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The Witches Cauldron - open activist archive

The Witches Cauldron

The open activist archive is a data “commons” based on the #4opens and motivated by the #PGA hallmarks.

We are aiming to create a data soup of metadata enriched digital items hosted on redundant federated network of hosts/servers around the world. The project will start by hosting the majority of the content from the expo on http://archive.org

Anyone can be part of this federated network which will be built out using the tools of the Open Media Network #OMN and #KISS to facilitate DIY is at the core of the project.

In this as a general statement we REJECT arrogant “expert’s” and “better” technological solutions that move us away from this core #KISS and #DIY ethos of The Witches Cauldron project. Simple and human scale or we will #FAIL should be in our minds as new people grow the project.

 

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Trying to unstall the roll out of OMN

Building up alt/grassroots media would be nice to get a reply :)

 

Hi guys,

 

Good to get a reply about this project from you.

 

OMN is a network of Open Media Sites.

 

The currency (value) of the web is the link without linking content (no matter how good) it has little/no value online and will likely not be seen offline.

 

Left wing and progressive sites DO NOT LINK and share content with each other. This leads them to have little or no value outside the bubble/echo chambers. And we are surprised and depressed when we always loose, there is nothing surprising about this, but there is something depressing about it.

 

Why is the OMN different to all the other activist tech failed projects.

The top 5:

 

1) It's based on the #4opens, meaning it doesn't have the buy-in issue of NGO's and dotcons and can spread as wildly as the original WWW if people start to use it/build it out.

 

2) It's KISS, that is simple and standards based, so open to be built-out in unseen directions and open to wide creativity.

 

3) It's not under the control of one group and is a universal in its subject matter, so can build and link many niches to link a real alternative.

 

4) It solidifies a morality of co-operation and trust rather than fear and compation.

 

5) It gives the tech/grassroots #fashionista's something useful to do and promote at their events.

 

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reply

Hi Hamish,

 

Aren't Real Media doing this anyway, linking all media groups together? Afraid I'm not techie enough to understand what OMN is, how it's different, or any of the points you've made, but I'm happy to go along with what everyone else decides if it can be explained in plain English!

 

XXXX

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

 

 

Hi XXXX,

 

We have done some "user story’s" https://github.com/Openmedianetwork/OMN/wiki/user-storys hope this helps get away from the tech :)

 

This is a part list of current working roll-out https://github.com/tomspost/OMN/wiki your content already appears as links on all these sites as you post it.

 

The realmedia site/project is version of the visionontv project we were fund-raising and trying to build 10 years ago. Fine for the silo it is but the world has moved on.

 

All current successful projects are networks or in the case of the #dotcon social networks (closed) sudo networks.

 

Currently the OMN is the only bud of a network we have in place in the alt/progressive.

 

What dues the OMN mean for the XXXX

 

Nothing has to change in what you do if you don’t want to do more.

 

To be part of the network you add a easy OMN sidebar/section/page to your existing site with the content flow you are interested in from any OMN site.

 

At the moment the is just the one/first that covers the best of grassroots media from a UK focus so use that one http://omn.openworlds.info:8080

 

That’s it, you can do more if you like but don’t have to.

 

What this means is that your site will link and share content with other grassroots/alt media sites on there sidebar/section/pages.

 

Your content as you publish it on your site will appear (you do not have to do anything for this to work) on many other OMN sidebars/sections/pages on other sites and blogs.

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

 

XXXX

 

What we are talking about is building huge distribution outside Facebook. You can, and should continue to use Facebook etc. what the OMN dues is start to build independent and horizontal alternative that runs/expands in parallel, its working now.

 

Am more than happy to help set-up the embed in your wordpress site, will take 20 min.

 

Be the first of the 4 alt/grassroots media sites to take the step ;)

 

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

 

Just in case you are worried about security of your site all scripting is striped from the articles and links and the embed is a standard plug-in that comes from the wordpress market that 1000's of people have been using for years with out any issues.

