Archive for January, 2007

Connected Citizens — Enabling Common Ground

Friday, January 5th, 2007

The Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2) 2007 Conference has been scheduled for November 12-14, 2007 in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada).

Three potential main themes are currently being evaluated:

  • Citizenship: the character of an individual viewed as a member of a democratic society; behaviour in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen.

[...]

  • Common ground: Some people say that an objective of dialogue and deliberation is to find common ground. In many cases, people with different perspectives can look beyond differences to see what they have in common. Common ground would be a great theme for the conference as this could be used to support many different concepts, such as:
    1. Bringing the community together on common ground for the conference;
    2. D&D approaches to finding common ground;
    3. Establishing common ground for the D&D community in Canada.

[...]

  • Interconnectivity: Interconnectivity is another idea being considered as a conference theme. The concept of being interconnected has many powerful interpretations and meanings. Many people are familiar with the concept of six degrees of separation. This is the idea that everyone on the earth is connected to everyone else through six people. This is a neat idea in showing that not only are people in the D&D community connected to each other, but we also use D&D to bring others together to increase understanding, address challenges, find solutions, etc.

I’m interested in all three, hence my suggestion for a combination: Connected Citizens — Enabling Common Ground

In order to help them better prepare the conference, you are invited to complete their online workbook and suggest your own topics or themes.

Via NCDD: C2D2 News - Online Survey & 2007 Conference

Second Life: How many users?

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

It always strikes me as odd when a company either willingly inflates their user adoption statistics or doesn’t at least step in to clarify when things aren’t being reported right.

Clay Shirky, 12/12/2006: A story too good to check

Second Life, the much-hyped virtual world backed by Benchmark Capital, is heading towards two million users. Except it isn’t, really. We all know how this game works, and has since the earliest days of the web:

[...]

Someone who tries a social service once and bails isn’t really a user any more than someone who gets a sample spoon of ice cream and walks out is a customer.

Clay Shirky, 12/26/2006: The tech reporters who flack for Second Life

The basic trick is to make it hard to remember that Linden’s definition of Resident has nothing to do with the plain meaning of the word resident. My dictionary says a resident is a person who lives somewhere permanently or on a long term basis. Linden’s definition of Residents, however, has nothing to do with users at all — it measures signups for an avatar. (Get it? The avatar, not the user, is the resident of Second Life.)

Clay Shirky, 01/02/2007: Virtual world stats as misleading as a dating profile

There are only two things you really need to understand about the Linden story. First, any Residents figure from Linden is unrelated to the population of Second Life (because a Resident isn’t a user) and growth in the Residents number is not directly tied to growth in users (because existing users can create new Residents). Second, any reporter who publishes a population figure for Second Life is snowing you on Linden’s behalf, since Linden never tells anyone how many regular users Second Life has.

Anyway, looks like Second Life does not currently have 2 million users (as in unique real people) on their platform.

With so many businesses trying to jump on the bandwagon, wouldn’t you want to know the real numbers?

Blogging and journalism

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Following the recent Microsoft/Edelman PR campaign, I revisited a few sites I had bookmarked over the last year. From what I read in the various ethics codes, it seems pretty clear that accepting gifts of significant value (e.g. items provided for review purposes) is not considered ethical behavior for journalists.

For example, below is a section from the NPR News Code of Ethics and Practices:

VI. Personal Gain, Gifts, Freebies, Loaned Equipment or Merchandise, etc.

1. NPR journalists may not accept compensation, including property or benefits of any kind, from people or institutions they cover. NPR journalists may accept gifts of token value (hats, mugs, t-shirts, etc.). Unsolicited items of significant value will be returned with a letter thanking the sender but stating our policy on gifts. NPR journalists pick up the check when they can (i.e., they are not wined and dined by sources); NPR journalists pay for our own travel in accordance with NPR’s travel policy. There are certain instances – such as conferences and conventions – where food is provided as a convenience for the press as a whole, and in such instances it is acceptable to take advantage of this. In addition, NPR journalists may accept paid travel and meals for speaking engagements and awards ceremonies that are approved under the standards in Section V of this document.

[...]

4. NPR journalists pay their own way in newsgathering, except in unusual circumstances (like going into battle with the military). The Managing Editor or Vice President for News must approve any exceptions. NPR journalists may accept free passes to movie screenings, performances or similar activities that are attended for the purpose of doing reviews or stories for the air.

[...]
6. NPR journalists cannot keep any equipment or items of value provided by a company for test-use for story purposes. Such items must be disclosed to the journalist’s supervisor and are to be disposed of in accordance with the ethical practices stated in this document, which usually means returning such items to the provider.

Very unambiguous language. Note that disclosure is not always enough.

Now, not every blogger is a journalist, nor should they be. However, for bloggers who do consider themselves journalists or who work in what can most accurately be described as a journalistic setting, I believe these time-tested journalism ethics best practices apply and it is important that they be adhered to.

Unless, of course, you think as a blogger you’re above the rules, or the right rules haven’t been written yet, or journalists don’t always stick to the rules either. That’s fine, too. It’s blogging, after all, so anything goes. Just don’t come complaining about how bloggers aren’t taken seriously. You can’t have it both ways.

MMVII

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Audio, video, disco. Felix qui potuit rerum cognocscere causas. Docendo discimus. Ne discere cessa. Audiatur et altera pars. Bonum commune communitatis. Res publica. Citius, altius, fortius. Ad astra. Viribus unitis.

Semper ubi sub ubi.