IRC chat about RSF Guide for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents

Log file opened at: 9/27/05 10:41:55 AM

ethanz: Hi friends – we'll start in about three more minutes

ethanz: I'm logging the session and will post the transcript, so this session is on the record

ethanz: Okay, good morning/afternoon everyone

sabbah: Hi ethan

DeborahFin: Hello!

ethanz: Welcome to the online conversation about the recently released RSF Guide for Bloggers and CyberDissidents

kaseton: hey

DeborahFin: Hi, J!

ethanz: We'll start by letting Julien Pain, the editor of the guide talk a bit about the project, then move on to take questions

ethanz: My hope is that this can be an open discussion to answer some questions raised by the guide, talk about issues of identity and anonymity online and strategize about ways to protect bloggers in places where it's difficult to blog

ethanz: Julien, want to lead off?

RMacK: while we're waiting for julien, i'd like also to welcome yan sham-shackleton, one of our contributors, author of the “glutter” blog (nick is “glutterbug”)

RMacK: also warm welcome to marku beckedahl of netzpolitik

ethanz: I think Julien may be joining us in a little bit.

DeborahFin: Hi, Ethan!

ethanz: Maybe we can start with some questions or comments about the guide.

ethanz: Anyone have any pressing issues they're hoping to discuss in this session?

Julien_Pai: I'm back, sorry

RMacK: (sorry misspelled: Markus

glutterbug: tut tut Julien!

ethanz: Hi Julien – we're going to let you lead off with a quick statement about the guide while folks get questions ready

DeborahFin: Hello, Julien!

ethanz: Julien, what inspired RSF to produce this guide?

Julien_Pai: Hi all. I guess you've all read the Introduction of the handbook ?

Julien_Pai: It explains why we released this booklet. the question is : is this booklet really helpful?

RMacK: i think not everybody has read it.

ethanz: Maybe you should say a bit about it, since not everyone has read it yet…

Julien_Pai: Ok. Well, we wanted to help bloggers linving in repressive regimes to create their blog without getting caught by the cyberpoplice. And explain how to get around censorship.

RMacK: i have a question. why “cyber-dissidents” in the title?

Julien_Pai: Everything started with an experience we had with nepale bloggers

RMacK: (sorry to interrupt)

SethF: Julien – I don't think this audience is the right one to ask if it's really helpful. I think we overwhelmingly think it's great, so we're very biased 1/2 :-)

Julien_Pai: We realized that creating a blog was no that easy.

Julien_Pai: It's easy for americans or french internet users, but I can tell you it's not for nepales…

ethanz: What were the problems Nepalese users were having?

Julien_Pai: first they had no technical skill at all. They hardly knew how to use the INternet

Julien_Pai: And there's a huge font problem

Fons: is it also translated in Nepalese then?

Julien_Pai: blog tools are not designed for these kind of alphabet

Julien_Pai: (sorry for the bad english, but I hate typing fast)

Julien_Pai: It's not in nepale

ethanz: no problem, Julien – we're all bad typists in IRC…

Julien_Pai: We're looking for people to do it… for free

sabbah: well, but that a general problem that applies on everything on the internet for them, not only blogs

ethanz: Fons – at this point, the guide is available in Arabic, Persian, French, English and Chinese, I believe, though not all translations are complete

Julien_Pai: agree. But anyway that was the first problem to tackle

ethanz: Haitham, have you had a chance to look at the Arabic translation?

sabbah: yes, it is very good

DeborahFin: (On IRC, you can't tell who is typing with his/her nose)

Julien_Pai: it's costly to translate everything…

ethanz: Who is doing the translation, Julien?

Fons: but then Nepalese have specific technical problems to make blogs, I understand

Julien_Pai: professional translators

ethanz: what are the other high priority languages?

Julien_Pai: Russian would be great

ethanz: I think Russian's really important…

Julien_Pai: We're working on a spanish version as well

Julien_Pai: Yep, but we had to make choices

sabbah: can I get this straight. what is the main objective of the handbook? show people how to blog or show people how to blog without getting caught?

Julien_Pai: both

glutterbug: I would assume it's both depending on the level of the user no?

presroi: I guess you can't tell one from another

glutterbug: Each person can get what they need out of it for themselves as long as thei nformtion is there.

Julien_Pai: first you have to teach them how to create their blog, and then how to remain anonymous

DeborahFin: It's good to build the privacy-protection skills in from the beginning with a new blogger

sabbah: sure, so what makes this handbook special compare to other blog creation guide?

Fons: but staying anonymous is only needed for a small number of bloggers

ethanz: I think it;'s the audience, Haitham, that makes it different

ethanz: Most guides have been written for European or American authors…

Julien_Pai: it's all in one. and the audience…

sabbah: good point

glutterbug: the those users who don't need it don't have to read those chapters :)

BorisAntho: there are anonymity issues even in creating/setting up the blog as well. :)

sabbah: which actually leads me to the other part

DeborahFin: Or who don't need it….YET

sabbah: anonymous post and credibility

ethanz: HUGE topic, Haitham…

DeborahFin: YET = you're eligible too

sabbah: while I think it's helpful, yet I have a doubt how will that effect the credibility of the posts and blogger

Julien_Pai: Nart's and ethan texts were, until then, only accessible to specialists

ethanz: Very good to bring it up…

sabbah: one can claim to be posting anonymously because what he might want to say is of risk our might put him in danger, but why and how should we hold him creditable for what he/she says?

ethanz: Julien, that's very much what I was trying to do in my chapter… make knowledge that's known to experts accessible to everyone

ethanz: Haiham – does it reassure you at all when someone develops a reputation over time, despite the fact that she is anonymous?

