GV Summit 2012 Internal Meeting Notes
From Global Voices Wiki
Below is a summary of sessions and discussions from the internal community meeting at the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2012.
See the Summit Website for details about the public sessions.
(Reporter: Emma Brewin)
Day 1 – Internal Meeting
Some 24 months since last meeting, the Global Voices community began its 2012 internal summit today in Nairobi, Kenya. Around 180 community members and academics, invited from a range of citizen media related fields, were present to discuss key topics and issues the organization faces.
Three days of meetings are taking place in the Pride Inn hotel in the Westlands area of the Kenyan capital.
The sessions began with a warm welcome from GV Co-Founders Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon, who explained how they started with an idea that has turned into a global movement. They shared how back in the early days, in 2005, people blogging wanted connections and support. GV was a way to amplify their conversations.
A GV quiz then tested the community’s knowledge on its history.
Eddie Avila presented an overview of the work of GV’s grassroots citizen media growth initiative – Rising Voices – which has seen dramatic increases in numbers of applications to its microgrant program. Eddie raised the question of what we can do with the majority of applicants who don’t get a grant, and asked for the wider community’s help with outreach and networking for partnerships.
Paula Goes and Mohamed ElGohary from GV Lingua put forward the case that Lingua is what makes GV truly global, demonstrating the impressive range of language website versions that the team have developed. All of the Lingua editors were invited up on stage to thank them for their work, from Aymara, to Catalan, Danish to French and more.
Sami ben Gharbia represented GV Advocacy, detailing the history of the section. He indicated the important role that Advocacy has played to bloggers around the world needing support due to censorship or oppression. Sadly he announced his intention to step down from his current role, but was hopeful to remain involved with the community in some capacity.
Solana Larsen talked about GV’s newsroom and detailed some thoughts about how GV editorial might shape content in the future, as well as our role, now that other non-mainstream newsrooms are catching up with use of citizen media.
Swahili for Summiteers
Leading on from the successful pre-summit guide, a group of GV Swahili speakers, led by Deogratis Simba, took those present through a brief lesson.
The four grantees of the GV Innovation Award gave an update as to the status of their projects.
- GV Multimedia Publishing was presented by Bernardo Parrella, who detailed the first two e-books to be published: Europe in Crisis and Forgotten Conflicts in Africa.
- GV Goes Mobile was shared by Claire Ulrich; it involves a news via mobile or SMS experiment
- GV - Filming our posts was introduced by Juan Arellano, who shared the idea for improved and increased video storytelling.
- Cojiro, a cross-lingual curation tool was presented via video by a team including Tomomi Sasaki and Chris Salzberg. The team has created its ‘minimum viable product’ and look forward to developing it further.
Strategic Discussion: GV Advocacy: What and how should we "advocate" for causes?
The future of GV Advocacy was discussed in this session, including a number of core projects:
Leila Nachawati Rego recapped on the Threatened Voices project. She detailed how it is not just bloggers who face threats anymore, but producers of video, photo and other citizen media content. TV are looking at how to connect maps and stories, and are thinking about implementing a team/editor to improve the platform, as the current crowdsourcing approach is not working.
Two GV Advocacy summit working groups were presented, one on governance of Internet policy and a second on Latin American use of global advocacy platforms.
The discussion was then opened to the floor, with suggestions including a localized version of the GV Advocacy Netizen Report, and the importance of indicating TV priorities for translation.
Rebecca MacKinnon then led a presentation and discussion on how the community wants to move forward with advocacy. Core steps include getting a mandate from the GV community and thinking global and acting local.
The audience questioned if we have the means to lobby, and whether we should take stands and have policies on certain issues. One person commented that the opinions of individual people rather than community level ones were more important and that openness is really key.
Others questioned whether taking a ‘GV stand’ would compromise the credibility of our community? Our current status is of witnesses; would we get into compromising positions; is our strength just in reporting?
A clear range of opinions was evident with no firm consensus.
(Regional/Language) Authors, Editors, Translators
Editors took their authors and translators in various break-out discussion sessions to debate any issues or questions arising in the various regional/language groups.
Regional Editors Meeting and Lingua Editors Meeting
Editors met together to discuss issues and questions arising, and cross-regional collaboration, translations and Lingua challenges.
(Reporter- Silvia Vinas)
State of Global Voices
Ivan Sigal and Georgia Popplewell introduced basic facts about Global Voices, like where and how it started, its non-profit status, and its organizational structure. They also reminded the audience about the mission of Global Voices, and explained the different parts that make up Global Voices: the newsroom (globalvoicesonline.org), GV Lingua, Rising Voices, and GV Advocacy.
Jannie Lung spoke about the sort of grants, donations and commissioned work that we receive to finance our work at Global Voices. Some grants are not given to us all out once, but rather over a time period. Ivan highlighted that Global Voices does not take funding from governments, and that all organizations that fund us are private foundations.
Different organizations also donate funds for different aspects of Global Voices: Hivos, for example, helps fund Lingua and GV Advocacy. He also explained where the funds go: salaries for part-time editors, our server, accounting, etc.
Rebecca MacKinnon congratulated the team for their work in finding ways to finance Global Voices during hard economic times.
Strategic Discussion: Global Voices - Organization or Network?
The session departed from a presentation on the challenges of balancing tasks and resources in a community that carries both organization and network characteristics: See slides
A team of global contributors brought up the following question: Should content decide organization, or should organization decide content?
The team's core argument was that content and organization is mutually constitutive. The challenge is to, causally, strike the proper balance between (cf. presentation):
- organization and network features;
- task and resource optimization;
- quantity and quality output.
