Content with tag alternative media .

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

How meany sites link to anuther alt/grassroots media sits. from this list of 38 UK sites only 2 link to anuther site.

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

 



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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".



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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

 



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Outline of the OMN

Comments please and could do with some help to turn it into a coherent doc for outreach.

Many people ask what is the Open Media Network (OMN)

For activists it might be useful to see it as a rebooting of a “indymedia” project from were it should have been 5 years ago when it died.

A #4opens bounded network motivated by the PGA hallmarks.

At a basic level, Publish once and your article appears in many places linking back to your site/blog.

User stories
Link to um (LINK)

Tech
Its Many websites and a few aggregaters sharing a common open “data soup” built with people to people (trust) based tagging.

From this human community/data network many “new” radical powerful things can grow.

Its builds KISS from the legacy web (RSS) and moves us into the per2per semantic web (GNU social)

Thought (LINK)

Licensing – #4opens

What is ethical aggregation?

Its networking other peoples content in a respectful way to build a network wide anufe to start to compete with the failing #dotcons

* Sections/sidebars of OMN links should be prominently displayed on each members site, preferably on every page if small.

* There should be no no-follow tags on valid links to member sites.

* The content is read (by link) on the original host site, comments are made on the original host site.

* This behaviour can be different for apps were the full content could be read in app. This should be agreed by both partys (can have a opt out tag for this as with many other parts of the network)

* The original source (RSS feed site) is always shown under the content title as a live link

* (Optional) the tags should be visible under the full article

* For apps no adverts should be placed next to CC non commercial full content (with out agreement), fine to have ads on a page next to links.

* A OMN badge is (optional) next to the link section and/or on the site about page – this can LINK to the OMN aggregate that the site gets its data flow from OR to the OMN project site.

If you haven’t realized yet the aggregating hubs/nodes are the new “indymedia” sites

* These can be by subject, country, region or city etc.

* Much of the “centralizing” parts of the IMC network are no longer needed as this is inherently a “open” project, rather than a centralizing project. Sites that would like to see them selves as IMC can of course follow these “unneeded” parts if they desire – this will lead to a “natural” grouping of IMC focused sites with in the “open data soup”.

* Existing indymedia sites can continue “outside” the network as their content can be brought in via RSS if sites are interested in it. Just to repeat nobody has to do anything.

* Posting is generally via individual site/blogs, but can be through existent portal/silos like indymedia or existing group sites such as https://www.opendemocracy.net if users prefer to publish on them.
The function of “nodes” will organically grow

* Publishing sites are the source of content these will likely just input a RSS feed up to the next level.

* Aggregating site, these are subjects, locality etc they will take in feeds from publishing sites and output (trusted) quality feeds to the next level.

* News/link portals will be regional, national, big subject sites, these will mostly get their trusted feeds from aggregating (middle) sites and a few trusted publishing sites.

As you can see from this publishing is the hardiest job as you need to create the content, second is aggregation as the is much work quality controlling and adding semantic data (tags) to the flow of content.

The easeast to setup and run are the “top” sites to add value to these will be more of a challenge. One way could be to create articles of linking overviews covering stores from the flows – this content can of course be feed back into the lower sites.

Every thing links to everything else.

What do these “nodes” do to be part of the OMN?

* They host flows of content based on tags from other OMN sites on subject that interest them.

* This content is brought in vier RSS from external sites and by atompub from OMN sites.

* They can tag/retag this flow of objects to direct it to other nodes/site sidebars.

* Other sites can get taged based flows (with embed codes if needed) from there chosen “nodes”

* (Optionally) they can archive this content if they like.

KISS meta-taging

This will seem stupid to many geeks, lets use simple text “twitter” tags to do the categorization of data objects in the OMN flow.

* @ before a tag means a person, that is, a RSS object with an enclosure that is a file contenting a open “contact” format file.

* # before tag is means a bookmark link to a site, the title will be the link.

(optional) Need a “symbol” for video, audio, photo etc.

These objects are tagged just like any other object and are stored/flow through the network just like text articles.

(optional) Can try having a different publish pages for each format that automatically add these tags?

It would be normal to create a new format to for each part of the OMN and geeks/fashernistas have done this over many times over the last 10 years.

Its KISS "stupid" for good, empowering, "normal" people to work on and create new products/services/connections in a "data common soup"

Geek talk - The future of OMN content flows

What has power is the non branded, non owned, KISS implementation of the #OMN that its not part of the “geek problem” and only tangentially connected to the #fashernista agenda’s.

Move to mobile is key for real growth of atl/grassroots media. This is relatively easy as the will be a “open data pool” of semantically enriched content to dip into for quality new, video and audio content flow for building apps. But content is not king in this case, what has real power is the ability to publish direct from mobiles photos, video, audio and text direct to a node of the OMN (this could also be your source, blog/site/portal) in this we empower a move away from “journalism” on the #dotcons and back onto the “openweb”.

Get people (CMS's) to publish in "markup" (as well at html/corporate silos formats) so that content can be loaded/displayed natively on aggregating sites/apps in the formating of the aggregate site/app and display cross site comments – all from the original host. In this we are not only sharing links we are sharing content and discussion across the OMN.

There is nothing original in this all the #dotcons are doing this already and the are many open standards (mark-up being one) that allow this. The originality is in the “just doing it” and the KISS implementation of this push.

