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Amy Gahran

Amy Gahran's Public Library

15 Apr 14

Per Michele to Melissa:

This study of news orgs use of video might make a TTT

http://videonow.towcenter.org/about.html

Since you've gotten more of a sense of the audience and the format, I'll leave it to you to figure out a good angle.

Since you are already doing a Pew thing this week, this could be for next week.

Thanks

15 Apr 14

"The people who focus on length are the people who could argue semantics forever, and who will never see the web’s great potential. All the space in the world frees up journalists to write to whatever length they need (however short or long a story deserves); frees up designers to build pages previously unimaginable and richly interactive; frees up directors of photography and visuals to select however many (or few) images a story deserves, frees them up not to have to fight for inches, but to fight for the right photographs. To say this is about “longform” is to undermine this moment in our digital evolution. This is about creativity and blowing up templates and designing for the story, and helping the reader better understand harder to grasp stories. And it is my distinct pleasure to say, that’s what I see happening."

15 Apr 14

"the architecture of systems, and the code and algorithms that run them, can be powerful influences on liberty.3 We’re living in a world now where algorithms adjudicate more and more consequential decisions in our lives. It’s not just search engines either; it’s everything from online review systems to educational evaluations, the operation of markets to how political campaigns are run, and even how social services like welfare and public safety are managed. Algorithms, driven by vast troves of data, are the new power brokers in society.

As the mug shots example suggests, algorithmic power isn’t necessarily det- rimental to people; it can also act as a positive force. The intent here is not to demonize algorithms, but to recognize that they operate with biases like the rest of us.4 And they can make mistakes. What we generally lack as a public is clarity about how algorithms exercise their power over us. With that clarity comes an increased ability to publicly debate and dialogue the merits of any particular algorithmic power. While legal codes are available for us to read, algorithmic codes are more opaque, hidden behind layers of technical complexity. How can we characterize the power that various algorithms may exert on us? And how can we better understand when algo- rithms might be wronging us? What should be the role of journalists in holding that power to account?"

15 Apr 14

"As economic inequalities have skyrocketed in the United States, many reformers are tempted to believe that reining in the top one percent is the chief challenge that must be faced to revitalize American democracy. Movements that pit the 99% against the super-rich one percent seem to be the way forward. But the best recent research on the political as well as social damage done by America’s late-twentieth-century incarceration and surveillance boom shows that the rich are not the only ones set apart in U.S. politics. Mass incarceration has been part of a broad disciplinary turn in U.S. policies toward the poor – a set of punitive policies that have created a vast class of marginalized, stigmatized, and supervised semi-citizens. Efforts to build a more vibrant democracy in America cannot succeed so long these pummeled and marginalized communities are ignored."

  • As economic inequalities have skyrocketed in the United States, many reformers are tempted to believe that reining in the top one percent is the chief challenge that must be faced to revitalize American democracy. Movements that pit the 99% against the super-rich one percent seem to be the way forward. But the best recent research on the political as well as social damage done by America’s late-twentieth-century incarceration and surveillance boom shows that the rich are not the only ones set apart in U.S. politics. Mass incarceration has been part of a broad disciplinary turn in U.S. policies toward the poor – a set of punitive policies that have created a vast class of marginalized, stigmatized, and supervised semi-citizens. Efforts to build a more vibrant democracy in America cannot succeed so long these pummeled and marginalized communities are ignored.
14 Apr 14

"Findings from a January 2014 survey show that:

18% of online adults have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information. That’s an increase from the 11% who reported personal information theft in July 2013.
21% of online adults said they had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over without their permission.The same number reported this experience in a July 2013 survey."

14 Apr 14

makes point that "you signed up for this" ignores the value of one partner's contribution to a relationship. Their loss, cost, risk becomes an externality.

If fairness is a value, is it fair to expect both partners' investment in a relationship to matter? Or to expect one partner to bear most of the risk?



Consider two possible choices:

1. “Look, Brandon: you signed up for this. Did you really think that you could go to war and not come back with some grief and sadness? You’ve got to take the bad with the good in life, Brandon. We paid you combat pay in while you were in the theater, and we’re now paying you with “Thank you for your service” handshakes in airport terminals, opportunities to stand up and be applauded before the band plays “Stars and Stripes Forever” at the Fourth of July concert, a free college education, and a lifetime access to the biggest single-payor healthcare system in the United States. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, Brandon. Buck up, boy.”

