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 cms .

A way to tell if an organisation is "closed" while pretending to be open

An easy (slightly geeky) way to understand that your grassroots structure is no such thing is to look at who hosts the website and what software (CMS) its based on. An example #momentum is hosted and running this http://nationbuilder.com Hope this make it clear.

This is a real "us-them" example, read their vision page.

The world's first platform for leaders, handcrafted from scratch to help you grow your community and lead them to action.

One step on OMN

Looking at what we have to base open media on – my initial reaction is one of anger that what we have is so crap and ill-suited but you can only work with the tools you have.


Looking to set-up a seed network using existing CMS's. WP, Druple and Davie Winers CMS


We are using RSS02 for something its not directly made for, we are using it for a database object exchange format. To do this we need to understand how it is “extended” http://www.disobey.com/detergent/2002/extendingrss2/


So you can get custom feeds out of WP http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/what-is-rss-how-to-use-rss-in-wordpress/






We have an issue with terminology category/tag


OK we have two WP test sites set-up, we need to get them subscribed to different feeds with tags/category working – the get custom tag/category RSS feed to cross post between them.


When this is working we have the basics for WP


Looking at Drupal next


My first reaction is AHHHAAAHHH... keep digging...


This in theory should provide RSS in functionality we need https://www.drupal.org/documentation/modules/feeds


And there seems to be built in RSS feeds for each “category”, so in theory we have a working set-up.


Will try this tomorrow.


First stage of testing open CMS's for the OMN project

Setup 3-4 sites each with

* RSS in and out via tag

* We need to make sure the RSS can be full text and that it can transport the tags

* We need to be able to display the RSS as short article with a link to the original source

* We need to clearly show the sources for items and turn off comments

* We then need to see how the “de-duping” handles content clericals (?) and content updates etc


Got to a stage were I was hitting scripting complexity dead ends on both CMSs, and took a week off to digest.

Both can do the OMN but both have flaws for the core project. They don’t understand open flowing data, they both work within their own paradigms -  that is, they are silos not networks.

To modify this would likely need some programming rather than scripting. Anyone have a second opinion on this?

Not sure the best way to move on from this.

What is the Open media network 2 (OMN)?

Some more notes:

Not an isolated individual website – many individual websites in a bigger commons. The open internet used to be a such a commons Q. why is this increasingly no longer so and why/what should/can we do about this.

Subject sites linked by affinity sharing activity streams. An open data cauldron OUTSIDE corporate walled gardens. The sites that make up the network are simply ladeals to add ingredients to the soup and pull out tasty content from the common space. We eat. Sharing promoted links to create a human community and a machine network. We end with a functioning visible community outside the walls (but linked into it) of corporate social-media.

How dose it manifest (small practical thoughts)?

For (small) us we need RSS in to work with sites outside our CMS.

- we have to have anufe working sites to start the process

- can use a JavaScript embed from Liferay on other sites in till they implement a native plug-in to do this.

- at the moment wordpress sites can be content creation and display but not core node aggreagters, dropule sites can be core node aggregaters with the right (very) geeky plugins. The are currently no simpale tools for what needs building.

Small practical PROBLEMS

* we do not have a user group to do testing

* Almost complete domination of corporate tools - why build an alternative?

Were are (the very small) we now?

We aren’t doing a project called visionontv we haven’t be doing this for a year or more. We have been trying to build the open media network (OMN). The issue we have is increasingly this is not been what has been happening. Inward Focus is needed.

Looking (some would say stumbling) forwarded:

Next step. The network will be made up of a sidebar giving updates of all parts of the network

* the only way to cross post to other sites is to post to the original site and it will be aggregated.

The new NEWSFLASH will be shared across all sites as will the LINKS site.

Some guidelines for sites (the small we) are building

Original content will be the top bar - logo and site navigation, the [left] central column and the footer.

SO - only the central culume will have updateing site content (rest static or OMN)

EVERY - permanent site we build needs to be like this...