I don’t see this as radical, though I see the outcome as revolutionary.

 



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Media Fund

This is coming on. Its looking like its becoming a link portal. This is half a step, links, but it's still a portal. Flow as focues of value is not directly expressed yet, lets see how it grows


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An alt media revolution?

The #OMN is not a revolutionary project. Its largely a #rebooting of the past and trying to get to a place we “could have been” if we had not collectively fucked up at the second #dotcon boom (in 2010ish?). The outcome are varied, big and small, but in the “big picture” we have a semantically rich big data soup covering the alt/grassroots and alt-frendly mainstream that takes part. From this new fresh "open commons” we build real linking revolutionary projects. Though by then I am likely to have sailed away so you guys get to build that bit.


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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/

 



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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



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love and dispar of alt-grassroots media

To move beyond the current dire/dead end state of alt/grassrots media we need to reboot basic KISS tech that the original open web was based on.

What is alt-media: media that tells story’s about the world we live in and our every day lived lives from a different idealogical perspective to the mainstream media.

What is grassrots media: media from the bottom, made and distributed in a more horizontal way to mainstream media.

To make both of these happen we have to consciously over come a number of blocks on the media production side:

* Liberal media makers who think the mainstream can be “fixed” by individual moral responsibility and hard work.

* The old left and its fixation/pushing of vertical statues, the power games that hold us back have no positive outcome but to rarely build a individual carrear into the mainstream.

* Both of these lead alt/grassrots media to be but a transitory jumping off point for the mainstream, or more normally a run and stumble/falling repation to a normal dead end job or with drowen depression.

Blocks also come from the tech side, some dominant tendency’s:

* Geek/tec culture has a dominating tendency to be a mirror of the old left in its individualistic desire for control, the whole technical fix of encryption as a social solution to state/corporatist control of the open web is a dead end example of this.

* Geeks are are in love with the “new” and they lack a wider social view leading to huge over lapping of tech projects, tech history is lilted with hundreds of tech projects that are badly implemented clones of the fashionable moment after it is well past its use data.

* Geeks do not like to work on the “old” and almost everything that works is “old” thus the pointless churning of the above point. “building on the shoulders of giants” is more like “building on the backs of piggmeys” in most open development.

* LINK

The whole love affer with the trap of #dotcon's is anuther conected subject. Both sides to this continuing failing are entwined and the solutions over lap:

Humm.. this is the hard part to describe this in a way that makes sense to real people who embed the issues above… KISS ansers coming soon if people show an interest.



Some questions came out of the last grassroots media gathering about OMN

 

 

Questions and draft answers

 

in terms of what I don't understand it is what do sites specifically have to do?

 

* At a basic level very little.

- output an RSS feed of their articles/videos/podcasts (most sites do this already)

- grab a sidebar embed code (or CMS plug-in) then configure it with interest tags

- modify/refine their tag embed as needed, if more involved re-tag content items

- there are more complex roles, running an aggregator, for instance. This is an open distributed global job.

 

* And what help does this network provide.

- publish once and appear on 100's of sites

- much higher viewing numbers by pushing content in front of interested audiences

- posts going “viral” outside of Failbook and Twitter

- co-operative categorisation of meta-data is a side affect of the OMN

- HUGE linking of alternative media

- HUGE redundant/distributed backup of all grassroots media OUTSIDE the transient corporate “cloud”. Our history will be much better “archived” than the dotcoms.

- looking into the future: the grassroots builds and helps to define the “semantic web” - that is web03 in dotcom thinking.

- be part of the future not just a trailing edge transitory past.

 

* I recognise the plan is to open up the internet (i am still unsure what a portal is btw) so people aren't just going through facebook, google and twitter to find streams of information.

 

- The internet is inherently P2P. Each computer is the equal of every other. In theory your iphone is the same as far as the internet is concerned to the whole of google. it is core radically horizontal.

 

- This has been reshaped into a client- server internet were you are a small you – big them. This needs describing better.

 

* I gather from what is written that there is some sort of categorisation that is going on and mutual promotion in this plan for an open Media network and that some people's sites (the aggregators like ourselves) would key to that promotion and categorisation, but I can't really work out how that works, how the media provider benefits, what the media provider has to do, and what does the average unter get and what would it look for them.

 

- It's a folksonomy based on open tagging. The original publisher can tag their content, aggregators can re-tag content, end users with embeds/plugins can retag.

 

- this taging is synched across the OMN thus feed flows will update in (semi) real time.

 

- the embeds (plugins) and feeds tagging are based on boolean logic, thus you can have + and – and AND etc

 

- there is a social side to the project (the 4 opens). With tagging there is an etiqette - it's socially acceptable to add tags to re-direct flows rather than remove tags (though mis-tagging can of course be changed). This side needs talking about more.

 

* I am afraid it sounds like a really good plan, based on evidence and solutions to existing to problems, but it is too vague specifics for me to understand what it is.

 

- There is a huge hole in the technical knowledge of the media producers. There are social norms against the 4 opens. This project flows against mainstream geek culture.

 

* Everyone is going to ask

 

* what do I have to do? how does it help me?

 

- This is so obvious to me that maybe some one else needs to write this.

 

* What will it look like?

 

- on the surfice very little will change, but grassroots media will have the potential to surpass the dotcoms and failing traditional media much like the original indymedia project did in its early days when its page views matched the BBC on big days of action.

