell out and focus on profit before users/content, its just a matter of time, the ones that don't follow this line run out of funding and all your work vanishes anyway.

* RSS and Creative Commons are your friends, use them well in every project you create.

That's really it, let's work together to use the “digital hole” undermining corporate media “to replace it with something nicer” its really not that difficult. Let's all Link and Aggregate based on open standards.

Hamish Campbell, (typed while) camping in the forest at the beach in the bay of Biscay.

Parasitic traditional media

Its interesting how parasitic traditional media is, an idea or a news story will come out in a sub-culture (contemporary media) weeks or years before it becomes a “story” in traditional media. This time lag – together with the general lack of connection in traditional media to where story’s come from/break is noticeably dysfunctional in our new connected world.

This parasitical behaver will continue in-till we solve these issues in contemporary media:

* financial support for the production of grassroots per-per media – something like flattr is an example of an attempt to solve this problem.

* Ethical norms of linking and aggregation in per-per production need to solidify and be coded into contemporary media projects. An example of this would be the OMN project.

* a general discrediting of traditional media as a reliable source of information – shifting peoples behaver of linking away by providing better working contemporary media projects. An example of this would be the http://visionon.tv project.

The current connections between contemporary and traditional media are largly broken, do we try and fix it or not is the relevant question? Do we actually need these old gate keeping institutions and if we do, are they flexible and lean anufe to survive anyway? I think diversity of strategy’s are probably helpful here. 

A presentation of the idea of the Open Media Network and where it currently is

A presentation of the idea of the Open Media Network and where it currently is

The OMN is owned by nobody and run by nobody. It is merely a set of "stupidly simple" open standards, open databases and working practices.

We are building some hubs to flesh the network out.

Currently there are over 20 sites in the network. And OMN embeds on such sites such as New Internationalist and Games Monitor.  These embeds are using the OMN customisable video player.

How can you get involved? What is there at the moment? Let's highlight some of the applications you can currently use:

http://link.openworlds.info is an open database of links to radical projects. These can be added as an embed on websites to create the interlinking that is so important to the open internet’s health. This will be federated.

http://news.openworlds.info is a newsflash service to widen our networks outside facebook. It is building into an open data and open access federated network. You can grab an embed for your site sidebar.

http://visionon.tv Auto updating quality controlled video embeds with playlists (eg http://globalviews.visionon.tv/embed), drawing from a huge database of radical video. This is a working federated network.

http://blog.openworlds.info This is the first stage of an open blogging network.

http://fund.openworlds.info Open funding network – is a place for media activists to get small amounts of cash for their projects and equipment.

All of these applications actively need development work.

Please have a look at these links for more information and background on the network.

Here's an entertaining piece of polemic on the problem we face.

Here is an outline of possible OMN solutions

Why ethical aggregation and conversation?

It's all based on an ongoing understanding of the political history of the internet

A bit of humour

The state of video aggregation on the web

There is an issue of centralization around a single portal for different types of content on the web, and the withering of diversity of outcomes that this entails. There are a few successful implementations of p2p web structures such as blogging and RSS but they are exceptions, we have total domination of video (youtube) social networking (facebook) and micro blogging (twitter). Still audio, music, and images are less locked down, and text news is still a open platform. 

One way of avoiding this locking and control is the use of aggregation, the are examples of video aggregators such as http://vodpod.com and http://www.mirocommunity.org which we both use. And the visionontv project it self is an aggregating project (with a strong focus on production to balances/editorialise the output).

BUT this alternative to centralised solutions is faltering, if we look at the wikipedia page of video aggregators http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_aggregator we see that  more than half have closed down or shifted their focus. This illustrates how the internet is closing down to a few corporate hosted/controlled sources for media, the is a slow reaction to this coming from such events as the recent http://live.rebelliousmediaconference.org event and the upcoming http://www.contactcon.com in New York. but there is currently no reaction strong enough to counter this centralizing logic/market monopoly.
If you would like to see a open internet it is time to act.

Ethical aggregation and conversation - OMN

What is ethical aggregation?

Always link back to the original producer hosting site. The exception to this is when the site is a corporate hosting site such as YouTube, then linking to an embed on an OMN site is preferable linking to that site. The content should be consumed where the producer of the content likes it – this should be built into our open CMS's as far as possible.

Reactive permissioning: the producer of content should be empowered (as far as technically possible) to decide how their content is consumed on sites. Eg, via embedding a simple title link, excerpt, or full content. This is by trusted feed not by genearly ristricting the content of the RSS feed. 

Our databases should be open to exporting of content by simple RSS aggregation or by a XML export option.

Metadata should be synchronised across the networking to enrich all media content.

  • link back to the source
  • reactive permissioning
  • no reposting

It's OK to add additional hosting options for media files – but the original publishers hosting/views should be respected. In the RSS feed, add content file URLs as fallbacks rather than as default media sources. A good aim is to back up media sources tohttp://archive.org and as a torrent file. If new open hosting options come along then these can added. Then only fall back to the original host if the corporate hosting source errors or is censored (respect for producers hosting desion and for reasons of scaling).

Where is the conversation?

This is an unresolved issue that is looking for a good solution. Some key points:

  • Move it off corporate hosting and networking sites as much as you technically can such as FB, twitter and youtube. Use such sites to post links to OMN content and sites.
  • Can we move the conversations with the RSS feeds? So that the conversations happen across sites and

appear across sites in activity streams? This is probably technically possible within the RSS02 spec – let's implement it.

The OMN is a very simple thing

Open media networking

The data cauldron with configurer your own ladle tools.

Hubs/nodes - RSS item in and out ver tag for full participating sites 

Consumers/producers - native plug-ins and JS embeds for displaying and existing RSS out for source sites.

All data in and all data out – by trust, the users built the connections (which leads to paths to excellence)

Its application/platform agnostic.

The base is the hallmarks of ethical aggregation and opendata and (preferably) using openlicensing.

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