Archive for the ‘social web’ Category

QOTD: Hybrid forums

May 26th, 2013

Interesting term I came across today: hybrid forum, via a tweet by Fabien Gandon.

“Hybrid forums”, according to Michel Callon and colleagues are:

forums because they are open spaces where groups can come together to discuss technical options involving the collective, hybrid because the groups involved and the spokespersons claiming to represent them are heterogeneous, including experts, politicians, technicians, and laypersons who consider themselves involved. They are also hybrid because the questions and problems taken up are addressed at different levels in a variety of domains, from ethics to economic and including physiology, nuclear physics, and electromagnetism.

- Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes, and Yannick Barthe, from a chapter called “Hybrid Forums”, Chapter 1 in Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy by Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes, and Yannick Barthe. translated by Graham Burchell, MIT Press 2009, First published by Editions du Seuil in France as Agir dans un monde incertain: Essai sur la democratie technique.

In their heterogeneity, there is a relation to the “wicked problem”1- where “Stakeholders have radically different world views and different frames for understanding the problem.”2.

In their openness and heterogeneity, there is also a relation to the open (peer) production community (around which I am currently framing my dissertation work).

  1. a starting motivation for much work in human argumentation []
  2. Wikipedia, Wicked Problem, Background and context section []

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Missing rhetorical connectives

May 7th, 2012

There may be an implied relationship between tweets (as between sentences) which is not made explicit.

Androgyny is a key trait of the most successful performers.
A person’s fame depends on fans of the opposite sex who wish to be that person.

(via the twitterfunding list from the twitterfunding experiment).

See also: my favorite example argument on Twitter.

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Commercial Altmetric Explorer aimed at publishers

May 7th, 2012

Altmetrics is hitting its stride: 30 months after the Altmetrics manifesto1, there are 6 tools listed. This is great news!

I tried out the beta of a new commercial tool, The Altmetric Explorer, from They are building on the success and ideas of the academic and non-profit community (but not formally associated with The Altmetric Explorer gives overviews of articles and journals by the social media mentions. You can filter by publisher, journal, subject, source, etc. Altmetric Explore has a closed beta, but you can try the basic functionality on articles with their open tool, the PLoS Impact explorer.

"The default view shows the articles mentioned most frequently in all sources, from all journals. Various filters are available.

Rolling over the donut shows which sources (Twitter, blogs, ...) an article was mentioned in.

Sparklines can be used to compare journals.

A 'people' tab lets you look at individual messages. Rolling over the photo or avatar shows the poster's profile. seems largely aimed at publishers2. This may add promotional noise, not unlike coercive citation, if it is used as an evaluation metric as they suggest:3

Want to see which journals have improved their profile in social media or with a particular news outlet?

Their API is currently free for non-commercial use. are crawling Twitter since July 2011 and focusing on papers with PubMed, arXiv, and DOI identifiers. They also get data from Facebook, Google+, and blogs, but they don’t disclose how. (I assume that blogs using ResearchBlogging code are crawled, for instance.)

  1. J. Priem, D. Taraborelli, P. Groth, C. Neylon (2010), Altmetrics: A manifesto, (v.1.0), 26 October 2010. []
  2. “Altmetric sustains itself by selling more detailed data and analysis tools to publishers, institutions and academic societies.”, says the bookmarklet page, to explain why that is free []
  3. ‘This quote from an editor as a condition for publication highlights the problem: “you cite Leukemia [once in 42 references]. Consequently, we kindly ask you to add references of articles published in Leukemia to your present article”’-from the abstract of Science. 2012 Feb 3;335(6068):542-3. Scientific publications. Coercive citation in academic publishing. Wilhite AW, Fong EA. summary on Science Daily. []

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QOTD: in discussions, we negotiate points of view

April 30th, 2012

“Wikipedia discussions can thus be seen as a mirror of a stream of public consciousness, where those elements which are still not part of a shared consolidated heritage are object of a continuous negotiation among different points of view.”

There is No Deadline – Time Evolution of Wikipedia Discussions. (2012) Andreas Kaltenbrunner, David Laniado. arXiv:1204.3453v1

via summarizing it for Wikipedia Signpost, longer summary space on AcaWiki

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A whirlwind look at Bottlenose

March 1st, 2012

Marcel asked:
>anyone with experiences and opinions about it?