 

Its mature and safe tech that just works.

 

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Stalled roll out of OMN

How to move on with alt/grassroots media producers linking to each other? Currently the shamelessly do not do this, even though they have repeatedly stated they do over the last 5 years.

1) Keep private messaging them on steps they can take, this works to an extent, as asked them to add more tags to their posts and they “broke” the User Interface on the #OMN software we are using by adding lots more – which is a good problem to have :)

2) Publicly talk to them as a alt/grassroots media group in blog post and their social media – this currently has little affect.

3) Talk to them in public as producer groups – this has had a limited affect with some of the groups, will try this more.

4) Public talk to them as individual's, this will generally get a private response and little action just words so far.

5) Name them as groups who do not link/share in public, this might be needed for some of the groups.

6) Name them as individuals within the producer groups and push for linking directly to them in public, name and point to the individual that this is a clear #fail a last stage.

Its a shame that this escalation is needed - linking is a clear path to success on the web – the right-wing blogs/producers do this, its a blank faced #fail that the left/progressive do not now and generally never have.

“Make the world you wont to see” LINKING is a strong path to this.

Looking for helpful/happy people to crowed source the active conversation to make this happen.

Lets start with these groups.

NovaraMedia

The Canary

Reel Media

Real News

 

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One more step OMN

The OMN will allow you to find good quality alt\grassroots content. It’s a way of getting distribution outside Facebook and Twitter to push-up the use of the open web. It's a stupidly simple social project using existing basic web technologies.

The OMN is an open network so we call each of the sites “nodes” as they are small parts of the wider World Wide Web (WWW). Openworlds is the first node/site of the network, currently with links to 10 embeds on sites as an initial soft roll out. We are aiming to expand this out up to 100 sites over the summer for the hard launch.

If you have a web site and want to play a part in this “soft roll out” go to openworlds

Step 1: If you are interested in only some subjects or groups, click on group tags (with @ in front) and/or subject tags. You can choose as many as you like and then only these will show up in your river embed. Then click the RSS link.

Step 2: Take the URL of the RSS feed, in the new window that opens. Go to your CMS/site/blog and install a RSS display/widget and add the RSS URL to it. You can use the formatting options to change the number of items and what info to display to make it look nice.

That’s it for now, your site is now a part of a open alt/grassroots media network. Playing a role in linking and cooperating to build a progressive worldview empowering people to build a better world.

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A first step to reboot alt/grassroots media

A first step to reboot alt/grassroots media land an update on were we are on the OMN (open media network) linking project.

* The is a node/site up http://omn.openworlds.info:8080/

* This currently has 10 embeds https://github.com/tomspost/OMN/wiki on sites as a soft roll out

* we are aiming to expand this out to 100 sites over the summer for the hard launch

We bring good content in and push it out as links on site sidebars/sections on these sites. To make this work better the producer sites need to add more subject tags to posts as embedding sites can use these to display content flows they like ie. the more tags the more shared views for producer sites.

For a lose time scale of the project http://bit.ly/2mUDA3f

 

 

Howto use the OMN

 

 

This is a first step of a longer project.

 

Goto http://omn.openworlds.info:8080

 

1) You can click on the RSS feed button to get a news river for your site, this will link to articles from all the feeds in the node/site.

 

2) If you are interested in only some subjects or groups click on group tags (with @ in front) and/or subject tags. You can chose as many as you like and then only these will show up in your river embed. Then click the RSS link.

 

3) Take the URL of the RSS feed, in the new window that opens. Go to your CMS/site/blog and install a RSS display/widget and add the RSS URL to it. You can use the formatting options to change the number of items and what info to display.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Your site is now a part of a open alt/grassroots media network. Planing a role in linking up and cooperating to build a progressive world view. To empower people to build a better world.