RMacK: haitham i think you're right. i think bloggers who dont need to be anonymous should really be encouraged to make their identities clear if they want to be credible

Julien_Pai: yes, but I wanted your piece to be read by a wider audience, and I think i worked

blogalvill: right, so they can get themselves carried off by the secret police …

sabbah: specially that we know that the blogspher is dominant by the west (no offense). why should they believe an anon post?

ethanz: What do others think about this larger issue of anonymous blogging. Is it a neccesary evil, or something we should avoid, or a good thing…?

RMacK: blogalvillager, i men people who dont need to be anonymous

Julien_Pai: It's just necessary, whatever you may say

BorisAntho: reputation != identity, and vice versa

RMacK: obviously, people who are in danger of being carted off need to be anonymous, which is hte whole point of the guide

DeborahFin: Ethan: I think it depends on the purpose of the blog

RMacK: but imho, people who blog anonymously who dont need to dilute the credibility of those who blog anonymously bcz they really need to

Fons: one of the side effects of bbs's in China is the many unfounded rumors and accussations go around

ethanz: Boris – I like your formulation… but “how do we trust anon bloggers” is the first question almost every journalist asks…

Fons: having a very bad effect on the quality of discussions, although it might simetimes be necessary

BorisAntho: by reputation

DeborahFin: E.g., I blog about professional matters, and I use my real name. If I were blogging about personal matters, maybe I wouldn't.

ethanz: Fons – would love for you to say more about that – esp. in context of recent china news…

glutterbug: I think people have their reasons, and if they want to be anonamous, than that's there business, and if a few blogsphere people want to judge that's their perogatived and if someone feels they are not “credible” then so be it. Others may find it equally so. I find it worrying that in a medium that is supposed to be about the ability to express oneself without constraints someone is already laying down “laws” and “best pract

glutterbug: ices” according to them.

ethanz: Welcome MMM, Joi, everyone…

sabbah: reputation of what? then how long will he have to wait to get that?

JoiIto waves

BorisAntho: think of “identites” on such system as slashdot/wikipedia

ethanz: Haitham – I think “Sleepless in Sudan” has a pretty good reputation as an accurate blogger, though no one knows who she is…

RMacK: glutterbug i agree with what you're saying. nobody's talking about laying down laws.

SethF: Anonymity is linked to retaliation, for good or evil.

RMacK: but people should be aware of the various factors affecting their own credibility and the credibility of others

DeborahFin: Hi, Joi!

RMacK: so they can make more informed decisions about what they want to do

RMacK: depending on what the purpose of their blog is

glutterbug: However in this forum wheere we are supposed to be discussing the information that people have worked very hard to be put out, I find it odd to have the basic premise of it being questioned before we even discuss what is good.

ethanz: Fons – would the rumor problem be as bad if people ignored messages from people they'd never heard of before, but took more seriously information from people who they'd seen use the same screen name over a long period of time?

sabbah: ethan, I agree, but that what the west think. and since there is no more Sudan blogs, then who can judge?

DeborahFin: RM: “Informed decisions” sounds good to me

RMacK: glutterbug makes good point. we digress

BorisAntho: glutterbug++

glutterbug: Further more, anoniminity is the most impotant thing for people who are in opressive regimes

ethanz: It’ s a fair point, Haitham – one of the topics I'd very much like to talk about is how this guide can help get new bloggers online…

Fons: rumors in China would make a great Phd

ethanz: Julien, do you want to say more about the background of this project?

RMacK: glutterbug i agree w/ you 500% percent on that point

ethanz: Or are we already off and running on the questions part of the talk…

ethanz: ?

glutterbug: I think the fact one can “question” the credibility of an anonamous poster is first world free world luxury

glutterbug: This guide is made for people who could be arrested for speaking their mind.

jeffooi: I think blogging anonymously should apply on two conditions – ( 1 ) in emerging democracy or dictatorial regime where open identity invites fatal risks ( 2 ) occupational hazards where the bread&butter and three square meals for the family are at stake. These are real-life issues

SethF: And there is “retaliation against one's social standing”, versus “retaliation against one's life”.

SubzeroBlu: I agree with glutterbug on that last point

glutterbug: Yes, and if those people want that, then great. And if someone else wants it. then they can. the reader can judge

kaseton: jeffoi : how would you know if you are living in emerging democracy?

ethanz: Haitham, what do you think of Jeff's conditions – do those address your concerns at all?

sabbah: jeffooi – mind it, this handbook can be used by terrorists too!!!

SubzeroBlu: You can't question the credibility of someone based on if he is revealing his identity or not because not everyone has the possibility of doing so without getting into trouble

ethanz: that's also a question we're getting asked about a great deal

BorisAntho: glutterbug++

ethanz: Seth, you had a nice response to that question…

Julien_Pai: terrorists already know how to remain anonymous

jeffooi: you need to scan the political environment and make good judgment

JoiIto: whistle blowers in developed countries need anonymity. See Deep Throat

sabbah: well, how do you know that this blog or that is of a terror?