Hierarchic organization: They defined organization as “hierarchy with clear structures, rules and decision-making processes, as .e.g. and NGO, a political party etc.” They also pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of an organization.
Network-centric organization: They also defined network as “work that reflects a complex environment on various issues in open-ended innovative processes. Informal, by consensus.” Like with organization, they also looked at the strengths and weaknesses of networks.
Vilhelm Konnander argued that we have both structures working in parallel at Global Voices. Global Voices is a hybrid: an organization, but also a network. As tasks increase because of our growth, resources get scarcer (less time to train, less time to focus on core activities).
Organization decides content if we can’t access more resources. How do we solve this?
Participants were divided into groups to discuss the following themes:
- Structural challenges, rewards
- Leadership vs. Management?
- Interactions & communication
- Training, mentorship, and career-paths
(Given sub-themes may not necessarily correspond to what participants actually chose to discuss. Also, questions addressed merely represent a subset of more practical approaches as compared to what was discussed in the pre-summit workgroup).
Structural challenges, rewards
- Organization or network?
- Network-centric vs. Hierarchic organization?
- Expansion and cohesion?
- Organic growth but hierarchic structuring?
- Focus on core activities or expand tasks?
- What is our niche? Innovation or imitation? New media and old media. The danger of adjusting to traditional media.
- Asymmetric development: Global Voices, Lingua, Advocacy, Rising Voices, Threatened Voices.
- Need for fluid and changing organization?
A few questions were addressed:
- How do we measure productivity? A frequent remark brought quality and quantity together: quantity doesn’t imply quality. Is this true in our case ?
Filip from Macedonia noticed that, according to Marx, this is not necessarily true. Indeed, if one has the quantity, one naturally would aim at the quality since struggling for quantity is not required anymore to survive.
- How can we reward volunteers? And thus, what should a reward be? -- This question stemmed from the observation Paula made that there are more people entering GV than staying, which results into a low retention rate.
An answer was that having his/her post translated is already a reward. This remains, however, a symbolic one: as Lingua is gaining importance, the tendency is to take a translation for granted. Also, given that the different Lingua projects have different criteria for translating a piece, not translating one’s post doesn’t mean it is not good: it may just not be relevant to the criteria the given Lingua has for the choice of the posts.
One way to motivate volunteers to stay in the project was to give professional feedback to their writing work, for example to translator volunteers. Another one was to improve presence of Global Voices in professional networks like LinkedIn.
These ideas are welcome provided that there is the actual possibility to do so. In other words, if the Editor of a Lingua project is not a professional translator, how valuable -- professionally-wise -- is his/her feedback? With respect to the professional networking part, the country’s digital and social-networking literacy has to be taken into account: if nobody knows what LinkedIn is and/or doesn’t use it, improving one’s presence there may be just irrelevant.
- Within the volunteers, there is a distinction between an “author” and a “translator” in the value associated to: how should we approach such an issue and solve it? -- It was pointed out that the GV structure makes Newsroom more important/valuable than Lingua. Additionally, what also creates such division and quelled level of interactions is that we have two different lists (GV-Authors and GV-Lingua-All).
A suggestion came from GV Portuguese where GV Authors and GV Translators have merged into the same list. Should be the case to replicate that to other groups?
If so, how to:
-- deal with the question of countries/groups who speak languages only known in one country and that country has a few speakers within GV? -- how to integrate different groups which have language similarities, but belong to different geographical regions?
A related suggestion may just be to create a welcome list where any newcomer -- author, translator, etc. -- is subscribed and which is kept for announcements, newsletters (the ones to be created for GVO and GVA) and suchlikes.
This division -- or at least the distance -- between the newsroom and the Lingua members can also be caused by the increasing importance of original/regional content in languages other than English. In other words, people can be attracted to GV through the decentralized publishing which allows the non-fluent/English-impaired volunteers to contribute and be part of the Lingua team. This, however, leaves them outside the bigger GV community, for which the main language is English.
On the other side, regional teams can lose focus on what is going on in some countries as people are not encouraged to write in their language and they do not write in English. One of the suggestions was that Lingua Editor should be part of the Editorial team to help the news team in regions where Editorial Team do not have capacity/ knowledge to cover it.
- Information overload: how to deal with it? -- We are swamped under information that goes through our timelines. We reasonably assume it is the case for our readers, too. So, how to find a niche for GV that makes it visible within this overflow?
This, in other words, means: how to encourage people who are neither an author nor a translator to also contribute to the project, for example, as a social media contributor? This is immediately linked to productivity measurement, as well: how could this function be evaluated and how could another, a different role of the GV team, be included?
Another point is how each of us can share own content in the Internet. One suggestion was to try to thank the translator for their work or to mention it in the Twitter announcement.
Leadership vs. management?
- Is Global Voices becoming top-heavy or is there a bottleneck on editorial level?
- Should we try to increase salaries to get competent GV-people to apply for management positions?
- Overburdened management with greater coordinative tasks? Should we look into recruiting community coordinators or engagement editors who can ease some of this burden and reach out to current readers and future ones?
- More administration the more people or the same administration because we can’t hold on to people?
- Difficulty to delegate tasks to editors risking to overburden them? Should some of this be more decentralised, and communication between regional eds and management improved? Would this go some way in easing the attrition rate burden?
- Difficulty to delegate tasks to volunteers for lack of training.
- Could we find methods to better distribute tasks by tools/platforms, to minimize contributors’ obligations to GV?
- How do we maintain sustainable growth of resources in terms of people and money?
- Managing the relation between hired staff and high number volunteers to maintain a sense of community
- Spontaneity vs. assignments
- Ivan: idea of whether management drives content or vice versa, there’s a third element that is important >>> readership and audience. driven by the mission vs org. based on sense of why we are doing this work in the first place and why we are doing it well.