2. “Look, Brandon: you promised us that you would protect us, the United States, whenever asked by those in authority above you to do so. We elected George Bush, Barack Obama, the Congress of the United States, the ultimate bosses of those above you. We knew those politicians asked you to go to Iraq and Afghanistan to protect us, whether or not we believed then or believe now that was ever the reason. We weren’t willing to give up our lattes and our bran muffins to cause enough political turmoil to have George, Barry, Nancy, John, Harry, Mitch and Company actually think twice about asking you to die for us. We let you give up your youth so that most of our children did not have to give up theirs. We asked you to hold your best friend from high school–remember that, high school, what, about three years ago, maybe?–as he screamed for his mother one last time, as you contemplated facing that very woman one day with that final image of him in your mind, that voice ringing in your ears. We asked you to decide now–right NOW, damn it!–whether to shoot those two Iraqi dudes driving toward you who a). might be bad guys, or b). might have turned down the wrong road and therefore are now terrified beyond mere human comprehension. We asked you to wonder whether this next run of chow to the next base, the next run of water, of Burger King patties might be your last trip “on the road,” with no crazy Kerouac ending to it, just possibly death, man, dead death. We asked you to grieve, to cry, to rage, to shake, to be up night after night after night, whether or not with nightmares, wondering “what if, what if . . .” so that most of our kids wouldn’t have to do the same. Thank you for your service, Brandon.”

14 Apr 14

Saying that people should leave if they don't like the rules you use is one thing. Saying people should leave if they don't like how you screw stuff up is another. The problem with 'take it or leave it' is that it is regularly and repeatedly used as a dismissal of perfectly valid player complaints. It's the perfect defense. It's my sandbox, if you don't like the piss in it then go somewhere else.

Well, great. You can argue about how valid that is 'til you're blue in the face, but it's still a bullshit attitude and I don't think I've ever seen it invoked in a level-headed conversation, after a clear and principled disagreement has been established. Instead, it gets thrown out at players who criticise. It's a classic technique amongst staff with a blame-the-player mentality: it's impossible that someone could be criticising because he wants to improve the game to which he has dedicated so much time, and in which he has so much invested; instead, the player must just be criticizing because he likes to bitch. So he should just leave, because there's obviously no real problems here -- he just likes to make trouble. And if he keeps making trouble, because we never address any of his complaints? Then we'll just get rid of him! Goddamn troublemaker. Did I mention he posts on SNARK?

I think what Aries -- and myself, in any similar situation -- is staff who (get this) actually change how they staff when how they staff doesn't work.

Oh yes, I can hear them screaming now. We've already heard people claim that staff at large never changes, that individual staffers are never going to change, etc. etc. That's about the stupidest shit I've ever heard. Of course they change. It's to everyone's interest that they change. They can't fucking help changing, for that matter, because presumably they're human beings, and that's kind of what we do.

The attitude that it is the players who must change -- or quit -- instead of staff is not worth perpetuating. It's archaic, and for some reason seems to be constantly supported by people who staff. The point is that changing to deal with problems and meet player needs is one of the responsibilities of a good staffer; just doing the same thing ad nauseum until you've driven off every single player who doesn't happen to like exactly what you do is stupid, and furthermore it doesn't happen that way. 

Instead, you drive off a very small number of people immediately, then you gradually isolate and alienate small groups of other players until they burn-out and become bitter troublemakers. But hey, I guess they should have just left, if they didn't like your game, right? That's how it's supposed to work, right? Give me a break. People don't just stay on a game because they like what staff do, and any staffer who thinks that way is seriously full of themselves. Players stay on games because of all sorts of reasons, and if you stubbornly ignore what they want -- or complaints they have about your faults as a staffer -- all you're going to do is poison the playerbase, slowly but surely.

12 Apr 14

LA Time critique:

Even after reading Rolling Stone’s recent article “Tales From the Millennials’ Sexual Revolution,” you might not have realized it was about polyamory. It was easy to miss. In several thousand words, the term appeared only one time. And no one could be blamed if the phrase that author Alex Morris chose in its stead caused even more confusion: “The New Monogamy.” Huh?

But despite the understandable confusion, Morris’ article was, at least in part, about polyamory. Novel terminology aside, it was the same old story about nontraditional relationships.

While well researched and amply quoted, Morris’ article engaged in an old, ugly trend of mischaracterizing polyamory as some kind of newly emerging phenomenon, discovered by Morris while investigating a “new sexual revolution.”

It isn’t that Morris’ profile was explicitly hostile, or even all that wary of non-monogamous arrangements. Rather, the well-intentioned reporting falls victim to an old laundry list of misapprehensions. Polyamory, according to Morris and countless other writers who have taken on the topic, is about frivolity and sex. That’s why it fits in an article that also deals with teenage promiscuity statistics and typical head-scratching over the vagaries of “hookup culture.”

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