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Category: Virtual Communities (page 3 of 20)

Links and notes from JOMC 191.8 Virtual Communities

Artificial Intelligence vs Social Intelligence

As Craig Silverstein was talking yesterday, I thought of Marvin Minsky the father and grand promoter of Artificial Intelligence at MIT. Not because Google uses very smart AI, but because they don’t do much of it at all.

Folks on the East Coast (overgeneralizing for effect) grabbed the Minsky challenge to create a machine intelligence that mimics and surpasses human intelligence. Afterall, machines can operate, doing certain functions, much more quickly and accurately than humans. Minsky-ites were also influenced by MIT linguists like Chomsky who pushed that concepts of deep structure that could be handled, if properly understood, by machines.

Salton‘s great work and insights at Cornell while not tied to AI seemed to promise that machine understanding of keyword might make for successful searches. But the real magic in SMART (Salton’s Magical Retriever of Text) was and is relevance feedback in which human evaluation of results, whether explicit or implicit, increased both the precision and recall of a search.

The more intelligently that the system could learn from the results noted as relevant, the better the subsequent result sets. Aggregating group results gave even better “Good” results and seemed magic (at the time) compared to simple keyword searches.

Larry Page’s insight in constructing PageRank was to see that goodness could also be indicated by the number of links related to a certain document. Again capturing the human intelligence embedded in the act of linking. Not just human intelligence but social intelligence. What we call knowledge capital or in a larger sense social capital.

Successful searches moved from less modeling of the brain, less artificial intelligence, and more and more social intelligence and what we now see in Web 2.0 as social networking. Not that computing and engineering didn’t matter, but that the machine component is most effective as a magnifier and enhancer and connector of the social intelligence supplied by humans.

Will AI ever be successful? Silverstein says “My guess is (it will be) about 300 years until computers are as good as, say, your local reference library in doing search.”

NOTE: I have not yet read John Battelle‘s The Search

Dec 8: ibiblio at NCREN Community Day

NCREN logoWe’ll be torn on Friday December 8! is to be a big part of the North Carolina Research and Education Network Community Day from 8:30 – 3:30 at MCNC in the Research Triangle Park. There will be some great sessions there including K-12 Networking and Ad Hoc Video Conferencing.

But it’s happening at the same time as the UNC Social Networking Symposium. Yikes!

Both events require registration, so sign up before showing up.

North Carolina Science Blogging Conference – Jan 20

The Triangle Science Blogging Conference has become the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference. One look at the registration list (so far) tells why; the Conference, already at 35 registrants, is drawing folks from all over the country. We’ve got months to go, but we’ve gotten great people initially. You can join in. Please do.

NC Science Blogging Conference

What: North Carolina Science Blogging Conference
When: January 20, 2007 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: UNC-Chapel Hill (building and room to be announced)
Preconference: So You Want to be a Blogger skills session on Thursday, January 18th from 2-4 p.m. at the UNC Health Science Library

Note: is proud to be one of the sponsors for the North Carolina Bloggers Conference and I’m delighted to be one of the organizers helping out Anton Zuiker, Bora Zivkovic, and Brian Russell.

Communities in IBM developerWorks

Michael O'ConnellThanks to IBM developerWorks Editor-in-Chief Michael O’Connell for the nice words about our J-School seminar on Virtual Communities. Michael was in the very first version of the seminar. We’ve come a long ways as has the idea of online communities and social capital and social networking. I’m using some of the basic ideas for creating conversation for my recent talks — at Berry College, on Open Source for the Office of Technology and Development and for an internal talk with News and Observer reporters. I learned all I know from the folks in the seminars and in the communities (and from the the good researchers who wrote the texts we use in class).

Carolina Innovations: Open Source Licensing: The Basics, The Benefits, The Buzz

As part of the Office of Technology Development‘s Carolina Innovations Seminars, I’ll be speaking on “Open Source Licensing: The Basics, The Benefits, The Buzz” on November 9 from 5:15 to 6:15 in 014 Sitterson Hall.