- one off action sites can break this template as they are sub pages off the main site.


While we have live sites, if we leave this till our sites are cold we fail.

ISSUE we face (both small and big we) - People will complain about the design as they don’t understand what it is for. these complaints (and solutions) are not to be headed as they do not understand the project which is to overcome  "stupid individualism" it is a network and networks are process based and always messy.

Using corporate sites such as meetup etc. is ONLY to be done as secondary to the core network site ie. post summary and exerts linking back to the core site. To not understand this is to walk strait back into the place we are moving out of. WHY they are about building a closed and controlled network owned by the corporate world they are our DIRECT COMPATION to what we are trying to do. "we use and abuse" is our motto, it is important not to get caught in there trap. So use them to push the traffic outside them ONLY.

The RSS-in is needed so that sites that "arnt us" can join the network otherwise we are just another dead portal – our project is about avoiding this – this is a no brainer can we get wider co-operation on this.

In the big picture we aren’t a video portal, “visionontv” is just one part of the network and the network isn’t us – we are just planting seedlings – if others do not plant to (bigger) OUR common project we will fail. Leaving the current metaphorical table covered with half empty and dry mouldy soup boles and and in the end the cauldron will be taken away from us. When I look at radical media I see this. Its not a pretty picture and no amount of NGO thinking and action will fix this – the internet came from micro scale DIY culture not the NGO world – the is no resion that it cant be regenerated by this same culture – time to get on with this.

The activist NGO trap - full on social work

The direction of many groups has been to this - and it is fuelled by a deep denial and lots of fog. But the ends in the same place. A place we we all agree we don’t wont to go.

Of course the statagy of sustainability dose not work as NGO's are not rich anufe to cross subsidise and social action dose not make money (aspesheraly in the digital age).

OUTCOME - The action/production is shut down and the NGO become soft social work which is were the funding is.

With this in mind “micro-capitalisam” and susabilerty are a issue.

Thinking about visionOntv project from 03/05/2008

DRAFT - thinking about Social networking

OK we need to look agen at what we will use our CMS for – here is a look at the social networking side of it.

Create A network:

- around films

- around filmmakers

- around channels

- around campaigns

- list of filmmakers

- archive of films (tagged database)

- Subjects are channels

- Campaigns are action pages which are based round users/groups – the is a dynamic intro process for users and campaign organizers. It could use a goggle maps and meet up API’s mash-up to create physical groupings around subjects/users. Could be based on twitter use twitter API to create our own interface. Can use open ID to login to all…

 We need to right up some user experiences to help the programmers to visualize what needs to be in our CMS. Can people write up short user experiences like these – need at least 3 from each of you.

User Jane

She heres about VOTV from a friend and watches a few films on the website. She likes what she finds so installs the VOTV app.

 It’s a easy install, after leaving her computer on over night she starts to watch the shows – installing the headmix and global views channel. Based on what she watches – votes up or down in 2 days the CMS asks her if she is interested in a filmmaker (or channel) if she says yes it takes her to that page on the CMS – she has the option to join the groups that are connected to this page (subjects) – the first time she dose this it will ask for her open ID account (will create one if she doesn’t have one). By joining a group it mashes this groups RSS feed into her news on her personal home page and links her as a member.

She can create blog/calendar/wiki etc on her personal page and share these with other groups/users. Ie that is her home page can become a campaign or subject page – each user page can become a social network.

User Jim

 He is a regular user of VOTV and is inspired by the offlineTV show to create a hacklabe in his local town of Swindon to show the best of activist tec films in his local pub on Wednesday night - they have a projector and PA installed and the landlord is friendly and desperate to sell some beer as Wednesday is a very slow night. He creates a new home page from his VOTV page called the “Swindon Geeks Revolt” using the blog to setup intro, contact and about pages and a wiky which members can edit to add film suggestions and subjects for talks. From his VOTV home page he will have a list of all the people who are interested in these subjects in his area – he messages then to invite then to the first meet up – 7 of them join the SGR group so can then message each other directly and add suggestions for futer events to the wiky. One of the group sets up a forum on VOTV around open source software and Linux. Jim advertises the event vie a free tag in the EAS (ethical advertising system) “Swindon + offlineTV” 14 people tern up to learn about umbunto and open office. Next week a screening of “the pirates of silicon valley” is organized.