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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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Building a alt/grassrots media network

The OMN rollout is a 10 step process


  1. Rollout a single node to link alt media and share content to 100 sites.

  2. More

  3. More

  4. More

  5. Rollout full social taging flows and start the offline backup, start to move away from the dotcons.

  6. More

  7. More

  8. More

  9. More

  10. The openweb grows into the semantic web, the dotcons become history.

 

Time scale


* This could take a year with support and full on effort

* 2 years with interest and some geek commitment

* 5 years with active BLOCKING and geek’s turning away and doing something “better”.

* It will FAIL if the alt/grassroots groups don't links to each other and each tries/pushes to be the “one” ie if we strive for the same dotcon working in alt/grassroots media.


“Be the change you want to see”
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FAQ - why use open websites

We need to get activist to actually use alternative net infrastructure.

FAQ

Q. Its to complex to use this geek software.

A. So was Facebook when it started, almost nobody understood what twitter was for for ages – all new experiences are hard. Its actually ONLY a question of motivation then familiarisation through repartition.

Q. Activist internet site are ugly – if they just look nicer people might actually use them.

A. After bad UI is put to one side (and this can be an issue) the is a direct correlation between full user functionality and bad looking sites – you can make site look nicer by dis-empowering the user or by shaping and controlling there interactions – but freedom always looks messy just look at Facebook its one of the more messy sites out there – it overcomes this issue by good UI and familiarity – people get used to “functionality - ugliness” after they use the software every day.

Q. My activist site has no way for the “user” to be part of the site beyond limited commenting.

A. Yes activist sites are generally in the stone age of hierarchical control freakery, use sites that are web02 not web01 the actually are some projects out their. Complain to admins if the is no peer -to- peer production on an activist site, then actually use the peer production tools they set-up such as wikis and forums.

Q. Why not just use Facebook groups/ fashionable web2 site, every one is on there anyway.

A. This way leads to the death of the open internet/society LINK

Q. Can i trust activist sites with my privacy.

A. On corporate site's that most activist use, such as Facebook you can only hide from your friends not from your enermys. This is generally true for the open web in general and is something we need to understand. If you have a secret take the activist to the garden and whisper it in there ear, do not rely on any fig leafs of corporate privacy settings or promise of activist client server encryption LINK

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Hello! I would love to interact with this site - at the moment, I am blocked from even updating my own profile - please help! emoticon I have wind turbine experience to offer, and batteries and hand tools. Much love! Claire emoticon
Posted on 17/05/14 16:09.
OK explain the issue, you should be able to fix it yourself?
Posted on 10/06/14 12:30 in reply to Claire Morris.

How to do ethical aggregation and news flow displays

The is an issue of fast flowing (lower quality) news sites dominating over slower flowing (quality) sites on short 5/10 story sidebars on the #OMN

To get round this the are a number of options:

  1. We only show one item (the latest) from each feed in embed RSS feed flows. This will mean that some content is “skipped” on high flow sites and some stays around for longer in low flow sites.

But for this to work in nodes (sites/hubs) with lots of source feeds we will need a rolling group RSS polling update system say 5 or 10 feeds at a time, divided into the total polling time frame.

So a site has 30 feeds polling ones per hour than it will divide this into 3 groups of 10 feeds and pole these in turns ever 20 min so that the feeds are undated ones per hour but in 3 different groups so that the is a turn over of content for the feed for option 1) to maximize slower site flows getting linked to in the #OMN

  1. A second option that we do now on the node dispay iis we randomize the content in site flow feeds, this will give a wider view of older content and will even out faster/slower feed flows to bring diversity. But you wont get time based "news".

  2. What we do now, we show content in liner order, however due to the way that RSS polling works the updates will be in groups and faster updating sites will dominate over slower updating sites. This is far from satisfactory, as it rewords sites that “game” the system by scatter gun publishing publishing lower quality content.

http://omn.openworlds.info

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The OMN is up for limited roll out

The Open Media Network is coming on, tech is largely working and hosted http://buff.ly/2kRowCl need text made into an outreach doc.