 

* how will it help others?

 

- Traditional media is practically dead as open media, and grassroots media is hopelessly individualistic, short lived  and disconnected to replace this faild traditional media. The social media dotcoms are about social control for private profit – then socal control for political control.

 



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The problem with alt-media

Looking at the media (or lack of media) comeing out of the media democracy festival kindaled a old train of thought:

Most alt-geeks are trying to solve a pointless problem "privacy online" anything online is in a "photocopying system" privacy is an illusion. You can get a shallow privacy by going encrypted P2P but this relays on your device - android or apple phone being secure and they aren’t. to move on we have to move past this dominating geek view point.

The alt-media producers are building 20th century silos, this is such a failed strategy that it doesn’t even need to be talked about anymore.

The solutions are KISS and not complex, were are the geek affinity groups to make these happen.

One example OMN

 



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Media Democracy Festival at Goldsmiths (review)

The alt-media gatherings have been suffering from the tyranny of the funders for more years than I care to remember. The is a big problem of the chattering classes in alt-media.


This is a DRAFT over view of the gathering from a working grassroots perspective.


Comments in italics are by me.

=== Festival ===

To help build a movement for#MediaDemocracy we're holding a big Media Democracy Festival at Goldsmiths, University of London on October 17th 2015.

9am - 10am: Arrivals/ registration - Great Hall

== Speakers ==

10am - 11.30am: Great Hall

The day will start with some great speakers setting the scene and explaining why Media Democracy is so important. Confirmed speakers include:

Setting the scene with “big” speakers and panels is a disaster that creates the very thing you should be trying to avoid.

= Aral Balkan =
A designer & social entrepreneur creating independent technologies that protect our fundamental freedoms & democracy.

Flash and fashion is what I see on his website, am shore he is a nice guy but - Have been on his site now for half and hour and I still don’t know what he is building – think this is to do with his strap line - Independence ★ Democracy ★ Design – he is building him self so he can speak at gigs more expensive than this. FAIL

= Natalie Fenton =
Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre and Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, a founding member of the Media Reform Coalition and Board Director of Hacked Off.

Agen am sure a lovely person but not building alt-media, she is talking about alt-media in academia speech in articles that are not assessable to “grassroots people” - must admit I asleep trying to reading the PDF's and am probably in one somewhere.

= Kam Sandhu =
A journalist and co-founder of Real Media, an independent news website and aggregator that campaigns for public interest journalism and against mass media distortion. Kam has written and produced several short documentaries, and also founded RealFare, where she spent over two years reporting on the effects of austerity on welfare and inequality before Real Media.

She works hard and is doing outreach grassroots media, but, she is directly responsible for building a portal strait out of the 20th century as her tool for outreach.... if she was talking about this experience it would ad-value – but she won’t be.

= Michelle Stanistreet =

Michelle is the elected general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (UK and Ireland). Michelle worked as a journalist for 10 years at the Sunday Express newspaper as feature writer and books editor.

Just to say I am a member of the NUJ and been to conferences, still occasionally go to branch meetings, more for the free beer and the chance that it might have changed than the union it self. The NUJ and altmedia history is interesting and would be good if she was talking about that directly.

11.30am - 12pm: Break, and the great chair re-arrange, Great Hall

== Open Space Unconference ==

12 - 6pm: Great Hall (with breakout sessions in various classrooms)

The bit that should add value! :)

The bulk of the day will be a self-organising open space unconference facilitated by Johnnie Moore. Everyone will be free to propose a session that answers our central question: How can we create media democracy?

Sessions already lined-up include:

* Drew Rose from Bristol Cable and Danielle Batist from Positive News doing a session on Media Co-ops.

Good background and positive news have done a interesting crowed funding relaunch – did it work?

* Andy Williams from Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Sam Kinch from Hastings Independent on Community Journalism.

Academics – what do they bring to building in a practical way?

* Jonathan Heawood from IMPRESS and Natalie Fenton from Hacked Off with an update on Leveson and why a recognised press regulator could be good for small publishers.

The more traditional media side of the event

* Mike Flood Page of Open Democracy's OurBeeb will be asking does public service broadcasting have a future?

The more traditional media side of the event

* Matteo Bergamini from Shout Out UK's and Susana Giner from Youth Media Agency on Changing Perceptions of the Youth in the Media.

NGO's are rarely about media, more about social work, will this be talked about?

* Open Democracy's Adam Ramsay on How Climate Change is Reported in the Media.

Traditional media agen

* Richard Hering from visionOntv on How to Build the Citizen TV Revolution.

A altmedia project that needs a re-boot to escape sliding into a NGO world, am involved in this one.

* Bectu Writers, Producers and Directors branch members Chester Yang and Marcus Relton on their plans for a progressive internet TV station in partnership with the trade unions.

The is a long abortive history to this subject – have they/will they address it?

* Gail Bradbrook from Compassionate Revolution on collective acts of civil disobedience and media reform, looking at the legal side of sabotaging the media, brainstorming cheerful subversive actions.

A local NGO'sh media project?

= Film =

Alongside the open space they'll be screenings of related documentaries including:

The Fourth Estate with a Q&A with Director Lee Salter

El Diario de Agustin (Agustin's Newspaper), with a Q&A hosted by Alborada.

