[Imc-alternatives] Re: urls to explore

Jay idiot at jaysand.com
Mon Oct 3 07:14:35 PDT 2005

Maguis, everyone,

At 9/30/2005, you wrote:
>Another site I wish to add is Wikinews (http://www.wikinews.org). This
>project is not related specifically withe alternatives, but - imho - is very
>interesting the online method of collaborative work adopted on the website.
>Wikinews method seems to me a "sort of" Indymedia's open-publishing
>evolution. Wikinews, as Wikipedia, is a wiki.

Definitely agreed.  Wikinews is one of the best models I know of 
collaborative news work.

>Now, I try to add some to what Jay wrote (xcuse me for my bad eglish!).
>Jay <idiot at jaysand.com> ha scritto:
> > Hi everyone,
> >
> > Here are some of my reactions to the sites mentioned in our irc chat 
> from a
> > few weeks ago.  Please feel free to add your comments too.  I'll put more
> > specific thoughts on a potential vision for the Alternatives IMC site in a
> > different e-mail which will come either tonight or within the next few 
> days.
> >
> > >Hi,
> > >
> > >Here are some URLs we discussed in the irc meeting as interesting sites
> > >that address alternatives.  I seem to remember a couple others but they
> > >didn't make it into the log.  Take a look and please suggest more.
> > >
> > >Some questions to ask:
> > >-- is this site trying to inspire idea-sharing, information-sharing,
> > >action, or all of them?
> > >-- how does this site structure itself techically (open publishing? 
> wikis?
> > >etc)
> > >-- how does the site's structure relate to its goal/s of inspiring
> > >idea-sharing, action, etc?
>First, I'll try to add more questions: How would be alternatives different
>from these project? What new alternatives could add? How could we
>interoperate with these websites? "Interoperate" for me means MORE than
>simply add their rss feeds ;)

Yeah, integrating with other projects is definitely more important than 
just syndicating their content.  I think how we integrate will have to be 
on a project by project basis.  For example, just for some random ideas, I 
don't know if YesMagazine would be interested in sharing content at all, 
but if so, maybe, if we work with them to add forums, comments and 
discussion boards to their web site, which would be hosted through the 
alternatives IMC and cross-integrated with the forums in our site.  We 
would be adding interaction and the energy of public participation to the 
yes site and they would be adding their great content and ideas to the 
alternatives imc.

For omidyar.net, I have no idea if they'd want to work with us, but if so, 
maybe we could integrate their community-building software with the 
alternatives software.  Essentialy they would host the 
community-building/workspace aspects of the alternatives IMC -- in response 
we would direct energy and users to their project through the Indymedia 
network. (again, I have no idea what they'd think of that, or if they're 
good people for us to deal with in the first place.)

Just a couple ideas -- I'm sure everyone can think of many more.

>Second, I'll try to make some proposals. Imho, we need to define
>alternatives, not only as an "informative" website, but as a projects-
>oriented website. Basicly that's the Socialforge original idea (but I had not
>enough time and not sufficient tech knowledge to develop the idea).
>Socialforge name is strictly related to Sourceforge, that is the major
>freesoftware world repository. My idea was to make a website where people
>could link togheter ON PROJECTS. I thought originally to organize the website
>on projects and have interested people "assigned" to them. Each project with
>needed skilled people. Sort of "collective intelligence" online organization
>Another interesting software/project that seems similar to this idea is Open
>Theory (http://www.opentheory.org).

Yeah, I think the model of having people use the site to work together is 
key, and is one thing that would make the alternatives site different from 
current IMCs.  Integrating the information about alternatives with the 
community-building and work-inspirng aspects of the site sounds like a 
recipe for a great project.