Working #OMN sidebar/section on this site http://buff.ly/2knMng8 scroll down to see it on the side and try the links its a news data flow

 

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Rebooting Alt/Grassroots Media

The OMN Beta is a subset of the full open project.

Its a just the linking part. A first step to the data soup and open per2per network.

A single node will facilitate existing alt/grassroots media projects to link to each other. This will hopefully, partly overcome the #geekproblem to brining in talented developers to roll the rest out in a open way.

If this is blocked and stalls (possibility) the is away the evil of "funding" but its a many edged tool that cuts in all to predicable ways.

The BETA will roll out

Implemented
* Basic content flows by tag

Coming Soon
* Basic video player flow embed by tag
* Basic audio embed flow by tag

* Basic “blog/site/project list flow” by tag
* Basic “personal” grouping/flow by tag

Many of the existing radical alt/grassroots media sites (PGA hallmarks, #4opens) will be feed into the network (opt out) and all of the sites invited to become a active parts of the OMN by embedding sections/sidebars.

For the geeks http://omn.openworlds.info:8080

 

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The OMN an easy project for everyone

The OMN an easy project for everyone

Producer groups have to put in minimal effort only puting a linking sidebar on their site and providing a RSS feed into the network.

These can be:

* Tag based content list “you might be interested in this”

* Tag based site link list “blog roll”

* Tag based video player embed “good films”

Optional: a site can add a badge to say its a member of the network.

What do they get out of it?

Google juice from the wide links back to their website and their content.

Clicks and content audience for all sites of the network rather than just their own.

More commenting from cross site conversations in their CMS comment system

On social media (the #dotcons)

They get a wider sharing of their content to work its way round the FB algorithm restrictions.

More “likes” on their #failbook pages to help boost the 3% organic reach.

Well a warm fashernista feeling of being part of something whole/bigger.

A geeky feeling of doing something real geeky.

We join together to push the “undercurrents” up and into the “mainstream”.

Badging the OMN

Is based on the #4opens to get a badge a site has to embed at least one linking embed somewhere (relatively) prominent on their site to become a member of the network. The Badge will link to the OMN project page, maybe this could have a list of OMN sites, as well as hosting the basic project docs.

Gold – 4opens

Silver – 3opens

Bronze - 2opens

We need some one to design these “badges” its up to site owners if/were they use them.

The OMN is a project of the 4opens and the PGA hallmarks.

 

 

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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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User story for the OMN - Ana and her Cat Pixy

User story for the OMN - Ana and her Cat Pixy

Ana loves her cat Pixie and wants to create a blog with photos and life stories of her cat. All her friends are creating Tumblr accounts but her friend told her about Open Media Network and that she could reach a wider audience. She created a Wordpress site instead. To make her blog more interesting and dynamic she adds some #OMN side bars from catlovers.net using the tags “black and white” “cat” and "fun” so that she can receive new pictures and headlines from other similar websites everyday. Her feed is added back to the catlovers.net aggregator and thus linked to over up to 100 cat sites each time she posted a new story.

 

 

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Draft user storys

More OMN user stores

Tabs Troughton Richard Hering John Hoggett Thomas Barlow can you guys have a go at writing versions of these that are readable by normal people - then I can geek up the originals so they outreach to both worlds. if you wont to #reboot the media this is one way to play a role.

Here I look at wider uses than just alt/grassroots media.

Lucy has an old inactive blog about horses, since #failbook came along almost all activity has moved to a page on this #dotcon but fewer people are seeing her photos/posts and she is annoyed by the nagging adverts asking her to pay for distribution. She likes going to evening classes and sees one on blogging after her art class. Signing up she learns about this new thing the Open Media Network, during a practical part of the class the tutor gets the students to help each other add a “blog role” sidebar to their sites using OMN tools adding a few tags she soon has a list of local horsey sites and blogs linking off a sidebar widget. From this class she finds a group of new proto-blogers to help each other out, they have regular social meetings in her kitchen and after a few months they setup a local news site/noid linking all there blogs together.