SethF: Rgiht. Terrorists will already know this. Ordinary citizens will be helped.

kaseton: what is good judgement

DeborahFin: Well, every tool can be used for good or for evil.

kaseton: it is too late, when law enforcement is knocking at your door

glutterbug: And people have the ability to judge if they want to support anyone. Some people feel president bush is credible and some don't. He puts his name on everything

SethF: The problem with “blogging anonymously should apply on two conditions …” is that every anonymous writer will claim the conditions apply to them.

ethanz: While I agree wholeheartedly that blogs can be a tool for good or evil, some people are going to react very negatively to the guide by suggesting that we're aiding and abetting secure communications for people who want to harm lots of other people…

BorisAntho: i revise my equation (apologies I am half asleep): name != identity

RMacK: yeah boris you're up early! ;-)

BorisAntho: name == reference for history of behavior allowing forumulation of trust ratios

SethF: ethanz: Occupational hazard :-(

BorisAntho: :D

DeborahFin: Ethan: Indeed. This debate is old as technology. In other words, as old as sticks and stones.

kaseton: you`re right

sabbah: that's my point, ethan

SubzeroBlu: Of course some people will think of it negatively, but as Deborah just said, almost everything can be used for both good and evil, but that doesn't mean it doesn't help people who need it

RMacK: julien i have a question: what kind of feedback have you been getting on the guide so far?

SubzeroBlu: the internet in general can be used for good and evil, it doesn't mean it should be shut down

BorisAntho: so-called terrorists use the same tools we all do to communicate: from hand signals to cellphones. shall we all stop talking?

SethF: But, really, I don't think Harvard/RSF/etc. has too much to worry about on that score. Just a talking point.

ethanz: Haitham, I haven't had a good response, except to say that I think smart terrorists already know how to stay anonymous. I think it's important that human rights advocates, whistleblowers, etc. have the same info…

SubzeroBlu: I agree Ethan

JoiIto: SubzeroBlue, corollary to that: internet can used for good or evil so no matter what we say, people will always try to shut it down.

Julien_Pai: Well , a very good feedback. But to be honnest I don't have any feed back from the poeple I was trying to reach. It will tabke time.

DeborahFin: In other words, it's sort like a nuclear weapon standoff.

Fons: Problem is the cultural bias, as also Rebecca has pointed out in her review

ethanz: Julien, who will you need to hear from to know this guide has accomplished its goals?

kaseton: remember Phil Zimmerman quote about privacy and outlaws

DeborahFin: Reminds me of Tom Lehrer's song, “Who's Next?”

Fons: at least in China, not clue about other countries

ethanz: Fons, would love to hear more about cultural bias…

BorisAntho: smart “terrorists” hire the same kinds of people “non terrorists” hire to make their communications efficient

Fons: using the name dissidents is one thing

jeffooi: In developed countries, why must whistleblwers like Deep Throat need anonymity? Joi…

Julien_Pai: I wish a chinese guy or a nepale one will tell me that he set up his blog using this guide.

Fons: the press release on 11 commandments would not be understood in China, just an illustration

SethF: Say something like “If we can't write about freedom, then the terrorists have already won!”

ethanz: Julien – will take some time, but I agree, that will be a great indicator…

ethanz: jeff – whistleblowers are still in danger of losing their jobs in the US – happens all the time.

Julien_Pai: And for that, I need to work the circulation of this tool.

RMacK: so we have a great community of people here. how can we help the right people use the guide as intended?

BorisAntho: i think we need to get off the terrorists here and get back on the this very nicely done PDF for cyber-dissidents.

RMacK: yes boris is right

ethanz: MMM, when I'm in Tunisia in a few weeks, is it reasonable to think that I can disseminate this guide in Arabic?

glutterbug: Fons: What do you mean the press release on 11th commandments would not be understood in China. I understand it perfectly well and I am in China

Fons: I would appreciated it if the cyberdissidents could be removed in a second edition

RMacK: we should disseminate this all over WSIS

RMacK: in many languages

Julien_Pai: We have hard copies

DeborahFin: Fons, is the term “cyber-dissident” problematic?

Fons: refers to christian culture, people have no clue about commandments

RMacK: (if MMM thinks that's a good idea)

Fons: yes it is

Julien_Pai: I'll be at the WSIS

ethanz: Fons – good point,. That's a nice reminder…

Fons: even those who are active policially in the mainland prefer not to be seen as dissidents

glutterbug: I think people can understand a list of Helpful guides. regardless of titling

Julien_Pai: but poeple there will be mostly experts…

DeborahFin: Fons, that's interesting, in light of the current movement on Wikipedia.Org to delete the “cyber-dissident” article

jeffooi: ethan… whistleblowers are still in danger of losing their jobs in the US … pretty much a bread-an-butter daily dose ;-) at least one condition does apply?

Fons: missed that on wiki-pedia

RMacK: i agree, certainly a lot of chinese bloggers i know don't want to be labeled “cyber-dissidents”

ethanz: true – makes the formulation work, Jeff…

glutterbug: We're really doing to spend this time discussing semantics?

Markus_Bec: i? ll be on the wsis too. maybe thats a good chance to reach lots of people involved in civil society worldwide.

DeborahFin: Re: Wikipedia…email me at, and I'll send you the link.

ethanz: It looks like we're going to be doing a session, as GLobal Voices, called “Expression Under Repression”

Julien_Pai: bloggers and cyberdissidents are to different kinds of people. But we defend both.

Fons: ok

SethF: In the US, being a “dissent” is “cool”. Not so in other places …

ethanz: Not definite yet, but likely…

ethanz: Working on it with Hivos…

RMacK: it's not semantics. i think it has real implications for who dares to access this material and who dares to have it sitting there on their hard drive

SethF: Err, “dissident”

RMacK: with a title “cyber-dissident” prominently displayed

Julien_Pai: To tell you the truth I don't like the word cyberdissident either.

Fons: so, why use it?

ethanz: Julien, can we kill it in the next edition… :-)?

ethanz: Or, maybe, say more about why the term got used in this edition…

Julien_Pai: On my list of 70 internet writers jailes, most of them are dissidents who used the Internet to publish their views, not bloggers

ethanz: Really good point…

jeffooi: cyber dissidents can be problematic in a reasonably democratic country like Malaysia… that's a self-inflicted social stigma, wear it, you go into the opinion-shaping sphere as an underdog

DeborahFin: I think that the link between blogging and all other web-based communication is blurring. I wouldn't worry about that much.