Test series of editorial propositions> which way of writing is most efficient or not to tell stories? Should we construct them differently? Fewer updates and more posts? Wanted posts to be shorter because looking at attention span of our readership. Driven by audience and question of our mission. idea was to construct our time so we’re being more efficient with use of time to fulfill the mission. choices not driven by funding
GV is an open organisation. those who are employees are all part time and we all bring in own networks in to the space; purposefully not hired employees so we don’t build corporate culture.
Traffic a measurement that reflects the interest in the rest of the world. not driven by ads b/c not selling content.
- Is the leadership structure clear?
If you’re a writer in lingua you report to your own lingua ed as well as Solana if post translated. Issue of timeliness.
Board not a strong mechanism for volunteers to come to us apart from email. liaise. Suggestion: writing to volunteers pre-meeting to get feedback or issues to raise.
- Also: people feeling overwhelmed by GV email; monthly internal newsletter of any issues raised more efficient? E.g. MENA welcoming new people in a digest email after 5-6 posts. GV email burden > people missing out on important info. a list people can be a part of, digest version, difficult to change nature of the list.
- Possibility of using voting mechanisms: innovation grants, ensuring ideas that are part of the community can be seen. Useful?
- Conclusion - too many lines of communication or too much static on one? coherence and cohesion would be assisted by newsletter function highlighting major issues.
[Issue not raised: potential of community coordinator role. Is there a need/desire for it? Are there resources for it? Would it help to function as an extra layer between management, regional eds and volunteers, as well as engaging with our readers and reaching out to new ones. Also, perhaps need for HR layer, but how to implement?]
Interactions & communication
(Vilhelm Konnander & Mohammed ElGohary)
- Internal blog
- Deliberative democracy, surveys, and polling
- How do we attain greater transparency?
- How do we make interaction more dynamic? A forum?
- Can we add interactive elements to the GV-wiki?
- Are there free platforms that we could use for interaction and common projects that are easy for all to use? If so, how would we avoid getting into third-party solutions that may stop working?
- Internal blog
- What is the purpose it will serve and how will we benefit from it as a community?
- What will be posted to it, etc?
- Why should the blog be internal, shouldn't it be available to the public? ⁃ Yes, but it makes it very hard for newcomers to GV - lots of information to trawl through.
- There are already clusters of strong internal communication - so maybe the question is how to link these different communities?
- Do we want to use it to share ideas, or what? We already use our own communication clusters to do this?
- Maybe the intern; blog will be useful as an extension of summit - an ongoing resource for the community as whole - for all the groups to keep in touch with one another.
- Keeping the community as a whole connected in between summits.
- Who will run it and commit to it long-term - who will be in charge of it? ⁃ Teams in charge cycle every summit. ⁃ We want to have the blog closed (internal) and controlled, so it doesn't end up being an overload of information. ⁃ Interaction and participation needs to be structured.
- The blog would be really good for people who are feeling overwhelmed by the mailing lists and google docs.
- Benefit of it being a pull rather than a push form of comm. tech.
- Blog is also much more interactive, and it is also easier to track it over time than a mailist list.
- Blog can be more focused and not include stuff like people's birthdays etc.
- Will it be moderated? Yes there should be a managing team.
- Deliberative Democracy
- Polling: First project maybe be a poll on whether we want the blog or not!
- Polling platforms are very easy to use.
- The blog can also be a platform for distributing the polls.
- Polls as a way or garnering input and engagement.
- Need to be selective about what is polled and what is not! Sometimes face-to-face meetings will be much more suitable. Need to control what polls are used for - and that they are only used when appropriate.
- New methods of polling that do not just register votes, but encourage people to present discussion before they vote - e.g. Liquid Democracy (Germany) - some of these alternative voting platforms may be very useful. See also User Voice (platform). Our Say (Australia). Have multiple votes to distribute, so you can weight your favoured options.
- Der Spiegel article on how the German Pirate Party uses liquid democracy.
- Video from talk on "Liquefying Democracy" and the German Pirate Party.
- How do we attain greater transparency?
- THE BLOG!
- An annual report needs to be generated and distributed. ⁃ However, it is a lot of work. ⁃ There are also already quarterly board meetings, the minutes of which are distributed via the mailing list.
- There needs to be some form of dialogue that can occur in response to such information distribution.
- There needs to be budgetary transparency - an annual report would facilitate this.
- The transparency needs to be both internal and external - it is a branding issue in many senses.
- But do we want to toe the usual line in terms of how we communicate stuff, or do we need to work on presenting this information in a more innovative way.
- It is really important to show where finding comes from, to show that we are transparent and accountable.
- GV-style annual report. Keep it brief.
- Need to lead by example in terms of this kind of thing.
- There is information online re: finances, but it is buried online somewhere - it needs to be sent around to people and made more easy to find. Needs to be made easier to access.
- Relates back to interactivity - we can't ask questions about things that we don't know anything about.
- Maybe the blog can be used for this as well.
- What does the report need to include and what is not so important?
- Core value words = transparency and accountability.
- Especially important if GV is to move towards more intense advocacy and lobbying.
- How do we make interaction more dynamic?
- Need a more dynamic platform for daily interactions.
- We don't need any more technology! Just escalate using the existing channels.
- People are not using the existing technologies enough yet.
- There needs to be a centralised database so people can search for people by name/region/skill/ etc.
- Regional editors etc need to take responsibility to keep groups in touch.
- Volunteers etc also need to push for meetings with editors etc. if they want them. They will get the attention and support they want if they seek it.
- May be useful to have online synchronous discussions to follow up on issues that emerge on the mailing list.