Jim is a librarian who has always been interested in counter culture. He has spent the last 10 years collecting all the leaflets and pamphlet he can find on road protesting, climate change, GMO's ect. One day he goes to his favorite activist news site and finds it offline. Asking around he find that the has been a problem with the server and nobody knows how to reboot it as the volunteer sys admin left 9 months ago. Because of “security” the is no working backup and the only redundant files are on an encrypted harddrive that nobody remembers the password for. All the work and connections of hundreds of people have been lost as well as the archive of media and articles going back 10 years. He had been to a public meeting about the OMN a few months ago and had been interested in how it could be used to create DIY backups of articles flowing through it. Setting up a noid/site is still complex so he has to get some atavist geek friends to help, after a few days its up and running and actively crating a data base of all articles flowing through the network with the tags he choices. In this if any site goes down he, like anyone, can have the full text backup. As text is small he can hold millions of articles on a cheap server and manages to set-up himself a RSS reading app to copy this taged flow to his local computer just in case he has server issues like his now defunct favorite activist website. From this experience he becomes an expert on open data flows.

Jasper is a fashernista geek looking to make a iphone app, he see news as a growth area, as a programmer he has no knowledge or skill producing news content so he is looking for existing sources he can find and use. Being a talent programmer he quickly knocks together a “cover flow” interface with a tag highlighting linking structure. He fills his app with content from a mainstream OMN aggregater noid and highlights the tags in the text to give a interface on this data flow. As his app is tool which data freely flows through he can sell it for $2.99 on the apple store. After a number of good reviews he sells 100,000 installs which allows him to give up his day job in the local council tax office.

Tabs wrights an opinion news blog with hart-warming storeys covering powerful social issues. Currently she has few readers as her distribution is to friends on #failbook. She has known about the OMN since before it started booting up and her content was added ver RSS by one of the founding aggregaters. Since then she has seen her viewing figures more than double, encouraged by this she puts a sidebar widget displaying OMN content flow that interests her. With this in place a number of prominent sites feature her blog as she is now a part of the OMN, her viewing numbers go up by a factor of 10 and keep growing as the network expands.

Ana loves her cat pixi and wants to set-up a blog with photos and life stories she could set-up a tumbler blog like everyone else, but her friend told her about the OMN so she set-up a wordpress site and adds her RSS feed to the OMN aggregater Catlovers in this her posts are added to the OMN network. To make her blog more interesting and dynamic she adds two OMN widgets to the blog sidebar the first is a photo widget that she configures with tags “black and white” “cat” “fun” so that it has an updating image from the catlovers view of the OMN and the second is the latest articles headlines from this catlovers site view.

Janice has a family history website that she updates regularly. The is a group of history web sites that have setup a OMN aggregater to push out there content to a wider audience, Janice adds her RSS feed to this aggregater and the hits on her site jump immediately each time she publishes new content. She gets help to add a sidebar section on her site with a OMN flow based on the tags “family history” and “research” with this in place she become a member of the OMN and her site becomes more visible to people. She finds her self working with a group of interesting people.

Fabo has a bus in East London converted into a restaurant, he currently has a Facebook page but this only reaches a tiny number of people (3%) who like it. He is a member of London Hackspace were he goes to a workshop on booting up the OMN. Inspired by this he decides to set-up a (OMN) aggregating site covering events and food in East London, he gets a friend to do this for him using drupal and the OMN plug-ins. After spending an evening adding RSS feeds of all the restaurants and venues he can find. The next morning he has a website linking to content that regularly updates. He features his own content on this to promote his business, his site after a bit of design work becomes a place to find out what is happening in fashionable hackney.

Jeff has a band, he used to get contacts for gigs on myspace and more recently on facebook, but this had been drying up. He has a friend who is setting up a OMN aggregater in Manchester linking to the music seen. Jeff helps them out by becoming a volunteer tag moderator of the data flows, from the inside knowledge of these rich data flows he rebuilds personal connections that help to re-spark his music.