> >
> > >http://www.omidyar.net/home/
> >
> > This is a really interesting project.  People become part of omidyar.net,
> > come up with ideas to, as they say, "make the world a better place," and
> > then collaborate on those ideas through wiki (they call them workspace)
> > pages.  There is also a ratings ("feedback") system so community members
> > can indicate what ideas and projects are interesting.  (I don't know if
> > we'd want to implement that on the alternatives site -- indymedia sites
> > like the PhillyIMC have had mixed success with ratings.)
>Imho the rating system is necessary. In Wikipedia websites (Wikinews
>included) NPOV (Neutral Point Of View) could be intended as a sort of self-
>managed rating system. In the past years on Italy Indymedia I tried
>unsuccessfully to propose a rating system to solve the newswire problems. The
>idea was to have "different views" of the same newswire, one "raw" and
>another "rated", so to have AT THE SAME TIME, the open publishing preserved
>and the right to not read tons of shit.. The rating system I proposed was
>quite similar to Slashdot one, that seems to me the better one till now
>realized. But probably in the context of alternatives project the concept onf
>newswire and moderation has to be rethinked.

We had ratings for a while here at the PhillyIMC.  We offered both a rated 
and raw version of the newswire.  It really worked to cut down on 
spam.  The system fell apart though because the only ones rating articles 
were members of the Philly IMC group, and only a couple of them did 
it.  So, we would only have one or two people regularly rating articles.  I 
think the system would have succeeded with a large number of site users 
doing ratings though.

>   Omidyar.net seems
> > to be a community composed of individuals who are actively doing good
> > things, which is exciting.  It doesn't try to be an information/news
> > resource, as an Alternatives site would be.  Also, I think the politics of
> > omidyar.net seem a bit vague and I'm a bit confused by some of the site
> > structure.
>They're techno-liberal ;)


> >  In general, I think we should try to work with omidyar.net and
> > their community.   A current big discussion on omidyar.net seems to be 
> that
> > the open source movement wants to participate but the site's code is not
> > open, so maybe they wouldn't be interested in sharing code.  In any case,
> > though we don't want to reinvent omidyar.net, certainly we should offer
> > space within the alternatives site for people to to actively work on
> > practical projects together.
> >
> > >http://www.globalideasbank.org/site/home/
> >
> > This is a really fun site to visit -- a lot of great ideas here, most not
> > so great, but there is discussion about them, which is really exciting.  I
> > wonder what kind of links the Alternatives IMC could have with this
> > project.  Maybe working with them to build an "ideas" section of the
> > Alternatives site.
>Yes. The most interesting part is HOW is organized the site. Not necessarily
>the ideas presented.

Yes, definitely.  The thing that excites me about it is that the site 
itself seemingly inspires people to come up with ideas.  I don't know the 
best way to work together with them, maybe infusing more 
alternatives-oriented content into their site to inspire more of their 
visitors to work on those issues.

> >  They do seem to have a commerce section of the site,
> > which wouldn't gel directly with Indymedia.  (p.s. I especially like their
> > list, under "practical help," of other sites that promote creative ideas.)
> >
> > >http://open.coop/plan.htm
> >
> > I like this site's vision and the goal to build a new world rather than
> > just to lobby current governments to make i happen.
>Yeah. It's a temptative to apply the "direct action" idea.. The people
>involved in Open.coop are the same Uk guys involved in these projects (also
>them are wikis)...
>University of Openess   http://twenteenthcentury.com/uo/
>United Diversity http://wiki.uniteddiversity.com/tiki-index.php
> >  I do find it a bit
> > difficult to figure out how to get involved, other than to start an open
> > food co-op or an open source collective.  I may be wrong, but there 
> doesn't
> > seem to be too much of a reason for people who aren't involved in those
> > projects to be part of the site.
> >
> > >http://communicationagents.com/tom_atlee/
> >
> > This site is a project of the Co-Intelligence Institute in Eugene.  It
> > collects some interesting articles and ideas that flow through their
> > network.  I would hope we could find many sites like this, maybe even
> > syndicating their headlines through the Alternatives site's open newswire
> > (sort of like the www.indymedia features-wire syndicates features from
> > local IMCs).
>Another interesting wiki community is "The Transitioner"

This is great.  I hadn't seen this one.  Seems as if they'd be a great 
candidate to work with!