Fons: just, so maybe also the wrong writers for a Chinese audience?

Julien_Pai: We created the word 5 years ago. It's not that easy to “kill” a word. And it really defines a certain category of poeple

ethanz: Is there a better term that both honors the people Julien is working with and is less uncomfortable for some of the folks in this group?

Fons: maybe the angel is a problem and the name an expression of that

Julien_Pai: Many chinese we defend are cyberdissident, not bloggers

DeborahFin: “Citizen Journalist”?

DeborahFin: (As a very bland alternative?)

Julien_Pai: jeff, don't worry, I wouldn't call you a cyberdissident.

Fons: When most writers are dissents it is very hard to change only the title

SethF: DeborahFinn : There's a lot of blurring of “blogger” so as to be able to simultaneously claim the high numbers of diarists, and the social importance of journalism.

Julien_Pai: They're not journalists

kaseton: may be title should be change to something like “Handbook for anomyous and friends”

glutterbug: I think people need to start seeing that there are people in jail for speaking thing the government does't like and how we could best help them. Honestly, am I the only person representing China here? If this was China we would not be discussing words we would discussing the implications.

RMacK: kaseton: heheh

Fons: I thought you were in HK, that is a different place :-)

RMacK: you are not the only chinese person on here

glutterbug: I am just pointing this out tho.

Julien_Pai: thanks yan :)

DeborahFin: Ok, let's discuss the implications.

SubzeroBlu: sorry I didn't reply earlier ethan, I'm still at work and head over heels with stuff

RMacK: words have implications. my 10 years in china taught me so

Julien_Pai: Fons, you know that ost poeple we defend in china are cyberdissidents, not bloggers or journalists

RMacK: mainland china. not hk or taiwan

glutterbug: Yes they do.

Fons: but what is the angel of the book then, to help bloggers?

ethanz: MMM – curious whether it's reasonable to think Julien, I and others can distribute the guide in Tunis at WSIS…

Julien_Pai: What should I do, tell them that I don't defend them anymore because they're not bloggers?

RMacK: julien makes a good point. there is a big difference between bloggers and cyberdissidents

JoiIto: The question for me is what the purpose of the title is

Julien_Pai: Ethan, you'll be at the WSIS?

RMacK: defending online speech and defending bloggers is not the same thing

ethanz: Looks quite likely…

RMacK: bloggers are one subset of online speech

JoiIto: do you want people carrying around a book that says, “How do do things that REALLY piss of your government and get away with it”

JoiIto: or something less dangerous… cyberdissident is a nice title for people who are already going to get busted for their bags

RMacK: obviously you don't want to stop defending all online speech and i dont think anybody would think you should

ethanz: Joi, we could always call it “The Happy Friendly Guide to Being an Obedient Citizen”… :-)

SubzeroBlu: loool

ethanz: The title and contents could be very different…

SubzeroBlu: if you call it that, then I don't think there will be any problems :P

JoiIto: seriously tho… I think you need to be careful. Sending around a document that labels you could be a way to get these people profiled.

Julien_Pai: Joito : Let's be clear. In 95% of the cases we call a cyberdissident someone who's aready in jail.

Fons: People do need much help to make blogs, but more on a non-political level

SethF: “Effective Online Expression” or similar is nicely ambiguous

Fons: Can you get the book in jail?

JoiIto: But if they're in jail, are they anonymous? I'm sorry. I guess I'm maybe missing that target audience…

ethanz: Julien, would “Effective Online Expression” work for cyber-dissidents…?

DeborahFin: There could be two editions. Two titles with the same text. You make your choice, and download it.

Julien_Pai: Fons, how do you dfine politics?

RMacK: why not just “global handbook for bloggers”

RMacK: since the handbook only addresses blogging and not other forms of online speech

SubzeroBlu: But in Tunisia though, as someone who is attending the WSIS and who is from abroad, I don't think it would be troublesome to distribute it

Julien_Pai: in china is an extensive concept, as well as “state secret”

Julien_Pai: Rebecca : I don't defend only bloggers.

JoiIto: distributing might be OK, but who would someone who wanted to start blogging anonymously seriously want a copy of a book with a funky title to be in his/her possession?

ethanz: MMM – additional question – do you think it will be useful/helpful if we distribute it in Arabic?

Fons: the question is whether you really want to have a Chinese audience or not, like joi illutrated

RMacK: julien i know you dont only defend bloggers. but your handbook is all about blogging

RMacK: its not about how to use chatrooms or set up web pages

Julien_Pai: We could have said “handbooks for online writers”

sabbah: Julein – do you have a list of all servers that distribute the handbook?

SethF: Basically, this is pushing up against the problem that “how to be a pundit” and “how to dissent and not get yourself killed” are really two very different issues.

ethanz: RMack – raises an interesting question – whether a future edition should be broader…

Julien_Pai: Nart's part, or Ethan's, are not abou blogging

JoiIto: Does the Chinese government have a list of all of the servers that distribute the handbook?

Julien_Pai: same as the last chapter on encryption

sabbah: and do anyone know if all these servers are watched and logs who download it?

ethanz: I can assure folks that my server is not being watched by anyone but me,.. :-)

sabbah: lol

Julien_Pai: Joito : We don't have many servers which distribute it, that's a problem

DeborahFin: Julien: Yes, future editions should be broader. You start with something good, and extend it.

SubzeroBlu: For Tunisians, I think the French version would be more helpful, anyway Arabic would be more for the other Arabs attending the WSIS

ethanz: Seems like there are a couple of questions here…

ethanz: Do we need additional servers to distribute this?