Questions not/partly discussed
- Can we add interactive elements to the GV-wiki?
- Are there free platforms that we could use for interaction and common projects that are easy for all to use? If so, how would we avoid getting into third-party solutions that may stop working?
Training, mentorship, and career-paths
(Claire & Suzanne)
- How should we foster new leaders?
- Quizzes and interactive learning
- Retribution: Meritocracy vs do-cracy?
- Productivity: How do we measure what we do for Global Voices?
- Social influence: Could quantity of sharing and readership for articles measure author merits? Would this conflict with our goal of presenting underrepresented voices?
- Follow-up on new volunteers with assessments?
- Incentives to take on volunteer work
- What rewards can we offer? (For love or for money?) Can we develop alternative rewards than token money? Should e.g. Lingua offer commercial translation opportunities? Should GV “experts” be allowed to receive payment by external parties? Could this be a way to get further funding by some partition ratio?
- Indirect rewards by way of partnerships, conference participation, things to put on your CV. Could we supply GVers with the right connections for jobs and assignments? Competence database?
- Foster and mentor new volunteers
- Knowing about how to best use website (cf. discussion on advocacy in the morning).
- Pairing new volunteers with more experienced contributors, from the same region, and on an informal basis.
- Training sessions
- Online tutorials are needed in subtitled videos.
- A presentation video of what GV and/or Lingua are, and a timeline of history, summary of mission, is needed.
- Different short tutorials in videos and guidelines are needed, thematic (wordpress, writing, translation, publishing, partnerships, recruiting, etc.)
- There is a need to better identify who is doing what, and of understanding an often super-complex editing process (translation, sub-editing, editor, etc). Moreover, there is a confusing workflow. Cross regional posts and publication - involving several editors in different time zones - are too complex and time-consuming for breaking news.
- Organize workshops in real time, face to face by region or on Skype: Real life meetings bond people, and show that you care.
- Create a GV Academy to train authors, translators, sub-editors, by region, or a travelling GV academy, with meet-ups or bigger meetings dedicated solely to training.
- Retribution - incentives
- Volunteers present at this session wished to be better introduced to GV or their Lingua site when applying to volunteers and to get personal recognition and aknowlegdement for their contributions.
- Incentive: Volunteers present did not raise the subject of paid translations or posts but welcomed initiatives such as paid partnerships with other organizations (paid posts or translations).
- Welcome and thank you packages, e.g. branded T-shirts, computer sleeves after 3 months' contribution, etc.
- Information, calendar, page or mailing list, about opportunities: workshops, conferences in their regions, meetings, subscription to journals, grant or job opportunities, etc.
- Paid contribution does not seem a priority or general request. However, volunteers would appreciate that GV becomes a platform or network for opportunities (personal or professional) and agree to be a reference on their CV.
- How to measure what we do for GV?
- Metrics: Number of posts? Not clics!
- Requests: That editors give feedback to authors/translators.
Suggestions: Put a star or another distinctive mark on an author or translator’s posts when featured, or republished by others sites.
- In the contributor's profile: Indicate how many featured posts, to encourage.
General requests for:
- Feedback on readers: How much time is spent by readers on a post & how many comments and pings from republishing sites?
- Could authors and translators access a Google stat tool customized to have readership on their posts or translations?
Suggestion: Each site should have its own media and partnerships' page.
- How to foster new editors
- Not every translator will become an editor but the editor's job is also to teach leadership skills.
- Sharing tasks is very motivating. Sharing tasks such as sub-editing, monitoring social media, on a rotating basis is welcomed. The opinion is that new editors will emerge organically this way.
- A referent, to turn to when personal problems arise.
- Better knowledge about the organization of GV – to know who does what at least in one's own region.
- Having a contact-team.
- Consolidate : Write down and document everything that was invented in every local team - from partnerships, recruiting to difficulties, issues like censorship and how teams innovated or coped. Knowledge management.
Working Group Breakout: 9 “Discussion Groups
Technology for Transparency / Open Data (merged)
Notes of Global Voices Summit on Open Data and the future of Technology for Transparency and Action points
1. Visibility of the Technology for Transparency Initiative: marking content and cross posting. It was agreed in the meeting that a memo will be prepared for Editors and Translators urging to mark the content as Technology for Transparency when applicable. The marking can be done retroactively. Also, considering the usual quality and uniqueness of our authors it was recommended to send the articles to friendly platforms which will cross post it, such as the ones of the Global Action Network Against Corruption, Transparency International, Transparency Initiative and Open Government Partnership. Social media has been fairly active on @techtransparent and @TransparenciaES but we will like to invite volunteer authors to have accounts on other languages if they want. So far Poland and other jurisdictions will like to do so.
2. Updating the current database: The projects listed in the database have evolved, derived into different projects or simply disappeared. Whichever the destiny of it after two years it will be very interesting to discover the formula, depending on the region, that makes a project successful and the elements needed to make a project sustainable. Also, it will be very valuable to look at the successful tools.
3. Creating a network-directory of experts and connecting them: as a result of the information gathered during the first and second phase of the project, we collected a database of social entrepreneurs, media experts, technologists and activists. Also we identified who is funding such projects in different regions. An added value of the platform would be a directory of such people, listing basic details and connecting them in dialogues such as the one with New Tactics we did in the past.
4. Adding new case studies to the database: Due to the rigid standards of the Editorial Board in the T4T project, many interesting initiatives were left out of the map, however there were lots of interesting efforts deserving visibility and we have volunteers willing to add those to the platform. Also, cases from regions not covered by the project should be added, including local examples across Europe and U.S. This might need funding or volunteer work from Editors.
