Biweekly links for 03/20/2009

  • Bad Correspondent: Neal Stephenson
    • “The quality of my e-mails and public speaking is, in my view, nowhere near that of my novels. So for me it comes down to the following choice: I can distribute material of bad-to-mediocre quality to a small number of people, or I can distribute material of higher quality to more people. But I can’t do both; the first one obliterates the second.”
  • Attacked from Within ||
    • An essay about online community. Over-the-top and overall not convincing, but stimulating and insightful in places.
  • Australian Government adds Wikileaks to banned website list | News | TechRadar UK
  • Caveat Lector » A post-Roach-Motel world
    • Dorothea Salo, musing about the future of institutional repositories.
  • To share or not to share: Publication and quality assurance of research data outputs. A report commissioned by the Research Information Network – ECS EPrints Repository
    • “A study on current practices with respect to data creation, use, sharing and publication in eight research disciplines (systems biology, genomics, astronomy, chemical crystallography, rural economy and land use, classics, climate science and social and public health science). The study looked at data creation and care, motivations for sharing data, discovery, access and usability of datasets and quality assurance of data in each discipline.”
  • Jody Williams – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    • Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on the landmine treaty. She has some interesting things to say about group-building: “Imagine trying to get hundreds of organizations – each one independent and working on many, many issues – to feel that each is a critical element of the development of a new movement. I wanted each to feel that what they had to say about campaign planning, thinking, programs, actions was important. So, instead of sending letters, I’d send everyone faxes. People got in the habit of faxing back. This served two purposes – people would really have to think about what they were committing to doing before writing it down, and we have a permanent, written record of almost everything in the development of the campaign from day one. “
  • Open Source Cinema – An Open Source Documentary Film about Copyright
  • picoup:
    • Like twitter, but with an 18 character limit. Amusing. Presumably this is pico-blogging.
  • Demographics, Career Concerns or Social Comparison: Who Games SSRN Download Counts? by Benjamin Edelman, Ian Larkin
    • A study of gaming of online metrics: “We use a unique database of every SSRN paper download over the course of seven years, along with detailed resume data on a random sample of SSRN authors, to examine the role of demographic factors, career concerns, and social comparisons on the commission of a particular type of gaming: the self-downloading of an author’s own SSRN working paper solely to inflate the paper’s reported download count. We find significant evidence that authors are more likely to inflate their papers’ download counts when a higher count greatly improves the visibility of a paper on the SSRN network. We also find limited evidence of gaming due to demographic factors and career concerns, and strong evidence of gaming driven by social comparisons with various peer groups. These results indicate the importance of including psychological factors in the study of deceptive behavior. “
  • The International Campaign to Ban Landmines – A Model for Disarmament Initiatives
    • Very interesting look at how the ICBL worked, and how it helped achieve the landmine treaty.
  • Translating “The Economist” Behind China’s Great Firewall –
    • “a group of dedicated fans of The Economist newsmagazine are translating each weekly issue cover-to-cover, splitting up the work among a team of volunteers, and redistributing the finished translations as complete PDFs for a Chinese audience. “
  • Interview with Clay Shirky, Part I : Columbia Journalism Review
  • A Wiki for the Planet: Clay Shirky on Open Source Environmentalism | Wired Science from
    • “ What sort of online tools would enable that kind of collaboration? What’s missing?
      Shirky: What’s missing is there’s no license. There’s no equivalent of the GPL [GNU General Public License]. There’s been some tools for collaborative production of thinking. Anything from mailing lists to Wikis. What we don’t have is tools for acting once a decision has been taken. In Linux the final action is the compile step. In Wikipedia the action is the latest edit.

      Now we need to turn around and do X out in the world. I don’t think that there’s anything digital that we could do that would solve this gap. I think the gap is produced by the difficulty of translating thought into action. I think the kind of things that help people turn thoughts into action are much more about social and legal structures. “

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