Plus:

10 minute summary presentations running on a loop from Centre for Investigative Journalism:

The Centre for Investigative Journalism – An introduction to the organisation

Data Stories - Using data to find, write and explain news stories, from Excel to SQL

Interactive Storytelling - The cutting edge of innovation in digital narrative methods

Advanced Online Research - Tips and tricks for getting the most out of the internet

The FOIA: Problems and pitfalls - Getting the most out of your requests.

Information Security – Keeping your communication secure

Company Accounts – ‘Follow The Money’ investigations into illicit finance

= Workshops =

Half hour taster sessions run by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

15:00-15:30

Data Stories - Using data to find, write and explain news stories, from Excel to SQL, led by Juliet Ferguson.

Might be interesting, but about producing media.

15:30-16:00

The FOIA: Problems and pitfalls - Getting the most out of your requests, led by Sid Ryan.

Useful basic stuff – but with out working alt-media what good is content?

16:00-16:30

Interactive Storytelling - The cutting edge of innovation in digital narrative methods, led by Marina Calland.

The problem is in the basics – not the cutting edge...

16:30-17:00

Information Security – Keeping your communication secure, led by Tom Sanderson.

This is a subject that needs a open descusern – were this will likely be a closed presentation?

== Party (and live crowdfunding) ==

6pm - late.

Live crowdfunding of media projects, spoken word, live music, and DJs. In the evening we're partnering with Filanthropy to organise a party from 6pm - late in the Student Union. This will include the opportunity for 3 projects to pitch to the room and invite pledges of financial and other support from the crowd (who will be able to decide which projects get £5 of their ticket money, plus anything else they feel inspired to contribute).

If you've got a media project that could really do with £500-1000 to help get you started then APPLY NOW http://s.coop/mediaform for your chance to pitch to the room!

= LIVE BAND: United Vibrations =
We're very pleased that incredible local band and festival favourites United Vibrations will be joining us for the party.

= SPOKEN WORD: Anthony Anaxagorou, Deanna Rodger and Potent Whisper =
These amazing wordsmiths will be kicking the party off with their inspirational lyrics and wordplay.

== Who's coming to the Media Democracy Festival? ==

We've already got loads of great projects and groups signed up to participate, including:

Real Media - an aggregator of independent news

Good project but needs to move out of 20th century thinking, think they might manage this and could become a core of a rejuvenated alt-media.

Hacked Off - the campaign for a free and accountable press

Trying to save the mainstream media needs to be done but its a loseing battle – and a distraction if this is the main option.

Consented - "a multi-media platform for those who aren’t accurately represented by the mainstream"

its another wordpress blog I have not heard or seen – could be useful as a part of a wider network but vanishing pointless isolated.

Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom - for a more accountable, freer and diverse media.

Trying to save the mainstream media needs to be done but its a loseing battle – and a distraction if this is the main option.

Positive News - the world’s first publication dedicated to reporting positive developments, recently transformed into the first a global media co-op.

Interested to find out what they have been upto.

Bristol Cable - a media co-operative – created and owned by people in Bristol who run free events, a multimedia website and a free quarterly print newspaper.

A local media portal - could be useful as a part of a wider network but vanishing pointless isolated.

The Centre for Investigative Journalism - Investigative journalism, critical inquiry, and in-depth reporting and research.

Takes up a lot of NGO'ish funding to help prop up the falling moral standards of traditional media – some one has to do it. But with out an alternative....

The IMPRESS Project - for independent self-regulation of the press - and looking set to become the first recognised press regulator under the Royal Charter that came out of the Leveson inquiry

Some one has to do it but were is the alt?

People's Assembly Against Austerity - bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice.

A functionally closed silo group filled with bureaucratic infighting and power politics – more part of the problem than part of the solution

Permaculture Magazine - an independent reader supported magazine all about practical solutions for self-reliance.

Posh people doing things posh people do – nice if you can afford the lifestyle. Could be a “healthy part” of an alt – if the was one.  

visionOntv - who aim for the widest possible distribution of video for social change.

Has some interesting offshoots and what’s left of its video embeds are an actual functioning alt-media even if most of the tech is half broken. Am involve in this one http://openworlds.info/

Hastings Independent - the local non-profit community newspaper for Hastings & St Leonards on Sea

Could be part of a alt-media network if the was one.

Radical Film Network - a network for which those involved in radical film culture to work together and support its development, growth and sustainability.

Nice people doing nice things, but with the closeting of alts its rearguard and academic.

Shout Out UK - an independent news network that, via journalism, film and events, aims to show young people that politics has a direct impact on everything you do in life.

A 20 century portal I have not heard or seen, could become part of an alt.

Youth Media Agency - the National home for UK Youth Media: raising the profile of, and supporting, over 300 exciting media platforms.

Its NGO with not much going for it as far as my glance at their site sees.

Through the Cracks - a news website devoted to coverage of reporting, storytelling and news startups made possible with the use of crowdfunding.

Its a dotcom silo that will fad into irrelevance.

Alborada - a UK based magazine, events and documentary producer covering Latin America

Could be part of building an alt?

London Socialist Film Co-op - arranges screenings where people can see films and take part in a panel discussion.

I like their side bar link, but have never been to one of their screenings.

Inform My Opinion - a podcast series on various social, political, economic, environmental subjects and activism (mainly in London), featuring voices of people who are well-informed and those who want to speak.