5. Technology for Transparency, Open Data and global outreach via Rising Voices: Exploring the future of the platform/network, different approaches and ideas of projects were suggested by the participants. One of the ideas is a mentoring programme, connecting either among the same region or even country, those who already launched successful projects with sectors starting initiatives both in the open data sector or the technology for transparency and accountability sector. Other idea should be to launch a mini grant programme focused on the topic and once it is granted, getting together all the projects and pair them with mentors or basic training for better results and sharing practices.
Another idea was to create guides and examples of the best projects, since the study published by T4T can hardly reach communities, especially grassroots communities. In order to fund this idea, a pool of local donors was suggested.
6. Database – Platform: The map on top of the website was heavily criticised by the community, and it was agreed that the platform needs further development to make it more usable, inviting others to contribute and easily add case studies (a collaboration similar to the one with threatened voices. It was suggested to connect our efforts with Drupal communities (for example, the Drupal community based in Oxford) and asked them whether they can contribute time and code to fix the faults. Among the features people will like to see in the platform was the possibility to display content on the platform depending on the type of public (if developer, here is what you to know -if CSO here is what you need to know, etc). Consensus: map shall be removed from platform.
7. Workshops and events: it was suggested the possibility to reactivate our google groups, twitter and Facebook accounts, organize local meet ups and share events and trainings among those involved in the area.
8. Creating a GV GitHub: our contribution would be to link out open data projects and coders to our github, invite them to share code and solutions and then get them to the GV website as post.
− GV could/should write more about open data and transparency in general : write introduction posts on what is OD, very simple and short for non specialist public − Success of the project will depend on the GV whole community involvment (editors + lingua translators).
GV as Educational Resource / Links to Global Scholars (merged)
We started out by asking everyone involved what they had for ideas in general on the topic of GV and Education. From this we had 3 general topics that emerged:
1. Use GV to connect directly with students and teachers. GV is in a perfect place to teach about not only politics and citizen activism, but also culture, tolerance, civics, and language.
2. Use GV Education to also curate "how to" guides on technology and how to use media for social change, but not in a way where we are repeating the work of Rising Voices or GV Advocacy.
3. Have connections and links to scholarly works that focus on GV and the importance of citizen media.
As this has been a topic that has been discussed at several GV summits, we discussed ways in which to ensure that rather than throwing around some fantastic ideas, we actually start to implement them. We decided to form a workgroup/taskforce to get this program up and off the ground. At the moment the group coordinator is Deborah Dilley. A google group will be formed and we will send out an invitation to the summit list and the author's email list.
From there the group will decide how we are going to proceed. One priority that we have is the need to archive our content into a format that will be easier for educational users. We are not sure if this is something to be done through the special coverage pages, or through a new wiki site. We will need content and context information on regions, countries, and on specific topics. Once we have some of this foundational work in place we can begin to work on the more enjoyable tasks of specific lessons plans and other projects that are suggested by the working group.
Breaking News on Global Voices
How can we improve our breaking news coverage? What do we do before there are any in-depth online conversations/reactions? How can we sustain breaking news coverage over long periods? How can we use Twitter (where breaking news usually breaks) and still provide context and analysis? Can authors directly cover events?
Final points (summary of discussion):
1. Mechanism on how breaking news works 2. Pool of editors who are online 24 hours, can post content to the site much faster 3. Twitter ticker/hashtags for breaking news
The Blogger Safety group met and discussed the various threats to online safety. Within the group, we had several people who were able to provide concrete examples--from personal experience--of the various risk models our community faces. We addressed these risks with technical and other solutions, and will raise to the Core and Board the need for security and other assistance for the broader GV community.
Helping Translators (and Readers) with Context
The aim is to make authors realize they are will be read in many languages and by people from many places that may not fully understand what they have to say. To accomplish this, we suggest authors to elaborate a little when they have to use too local expressions or names of places or acronyms, to make content more understandable and, therefore, more attractive.
- Authors should be aware they will be translated to other languages.
- Authors should be aware they will be read in places very far away from their homeland.
- Use of too local slang
- Use of geographical names, especially when they have "pet names". Like Limeans sometimes refer to Lima as Limonta.
- Nicknames for local figures
- Selecting quotes that are understandable as well (OR adding explanations/context in brackets, when quotes are full of local chat language use/slang)
- Names of organizations
- Genders for proper names.
- In places where breaking news are going on, they should add the number of people affected.
- Add some clarificaton about dates, exact dates, with year included. It's hard to put someting in context when it just mentiones "yesterday" or "last week".
Translations to Raise Funds
GV Translation Services
GV has been working as "Translation Service Providers" with like-minded organisations. Above average market fee goes for translators and GV retains the project management fee, both paid by partner organisation. Sometimes, GV offers pro-bono translation for some organisations in return for promotion of GV.
This approach is great since GV could work with like-minded organisations, help translators with extra income, help GV with a little more fund. This approach can be developed into a side business for GV.
By this approach, however, GV still needs resources to develop an actual business model while Project Management is time consuming and stressful for the fees asked. In addition, there are limitations on the languages and amount of translations that are available to provide.
1) Global Voices Lingua Translator Cooperative 2) Partnership/Other informal approaches
"Good quality translations that help the world be a better place" "Translations with love" We could work with the clients whose ethos are similar with GV which would mean that if an organisation is listed among "our clients", it is a good, trusted organisation, we are proud to partner with!
Clients may approach GV Translation Team for their job via the "new translation system" or manually to someone who could manage (probably PM?) it from GV translation team. The task would be added to the system and would assign available translators (or available translators would pick up). Cross-checking by another translator(in the role of editor) would be done after the work has been finished for quality control purpose. Part of Service Fees would be paid to translator and other would be retained by GV.