In the spirit of Openness, please dear readers and potential attendees, use the comments here to let me know any specific questions or areas that you’d like to see covered. I don’t want to talk endlessly on the differences between GPL 2 and 3, for example, unless someone cares, but then if someone does I want to be sure to be prepared and to do a good job.

Some helpful source material (pun intended) can be found at these links:
Free Software Foundation
Open Source Initiative
GNU Project
GNU Philosophy including the 4 Software Freedoms
Software Freedom Law Center
Wikipedia on Free Software
Wikipedia on Open Source Software

For non-software, see Creative Commons, iCommons (international Creative Commons movement) , and the Science Commons Project.

This is another experiment in opening the conversation like the one I just did down at Berry College where using the wiki really worked well. This time a blog post instead.

So post below.

Silverstein, Gillmor, Weinberger – all coming to UNC

Upcoming speakers of interest.

Craig Silverstein
Google‘s Tech Director will be speaking on Thursday, October 26 from 4 – 5:30 at the Medical Biomolecular Research Building here at UNC-CH. Details here.

Dan Gillmor
Dan Gillmor is director of the Center for Citizen Media, a project affiliated with Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
He is the author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People (2004; O’Reilly Media). Dan likes to say that he “spent almost 25 years in the newspaper business, and am proud of it.”
He’ll be visiting the UNC J-School and giving a public talk at 4 pm Monday November 13 in the Pleasants Family Room, Wilson Library, UNC-CH.

David Weinberger
The School of Information and Library Science’s 2006 Henderson Lecture will feature Dr. David Weinberger who will present, “Everything is Miscellaneous” at 2 p.m., Thursday, December 7, 2006 in the Murphey Hall Auditorium (room 116) on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A reception will follow.
You probably know David Weinberger as the author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and of Small Pieces Loosely Joined and of the blog, Journal of Hyperlinked Organization (JOHO). He’ll be here for the UNC Symposium on Social Networking as well.

Bloggers in the Q (NandO)

If you can find the online Q section of the News and Observer, you’ll find a pile of writing and reflection on blogging and blogging ethics by local bloggers.

Amongst those featured are Anton “Mr Sugar” Zuiker who has organized more blog meet-ups and teach-ins than anyone I know of. The short of Anton’s message “Do unto others.” There is more of course.‘s Ruby Sinreich wants reporters to credit bloggers when they take bits from the blogs. This is not a new complaint. OP is a rich source for local reporters who for some reason don’t think that OPers care if their community gets the credit. Note from Ruby: We do care.

Martin Kuhn, who developed his bloggers ethics guidelines in part in my seminar, has his good work summarized as part of the piece. It would have been nice, Martin might say ethical, if NandO had also linked to the blog on which Martin created his ethics outline. I will here.

A little sidebar gives brief voice to other local bloggers, most of whom I didn’t know, Sue Sturgis, Nancy Baker, Chris Anderson (of Lulu and Raleighing, not of Long Tail) and Gary Kueber. NandO does link to each of their blogs showing good form.

The main article by Eric Ferreri seems to have been inspired by the blogging of KC Johnson about the Duke Lacrosse team’s problems (KC defends them mostly) but the article grew far beyond that and is better for having done so. Eric does a good job of discussing the problems of accountability and the challenges to new blogger/journalists. Great quotes from Martin Kuhn and good research help out.

But try to find the stories on the News and Observer web site, where one might expect to see them prominently displayed. You can’t find them at all! You can barely find the Q section even if, like me, you were looking for it. NandO’s content-ignorant layout jambs the Q under Local and State in on the main page with no description or content revealed and under News as well as State and Local on the pull-down. Q however is more of an Opinion/Features/Forum section. Not exactly News and not entirely Local and State (although there are local interests and sources). Inconsistant as well as hidden from the folks who might want to read and react or just read and appreciate the discussions.

What would a blog entry be without a rant?

