Tomomi and I and our friend Taku Nakajima have been working on a project for the last year and a half called Cojiro, which we submitted to the innovation awards last week. The project is to build a web platform for what we call “cross-lingual curation”: curating content from one language to another. We’ve actually already built a prototype (see below) which we’re currently testing — if we get the grant then it will fund the next stage of the project, which will be entirely open (for more info see the github page we just setup). Continue reading
Well, this isn’t really an Innovative Award proposal or anything similar, it’s a semi-joke and semi-crazy idea to have just for fun. How about adding new lingua sites for artificial and language games used by kids, such as Pig Latin or Inflationary English. The good thing is that we will not need real authors to do this, we can write some script to take an English post and translate it automatically to Pig Latin or so.
Ok, to the title is actually an attempt to summarize the three ideas I had. Here we go in a more detailed fashion 🙂
1. Online activism tool.
This actually nicely joins a suggestion that Portnoy made earlier. I am not sure whether this goes into the same direction as his idea though. What I thought about is having a wiki where to create something we can dub “a political memo tool”. As I am very interested in censorship and surveillance be it online, be it biometry, etc., I was thinking of creating this political memo as a database of all deputies and representatives who deal with these questions in countries where we have little knowledge about as the MENA region, for instance. So, in the EU and the US, we know who these people are in general, but not in countries from the MENA region or Asia or the CEE.
Since it is not enough just to have these guys/gals listed, my guess is it may be very interesting to have a crowdsourced tool to collect various things such as “inaccessible website for country X”. This already exist for some EU countries (respectmynet.eu, by the French citizen initiative La Quadrature du Net). A very useful resource as Telecomix does exist as well (e.g., Blue Cabinet), but RespectMyNet is different: it really aims at gathering factual data about internet censorship. We all know this happens, especially in the aformentioned countries. It would be very useful to gather this data and try to act against. This collection is also a way of educating people: “ah the site doesn’t work, too bad” or “ah, it doesn’t work, good, it is censored, I’ll use a circumvention tool and will access it anyway”. In the former case, people just obey to censorship in a passive way. In the latter case, people just skip the bigger issue: surveillance. And I think this is a crucial thing to work on.
We are sort of all aware that mobiles (smartphones+tablets) are invading the world, and are/will be changing the way we pick and read news, interact, comment, crowdsource, form communities. Stats are there to prove it, especially in Africa, where one can forget about landline and broadband at home, but where 3G mobile coverage is growing better and better (sorry, have not a lot of infos on other continents, but I suppose it’s a growing trend everywhere). I’d like to stress that for many young people in Africa, a mobile phone is their first and only taste of the Internet nowadays, and of the Web 2.0 experience, along with SMSs.
With this is mind, I’d like to suggest an innovation project consisting of: a community discussion + a task force + a pilot project to 1.vamp up our mobile version, 2. think ahead on how citizen news will be impacted by a small screen, a roaming access ( sometimes expensive). What becomes of our mission to connect people and foster conversations on mobile internet?
The questions for now are endless: how do readers search, choose and pick news with a mobile handset in their hands? How do they identify a citizen news media – versus a traditonal media? What are the successful mobile phone social network such as Mixi (Japan) and MXit (South Africa) doing to capture so many users? Are we condemned to “the app” or is there a more democratic and universal platform? Where do comments and interaction fit in on such a small screen and with very little info about other readers/members ? Should GV posts be tailored for mobile consuption? On the GV main site or on a sub-site, with shorter entries, that could also be distributed via bulk SMSs ? What about geolocalized translation? When will censorship pounce on mobiles? Etc.
With so many questions, and so many knowledgeable specialists in our community, all with their ear on the ground in their part of the world, wouldn’t it be useful we create 1- a Nifty GV version for mobiles, 2 – Dive in, and test all the innovations we can pack on a pilot project, to be tested in a few countries, where our volunteers could provide feedback as beta users?