> >
> > >http://www.yesmagazine.com
> >
> > A straightforward web site for the really inspirational Yes Magazine.  It
> > offers their articles but not blogs/wikis etc.  We should definitely work
> > together to share information, finding some way to direct people to their
> > magazine.
> >
> > >http://www.socialforge.net
> >
> > A really brilliant site -- thanks Maguis!  Socialforge.net offers so many
> > ways for site visitors to get involved: wikis, blogs, a calendar, forums
> > (fora?) etc.
>Heeheh too much stuff!
> > It's also set up as multilingual site which is exciting.
>The real interesting thing is the possibility to easily make different
>language-based versions of the same page (aka translations). So you can have
>have for example the same page translated in five languages and you can
>switch from a version to another simply clicking a button (this feature is
>present also on Wikipedia websites).
> > I would love to see us use socialforge as the general basis for an
> > alternatives IMC site.
>Let's go forward.. If all you agree with the idea of a project-based website,
>to be build collectively, we'll could rename alternatives project as
>Socialforge and I could donate the domain to indymedia alternatives
>collective, so to have www.socialforge.net AND
>http://socialforge.indymedia.org ..

I think the real power of an alternatives IMC site will be the integration 
of information/indymedia model with the project-based model, inspiring 
people to USE the information gathered through the site in their practical 

As for the name, I'm still not sure about using SocialForge as an 
alternative to "alternatives" because I do think people should be able to 
look at the name on the Indymedia cities list and have a good idea of what 
they're clicking toward.  (climate IMC, biotech IMC and all the geographic 
IMCs are easy to figure out, of course.)  Socialforge is a great word 
though so I may be wrong about that.

> >  We could use the same basics underneath, adding a
> > features column and an open publishing wire on the first page.
>If we wish to go forward.. we need to involve techies in the project..
>The "Tikiwiki" (the software on which is based Socialforge) main developper
>is also a social activist. When we'll have the definitive features for this
>project, I think there's a possibility to receive help on customizing


> >  What I
> > think that will do is give new users a clear way to enter the site -- an
> > informational gateway through the features, taking them deeper into the
> > site through the links in them, and a direct way to publish their own
> > articles on the open newswire, which may be a good way for people to feel
> > comfortable interacting with the site before feeling comfortable enough to
> > start a blog or edit a wiki.
>Yes is strongly needed a sort of "guided tour" to collaborative features. As
>you will see the most of wiki-based projects have a lot of documentation to
>help new users.
>  >
> > >Here are also some URLs mentioned in the irc meeting that suggest the 
> next
> > >steps in open publishing:
> > >
> > >http://dru.ca/imc/open_pub.html
> > >
> > >http://www.cat.org.au/maffew/cat/openedit.html
> > >
> > >http://www.anarchogeek.com/archives/000004.html
> >
> >
> > These are all great ideas about open publishing and the future.  Well, 
> when
> > these posts were written, from 2001 to 2003, "the future" consisted of a
> > lot of blogs, wikis and user interaction on web sites (ratings, feedback,
> > etc.).  "The future" is here for most of the web, but not yet for the
> > still-straightforward-open-publishing Indymedia sites.  (though Evan has
> > opened up "http://indyblogs.protest.net/" and some IMCs, like NYC, have
> > added a "blogwire."  Definitely we should envision the alternatives 
> project
> > as a different kind of site than current local IMCs.  Also, I think we
> > should invite Evan, Matthew and Dru to be part of the development of the
> > Alternatives site from the beginning.  On to the next generation!
>Imho the present is the wiki. And an "expanded wiki" is the future. Perhaps
>Tikiwiki (or Mediawiki, the Wikimedia software) is the wiki with more
>integrated features.
>I think we need to organize a tech workgroup on studying how to implemet the
>better software for Alternatives project.. Are there some Indymedia techs you
>think could be involved?

We should definitely reach out to Rabble and Dru, who have written a lot on 
tech issues and the future of indymedia.  Plus a whole bunch of other 
techies like micah, john duda, some philly imc techies . . . .  I think we 
should work out the language of an alternatives-imc mission statement first 
so when we contact techies to invite them to participate we'll all be clear 
on what we're trying to do.

I'll have time to work on some of that language soon.  Of course if anyone 
else reading this wants to work on it sooner, that's great.


> >
> > Jay
> >
> >
> > >The main lesson I'm trying to gather from looking at these sites is to 
> try
> > >to figure out how can we best develop the alternatives imc site to
> > >complement the work that's already being done, while at the same time
> > >using the structure of the site to inspire both information sharing and
> > >active organizing.
> > >
> > >Jay
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
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