Small, they have a RSS feed so could be part of an alt.

Let Me Look TV - broadcasting videos they like or have produced (mostly activism stuff), and helping others broadcast their material too.

Can only find social media...

Stop the War Coaltion - Stop the War was founded in September 2001 in the weeks following 9/11, when George W. Bush announced the "war on terror". Stop the War has since been dedicated to preventing and ending the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

Mouldy chestnuts come to mind, closed and bureaucratic.

Goldsmiths Deptartment of Media and Communications

Goldsmiths Student Union

== Media Democracy Meetups ==

In the run up to the Festival we've been hosting a monthly Media Democracy Meetup in London

If you think Media Moguls and Press Barons have too much power and influence in our society, want to protect and democratise the BBC, would love to see media co-ops in every community or just work as an independent journalist, photographer or film maker, then this Meetup is for you.

We want all the various threads/ groups working on some part of Media Democracy to talk to each other more and hopefully become a rich tapestry and the beginnings of a power movement for Media Democracy in the UK.

Come along to meet more Media Activists, help organise the Festival and feed into our forthcoming Media Activism Toolkit. See also our related Media Democracy Facebook group.



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Where is our media?

Climate camp is a example of the transition from alternative media to social media. At the beginning of the Climate Change Movement Indymedia was declining. At the first two camps there was a healthy Indymedia centre providing internet, sustainable power and computers

There's always a stress between alternative media and outreach to traditional media. They're in competition and to a certain extent they ignored each other at climate camp. But for social change it is important for the two to go hand-in-hand. The outreach to traditional media should support the production of alternative media and alternative media should feed the best of its production into traditional media to amplify its voice. At climate camp there was only lip service to this happening, in reality the two groups split apart quite soon. Originally the groups were supposed to share the same physical space, but this did not last.

The agenda of traditional media outreach was about the shmoozing of traditional journalists.* Whereas alternative media was bogged down in providing real services in a field which to an extent is always dysfunctional. Like oil and water without a conscious emulsifier to hold them together they separated and throughout the life of climate camp the two never really came together. This happened to a certain extent because radical activists, and I use the word “radical” with "" marks, were prejudiced against people who do what is perceived as soft works such as media production. This is part of activist lifestyle. The spikey/floppy debate.

For a time activist/traditional media outreach ploughed separate paths both playing a role. With the growth of blogging and then most importantly social media - Twitter and Facebook. A new group of NGO focused careerists**  championed this initially successful new tool. The traditional media crew ignored social media***, mirroring the attitude of traditional media to social media at those times. The more naive alternative media embraced social media as an effective tool for social change. The realistic alternative media reluctantly embraced it as another form of media outreach, a form of outreach that bypassed the gatekeepers of traditional media.

The growth of social media impacted grassroots alternative media in catastrophic ways. The software NGO careerists**** championed social media and for the naive alternative media people this was the panacea, the future, the one way to gain a voice. Interestingly the traditional media outreach initially saw social media as a threat but they soon with reluctance embraced it. The few remaining radical alt media people struggled to work wih declining relevance, their tools ageing and disintegrating. With the problems of geek culture they had no way to compete with traditional media or the new social media.

Social media took over activist media. Traditional media still had a role as the traditional media belatedly embraced social media and learnt how to use it.

As I highlighted my other article the problem of geek culture damaged radical alternative media. The failure of traditional media outreach to complement activist media led to radical activist media being sidelined. The growth of individualistic blogging while temporarily bolstering individual voices inevitably led to a decline of of our cultural voice. The final blow the wholesale embracing of social media pushed by the NGO careerists.*****

In all these failures we have come full circle to where we started with a dominant hegemonic gatekeeper media world. If we are to rebuild an open media we have to learn from these mistakes and make sure that we do not continue to repeat them.

Lessons to learn

* Work out how to overcome the limitations of geek culture for activist media. Open is the solution here.

* The politics of media. We need to make sure that there is emulsifier in place between radical grassroots media and traditional media outreach. To achieve this the social movements need to rein in and refocus the traditional media message. Media production IS “spikey” and core to activism.

* Radical grassroots media is always incompatible with NGO careerists.****** We need to build in strong enough foundations so that our architecture cannot be subverted by these privileged people. This is for their good and our good.

Conclusion, the most difficult part of successful radical grassroots media is social, cultural and political. In this it's essential that it is not technologically led. Actually technology is the easiest part of radical media. The tools and standards that we need always already exist. What is missing is the willingness and the common-sense to use what we have.



The main arguments of this article are interesting and really worth considering. Unfortunately it is marred by some unjustified personal abuse, which really undermines the article. I should point out that the comments and questions below come from someone who was present and working in exactly the places cited in the article.

The asterisks refer to notes I have added to the text above.

* "Agenda" and "schmoozing" are loaded words with a negative connotation - what on earth is wrong with outreaching to mass media?

** It is completely unjustified to characterise these hard-working activists in this negative way

*** No, they didn't.

**** I'd like you to name names, then they can sue you for libel - it's cowardly to accuse an unnamed group of "NGO careerism".

***** Who are they again? I mean, is anyone who has a job with an NGO a "careerist"? - that would make it easier to know who was being fingered. Or are there some people who work for NGOs who are not careerists? Are you confusing "careerism" with "having a job with an NGO"?. Please clarify.