SethF: ethanz: On your end … you can't made assurances about intermediaries (Yahoo!)

RMacK: if the handbook is about “how to get ideas on the internet without getting arrested” blogs are not always the best tools

ethanz: Is the title of the guide problematic for users in some countries?

RMacK: in china, bbs are actually a better way to go

ethanz: How do we best distribute this guide to be useful to the folks we need to reach?

RMacK: in a lot of cases, and journalists use bbs, not blogs, to disseminate stories killed by their editors

Julien_Pai: I'm trying to use peer to peer networks. Do you think it's a good idea?

SubzeroBlu: I think the cyber-dissident part is the one that is a bit problematic

SubzeroBlu: in the title I mean

JoiIto: I would say that you should put it in the public domain and allow translators to change the title and even remove the attribution to fit local use cases.

Fons: BBS is the best tool, agree R.

SubzeroBlu: it's as if it's encouraging people to become cyber-dissidents

SubzeroBlu: at least that's the feedback I got when I put up the link on my blog

BorisAntho: JoiIto++

DeborahFin: SubZ: Well, is the purpose to DIScourage them?

sabbah: see, saudi and emirates are very hard on censorship

sabbah: they might already blocked it, or watching who download it

JoiIto: It should become something like an long modern urban legend. Then people can't track it easily and it can be spread more widely

Julien_Pai: Subzero : how do you want me to name the 62 chinese I defefend. If you find another word, I take it.

ethanz: Julien – what do you think of Joi's suggestion? Allow some redistribution under CC to get better distribution?

sabbah: I guess someone should say get it at your own risk ;-)

BorisAntho: 1- languages, 2- less alerting title, 3- make free and easy to distribute

JoiIto: and if it appeared in various versions, it would be harder to ban

BorisAntho: \remix

JoiIto: keep the original the way you have it but allow people to… yes. remix

ethanz: Boris, Joi – needs to be some recognition of the very hard work RSF put into building the guide, tho…

RMacK: the 62 chinese you defend are definitely cyber-dissidents. they are people in jail for putting things on the internet. but they are not bloggers

Julien_Pai: I agree on changinf the title for distribution. Let's stick to “hanbook for online writers” or “bloggers”

RMacK: “cyber-dissidents” does not equal “bloggers”

BorisAntho: we all recognise it

ethanz: “Guide to Safe and Effective Online Speech”?

SubzeroBlu: Julien, I understand you, but Ethan asked if the title was problematic for some users in some countries, and I think the cyber-dissident part is what could make it problematic for some. But I do agree that no matter how you try to phrase it, it is for bloggers and cyber-dissidents

JoiIto: so is the point recognition of each copy or the beginning of this mission? I thought it was to help these people, not to get recognized for passing out some cool thing at WSIS

ethanz: Julien, thoughts on remixing and redistribution?

kaseton: Joito: the problem could that a remixed paper would contain wrong informations

ethanz: Is this something RSF is open to?

DeborahFin: I like the CC idea, although there are the usual questions about whether dubious stuff that is added by others gets attributed to RSF

BorisAntho: ethanz: we all recognize it, right? heck I'll send RSF a $100 contribution right now… as long as they assure me they don't really care all that much about recognition… ;)

RMacK: joi, the point is that we may be scaring away some of our key audience by having “dissident” in the title

ethanz: Deborah – one thought might be to ensure that remixed verions all have links to the RSF original…

SethF: Hmmm … If I were a nasty government agent, I would “remix” by

Julien_Pai: ethan : ok with you suggestion

Fons: In China people will remix is anyway when then think it is useful

SethF: imakeing proxies point to government honeypots, etc.

JoiIto: right, my point is that if your point is to get this into as many places as possible, why not make it more “free” rather than trying to get it exactly right globally

DeborahFin: Seth: Very scary

ethanz: I will commit to distributing, in whatever languages are available, editions with a title that's less contriversial…

RMacK: good point joi

BorisAntho: kaseton: in my teenage culture, there is a myth that states masturbation causes hairy palms. this is obviously falseinformation… and never stopped anyone…

ethanz: on my unmonitored server…

alo: I would have liked to see either more PDFs for differnet formats (A4/letter, eg.) available

kaseton: cc will be a good idea, remixed would it be anyway

alo: or something that oculd be reflowed

ethanz: alo – are you interested in building those versions?

alo: i could, was it done in indesign?

kaseton: BorisAnthony: didn`t it? i have to tell my agency

JoiIto: Now I'm starting to get a grip on the one part that I think was sort of nagging me… this book is too “glossy”

BorisAntho: hehehe

Julien_Pai: nd what about the p2p ?

JoiIto: anarchists use ascii

ethanz: Sounds like one of the big conversations that's going to come out of this is possible redesigns and remixes of the guide…

BorisAntho: JoiIto++ (sadly…)

ethanz: Joi's going to want to do an all ASCII anarchist remix, obviously…

BorisAnthony does select all, copy, paste into .txt document

RMacK: the remix idea to suit local situations is brill

ethanz: Will you commit to hosting that version, Joi?

JoiIto: and the book itself should end up anonymous in a sense I think

JoiIto: I would be happy to yes

DeborahFin: Let a thousand ASCII flowers bloom

BorisAntho: i'll put a copy on every server and domain I have access to ;)

Julien_Pai: everybody can redesign, but then please don't mention RWB.

JoiIto: And if you look on wikipedia, you will find the attribution to the RSF original

Julien_Pai: There's no copyright on ou material

ethanz: Julien – is that there preference – remix at will, but don't attribute? Or remix and attribute the original?