At Berry College

Down in Georgia (like the Devil) at Berry College near Rome. The Georgia NorthWest Mountains are in full color and the spacious, 26,000 acre, campus is rife with deer which are more common than squirrels.
Edenic is defined here. Wireless is fine in the buildings but not in my cottage, a log cabin, up the mountain from here.
My talk is pretty organized but I’m asked to cover quite a bit in order to cover the submitted questions. I rather like the challenge.

Net @ Risk

I’m watching Rick Karr interview Tim Wu on Net @ Risk. Rick isn’t wearing his sunglasses on camera anymore and Tim is in a nice lawyer suit. The case for Net Neutrality is being well-made by good guys like Edward Markey and Robert McChesney. Bill Moyer is interviewing Consumer Federation’s Mark Cooper.

Dilbert and the Zone of Mediocrity

I’ve been working on a proposal all day, but I took a few minutes to read Kathy Sierra’s Creating Passionate Users blog. Today she’s writing about how to avoid the Zone of Mediocrity. “Until or unless you’re willing to risk passionate hate, you may never feel the love.” To support her good arguements, she points us to Dilbert creator Scott Adams’ blog entry “Knowing When to Quit”.

UNC Social Software Symposium – Dec 8 and 9

Fred announces the UNC Social Software Symposium on his blog:

It is my pleasure to informally announce the Social Software Symposium, to be held at UNC-Chapel Hill on December 8-9, 2006. The event will be a two day exploration of two burgeoning areas of social software: folksonomy and social networking websites. Drs. David Weinberger (Cluetrain, Small Pieces Loosely Joined), Nicole Ellison (MSU) and Cliff Lampe (MSU) will be featured attendees.

More details and more forthcoming on Fred’s blog.

Dancing back at the Weave, but …

The News and Observer is reporting that dancing and hooping will be back at our favorite Third Place, Weaver Street Market at Carr Mill in Carrboro. There is a policy now that has a long list of restrictions including:

“2. Solicitation and distribution of literature or handbills is prohibited except as specifically authorized as part of a Weaver Street Market event.*

*WSM will sponsor a monthly event for non-profit-making organizations with values consistent with its mission to have tables and make their literature available according to guidelines set forth for this purpose.”

[I am trying to imagine handbill day at the Weave now.]

“3. Loitering is prohibited.” [staying a bit too long is part of what a third place is about, isn’t it?]

“5. Unauthorized performances and unauthorized large or publicly advertised gatherings are prohibited. “Performance” means any activity intending to attract or having the effect of attracting a crowd of spectators, or that’s volume disturbs others. Performances need to have the advance written permission of Carr Mill Mall.”

[Does this mean Weiner Dog Meet Up will be called a performance?]

Attn: Entrepreneurs! Look to the LFHCfS

The Valley Wag, besides watching the GoogTube purchase, gives sound inventment advice for both angels and VCs: Look to the tightest and more reliable social network out there — the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists.

Disclosure: I am a member of long-standing and of long hair in the LFHCfS.

Fred and other SNS Entrepreneurs at SCU

Fred writes that he’ll be moderating a panel of Social Networking Systems enterpreneurs at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley tomorrow night. He has tickets so if you’re in the area, drop him a note soon.

* Fred Stutzman, Ph.D. student, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, author of Unit Structures, co-founder of ClaimID.
* Steve Loughlin, Affinity Circles, Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer
* Keith Rabois, LinkedIn, Inc., Vice President, Business Development
* Jeff Roberto, Friendster, Inc., Sr. PR/Marketing Manager
* Jim Scheinman, Bebo, Inc., Vice President, Business Development and Sales

Who talks about what? Jones and Silverstein

October 19th, I’ll be at Berry College in Rome, Georgia as part of the “Expression and Repression” series. I will try not to be repressed. The wiki they set up has me talking about (so far):

  1. What is Net neutrality and why should we care about it?
  2. How has copyright law in the United States been subverted by commercial interests, and what should we (as a society, as a people) do about it?
  3. What do you feel is the future of online file sharing, i.e music,videos and books, and its role in our society?