Developing of documents required such as contracts would be tricky. Scoping for the requirements of "new translation system" would need to be done carefully. People with different roles would need to be hired.
It would be required company policies, legal contracts, T&Cs, Taxes. In terms of human resource, current lingua translators could be hired to join the project. Developers, PMs, accountants and other roles may also need to be hired.
An approach that could combine MyGengo (where client post their job and translators can pick up to work on with pre-set deadline according to job length, fees are accumulated to translators' account) and current Wordpress Lingua Dashboard would work. It may or may not be within Wordpress platform.
Support from developers hired would be required for maintenance of the system, so as from accountants, bookkeepers and PMs who would help the business works.
Summit discussion – Notes for 30th Jun
We agreed on something like myGengo - http://mygengo.com/ Tarek and GV-Tech would help
The idea is to create a GV not for profit company to undertake paid translations from like minded organisations. We have a niche that could be explored in the ever so competitive translation business. By cutting profit, we would offer fair prices for organisations and fair rates for translators. Money will be fairly shared between translators and GV. Translators will also have the option option to donate the money to GV, if they want to.
1st step: Contact with Tarek and GV tech to see if it is possible to create the website (GV Catalan editor is also web design expert) 2nd step: Check the structure (proof-reading?) 3rd step: We have to hire a sales manager in order to attract clients and be responsible for payments. We have to be sure that the proﬁts will at least cover his/her salary. Will be part time job, full time or freelance one? Probably we should choose someone from GV community! could we undertake SEO management
Incentives for translators
Optional, 100% donation to GV or some amount to retain as translation fees To ask a gv-er in "Translation Without Border"
Proof read for more higher level service No proof read for normal service Cross-checking Recruitment
Translators' recruitment - Which will be the criteria? We can trust editorsʼ opinion Read the translations Maybe some tests for beginners For newcomers, they should ﬁrstly volunteer for a lingua and then after their translations been evaluated, could join or not the company.
Work with like-minded organisations They can be our partners or NGOs.
Budget for Tools
Investment from GV Promotion for the service would also be needed.
Recruit for contact point person Start from part-time staff and may be a full time paid job later
The project would be continued. Tool would be developed first and would continue for human resources.
Effects of Violent Citizen Media
The group ‘Effects of Violent Citizen Media’ believe we are at a paradigm shift moment, whereby the potential considerable impact of violent citizen news media on producers and consumers are just about to become fully understand. We are considering producing an e-book compiling (anonymous or not) testimonies of experiences of violent citizen media amongst our community. We want to create a briefing/debriefing system for GV contributors on this topic, and work to pioneer the research on this issue. We welcome community members to become involved in this critical topic.
Violent citizen media, such as videos and pictures of atrocities, raise some problems for both the citizen reporters who produce it, the editors/journalists who review and validate them, and the final consumer, the viewer. On the citizen reporters side, they take great risks to put those proofs of violence out on the Web. But in many newsrooms and citizen media outfits, professional repeatedly exposed to it have developped post trauma syndrome. And the general public is starting to ignore those "'daily dose of horrors" or to get immunized to them. It is proposed that Global Voices raises awareness on the yet unchartered effects of citizen violent media, offers help to Global Voicers affected at different levels by post traumatic syndromes, and links to on going research and awareness groups.
Photo and Video
There's a need to discover new ways in which to present information to make it more engaging and using video could be one of them. We discussed producing multilingual through subtitling GV original video that is a curation of interesting segments of videos, with headers and credits with GV branding, video posts as additions to text posts, slideshows for photo essays and the possibility of MIT (and Ethan) helping us create an easy to use online video editing tool. We need to think more about the technical aspects of doing this and perhaps a "lab" sort of site for testing these ideas could be born as a parallel to GV site, a team of interested people should be made for hands-on involvement.
Strategies for Objective Translation
We have been discussing the issue of objectivity in GV translations. Are we objective when we translate? Considering the element of activism in our organization, should we be objective? What are the differences between objective journalism and objective translation? We have also discussed the dichotomy of GV’s mission of “giving voice to the underrepresented” vs. Unreliability, biased translations, new framing/orientation etc. Among our concrete suggestions to deal with these issues are:
- Translate different text types with different approaches (quotes should be translated with more care for the objectivity criteria than the contextualizing body of the article that is more informative)
- Transparency/open debate about this issue in the different Lingua groups
- Better/new guidelines in the wiki
- Before translation, better curation (better selection of quotes)
- GV Lingua Translation Forum (an internal forum and database where translators can ask about terms,phrases, context etc and authors can answer) The suggestion of a forum is common to several work group discussions
Strategic Discussion: Multilingual Newsroom - Moving Forward
Paula introduced the multilingual newsroom, giving a background of Lingua and explaining how a multilingual newsroom fits into the picture.
Paula talked about “The Lingua Challenge”: to build a vibrant multilingual newsroom. She also mentioned some of the challenges that come with a multilingual newsroom where Lingua sites publish original content in their language and ways to move forward.
One way to move forward is to make Lingua a “mini-gv”, with Lingua editors acting as content editors with autonomy to publish. Another way is “Transcreation”, optional and contextualized content if news are relevant for an international audience.
Some of the participants from the panel talked about their early experience implementing a multilingual newsroom, and then the conversation was opened to the audience for feedback and comments.
(Reporter - Paula Goes)
We started the day three with an awakening exercise to check how many hours each of us had slept the night before. Average sleeping time for the community: 4 hours 27 minutes and 06 seconds.