JoiIto: You might want to add a paragraph about that

Julien_Pai: Please alert me when someone host a version of our guide (not redesigned)

Fons: WHen you attribute to RSF it will be stopped by Chinese filter anyway :-)

BorisAntho: Julien_Pain, si vous me procurez une version source (non PDF) je ferai volontiers une version HTML

Julien_Pai: If you mix it, that's not our work any more, so don't mention us

JoiIto: So I suggest that we start a wikipedia article about this at some point and help sort out the various places this ends up and the different versions. That would actually be intersting and useful to read

Julien_Pai: Fons : very true

alo: Fons: so much for “sans frontieres” :/

ethanz: Okay, so RSF sees their work as being a specific, designed, published mix of this work…

Julien_Pai: it's already in html on our website

ethanz: As well as translations of that work, yes?

Fons: It would be good to check every edition on ‘banned words’ in China and replace them

BorisAntho: parfait

alo: i'm not as interested in remixing content, but making it more accessible in its print form

alo: would be willing to reflow text & regenerate PDFs to make this happen

BorisAntho: medium remix, not content so much

Julien_Pai: I don't think the chinese would scan the pdf for keywords

Fons: pdf is harder to remix

ethanz: Sounds like that's all possible based on the HTML version on RSF, but that RSF wants to make it clear that they're releasing one version, not explicitly supporting the remixes…

RMacK: anybody out there an expert on whether pdf's get scanned for banned words?

JoiIto: just have an ascii version somewhere so people can rebuild it

sabbah: ok, sound it's getting tech now…

JoiIto: well, Google scan's pdfs

JoiIto: why wouldn't the Chinese gov use Google?

BorisAntho: I think RSF can take credit and recognition for seeding the effort… a widely distributed garden of efforts and resources can grow from its seed

ethanz: MMM, Haitham, would love to hear about what versions would be most useful in the middle east. Is the current version good to distribute as is?

sabbah: yes, but prefer HTML

glutterbug: no but chinese people use google like the rest of us which is why google, yahoo and msn already have “blocked” words for the Chinese market

Julien_Pai: if you delete all the forbidden words, you'll end up with a text which is not readable anymore

ethanz: Jeff, what about distribution in Malaysia?

kaseton: joiIto: may be beacause google is filtered in china ;)

Julien_Pai: boris : that's the way I see it

ethanz: Got it, Haitham – need to point people towards the HTML as well as PDF versions…

Fons: should not delete, replace

Fons: Special Chinese art

sabbah: yeas, ethan

glutterbug: put * in between?

BorisAntho: Julien_Pain, the HTML version on your site is non transportable

Fons: or using homonimes in Chinese

ethanz: Glutter – what would your suggestions be for making this more accessible in China?

JoiIto: In Japan, many BBSs intentionally misspell words so search engines don't find them

Julien_Pai: replace with (like demo…cracy)

glutterbug: Yeah, that's how people did it when I was being the censor!

RMacK: yeah people often to dem0*cracy and things

SubzeroBlu: I agree with Haitham, and think it should be distributed on other servers too because the RSF site is blocked here in Tunisia

Julien_Pai: Boris : Ok. I understant. Comes from spip

kaseton: may be use pictures instead words

Fons: hmm, we have the enemy here :-)

glutterbug: We we had to block words like jun*e forth.

BorisAntho: capice

ethanz: MMM, I'll host an Arabic version later today so folks can link to it…

glutterbug: Not thast it worked. people alway got around it.

sabbah: so guys, do you have anything else you like to share with us about the book other than the tech. issues (which I'm sure you will get around)?

BorisAntho: je m'occuperai de faire une version “clean” ;)

glutterbug: Ethans. I would suggest having more Chinese versions leading people to the copies.

Julien_Pai: Arabic version? Based on our translation?

glutterbug: Right now I don't think many people know it's there. I tried to ask the HK bloggers in Chinese to put up the guide but it's in English

glutterbug: and the guys rather put things up in Chinese

Julien_Pai: Boris : tu pouras m'envoyer le lien?

SubzeroBlu: Ethan, it's true we're Arabs but most Arab bloggers blog in either English or French, so those would be useful too I think

alo: sabbah: yes, i'm interested in more than tech as well :)

glutterbug: I mean the press release is in English.

alo: though i'm not sure where we are in the conversation, as i've arrived late

ethanz: Julien, I'm basically making the offer to host anything that's blocked because the RSF site is blocked.

JoiIto: Or you could use 1337 – ;-P

ethanz: No real time/interest in remixing….

jibot: Knekk is Jorge of technorati and a bot

Julien_Pai: Glutter : I think you're right, the biggest problem is not to avoid censorship but to make it known there…

glutterbug: Because the chinese government isn't as vigilant

glutterbug: as people suggest, there are always holes

Deborah909\ Deborah909 = DeborahFinn

glutterbug: And people in the dissident community will be able to pass copies to each other hopefully

RMacK: yep glutterbug is absolutely right

RMacK: always holes

glutterbug: So really it's touching upon the people in a safe way.

ethanz: MMM – So I should bring more English/French guides than Arabic ones to WSIS then? Berkman has offered to make a big purchase of guides for redist. at WSIS…

Deborah909\ Am back after IRC problems. Note new nickname.

Julien_Pai: Ethan. Understood. Thanks a lot.

glutterbug: I worry the most that this guide can put people in jail because this is surely subvesive material

BorisAntho: lol

Julien_Pai: Yan : can you help me to distribute this handbook in China?