Definitely worth trying–it focuses on your network in order to pull more interesting stuff to the fore. I put it in my bookmar bar when I first encountered it — it was briefly useful (slowed down the stream, found things that my network had heavily retweeted, making interesting suggestions of the few things I should read).

Its classification is ok — the genre classification seems decent (news/videos/pictures) — the message type classification (Question/Opinion/Notification/Check-In/How-To/etc) seems less exact, but may still be useful.

It kept suggesting the same things so I stopped checking it regularly — but I just checked it and am intrigued since they’ve added some features. In particular, they seem to be pulling out keywords (you can visualize one/all of people, topics, hashtags, message types–see screenshot). That might be especially interesting when doing exploratory searches.

There’s also a lot of customization possible — you can make your own rules for what to put in streams, and they have a wizard (screenshot below):

If there were a marketplace for sharing rules, that might be good — I’m not likely to spend time on customizing my own, so I’m just relying on the defaults (‘suggested for you’ and ‘popular’).

I’d be cautious of posting from Bottlenose without first checking the documentation — they accept posts of any length, but may also modify them (add hashtags, say).

I suppose for some people, the ability to pull in from multiple networks (for now Twitter & Facebook) could be useful, though there are lots of tools that do that.

I’d be curious to hear what other people think–have you found uses for Bottlenose?

PS-They seem to be going by klout score for invites for now; if you can’t get in that way, give me a shout (I’ve 10 invites if you want one).
I’m taking a listserv post as the source of a blog post again; channeling jrochkind I suppose.

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Introduction to the Day: Collective Intelligence as Community Discourse and Action

February 11th, 2012

Today I’m at the CSCW workshop on Collective Intelligence as Community Discourse and Action.

The day started with an introduction from Gregorio Convertino to the previous workshops.

Then Simon Buckingham Shum provided mutually overlapping categories for the workshop topics:

  • Empirical studies
  • New Tools
  • Discourse analysis
  • Sociality and social networks
  • Reflection and argumentation
  • Annotation
  • Crowdsourcing Dynamics
  • Civic Intelligence
  • Organizational Intelligence

I’m sorry that I’ll miss the World Cafe this evening (must run off for the doctoral colloqiuum). The plan is for the group to split into four topics for discussion:

  1. What do we already know about CI?
  2. Why should we care?
  3. What are the major obstacles?
  4. Tell me a CI story from the future

Twitter hashtag for the workshop is #cscw2012ci

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Facebook dialogue

December 30th, 2011

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Factor-based summarization

December 13th, 2011

Factor-based summarization of reviews is useful:

I’m currently looking for a review of social media summarization. Any pointers?

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A Review of Argumentation for the Social Semantic Web

December 6th, 2011

I’m very pleased to share our “A Review of Argumentation for the Social Semantic Web“.

You are very warmly invited to review this paper. You can post the review as a comment to the manuscript page publicly at SWJ’s website. Informal comments by email are also welcome.

Open review

I adore SWJ’s open review process: publicly available manuscripts are useful. In 11 months the landing page has had “1208 reads” and I’m sure that not all of those are mine! Further, knowing who reviewed a paper can add credibility to the process. (It means quite a lot to me when Simon Buckingham-Shum says “I anticipate that this will become a standard reference for the field.”!)

Two earlier versions

The paper evolved from my first year Ph.D. report. In the process of defining my Ph.D. topic, I reviewed the state-of-art of argumentation for the Social Semantic Web. This was further developed in conversations with my coauthors, my colleague Tudor Groza and my advisor Alexandre Passant.

The outdated first journal submission and second journal submission are available; May’s reviews refer to the first version. A cover letter responding to the reviews summarizes what has changed. Shared since I am always encouraged by seeing how others’ work and ideas have developed over time!

So read the most recent version, and let us know what you think!

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Quantified Self & Privacy: followup

December 4th, 2011

Our breakout session on privacy was well-attended, with about 15 people, mainly coming from backgrounds in healthcare, insurance, and the like. There was a quite active discussion.

Alpha release privacy icon indicating "your data may be bartered or sold".

In addition to the questions I shared earlier, I was asked to give pointers to a few things I mentioned.

Aza Raskin asked, Could we make privacy policies as simple as CreativeCommons has made licensing? There’s now an alpha release of the privacy icons. Earlier info about the project is also in Aza’s blog.