User Jenny

Is a activist filmmaker who is involved in a tree protest in central oxford – she edits a long wobbly cam 8 min film which she shows to the protesters in the local community centre bar on reggae night. One of the VOTV crew Turnip sees the film and points her to the VOTV help page on how to make a short news report – she cuts the film down to 2 mins and adds some context so that it is accessible to a wider ordnance. This then goes out to 20K people on the grassroots channel on VOTV. From here it is picked up by the US indymedy newsreel program and screened in 20 cities in the US and out to 1 million people vier FSTV satellite broadcasting. She gets e-mails from 20 people who are involved in similar campaigns or who are inspired by the film to act locally. A local group of tree protesters in Oragan show the film in there protest camp vier a solar powered projector and make a film themselves about there campaign – this is then shown on VOTV and screened to the campaigners back in the bar in Oxford. 

User Jake

Jake sees an advert for the bushcraft show in a magazine – he checks out the URL and likes the videos so installs the VOTV player app. He finds some of the more political videos challenging/boring so removes there RSS feeds but likes the nature documenters and the eco consumerism – he uses the open MIRO channel guide to get films on women in beckenys and fast cars. The VOTV CMS gently points him towards more radical solutions to his interests, he finds a group who are protesting agenst the selling off of the local school football fields and gets involved in that campaign – at a meeting he gets chatting to a shiy local primary school teacher and they start dating and get marred. There kids watch VOTV and the family never gets a old corporate broadcast box.

User Jezebel

Is a anthropology student at brooks and is board of student life, she is looking for a date – she hers VOTV social network is the place to find some action, she gos to the website and creates an account – adding a good profile of her interests – this brings up a list of local groups/campaigns and individuals – she starts to message the sexy looking guys from there profiles – she spends a week at the Climate Camp shagging with a deadlocked eco worrer only coming out of her tent to eat vegan food and trough some half empty special brew cans at security late at night. She gos onto be a lawyer at bindmons solicitors after graduating with a first class degree.

Please add some more “use cases” this is the best way to guide programmers to create the CMS that we what rather than telling them exactly what to do at each stage. 

I love this image, it says so much about geek/lifestylist's


I love this image, it says so much about geek/life stylist's that push bad technology down peoples throats till they vomit and go back to such black holes as facebook and twitter (though twitter at least is open). 
And the solution doesn’t lie in single user blogging platforms such a wordpress as they aren’t designed to scale (when you add the needed plug-ins) to challenge corporate solutions. 
Comment about this:
answered Oct 18 '10 at 20:11
I've tried a lot of Open source solutions and I would like to highlight only two of them:
About: BP is created upon the WordPress Engine, with tons of features but still has some missing. Pros: it is really easy to set up and customize, there are plenty of plugins if you're not wanting to mimic absolutely every feature Facebook has. Cons: it's kinda not fully optimized for large amount of traffic, since its a pack of plug-ins built on WordPress (so it has to make some strange and twisted ways to get some things done).
It's the only REALLY open source social community "a la Facebook" app.
Pros: You have ALL the features you would like, videos, photos, events, etc. It's VERY similar to Facebook.
Cons: It's not so-easy to customize... not so so hard neither. It's still not fully optimized for large amounts of traffic, but still it's much better at that problem than buddypress.
Depending on your developing skills i would recommend elgg (if you are better than worst) :)
But, give them a try, they're the best apps (except for the ones one can make for oneself).
Hope I had helped!
From - http://stackoverflow.com/questions/698110/open-source-facebook-like-cms-social-network
We went with http://liferay.com as it is proven to scale, though it has its own configuration issues that we are slowly working through.
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