My proposal is referred to how to increase our presence and use of video.
The intention is to create Global Voices own videos through agreements with small independent video producers (individuals and organizations) in Spanish speaking countries. So these producers would be in charge of creating audiovisual material per request (Us specifying the subject and other requirements for the video).
The process of creating and publishing own video material through the alliance of Global Voces and video producers allows to include citizens’ voices from unrepresented communities or sectors on (and off) the internet and record their opinions about a specific matter, differently from the text.
The videos would be produced fortnightly (each time in a different country) as a base for GV articles. Articles that will be especially written by our authors from those countries.
Thus, our content will be dynamized and will feed our YouTube channel in order to enrich its image and attract new audiences.
Furthermore, to attract people interested in video production, a citizen video contest will be held during the project.
The project covers GV’s lack of own audiovisual material that would facilitate using the whole potential video has in informing and spreading content through platforms such as Youtube.
The idea of the project can be replicated on other sites of Global Voices, and so the whole community can be involved and also contribuye with the sustainability and its continuance in time, sharing the produced videos and proposing alliances with other smaill video producters.
If this proposal is chosen, at the end of its period I will publish a Guide with its procedures and experiences as a way to help duplicate it in others GV sites, and to stablish a long term plan.
How about doing to Music what we have done to Social Media. I am thinking of a GV Music where authors/editors can publish reviews for underground bands from their countries, not only reviews, but we can also integrate SoundCloud (or YouTube) in there and publish those music. I am focusing on underground music here, coz on one hand they need publicity, compared to mainstream music they are what blog are compared to MSM. Also, most probably those artists will be releasing their music under copyleftist licenses. We can also do interviews with musicians, compilation for new releases, etc.
Well, it’s just a crazy idea, but why not explore new fields we aren’t into and see how things will develop?
Another old idea that I think is very important: We need a group of people to assist the editors of different regions in proofreading our posts. I think this will improve the quality of the site.
Once more, I don’t know how much it would cost. I guess it will be the equivalent of a part time job given to a group of expert readers. Could be students in the final years of languages, or people with experience in editing.
What do you think?
This is an idea I’ve proposed already. Some of you might remember a bit of this: I proposed to devote a part of the site to the posts that we have tagged, so far, as «Culture». As a goal, I had the mental image of a site a bit like Advocacy, which is separate but not independent, gathering the posts we have written (and will write) on these subjects. I thought it might not be a bad idea to re-propose this, given the opportunity that this innovation grant has opened for discussion.
The first time we discussed this (It was during the Budapest Summit) we ended up agreeing that we should encourage more posts describing conversations about «culture». Nevertheless, I think we could do a bit more than that. There are lots and lots of conversations, debates and also conflicts with cultural differences and misunderstandings as a base, and that we’re missing because they fall into the big sac of the issues that are important, but not really that much.
The main reason is the conception we tend to have (especially from the newsroom point of view) of culture, and I think the tag we have would be the first proof of this. We put these articles under «arts and culture» which are not related close enough to make a single tag out of it. We think that culture has to do with classics, arts and literature. And to some extend, they do make part of that. But it’s also about how people live, think and behave in different given situations. A great point was made during the Summit in Santiago (If I remember well, it was Tsavvko’s point) : it is important to observe what do we think culture really is.
This idea’s aim is twofold: improve our news gathering and better engage readers.
Global Voices would provide a platform (open to everyone who has a verifiable email) that allows the following:
- Readers to suggest story ideas
- Authors to pitch story ideas (their own, or inspired by readers’ suggestions)
- Editors to select story ideas to be developed for Global Voices
- Readers to add to the ideas in production (sending links to blog posts, social media mentions, and updates, if they are on the ground, as well as their own creative commons licensed videos, photos, audio, content – by submitting it, it would be CC could be part of the terms and conditions)
- Readers to vote which stories they want to read (or we should prioritise).
Other features (many of these would be automated):