Julien_Pai: Fons?

glutterbug: But the information has to be out there first and that we have to let the individucal users decide on the risks they are willing to take

ethanz: If other people are interested in hosting copies on their servers to help people get around blocking of the RSF site, please email me – I can help coordinate as I know Julien is hugely busy

glutterbug: yeah.

ethanz: ethanz AT gmail

SubzeroBlu: I personally think that the people who will most probably start blogs in the Arab world are those that use English or French. In Tunisia, it's French, in other countries it's English.

Fons: would not put it on my weblog for reasons mentioned

Julien_Pai: Ethan : I'll bring many guides to the WSIS

JoiIto: RMacK, are you bringing them to Shanghai? And if so, how are are you going to distribute them?

SubzeroBlu: Anyway, Arabic is useful for another audience, which I think is smaller though

jeffooi: etanz… bloggers are more influential in English. So the original version in English suffices in Malaysia, and probably Singapore too. Already,, two english papers are mentioning about RSF's Guide already inthe last two days.

RMacK: good question joi

RMacK: needs to be figured out

Julien_Pai: Fons : but can you help circuating it?

JoiIto: “Gee, you look like a dissident, here, have one of these. Boy, YOU'RE really going to need one. nudge nudge.”

RMacK: i think i better discuss that elsewhere

BorisAntho: re: print versions: perhaps having a version trimmed of all the superfluous (however pretty) images stripped out

Fons: I do not agree with the cultural bias it has now

JoiIto: ok

ethanz: Fons, would you be willing to point to the Chinese versions on my server?

jeffooi: Center for Inderpendent Journalism ( is already providing downloads for the guidebook in PDF

Deborah909: WSIS is a whole other IRC chat!

RMacK: quick announcement: ethan and i will need to go in about 15 mins, at which point we'll save the transcript, although everybody is welcome to hang out here forever if they want

Julien_Pai: Boris : yes, we need a version without the images.

sabbah: guys guys, again, plz,

RMacK: i agree w/ deb, wsis is definitely a whole nuther irc

glutterbug: Rebeccas please don't bring them to China. If the Shanghai government gets it they will be on the lookoout

Julien_Pai: Fons : cultural biais

Julien_Pai: ?

JoiIto: Boris, lets get a server started on that special IP segment for this stuff soon.

Deborah909: Where can we find the transcript later?

BorisAntho: JoiIto: yessir :)

glutterbug: Right now the Shanghai government has the heaviest and most advance tracing system in all of chian

sabbah: can u discuss these tech issue someother time and come back to discuss the handbook?

Fons: yes,mentioned that before

ethanz: Deborah – will be on my blog and on Global Voices…

RMacK: yeah the shanghai govt is nasty

ethanz: Haitham, what are the other issues you want to bring up?

RMacK: i would rather not discuss shanghai here

glutterbug: But they might not know about this because they are only looking internally

Deborah909: Ethan: Bueno! I want to add a link to my blog

glutterbug: They aren't looking outwards.

glutterbug: I would assume another department or other groups of people are looking at that.

sabbah: I asked if you guys have anything else to share with us about the book

Deborah909: While we've been chatting, I've already had a query from someone at TechSoup/CompuMentor about how the discussion is going

glutterbug: I mean it could be the same department. But the risk is great. For yourelf as well.

ethanz: Haitham, I think Julien are I were mostly here to take questions…

RMacK: deb we will save a transcript and post it

ethanz: We've gotten a lot of good ones, especially about ways to redistribute

RMacK: i'm not talking about shanghai here.

glutterbug: Oh. Ignore more.

glutterbug: Ignore me.

glutterbug: Sorry

RMacK: you wanna talk to me about shanghai pls email me

JoiIto: stop talking about Shangai RMacK

ethanz: Many have been technical, but I think it's been very helpful as far as getting questions about how we can redistribute…

RMacK: joi, ;-)

ethanz: and get a wider audience for the guide…

sabbah: sure sure

sabbah: what about the content?

ethanz: Are there other questions folks wanted to ask that have not yet been addressed?

sabbah: who read it, can they share with us how did they find it?

sabbah: easy, hard, etc..

alo_: i'm not sure exactly the scope of this chat, as some questions seem to be verboten

Deborah909: I'd love to see the guide expanded

RMacK: maybe we should do a surveymonkey survey about the guide for feedback?

Julien_Pai: exânded to what?

ethanz: Anyone want share how they found about about the guide, whether they had trouble accessing it, etc.?

Deborah909: RM: Great idea

Deborah909: Extended beyond the guide to blogging

Julien_Pai: Rebecca : good idea. But I don't know how to do that.

ethanz: Deborah, what are some of the other things you'd like to see in a future version?

Julien_Pai: to…

RMacK: alo, no questions verboten, we are just aware that this is a public forum

RMacK: which means that anybody can be watching it

JoiIto: I'm sorry to be a stick in the mud, but I really think you want to make the two way communications with people who read this book as limited as possible

Deborah909: Re: Surveys. There's the technical skill in setting up a survey, then there's the skill in crafting the questions.

JoiIto: sorry to keep talking about distribution

Deborah909: The structuring of questions is much harder than you'd think.

glutterbug: distribution is the most important thing tho…

JoiIto: Would the people who really need this book want to risk filling out some survey?

glutterbug: i am with joi

Deborah909: I can probably find you an academic person/social scientist who can help.

RMacK: joi you're right

JoiIto: Or just academics who study people who need this book

Deborah909: Joi: Good point. :-)

alo_: as far as distribution goes, i would jsut like the pdf to be easier to run off a printer no matter where you are, that's all

JoiIto: which is fine, but you need to be clear

Julien_Pai: deborah : good. But then we need to find the right people to answer the questions

alo_: the cropmarks and paper size were an obstacle, and i don't think many folks will do the formatting themselves

ethanz: There definitely needs to be a followup conversation about distro, including mirror servers, licenses, etc.