Global Voices Design Proposal
Ivan and Jeremy presented an idea for a theoretical redesign for Global Voices Online (including Lingua sites) which resulted of a brainstorming by Ivan, Jeremy and designer Douglas Savage, with a lot of input by Solana. The group came up many ideas that could be implemented on the current site to improve usability and use of space on a theoretical full redesign.
Jeremy explains that the reasoning is that the current site is designed with the citizen media expert and/or people already familiar with Global Voices and our mission, and that as such it is too confusing for the normal people we want to attract to grow our audience. The redesign ideas are intended to help make GV content easier to find and more exciting to explore so that users will spend more time on the site looking at multiple articles rather than leaving right away. Some important highlights of the goals are to have more space for images and video and to simplify the way we show geographical and topical categories so that the most likely choices are more visible and easier for interested people to find.
Ivan guaranteed that there will not be any redesign before the community is extensively consulted, and that the GV logo will not just disappear like that! There were lots of questions and suggestions, but very little time to hear all feedback. A concern pointed out is the lack of testing and user interface usability to understand what readers want. Before any major change is implemented, further conversation will continue to happen – Jeremy invited those interested in joining the conversation to subscribe to join the [GV Tech group].
Strategic Discussion: Could We Have a Voice? Neutrality & Opinion
Should GVers have an "op-ed" or "views" page of sorts? This is a discussion nearly as old as Global Voices, and one that is passionate reignited every summit. The presentation by Aparna and Nwachukwu discussed pros and cons of having opinions published within Global Voices or embed in posts. Questions raised ranged from whether Global Voices collaborators could present their own opinions – either in posts or in a special globalvoicesonline.com website – to reporting on the ground. The group wishes to continue the conversation in anticipation of a community-wide survey.
On Twitter, Jillian received a comment like, "I never thought you guys were neutral in the first place".
This was one of the working groups formed prior to the GV-Summit in Nairobi. The initial discussions by group members laid the core of the presentation we made at the summit:
Working Group Breakout: 9 “Discussion Groups
Underrepresented Lingua Languages
We decide to rename the working group "Rising Lingua" to reflect how Rising Voices and Lingua can come together to support existing and new Lingua sites that translate in underrepresented/minority/endangered languages. We believe that there should be similar type of support for Lingua sites that may need special assistance based on the context in which translators operate, such as lack of regular internet access or other factors. We also would like to come up with a game plan to put new Rising Lingua sites into the position to be successful, which may include additional type of support such as funds for training workshops or help with internet access. However, nothing had yet to be decided.
The discussion on Hyper Local content included the concept of Local content that we want to include at GV Spanish, information (news mainly) from as many cities from the countries we cover as possible. This content, in principle, would not be eligible to be translated, but could provide the basis for the authors of each country. (Its a way for visibility to topics for news that not will be -necessarily- on GV posts.
One challenge here is that local content is of difficult location. Not much is found in blogs, most are on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, forums and websites (when they exist) of the local newspapers. This fact and the characteristics of local content makes that we see us in the need of very skilled content curators, with a proactive attitude towards the collection of information.
Another concern is the insertion of this content generation process in the GV chain production. Since by definition the local content is in the language or local dialect, it seems logical that this activity depends on the Lingua Editors. However, because of editorial matters, GV should give them the necessary powers to enable them to monitor the generation of such content.
Social News Gathering / Reader Participation (merged)
Tarek introduced a mock up for a Social News Gathering platform which was received with both enthusiasm and skepticism by the group members. A good suggestion to engage readers was to empower authors and translators to engage themselves personally with the community of readers and pull stories ideas from the ground, giving the feeling of "I know that Global Voices". Anyone interested in the conversation about reader engagement can subscribe to join the [Social News Gathering/Reader Engagement Group].
Data Mining on Global Voices
By monitoring data feeds from around the world, can we enhance our coverage and help GV authors do a better job? Do we have an advantage as a truly global, multi-lingual community, to draw understanding in ways that no other new-media entity can?
There's potential to use data within GV for the following purposes: 1. Inform our reporting - can give us the ability to ask questions such as "sentiment regarding China - Philippines crisis", etc... 2. Help source stories - create a Twitter aggregator that helps authors source stories as they break. 3. Quantify the "success" or influence of GV - whats the impact that we actually had (not only measure traffic, but authority on Social Media, influence of MSM) - quantify difference in GV coverage vs. MSM 4. Visualization - can drive attention and traffic to the site. Use GV authors to source data points. - "caterday" - plot lolcats around the world on a map. Source cats by mining #gvlols hashtag. GV community members use the hashtag to add point on a map. - global voices users - seeing the whole community in realtime - freedom of the internet / censorship - other worldwide events
[Twitter reports] say that the data mining discussion evolved into developing a "LOLcats from around the world" map. Yessssss!
Saving Time Writing Posts for GV
Subtitles on Videos
Subtitling would encourage more authors to include videos that would remain pertinent to content as posts get translated into different languages. To get the subtitle initiative rolling and based on this discussion and the pilot program ran on Spanish subtitling, we will start by producing a survey geared towards authors, editors, translators and the GV audience for feedback on the importance of subtitles and their feedback on a suggested workflow. A users guide will need to be made so that GVers can be made aware of the process, whether they will be writing articles with videos, translating them or subtitling the videos (or a combination of the 3). Working group will continue work on this document to share within the next couple of weeks with the GV community.
Translating Without Going Through English
With decentralized content on the rise and ever more diverse contributors, there's a growing tendency to translate directly from original source for Lingua sites.
A few examples: Lingua Danish team translates from Spanish; Lingua French contributors translating from Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Lingua Malagasy translating from French; Lingua Aymara translating from Spanish.