****** See my questions above.
Posted on 26/01/15 14:10.
I need to wright a post on this subject - coming soon.

My critique of people who build careers in NGO's I think is valid and if you talk to meany of them over a pint they would wholeheartedly agree the the NGO world is deeply problematic for meany resions.

To work for a NGO for any time is to be shaped by the NGO Agenda, you have to be otherwise you would not get funding and further your carrear. To fight that agenda would likely drive you out of the NGO.

"Schmoozing" My all time faveret quote from a climate camp media team meeting is honest self reference to "sucking corporate cock" which is what they did, to do, a very good job for the climate camp movement. Some one needed to do it.

I didn't, Yes they worked very hard and were successful, I liked um all, that dosent mean what they did was good for movement building. Look at the climate camp at on the Black heath for an example of this.

The traditional media for years was in denial of social media, it only embraced it with a generation change in the organizations.

Rich, the history is spoty, we are useless at achieving our seces and failers, activist memory is largely a black hole - its why we are now working on a open achieve project - lets see what comes out of that.

I think the affects wernt by active evil as you are implying, more by useless activist memmy holes so that we keep recreating the same shit outcomes decade after decade. This post is addressing this subject - piling shit over it even if well intentioned might not be the best thing to do or maybe am not shore maybe it will make it better lets see.

They are the people who drop in organize "good things". Its fuckup rather than conspiracy, few people are actively evil.
Posted on 26/01/15 18:01 in reply to Richard Hering.
"piling shit over it even if well intentioned might not be the best thing to do" - if you dish it you've got to be prepared to receive it.
Posted on 26/01/15 18:16 in reply to Hamish Campbell.
Shit is the bases of compost and all life is built on top of that, so as I dithered, maybe its a good thing emoticon
Posted on 26/01/15 18:20 in reply to Richard Hering.

Lets look for a moment at “sanity” in grassroots terms

The are a lot of “insane” people in activism and counter-culture, its what makes it exciting, dynamic and affective. However with everything its a question of balance, lets look at how a movement stagnates, fails or growes and blossems.

A short off the top of head list

NGO'ists push limited bureaucratic thinking over everything, they get into bed with anything that can be shaped to their mind set and is fashionably fundable. They take up mind space and squander resources. The vast majority of “institutional” money goes into this.

Encryptionists – service the paranoid fuckists, they have a strong tendencies to reduce usability and create dangerous fantasises of security and anonymity. The are a lot of these as this has been a dominate way of thinking for the last 5-10 years.

Traditional media panderers have there uses for a companion, but soon start to misshape the movement to mainstream agenda’s – hard not to have this outcome.

Horizontal dotcom'sts try to use our movement to jump start their dotcom, fine if its built with the 4 opens, if its not then distraction if  failur and disaster if people use it – so bad outcome both ways.

Insecure and nasty lifestyles are endemic and are attracted like fly's to any successful grassroots project and they are feed by the felandering of the Traditional media panderist – this can easily tip into being a movement death spiral.

Hidden careerist are good for movement building as tend to be the competent ones, but start to drift to NGO and media philanders to build their careerer rather than the grassroots movement.

Paranoid fuckwists are the bedroock of most grassroots campines and in small doses help hold things together, get to many of them in places of responsibility and you have out of control infighting.

Dogmatic liberals are lovely people, but a strong force for blocking sustainable alternatives, its imposable to meditate the breakdowns with a few of these at the core of any counter-culture.

Now for a corresponding “good” list of activist “insanity's”

On this subject it helps to be a bit "mad" to stay in grassroot movement for any leaghnth of time

The hand's off NGO's the is a long (hidden) history of healthy NGO/atavism synergy

The user focused KISS per2per'ists are working on the uphill project of (re)booting the open web.

Traditional media outreach'sts are promoting grassroots media and technology by linking it into traditional media narratives to build the world rather than misshape it.

Horizontal dotcom's are working on “open” federated sustainability rather than closed client server “solutions”

Lifestyles are though opening up in the campaigning lifestyle flow and learning to let go and build healthy connected lives.

Open careerist, are bootstrapping the campaign while bootstrapping themselves, they take the open energy like a trosion horse into the belly of the traditional beast. Some one has to do this...

Secure organising crew is everyone job to keep it carm and focus, and help out with the very real “offline” security and communication that activism needs.

Liberal liberals the calm and the balance of “common sense” that’s needed to keep things from going horribly wrong.

Activism is a dynamic and crazy place full of “insane” people doing fantastic things, its a balancing act to hold it all together, to much of the top and not anufe off the bottom and it quickly slides into something few people wont to be involved in – then disappears with little trace.

 



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What would re-booting grassroots media look like?

DRAFT

A series of un-conferences - focussed weekend events.

Intro to the event

Un-confrunces are called for a reason and are about a subject, generally with an idea of an outcome.

Invite all the existing groups and most importantly representatives from past groups to tell their stories and outline their ongoing projects. Invite groups from outside the activist/NGO ghetto such as London JAVA and hackspaces and many more etc.

The preamble:

Our culture is broken. Start with these two critiques of the failed grassroots media/geek culture and the failings of the NGO solutions to such issues.

A defining of open industrial standards and federation, a look at peer to peer and client / server.

