Saturday 28 February 2009

Bloggers's Session

Sunny has introduced the panel, other famous bloggers have turned up an Bill Thompson has brought sarnies. We are starting of with mySociety and how the tools you use aren't the important thing but need to be used properly to get people working together. Heather Brooke is now talking about open data (w00t) and how the the data being open is a tool of free speech as with the original data people can see past the spin to what is really going on. Using her two famous examples of local crime data and MPs expenses. “Journalism” whether MSM, blogging, or a campaign group needs to cleverly use freedom of information requests etc in order to get this data out and show people the benefit. Of course when you convince the people they want the data free they can convince the government that.

Ben Goldacre although not a liberties campaigner is here to tell us to all put our efforts online. He contends that political blogging is opinion/invective while science blogging is an extension of undergrads etc publishing their university work. Then criticism moves to the paid academic sites which get subverted by bloggers. Using the Dore cure as an example. The great thing about blogging and the internet is the fact that everything is automatically searchable and it becomes part of the global repository of knowledge. I am going to assume that I don’t need to relate the Durham and LBC stories to you lot, you all read Bad Science don’t you?

Last but not least Phil Booth from NO2ID wants us to think about thinking about the effect you need to make. Focus your attempts to change on your issue and target, get everyone to look at it a thousand eyes are significantly better than one. As well as freedom of information, use Data Subject Access requests to indentify to people how are collecting your data. Go out looking for other people who have the same itch you have join groups like ORG

A question from the floor links back to the press freedom session, how does libel threats affect bloggers, The NZ blackout has been brought up and there is talk that the internet being gold rush country.

BG’s reaction to the libel question is that in many cases not having any assets can be a help as they might dissuade people from suing, but in the end it is only a hastle not having your leg cut off. If you have to do a Mclibel with a friend and a camera. HB is also responding about libel, if she didn’t love the work she wouldn’t do it, investigative work not as well paid for by newspapers as other forms and also a big risk from libel.

Take down notices are an indicator that somebody doesn’t want people to see something there should be a tool that archives content spots it disappearing and the posts it to a suitable set of world wide cache sites.

Protect yourselves by insuring your webhost will let you fight your own battle, use wikileaks to get “hot documents” off your hands.

Someone from the FT asked about the relationship between MSM and blogging which lead into a question that was asked about why Data formats from the UN etc are in formats that are easily parse able but uk data is haphazard and of course the data and definition has changed so if you get 50 years. Bill Thompson has been named checked on API works.

Political engagement was brought up by a green politician who feels bombarded with different contact methodologies, he wasn’t really delt with so much in the session but I manage to catch him afterwards to chat, he recognised my name from ORG-Discuss.

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