RMacK: good point alo, the pdf could use trimming

JoiIto raises hand to help on licensing and distro

Deborah909: The annoying thing about survey research is that the planning AND the execution have to be excellent.

YogSototh: What about a text-only version?

ethanz: That can be via email and give Julien a chance to answer some questions re licensing and such…

glutterbug: I just worry about the size of pdfs on dial ups.

alo_ raises hadn to help with reformatting

RMacK: pdfs on dialups are horrible

glutterbug: And acrobat

Julien_Pai: alo : I agree. WHo could do the formatting?

JoiIto: I think you should have people put some special string on their blogs if they read the book and survey the blogs

BorisAnthony does html in his sleep ;)

JoiIto: don't make them connect to you or send you anything

alo_: Julien_Pain: me

ethanz: Haitham's raised the question about whether we want to have conversations about the contents of the guide, rather than focusing on distro…

Deborah909: Joi: Ahah! Tagging to the rescue!

JoiIto: ;-)

BorisAntho: :p

Deborah909: I (heart) tagging

alo_: who can I follow up with re: reformatting?

Julien_Pai: alo : then, please send me the edited version internet at

SethF: ethanz: The problem is that the people here are mostly (all?) wealthy (in global terms) and free – so that limits the perspectives.

ethanz: Re: followip

ethanz: I want Julien to have the time to make decisions about licensing, etc.

RMacK: ethan and i need to leave for a meeting in 10 mins but others are welcome to stay forever and keep talking

ethanz: We're happy to host a wiki conversation on globalvoices and point people towards that…

sabbah: ok, was nice talking to you all… good luck ;-)

glutterbug: could we even just have one that's a word document and a text document?

Deborah909: Ethan: Yes. You can't make split second strategic decisions.

ethanz: Thanks, Haitham – good anonymity questions… obviously we'll keep you posted…

glutterbug: Those thiings can go on line right?

RMacK: bye haitham!

SubzeroBlu: bye Haitham

Deborah909\ Waves goodbye to all.

alo_: Julien_Pain: i've emailed you (i hope)

SethF: Bye

kaseton: ma be you should even split each chapter

Deborah909: Thanks for this great discusssion.

Deborah909: Bye!

Fons: bye

glutterbug: splitting chapter is good.

ethanz: So, we're going to close the transcript in about five minutes and post it.

Julien_Pai: Yan : how can we distribute it in China?

ethanz: We're going to have a longer, slower conversation about distribution, which will likely move onto a wiki

Markus_Bec: thats a good idea

glutterbug: Well I think we need to just plan it.

glutterbug: I mean, sit down and come up with a ten point plan of what needs to be done

glutterbug: Smaller files. Remixes, mulitple servers. Translations. and then spread the job out. there are a lot of people here with a lot of expertize.

Julien_Pai: yan : Good idea Yan, I alsohave a few ideas

glutterbug: Need to know who does what/

glutterbug: I couldn't keep up.

BorisAntho: i smell a wiki page coming…

ethanz: We'll put a page on the GV wiki later today

glutterbug: And then it's a slow process of putting it up. It's easy right now because there is a lot of press but it's going to take a long time to get all of this done.

RMacK: i may strike a certian subject before posting

BorisAntho: hah

glutterbug: We all have jobs.

ethanz: Will let people volunteer to work on parts of the project

RMacK: starts w/ “s”

glutterbug: And stuff

JoiIto: and end with hai

ethanz: Will also let Julien talk with his team about licensing stuff before we all go remixing all over the web

ethanz: Wiki page and transcript will be linked to from GV, my blog, rebecca's blog, etc.

glutterbug: It's totally doerable. And julien I think it's worth doing this because you can use the map for futher publications as well

ethanz: Cool. You're all welcome to keep discussing.

glutterbug: I mean it's a long term goal and you can probably start finding distribution point so people.

ethanz: We're going to close the trascript and get to the next Berkman event…

ethanz: Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved with the guide.

JoiIto: yes… congrats on your work

kaseton: you should delete all login and logoff message from transcript

RMacK: this has been a truly awesome conversation

ethanz: We'll do some light cleanup on the transcript, including IPs.

alo_: thanks rsf folks for your work

RMacK: kaseton, yes will clean up transcript before posting

ethanz: If anyone believes something needs to be redacted, contact me off channel

Julien_Pai: Thanks !

RMacK: thanks so much to everybody.

kaseton: thanks for your guide

ethanz: Thanks for the questions and feedback, everyone.

ethanz: Transcript is closing here…

RMacK: yes, and thanks to JULIEN, and ethan and yan and markus for your hard work on the guide!!!

RMacK: it is a really valuable contribution

KevinMarks: ah, just missed you all

ethanz: Sorry, Kevin

ethanz: was there something you wanted to bring up?

Markus_Bec: it was fun supporting such a great project.

ethanz: We need to run to a lunch in a few moments, but…

KevinMarks: no, just wanted to eavesdrop and say well done

ethanz: cool.

RMacK: i hope you will all come back here to the IRC and hang out as much as you want for follow-on discussions

KevinMarks: and plug blog finder a wee bit

ethanz: you just missed a lively chat – transcript will be posted on GV later today


KevinMarks: as I think it could help your various projects

ethanz: Cool – there's going to be a wiki as well – you may want to mention that there.

RMacK: it would be great if people want to use this space to accomplish stuff of common interest!

ethanz: Okay, we're grabbing lunch. See you all in channel…

KevinMarks: have a look at

KevinMarks: and how you cna tag your own blogs

KevinMarks: bye


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