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Bloggers censoring the government??

Well it’s the world upside down really :/ I’m sure some of you noticed this article in the Sunday Star, or heard about it.

The Higher Education Minister complaining that they had sent in replies to “inaccurate statements and false allegations” on blogs, but they were “removed by the bloggers.”

I wonder what happened. The ‘removed by bloggers’ bit suggests that comments were left – rather than a direct email to the blogger, which may be more effective in trying to ask for some ‘air time’, so to speak.

Were the comments left by the ‘government’ in the official capacity, or by people asked to leave comments that appear to be from a normal reader? I do think that it would be more effective to do it transparently and formally.

It may be that BN did not want to be seen to be legitimising blogs, which would be one result of leaving official comments on blogs. So it seems like they were caught in a bit of a bind: on the one hand blogs were being dismissed as the puerile bleatings of disaffected and unemployable miscreants – so they could not be engaged with directly; whereas on the other hand an ‘undercover’ operation (i.e. the infamous ‘cybertroopers’) was functioning to put over their point of view on the blogs – but they were perhaps being ignored as mercenary propagandists.

Now the government wants to engage, and even Khir Toyo has jumped on the bandwagon! I think that their challenge now is to understand what makes bloggers tick – it’s more than just opening a blog…

It’s at moments like this that I really regret not knowing more BM :-( But I guess cherwith, who is also researching blogs, will be looking at his blog with great interest :-)

l33t sp34k

Leet is a coded form of writing developed in the 80’s and used (initially at least) by hackers and the ‘elite’ of the networked world.

1t (4n g3t pr3tt¥ (0mp£1(4t3Ð, but for the uninitiated (like me), you can you go here

It’s a leet translator that does leet at various degrees of ‘leetness’

1t’s 4 l33t tr4nsl4t0r th4t d03s l33t 4t v4r10us d3gr33s 0f ‘l33tn3ss’

1t’$ 4 £33t tr4n$£4t0r th4t Ð03$ £33t 4t v4r10µ$ Ð3gr33$ 0f ‘£33tn3$$’

17’$ 4 £337 7r4n$£470r 7h47 Ð03$ £337 47 v4r10µ$ Ð39r33$ 0ƒ ‘£337n3$$’

17’$ 4 £337 7r4||$£470r 7|-|47 Ð03$ £337 47 \/4r10µ$ Ð39r33$ 0ƒ ‘£337||3$$’

17’$ 4 £337 7®4||$£470® 7|-|47 Ð03$ £337 47 \/4®10µ$ Ð39®33$ 0ƒ ‘£337||3$$’

Found out about it thanks to 3POINT8.

There’s also another one here, which translates both ways.

L - Change the world

First I'd like to thank Nuffnang and GSC Midvalley for the free screening. And the free poster, popcorn and coke - though I do wish they would have salted popcorn... One interesting thing is that they give you a CD with information on the film, trailers and stills and it includes some on-set photos like this one, which shows a bit how complicated it can be to shoot a film:

I have never heard of 'Death Note' before, but I now know it's a manga based on a supernatural notebook which ensures that anyone whose name is written in it will die in 23 days. This film is the third based on the manga. The manga feel to the film was quite clear, with the obligatory Japanese schoolgirl Maki (Mayuko Fukuda) - seen here with her father (Shingo Tsurumi) who meets a pretty gruesomely spectacular end later on:
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Why I don't like Vista

• I can't use Google Desktop Search
• The Explorer keeps on losing my 'View' settings (i.e. I like to have folders in 'List' view, and it frequently switches to other views)
• Although I have indexed My Documents numerous times, it still tells me the search will go faster if I 'add to index'

• I have had more blue screens than a buggy Windows 95 beta version
• The 'Problem Reports and Solutions' tells me to install 'Update for Windows Vista (KB943899)' (the second one below)

So I download and tell it to install, and then Vista tells me
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Nose to the grind

Well you may think being a blog anthropologist is all parties and hot chicks, but unfortunately not :-(

The anthropological method is inductive, you’re meant to draw conclusions from data, rather than testing hypotheses and theories. So, a major task of any anthropologist is gathering empirical data – as much as possible: classically, this means participating and observing social life amongst the people you are interested in finding out more about, then going home and writing down all you can remember. You also do more formal interviews and perhaps surveys too.

An interesting thing about blog anthropology is that a lot of the social interactions happening are there on the net for all to see – i.e. in the blogs, the comments, the chat boxes. So I have spent the whole day archiving all the posts I can find about the Nuffnang Pajama Party; I found 64 posts done after the party, and 58 pre-event posts. It took nine full hours. After that I’ll need to analyse them, uncover patterns, etc…

A few points immediately:
• There were about 300 bloggers at the event. Most of them would have had to do a pre-event post to get a ticket. There were prizes too: the three lucky winners were Davidlian, valerie, and “Johnathan from Penang who won an Apple Macbook for having the most number of actual Chipster packs in one photo.” (robbchew).
I can’t find the post of the last guy, which highlights the first problem – I only have 58 out of approximately 250 pre-event posts (assuming some brought friends, etc.). Where are the rest?
• The number of post- and pre-event posts are suspiciously similar. The way I got them was through ‘snowballing’: going to one blog, clicking on the links left by commenters, checking their blogs, finding commenters there, etc.
So basically I’m going to get groups of bloggers who comment in each other’s blogs, and will miss out on isolates and groups that have no members in common.
The solution would be to ask Nuffnang kindly for the list of blog posts they had to have for organisational purposes. But that information isn’t necessarily theirs to give out…
• Which takes us to a third issue, relating to research ethics. There’s a lot of debate about the ethics of using material on blogs or other internet venues for research: the basic question is – do you need permission to use material in someone’s blog for research? Is the blog in a public space and therefore open for anyone to use – like I can use material from a newspaper or take pictures of public performers? A more accurate analogy perhaps is a person standing in a public square telling everyone what they think of the world, or something.

Do any bloggers out there have an opinion? How would you feel if you found out I’ve been saving all your blog posts for the last three months, and I’ve tracked all your online conversations that I’ve been able to follow? What would you want or not want me to do with that information?

An anthropologist in pyjamas...

Well, after making a spectacle of myself online , I got another chance to do it offline at the Borneo Baruk Club for Nuffnang’s birthday party :-) I turned up in my M&S pyjamas, accompanied by Eeyore (lucky for you, no photos this time).

The venue is nice

and the beer was free! So I was looking forward to a nice evening, though I was also there to ‘be an anthropologist’, which is something I have still to work out what exactly that is… I had my new Monash name cards to hand out, my camera and mp3 player/recorder just in case.

After checking out the locale, I spotted someone I recognised from numerous blog posts – Suanie. I introduced myself, and she turns out to be a nice young lady. She also introduced me to some other veteran bloggers who were there, enjoying Kilkenny at the bar: Fireangel (who wrote one of my favourite blog posts); Wingz – who showed true dedication by blogging from the party itself ; Kidchan (I realised after that I forgot to give my card to him – Sorry!) and Optimus Prime, who prefers to remain anonymous. Somehow I managed to not get a picture with Suanie.

Wingz, Kidchan, Fireangel

Fireangel, Optimus Prime

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