WHY do some translators decide to "skip" English
- to save time spent on translations
- because you are more proficient in a non-English language
- because in some countries' mainstream media – in Denmark for instance – news from distant countries come translated from English
- in GV we want local voices, content adaptated to global audience
- Lingua Malagasy translates most French decentralized content, but not if the post is too long, as there is no machine translation help available.
- To increase one's skills
SETTING UP AN INVENTORY OF « UNUSUAL » PAIRS OF LINGUISTIC SKILLS
The unusual pairs or threesome... are definitely a resource, rising the question of how to attract and motivate volunteers having those skills. In existing teams, there does not seem to be any prioritizing choice of texts.
Uses for the inventory could be promotional campaign – ressource for the multilingual newsroom - developing crossborders posting (Europe for instance) – outreach... A problem though is keeping the data basis updated. The Lingua section should emphasize the language pairs.
The discussion group suggested to make a periodical survey with very few questions; the results should appear on the Lingua page. Maria Angelica offered her help to do the survey.
HOW TO ADDRESS SOME TRANSLATION CHALLENGES WHEN SKIPPING ENGLISH
The remarks also apply for quote translation, as the English version may not be felt as satisfactory.
In case of translating from decentralized content: if the English version is not yet out, it will depend only on the behalf of the editor to know if the text is in good quality, logical, and worth to be read.
What are the resources to translate/proofread/edit a quote or context you do not quite understand: The resources are : Wordreference dictionaries and forums - internet searches - partnering with the newsroom, educating authors and translators to source understandable texts.
Intervention of sub-editors (existing or to-be-created) role was suggested in the preparatory stage of the discussion, but there needs to be more information about their role.
Emailing authors with an URGENT Lingua prefix; contact the editors directly
THE DISCUSSION GROUP CAME OUT WITH FOLLOWING GUIDELINES...
- Always translate into mother tongue
- Translate ONLY from original, but have a look to English translation when already up for confirmation
- What to do with sensitive words having different (or no) connotations from one language to another, such as « indigenous », « negro »...
- The reference version is always the original post, and not its English translation
- Seeing to it that decentralized content Lingua posts conform with GV Standards, to avoid mistakes spreading from site to site
- Notify the source post for corrections
- Training editors in basic editor's skills
- Involve authors aside translators on those issues
- Authors and Editors to be selective of sources, and especially with Twitter
AND A CONCLUSION
The discussion group strongly agreed on the need to create a Forum for translators-editors-authors to solve questions about translation of specific words, expressions etc.
Such a wish also emanated from the Strategy for Translation Objectivity group.
Our (Writing Styles) group focused on author's preferences, editor's (styles and roles) and readers expectations. Big debate was on quotes and headlining for traffic and communication. Recommended that the stories should not be identified by/limited to a country. It emerged that many have not read the GV author's guide.
Participants mentioned the situation of free speech and harassment of bloggers in their countries. We heard some cases from Cuba, Singapor, Guatemala, Mexico, Congo, Pakistan, Ghana, Ethiopia (Bloggers arrested in Ethiopia: “the 9th zone”).
We reflected on the different implications of “threatened” (by the government, by the community...) and the differences between harassment of netizens in democratic and non-democratic countries.
A participant contributed a list of threats: Destruction of character, Defamation, Prison, Retaliation, intimidation, Surveillance, Physical attacks. Harassment, Problems when travelling, Deportation, Financial violence, Torture, Death
We agreed on the need for a big T.V. team: coordinators for each country / geographical representation. Next step will be sharing a list of areas to try to get volunteer coordinators sign up for updating one country each (maybe rotation).
Need for more institutional partners, human rights organization to cross-post with, in order to make Threatened Voices the hub.
Conga Line Powerpoint
Reporting out on “doing groups” 1 min presentation.
Internet Policy Coverage
More LatAm on GVA
Welcoming New Authors: The working group for "Welcoming new authors and translators" is going to evaluate existing documents and processes. We will set up a welcome system, a welcome kit as well as a mentoring program in order to welcoming and training new volunteers.
Media Partnership: When arranging partnership with media outlets, challenges may occur, and appropriate steps need to be taken to overcome the situation. [See full discussion]
GV Animals: Environment is not only politics, it's also wildlife, animals, often in danger. It is proposed to open a Wildlife category in Global voices to cover initiatives and programmes on wildlife preservation or...beauty, just beauty. It is also proposed to cover Sciences on Global Voices focussing on the mushrooming of science blogs and on sciences in developping countries.
Cross Regional Coverage: Topics: - Migration, health, infrastructure, culture, etc. Challenges: - Need for sequential coverage; - Fostering cross-regional collaboration without adding additional burden on the editors; Ideas/Solutions: - Virtual black board to discuss story ideas and topics; - Core group of 20-30 authors to produce cross-regional posts and promote cross-regional collaboration within their communities; - Public space for a discussion of cross-regional issues and topics, to foster communication across the GV network (e.g. a group-blog on GV);
More Posts on Culture
Recruiting New Authors
GV Outreach to RV: GV-ers would help the rising voice projects for mentorship via an interactive map, pilot project would be started in Mozambique and another country where no GV-ers exist.
Europe in Crisis: Europe in Crisis is a special coverage of Global Voices Online. What has been succeeded till now and what we would like to be done to improve the impact of the coverage. See the video
Afternoon Fun Activities
Nairobi National Museum
(7 GVers attended)
Photos coming soon!
(21 GVers attended)
Photos coming soon!
Nairobi National Park
(40 GVers attended)
Masai Market Shopping
(18 GVers attended)
Photos coming soon!
Citizen Journalism Trip with Map Kibera
(13 GVers attended) and Voice of Kibera Group (13 GVers attended)
Reports on the ground