Several people were familiar with “Say Everything“, a 2007 NY Magazine piece on how publicly many young people were living their lives:

…the idea of a truly private life is already an illusion. Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

So it may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn’t exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones.

But I came across that article in conjunction with a story about a teenager whose publicity had caused her embarrassment and harm, when a sports blogger posted her picture along with a 4-paragraph note excerpted as “Meet pole vaulter Allison Stokke. . . . Hubba hubba and other grunting sounds.”

…what could she do now, when a search for her name in Yahoo! revealed almost 310,000 hits? “It’s not like I could e-mail everybody on the Internet,” Stokke said.

She felt like

Her body had been stolen and turned into a public commodity, critiqued in fan forums devoted to everything from hip-hop to Hollywood.

danah boyd, who has extensively researched teens and the Internet, has also written and spoken sagely about privacy.

Here’s an except from a talk she gave: “The Future of Privacy: How Privacy Norms Can Inform Regulation”

All too often, folks presume that privacy is about hiding information or controlling access to information. This is a very limited view. For teens, privacy has more to do with feeling safe and in control of a situation, trusting people and systems, and leveraging an understood context for intimacy.

Let me ground this in an example. If I’m dealing with an illness, I’m not hiding it from people just because I’m not talking about it. If I choose to share my illness, I’m probably not going to start by standing up in the middle of the town square and shouting loudly to everyone who could possibly hear that I’m ill. I may start by gathering my family and sharing in an intimate situation where I feel supported. I open up to them, make myself vulnerable, in exchange for support. This is privacy. I also have expectations about that social situation. I expect my family to respect the situation in which I shared something deeply personal. I _trust_ them to understand how far that information is supposed to be spread. Any one of them is capable of breaking my trust, telling someone against my wishes and expectations, but what’s at stake is the relationship. My agency, my power, in that situation does not stem from me locking my family in a closet after I told them something personal. It comes from the social expectation that they respect the context of the situation.

There are certain structural assumptions baked into this unmediated scenario. First, and most importantly, there is an assumption in everyday interactions that conversations are private-by-default, public through effort. In unmediated situations, publicity takes effort. We have to consciously tell other people what we hear. Shouting to the entire town square is a lot harder than telling just a few people. Even when we share in public places, there’s a huge difference between sitting in a cafe talking with a friend and screaming to the entire room. Sure, people can overhear us in the cafe. And they do. But that doesn’t mean that they’re in the conversation. Sociologist Erving Goffman noted that there’s a societal value of “civil inattention.” Even when we can overhear conversations, we generally try to not listen. Doing so is a way of indicating that we respect others’ space. This isn’t universal and people are always jumping into conversations that they’re not a part of. But all of the parties know that they’re “butting in.”

What’s different about the Internet is not about a radical shift in social norms. What’s different has to do with how the architecture shifts the balance of power in terms of visibility. In online public spaces, interactions are public-by-default, private-through-effort, the exact opposite of what we experience offline. There is no equivalent to the cafe where you can have a private conversation in public with a close friend without thinking about who might overhear. Your online conversations are easily overheard. And they’re often persistent, searchable, and easily spreadable. Online, we have to put effort into limiting how far information flows. We have to consciously act to curb visibility. This runs counter to every experience we’ve ever had in unmediated environments.

When people participate online, they don’t choose what to publicize. They choose what to limit others from seeing. Offline, it takes effort to get something to be seen. Online, it takes effort for things to NOT be seen. This is why it appears that more is public. Because there’s a lot of content out there that people don’t care enough about to lock down. I hear this from teens all the time. “Public by default, privacy when necessary.” Teens turn to private messages or texting or other forms of communication for intimate interactions, but they don’t care enough about certain information to put the effort into locking it down. But this isn’t because they don’t care about privacy. This is because they don’t think that what they’re saying really matters all that much to anyone. Just like you don’t care that your small talk during the conference breaks are overheard by anyone. Of course, teens aren’t aware of how their interactions in aggregate can be used to make serious assumptions about who they are, who they know, and what they might like in terms of advertising. Just like you don’t calculate who to talk to in the halls based on how a surveillance algorithm might interpret your social network.

I’d particularly recommend “Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity” and “Privacy and Publicity in the Context of Big Data“. As danah points out, social media conversations essentially *require* sharing personally identifying information. But it’s personally embarrassing information that people don’t want spread.

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