Feedback please.

Image may contain: 1 person

Probably have to change the names :) this is a first draft, used them to spark off ideas for user storeys for the OMN. Here I look at wider uses than just alt/grassroots media.

Tabs wrights an opinion news blog with hart-warming storeys covering powerful social issues. Currently she has few readers as her distribution is to friends on #failbook. She has known about the OMN since before it started booting up and her content was added ver RSS by one of the founding aggregaters. Since then she has seen her viewing figures more than double, encouraged by this she puts a sidebar widget displaying OMN content flow that interests her. With this in place a number of prominent sites feature her blog as she is now a part of the OMN, her viewing numbers go up by a factor of 10 and keep growing as the network expands.

Fabo has a bus in East London converted into a restaurant, he currently has a Facebook page but this only reaches a tiny number of people (3%) who like it. He is a member of London Hackspace were he goes to a workshop on booting up the OMN. Inspired by this he decides to set-up a (OMN) aggregating site covering events and food in East London, he gets a friend to do this for him using drupal and the OMN plug-ins. After spending an evening adding RSS feeds of all the restaurants and venues he can find. The next morning he has a website linking to content that regularly updates. He features his own content on this.

Ana loves her cat pixi and wants to set-up a blog with photos and life stories she could set-up a tumbler blog like everyone else, but her friend told her about the OMN so she set-up a wordpress site and adds her RSS feed to the OMN aggregater Catlovers.net in this her posts are added to the OMN network. To make her blog more interesting and dynamic she adds two OMN widgets to the blog sidebar the first is a photo widget that she configures with tags “black and white” “cat” “fun” so that it has an updating image from the catlovers.net view of the OMN and the second is the latest articles headlines from this catlovers site view.

Janice has a family history website that she updates regularly. The is a group of history web sites that have setup a OMN aggregater to push out there content to a wider audience, Janice adds her RSS feed to this aggregater and the hits on her site jump immediately each time she publishes new content. She gets help to add a sidebar section on her site with a OMN flow based on the tags “family history” and “research” with this in place she become a member of the OMN and her site becomes more visible to people. She finds her self working with a group of interesting people.

Jeff has a band, he used to get contacts for gigs on myspace and more recently on facebook, but this had been drying up. He has a friend who is setting up a OMN aggregater in Manchester linking to the music seen. Jeff helps them out by becoming a volunteer tag moderator of the data flows, from the inside knowledge of these rich data flows he rebuilds personal connections that help to re-spark his music.

OK that’s it for now.

Feedback please.

 

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Where next for grassroots/alt-media?

It's common knowledge that grassroots media is well F**ed and that #failbook and #twitter are the problem not the solution. Where can we go from here? To reboot alt-media (and play a role in rebooting the open web) we need to create an affinity group to cross the geek/political divide that has demolished our once flowing/healthy alt-media networks.

For a moment let's look at broad-brush history, The 20th century alt-media was one of offline social movements, where modern (21st century) alt-media is a product of online social networks - the web. Take a moment to think about our years of failed encryption geek projects on the one hand, and, the constant churning of disappearing media silos on the other. The last 10 years have been a wasteland for both the geek and political.

The original internet/web suceeded because it was a stupidly open design, it had no built-in agenda to the network. Lets compare this ”new” for a moment to the pre-internet, the old wired telephone networks had all the smarts at the exchanges and the phones were dumb, it was a centralised hierarchical network. Where the internet had the smarts at the ends, the computers, and the network itself was dumb – a horizontal network.