This intro is to set the atmosphere of the event, to increase group feedback that question these streams in the workshops over the weekend.

When people arrive, a brief over view of the event and goto it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference Then everyone has their workshop/say.

The event would tend to split into 2 streams, Media Creators (story tellers) and Geeks (tool builders). “We” as the “organiser’s” would continuously gentley push to keep the streams entwined as they both need each other and need an emulsifier to combine for any length of time.

The outcome would be wide, we have a note taker (strait to public wiki) and audio recorder for each session (uploaded soon after)

What I would think important is:

* how to make media so it is part of a flow, rather than for a silo.

* Importance of linking, just getting this working would be a big step forwarded.

* using the corporate dotcoms as dumb pipes – not original sources – build peer pressure here - no sin by only posting to failbook and bird seed world.

* recognition of the problems with the widespread use of WordPress as top sites, fine as a blog/source, disaster as top down centre controled group/campaign site.

* importance of seeing media production as a production of media objects to be shared across the expanding network – not to be held as lost in personal silos or spent purely in the dotcom world.

* recognition of the danger and damage from closed (encrypted) working practices in activism/being pushed by some NGOs. The positive possibility of open working on the open web. Encryption has a limited role, encrypt everything is a clear and present disaster and the people un-reflectively pushing this need reasoning with, then pushing off a cliff ;)

At the end have report backs based on the 4 opens. How do the projects/groups meet these.

Concrete outcome:

* Get everyone to front page link to at least 3 complementary groups.

* Get peopule to review alt-media projects based on the 4 opens to spark off wider social debate.

A list from our perspective on good outcomes:

Put out the (existing) visionOntv video embeds, sign up some more moderators – they are a semi working example of the world we want to create.

Look at the newsflash, linking embed and funding site projects.

Find non-loon geeks to help build out the OMN tools, make links to other projects view the tools and micro formats

nourish a non sectarian single sign in for activism and beyond (look at https://www.grc.com/sqrl/sqrl.htm)

A geek view of this world

Am going to link to some existing “complex” projects that overlap to THE OMN KISS” project, examples:

https://tent.io/docs is the same project, just too far forward to be adopted, that is its not based on the past so would need to much of a jump to adopt, this is why we use RSS as that steping stone.

http://scripting.com is working from a “single user” perspective on very usable micro formats and standards-based projects. The technology being ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Node.js and RSS) used has good peer to peer strengths.

https://indiewebcamp.com same project but again from the “libertarian” camp, making it of limited use for outreach beyond this camp.

Just about all the parallel projects are about individuals first and groups second. For our more communitarian project we need to tweek/expand these code bases to make them useful. Also there is a strong geek start-from-scratch approach which means that their projects cannot lead any change but could become part of the change as it flows. We need to be the flow, otherwise we are all standing around in puddles – the sate of alt-media today.



This is an extremely interesting post, trying to point a way forward with a very difficult project, where there is a history of failure, but the rewards of success are huge (the rebuilding of the open web).

My problem with the draft so far is a bit like the old answer to the question "how do I get to this place?" "I wouldn't start from here". For the weekend to work there'd have to be a pre-existing shared understanding of the problem, which simply doesn;t exist as yet. As it is, it reads like a framework of understanding is being forced on people who don't as yet get it. The question is how to get enough media projects to understand the need, so that they turn up in the first place.
Posted on 14/02/15 10:33.
good points... these are kinda covered in posts over the last few weeks I can link to?
Posted on 14/02/15 15:28 in reply to Richard Hering.
Well, let's start by trying to identify what's wrong in the approach so far. Righ now, the introduction sounds from the point of view of the non-believer rather like "join our cult", which is somewhat against the spirit of unconference. On approaching non-believers, this video I have found particularly helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp-nJKBwQR4 OK, I made it, but 23k people have watched it, so it;s obvioulsy not just me.
There are 6 approaches the speaker considers important, of which 4 are not being fulfilled yet, IMHO:
Common Ground - should be easy for us, but it's important not to sound like weird outsiders.
Respect - I think this is seriously lacking, by treating two major target groups (NGOs and geeks) as a problem, as people responsible for the failure.
Personal journey - this is valuable because it's very important not to appear as the omniscient lecturer. Something about our own failures to implement this might be helpful as well.
Offer rewards - there's a real danger that it seems very abstract to people, both too big and too vague. Small potential goals and successes are mentioned, but they are our tools, so that needs justifying. People might ask "what's in it for me?"
Posted on 14/02/15 18:38 in reply to Hamish Campbell.
Unconfrunces are called for a reason about a subject, so the first bit is to define that call out.

Currently the lack of common ground is the issue in alt-media - don’t shoot the messenger ;)

All the participants are at fault and I out line the rest in different posts - the only ones that come out vagely smelling of flowers arethe few like realnews who have relaxed to just churn out content in a standardised way... a current good example of what’s needed.

As I have seaned a few times, our failures at visionontv need documenting better as this is one of the useful outcomes of our project over the last 5 years or so, we have learned a lot. That "wisdom" needs passing on.

That’s why the point of just linking comes in - as it is easy and will show solidarity and (limited) results with out doing much.

People stop being "stupid individualist" its a feel good thing in its own right, see early climatecamp, middle IMC and current rainbow gatherings.
Posted on 14/02/15 20:27 in reply to Richard Hering.
Interesting exchange - I think we're lacking a bit of context though for those not already deeply embedded in these issues.

