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Global Voices - Democratising the web with Wordpress and Love


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Jeremy Clarke's presentation about the Global Voices project and how Wordpress powers it.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
  • Pretty good presentation Jer, you pimped up GV quite good, well done! :)
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  • I can't figure out how to get a transcript using NeoOffice/OpenOffice, so here are my notes.

    Each item in block like [this] means a new slide, try to sing along!

    - [wc-jeremy.png] who is jer
    * web creation since 2003
    * [wc-jerhistory.png]
    * wordpress since 1.2
    * working on GV for two years now

    - [words: WHY + globalvoiceslogo] WHY GV?
    * b4 showing, explain why.
    * web + blogs make global expression easy
    * [wc-blogsaregood.png]
    * we all agree this is a good thing, its empowering, democratizing and fun.
    * in theory, we want to know what everyone is saying, not just popular, close or likeminded bloggers.
    * despite the benefits, general exposure still doesn't happen, why?
    * [wc-blogproblems.png]
    ø people in other locales and speaking other languages aren't accessible.
    ø we have no time to read even a tiny sample of global blogs
    ø views mixed in with personal. hard to parse. we follow journo ones instead
    ø when intl news happens we might be curious about what people THERE are saying, but it's too late to find local blogs while the news is still fresh. 'Normal' blogs that break news are also not necessarily popular, so google/technorati won't know that they are experts on that exact situation.
    ø many blog search engines or aggregators have too broad a mix of content and quality, and are frustrating to navigate for normal users.
    * [wc-gvso.png]
    * GVs founders saw this and wanted to do something
    - [wc-gv-home.png]
    * editors and authors covering regional and territorial blogging communities - almost all countries have posts
    * authors read/follow dozens to hundreds of blogs from their regions using RSS, and use tools like technorati for special occasions.
    * started as basic wp blog set up by academics - v1.5
    * [wc-oldgv-oldest.png]
    * hired a designer to pick up the style and get a real taxonomy
    * [wc-oldgv-middle.png]
    * Tries to solve as many of the problems with blogs as possible:
    * [wc-gv-solutions.png]
    ø translate from local langauges
    ø authors read blogs for you, tons.
    ø newsworthy subjective views are parsed out and contrasted with differing ones.
    ø local crisis coverage on time where normal media miss
    * Effect: alternate view of news events, and one that even MSM are often interested in using once its ready.
    * [wc-gv-southossetia.png]
    * Example of south ossetia crisis where gv had better ground coverage than mainstream media.

    - what else is global voices
    * [wc-gv-faces.png]
    * People: volunteers who believe in the project
    * [wc-gv-notdiggnotwar.png]
    * NOT international digg. hand-created for quality, not popularity. We hate to cover war despite its popularity
    * [wc-gv-categoriesusersstats.png]
    * a giant, sprawling wordpress install.
    ø 350 categories, 42,241 posts, over 300 authors
    ø every country is a categoroy, tons of languages and topic fields.
    * [wc-gv-fosscc.png]
    * delightfully open source
    ø wp, mw, pp, drupal (blugh)
    ø creative commons - public archive for free forever.
    * [wc-gv-funding.png]
    * Funding: nonprofit
    * [wc-gv-traffic.png]
    * Traffic: fairly popular, ~10k/day
    * [ENOUGH?]
    * So the world is talking, we are writing about it and some people are listening. Are we done?
    - [wc-gv-censorship.png]
    - Censorship
    * we take for granted that the ability to speak includes saying what you want.
    * What about the people who's governments or corporations try to silence their voices?
    * [wc-ad-logo.png]
    * We were already doing it, but created a special site to emphasize our advocacy.
    * [wc-ad-article.png]
    * publicize misdeeds, try to help victims,
    * [wc-ad-projects.php]
    * create guides to help people avoid and deal with censorship ø tor + wordpress guide, blockpages gallery, map.
    - [wc-rv-digitaldivide.png]
    - Digital Divide
    * What about the huge portion of the world who don't have computers or internet, let alone the skills to use citizen media?
    * part of our mission is not only to report on the people already using the new tools, but to help and encourage everyone to get involved.
    * [wc-rv-logo.png]
    * we created a seperate site to manage these projects, Rising Voices
    * [ wc-rv-projectpage-repacted.png]
    * 'microgrant' projects. pays necessities for community blogging projects.
    * [ wc-rv-video.png]
    * trains groups at blogging, video, photography etc.
    * [wc-rv-projectblog.png]
    * site is based on wpmu. child blogs for each project to relay their progress
    * the actual projects use different software but generally wordpress or
    - [wc-li-englishnotglobal.png]
    - English != Global
    * what about non-english speakers?
    * Our goal is to amplify citizen media and create an archive, but if it is only in english can we consider our work done?
    * Funny thing happens, some guys in China start translating GV on their own blogs, work out an editorial structure, and end up starting their own site
    * [wc-li-oldzh.png]
    * okay because of CC license.
    * everyone learns about it at summit, loves idea, we need it, lingua becomes official project.
    * [wc-li-logo.png]
    * potentially huge project, we don't want gv to become tower of babel, so we use seperate wp installs for each site.
    * [wp-li-zh.png]
    * [wp-li-it.png]
    * [wp-li-bn.png]
    * simplified interface. Faster dev time b/c of decoupling.
    * [wc-li-themetranslator.png]
    * Among others tools, shared theme with plugin for translation instead of l10n.
    * [wc-li-pinging.png]
    * ping system notifies original of translation, lists it on both sides.
    * [wc-li-decentralized.png]
    * decentralized model scales well, low risk but high maintenance in some ways.
    * It's insanely effective, there seem to be few distributed content translation communities as successful as ours.
    * [wc-li-languages.png]
    * small translation communities seem more effective, it's how lingua started and how it is thriving.
    ø stronger and more self-willed
    ø they can customize their sites for their markets
    ø make deals that GV can't.
    ø they can grow naturally, rather than being drowned in the flow of the main site.
    ø Their content is as big as they are.
    * YMMV: GV is ideal project for attracting the kind of people who would do this translation
    * We are now publishing our content in 15 different languages, with our newest language, swahili, ramping up their translation
    * [wc-li-swahilihabari.png]
    * Just for fun I did a search for the only two Swahili words I know. They hadn't mentioned Ubuntu, but two of the 5 posts mentioned 'habari', watch out!
    - [wc-gv-lessons.png]
    - WP Lessons for blog empires
    * Consider WPMU - wish it had been ready at the time, domain problems stopped us, but I could have saved a lot of work by making all these sites run on a modern mu platform instead of individual WP instances.
    * Code for the future
    ø refactoring template php for every site is a pain in the head
    ø applying patches to each site is murder.
    ø From the beginning keep all functionality in plugins and reuse teh plugin code on all sites.
    ø makes patches easy to deploy and avoid fixing things twice.
    ø Keeps your site styles consistent and saves extra brainwork for you.
    * Learn the API, it's worth the time to do things properly and just once. (categories)
    * write core wp patches
    ø it's time consuming, but worthwile. Your users will be happy you fixed the problem and everyone wins.
    ø at least take time to write really good bug reports.
    ø dont' wish that it worked, don't make excuses to your employer, do something about it.
    * Upgrade: we got hacked, wasted way more time than upgrading on time.
    * pimp your authors: wp doesn't always do as much as it can to expose your authors
    ø take time to maek sure they are getting the promotion they deserve
    ø remember that every author has a page of their own, use bios and avatars.
    ø simplicity of myspace thing and author email
    - Thanks [wc-gvendcredits.png]
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