This turning on the head of 20th century thinking is important to move out of our current lon- running malaise in alt-media. Am arguing the divide between politicos and geeks is feeding a failed fixation on 20th century thinking in that they both want to build systems (both technical and social) where the smarts are at the centre. In contrast we know that in the 21st century it is more powerful to build “empty” networks that connect the smarts at the edges. The word “empty” here gets a lot of negative responses :) This is the touching of the core problem. Take a moment to re-read and think positive thoughts ;)

An “empty” network is a general-purpose network that connects general purpose computers to general purpose people and community. Yes, the tech we need, like the internet/open web has an agenda but it is not sectarian as #failbook and other #dotcoms are, as are our own much smaller alt-media silos. Instead its “open” and “simple” based on “industrial” standards and open working social ideals. This is obvious, but it needs saying, The “dumb net” is completely ignorant of what the user wants to do – just data in and data out. It's up to the user to decide what the data is. Only “universal languages”, that is data standards, have flow. There is a ridiculous power for change in this obviousness.

It's not hard to re-boot to escape these 10 years of failure, actually it's simple. Though it's not going to happen without a good affinity group who cross the geek/political divide. Message me if you think you have the smarts, skills, tolerance and humility.

hamish@visionon.tv

 

 

 

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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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Open Media Network user story's Lucy

Open Media Network user story's

Lucy
Lucy has an old inactive blog about horses. She now has a Facebook page that she uses for this. Less people are seeing her photos/posts than used to look at her blog. She is annoyed by the nagging adverts asking her to pay for people to see her posts.

Lucy sees an advert on blogging one evening after her art class. Signing up she learns about the Open Media Network. She shows the tutor her old blog and her Facebook page. The tutor encourages her to develop her blog by adding more photographs and written material and encouraging her to link her site to other sites with similar interests. The class tutor gets the students to help each other add a sidebar to their sites using OMN tools. She learns that the side bar is called a “blog role". She soon has a list of local horsey sites and blogs linking off a sidebar. From this class she finds a group of new proto-bloggers to help each other out, they have regular social meetings in her kitchen. Some of them have a lot of internet and IT skills and others are more interested in the content of the blogs. After a few months they setup a local site linking all there blogs together.

A vibrant local online and face to face community starts to emerge and Lucy’s blog gets more and more interest. She hardly looks at Facebook these days.

Thanks John Hoggett

 

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OMN user storys - A Writers Blog

Tabs Blog

Tabs is a writer and journalist who in the past was published in major newspapers. She writes opinion pieces based on current news events.

She keeps her hand in by writing pieces for her blog. She then posts her blog on facebook. Some of her friends share her pieces. Her blog reaches between twenty to a hundred people, mainly her friends.

Tabs knows one of the developers of the Open Media Network. He adds her feed from her blog to the OMN so that when she publishes a new piece the sidebars of all the blogs that are interested in her work are alerted. All someone has to do is click on the link and they will be taken to her site so they can read the new blog post. At the same time her blog will be copied and stored on OMN servers, or noids, so that a backup is always available.

As time goes on more people sees Tabs blog on the sidebar on their blogs. Her viewing figures double over a couple of months. So she decides to reciprocate and adds a sidebar to her blog and links to some other blogs she likes.

She is now a part of the OMN. A number of prominent sites feature her blog and the number of people looking at her blog increase dramatically and keeps growing as the network expands.

Thanks JH

 

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Foundations of alt/grassroots projects

All projects am working on at the moment are based on:

PGA hallmarks

1. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalisation.

2. We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious fundamentalism of all creeds.
We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.

3. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organisations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker;

4. A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local alternatives to global capitalism.

5. An organisational philosophy based on decentralisation and autonomy.

https://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/pga/hallm.htm

 

The #4opens

1. Open data – is the basic part of the project https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_data with out this open it cannot work.

2. Open source – as in “free software” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software this keeps development healthy by increasing interconnectedness and bringing in serendipity. The Open licences are the “lock” that keep the first two in place, what we have ain’t perfect but they expand the area of “trust” that the project needs to work, creative commons would be the start here.

3. Open “industrial” standards – this is a little understand but core open, its what the open internet and WWW are built from. Here is an outline https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_standard

4. Open process – this is the most “nebulous” part, examples of the work flow would be wikis and activity streams. The project is built on linking trust networks so open process is the “glue” that binds the links together. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process

LINK for projects

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