On October 26th, Googlist Craig Silverstein will be speaking to a growing crowd (almost 400 tickets delivered so far) on:

  1. Making more information searchable, with a focus on google book search and google scholar
  2. Making information more useful, with a focus on ‘expert ranking’ schemes such as google co-op/google health.
  3. Making information more accessible, with a focus on mobile computing, ubiquitous computing, etc.

Citizen Journalists shine light on Congressional Spouse-hirings

The Sunlight Foundation‘s Family Business Project asked citizen journalists to find out how many members of the House of Representatives have their spouses on the payroll.

In less than 2 days, “Citizen Muckrakers have investigated 437 members of Congress, and tentatively found 19 spouses who were paid by a member’s campaign committee-totaling some $641,200 since January 1, 2005.”

The organizers at Sunlight can hardly believe it themselves — and they promised to start the verification process on Monday.

Sunlight Labs
offers a number of cool tools for watching Congress and they promise more.

If you have skills, they are looking for an intern.

Lyceum builds strong bodies!


JJB on the Lyceum blog alerts us of a new and strong Lyceum installation at BodyBuilding Blogs where they support over 375 blogs on one Lyceum install.

Xeni goes wild — on Tibet updates

Xeni’s blog added a lot of stories last night.

A good long interview with Lobsang Wangyal in his role as organizer of the Miss Tibet Pageant. He’s also the head of the Association of Tibetan Journalists.

A bit from a Finnish newspaper about the Dalai Lama in which he says that his successor could 1) be chosen by election or by the traditional reincarnation method and that 2) his successor could be a woman — even a Finnish woman. He sent a warning to the Chinese about the delicate environment of the Himalayas. His final message in the interview: “Live happy and spread happiness around you” Xeni link here.

The developers of TorPark, a USB portable Tor tunnel builder, have dedicated their latest release to the Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. One of the Panchen Lama’s supporter wrote to the Torpark team with news of an open reward for $30,000 (USD) for anyone who establishes contact with the abducted religious figure — reports Xeni.

Here’s how TorPark describes itself:
Torpark launchs a Tor circuit connection, which creates an encrypted tunnel from your computer indirectly to a Tor exit computer, allowing you to surf the internet anonymously.

A bit about DRM-free Tibetan music for sale from Cruxy is a marketplace for ” independent original creativity.”

I’d swear there was a bit about Cisco making a donation to the Air Jaldi Summit, but I can’t find it. A Cisco rep, Jim Forster, will be at the Summit to talk about their world’s highest WiFi in Nepal. Some others to be at the Summit include Danese Cooper (who was at the Delhi “Owning the Future Conference”) and FSF‘s RMS aka Richard Stallman.

Fred on Monetizing Social Networks; Xeni on Tibetan Wireless

Fred writes and Xeni skypes — each on their favorite topics.

Fred returns from BarCampNYC2 to report on 5 ways to make bucks from social networks and essays on the ups and downs of each. Then he adds three more. These three are by far the most interesting and add deeper insights to what makes communities happen and unhappen (okay I shoulda said “fall apart”).

Xeni visits the SOCALWUG (also known as Southern California Wireless User Group) where she chatted about her visit to the Tibetan government in exile and in particular the wireless mesh network in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. She also skypes with Yael Ben-David back in the Himalayas. Lots of monkey talk goes on which is good entertainment and good insight on how to deal with various local problems. The SOCALWUG could use a little postproduction help; the buzz and humm in the video is tough to endure. Xeni hypes the talk on her Tibet blog, but there’s not a transcript there just an announcement of the talk. You need the SOCALWUG link.

Orkut has 1/4 of all Internet Users

in Brazil! That makes Orkut ripe for fishing expeditions by Brazilian police, but Google, the owner of Orkut, is having none of that — or are they? Stories seem to change with the hours as Google agrees to comply with a Brazilian judge’s request for records then says they will not but then says under certain conditions they will.

Remember that’s one quarter of all the Internet users in Brazil; there were 25,900,000 Internet users in Brazil as of Dec./05 so about 6.5 million Brazilians on Orkut. Get the latest news here.

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