Here's a link (http://realmedia.press/) to the Real Media event in Manchester on February 28th, 2015 - less than a fortnight off as I write.

What's wrong with this approach, if anything?

How does it differ from the Rebellious Media Conference of 2011, an event no one would say, as far as I could tell, was a roaring success in terms of concrete, sustainable media projects coming out of it? (http://rebelliousmediaconference.org/)

How could things be done differently - (in terms ordinary people will get)?
Posted on 16/02/15 17:04 in reply to Hamish Campbell.
have updated it, hope its a bit clearer. hang on goda add some more links... OK done, P, fallow the links to get the wider picture then feedback would be good.
Posted on 16/02/15 21:47 in reply to Patrick Chalmers.

My Media

I live in a functioning contemporary P2P media world. For a few weeks I have tried going back to the traditional media. Its an eye opener to (re)realise how narrow and right wing the progressive traditional media is. I live in a world of RSS aggregation for my “newspaper”, podcasts for my “radio” and torrents for my “TV” and “Cinema”. With a unhealthy dose of #failbook for organising the social world.



Its winter time so am spending more time in cafés working and charging laptops, in this space am picking up traditional paper news. On the boat I had some internet downtime so plugged back into radio 4 and every so often look for interesting Tv on iplayer etc. What I find when going to traditional media is a narrowing of my world view, its a dumbed down world on paper/radio and TV. Its actually worst than this as its a strongly propagandist in it choice of voices. I find that the “liberal” traditional media is a slow steady drip feed of poison that dulls the wide possibility’s of social and environmental change that is transparently needed and possible.

I advocate wholesale that people leave this world view for their mental health and the health of the wider human/natural world, the liberal traditional media is making you ill (at ease).



But I hear cries “were is this mythical alternative” and in a limited sense you would be right to ask this. BUT it would be a circular discussion, the alternative has existed for the last 20 years – the issue is chicken and egg you have to use it for it to exist.

Most of the real existing alternative is based on a “stupidly simple” technology created by the practical tech visionary Dave Winer. The format is RSS its the based of my news reading (feedly) and my radio (beyondpod) I have been working (and failing) to make it the bases of my TV and cinema for the last 10 years (visionOntv).

You too can shift to/build your own contemporary per2per media world and reclaim your mental health and power to shape your life and the community/world you live in. The traditional media is a slow steady poison, its well past the time to brake free, its not as hard as you think.



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Journalists generally don't understand what journalism is

DRAFT

Journalists generally don't understand what journalism is especially amongst the trainee and starting journalists.

For many enthusiastic youngsters it is heroic individualism finding and telling the story and of course this is part of journalism but it's a just a part. What they often miss is that news is a flow as Dave Weiner says news is a river and the stories the journalism produce are the water that fills this river.

Why do I say this? If we think of news as individual items, isolated stories, one-off events then we miss the very power media plays in influencing and shape society. If we think of news as a day in day out flow of information through our society then we realise how powerful it is at shaping us. Just as a River given time will carve its way through the largest mountain, news over the years stories and world-views carves and shapes our societies – and thus creates the very young and enthusiastic fledgling journalist this short blog post is about.

The power in journalism is in shaping and directing the flow of the rivers, as am stressing here the water that fills them is only a part of the story. The fledgling journalist's fixation on the water and ignorance of the impotents of the rivers is part of the failure of contemporary per to per journalism and the strength of traditional media.

In traditional journalism you have the binding of wages and hierarchy to hold the river of news to an agenda. In contemporary journalism in the Internet age we have cooperation and aggregation to build our rivers of news. The challenge we have today is getting young and aspiring journalist to realise this and not to be seduced into the money and hierarchy of traditional media. But rather build their own independent media where they can truly have a voice and create rivers of news which both are sustainable and truthful and shape society in a more open idealistic and sustainable way.



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Activist media and the Value of the URL link

The currency of the web is the link, so by linking to something you are adding to its value.

Regrettably, activists endemically link to corporate media and social networking sites thus adding value and power to these large multinational corporations they are in theory fighting against.

As a recent example (but I could pick almost any), at the CRUDE AWAKENING event on October 16th 2010, video producers put out links to alternative video sites:

http://grassroots.visionon.tv

http://youandifilms.com

And these links were re-posted for a while, but soon most re-postings and linking were direct to youtube rather than to the real producers' websites.

Why is this a problem? Just to repeat, linking is probably the strongest currency on the web, and anti-corporate activists are too often spending it in the mega-stores rather than the much better social/political experiences of their local cornershops.  We CAN build a powerful alternative to the mainstream if we spend our linking currency wisely.

LINK to alternative media whenever and wherever you can, with a valid link (includes http:// - www is no good). If you like a film, see if you like the films around it, and LINK to that flow of films, rather than a single video. There's much more value in a flow, for viewers and for producers.

You can also embed alternative media players on your blog or website (for instance http://visionon.tv/embed) and LINK to the urls of those. This is more useful than embedding a single film from youtube.

Valid LINKS and LINKING to flows help to build alternative, non-corporate infrastructure and it's free.

“create the world you won’t to see”



We need to change our habits and try to remember to link to our activist networks. It is the only way to create an alternative to mainstream media.
Posted on 26/10/10 17:01.