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Current Topic: Cyber-Culture

Woot : One Day, One Deal
Topic: Cyber-Culture 2:28 pm EST, Nov 13, 2008 is an online store and community that focuses on selling cool stuff cheap. It started as an employee-store slash market-testing type of place for an electronics distributor, but it's taken on a life of its own. We anticipate profitability by 2043 – by then we should be retired; someone smarter might take over and jack up the prices. Until then, we're still the lovable scamps we've always been.

Interesting shopping concept. They provide a discounted product via their website for one day. When it's out, it's out, never to be sold again. They swap out to a new product at midnight. Their community also designs and votes on other products such as shirts. I saw an attendee at one of my talks wearing this cool shirt (from that was the Chicago skyline made out of Tetris blocks, with new blocks falling (cleverly placed in such a way so as not to wipe out any of the existing skyline). Great shirt, but only sold on that one day, and never again... Interesting idea! Sort of a geek shopping channel.

Elonka :)

Woot : One Day, One Deal

NY Times: The World of Web Trolling
Topic: Cyber-Culture 4:46 pm EDT, Aug  1, 2008

In the late 1980s, Internet users adopted the word “troll” to denote someone who intentionally disrupts online communities. Early trolling was relatively innocuous, taking place inside of small, single-topic Usenet groups. The trolls employed what the M.I.T. professor Judith Donath calls a “pseudo-naïve” tactic, asking stupid questions and seeing who would rise to the bait. The game was to find out who would see through this stereotypical newbie behavior, and who would fall for it.

. . .

Sherrod DeGrippo, a 28-year-old Atlanta native who goes by the name Girlvinyl, runs Encyclopedia Dramatica, the online troll archive.

I'm not sure I'd call ED "the online troll archive", but the rest of the article is pretty interesting.


NY Times: The World of Web Trolling

Creating high-quality Wikipedia articles helps university students get an 'A'
Topic: Cyber-Culture 11:57 pm EDT, Apr 19, 2008

Jon Beasley-Murray, a professor of Spanish literature at the University of British Columbia, decided to make Wikipedia editing a class assignment, divvying up a set of articles related to the theme of his Spanish Literature class. Students who reached GA [Good Article] status would receive As, while FAs [Featured Article] would earn students an A on the assignment. Aiding the class was the FA-team, a new WikiProject of sorts whose aim is to help newer Wikipedians achieve FA status. The project consists of several editors with copy-editing and MOS [Manual of Style] experience to help guide new editors through the often-confusing process of reaching FA status. Out of 12 articles chosen as part of the project, five are currently GAs, one [El Senor Presidente] is an FA, and two more are currently featured article candidates (Mario Vargas Llosa and The General in His Labyrinth). Before the project began, a few of the twelve, including El Senor Presidente, did not exist.

The professor was interviewed for The Wikipedia Signpost as part of a celebration featuring Wikipedia reaching a total of 2000 FAs "Featured articles", the highest quality level that an article can attain.

I think that this idea of university professors assigning their students this kind of task is a superb one. It improves Wikipedia articles, it teaches the students a lot about collaborative editing in the Wikipedia culture, and it brings in more actual academics to Wiki's pool of volunteer editors. Good stuff all around! I've personally helped to bring a couple articles to FA, of which I'm most proud of "Knights Templar" and a GA status article, Fustat about the pre-Cairo Egyptian capital. I'm currently working on another article about the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, which I've gotten to GA status so far and hope to bring to FA status within the month. I know how hard it is to jump through the political hoops to get articles to that level, and agree with the "A" that the university professor offered! He wrote an essay about the project, which can be seen here.

Elonka :)

Creating high-quality Wikipedia articles helps university students get an 'A'

How Sirius Put Live TV in the Back Seat
Topic: Cyber-Culture 9:17 pm EDT, Apr  9, 2008

For those of you who are Def Con regulars and enjoy "Hacker Jeopardy", you may recognize one of the coveted "Black badge" lifetime pass winners here. And no I'm not saying who it is, but to you-who-cannot-be-named, congrats on the mainstream press!

Elonka :)

How Sirius Put Live TV in the Back Seat

Humor: Duty calls
Topic: Cyber-Culture 4:59 am EDT, Apr  9, 2008

This one struck close to home... ;)

Humor: Duty calls

See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign
Topic: Cyber-Culture 12:29 am EDT, Aug 14, 2007

Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of CalTech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.

Virgil's on Wired. :)

(Update: Slashdotted)

See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign

Wired News: Wikipedia Shakeup: Resignations
Topic: Cyber-Culture 7:19 pm EDT, Mar 23, 2007

Two top employees of the Wikimedia Foundation have resigned, citing disagreements with the board. Both publicly tendered their resignations to the community yesterday on a foundation mailing list, but say their resignations are unrelated and the timing coincidental.

Danny Wool, who has worked out of the foundation's St. Petersburg, Florida, office since October 2005 under the title of grants coordinator, and who is widely regarded as the number two guy at Wikimedia, discussed his resignation first in a message to the foundation list.

That note was later followed by one from Brad Patrick, general counsel and interim Executive Director of the foundation, who resigned formally to the foundation earlier this month but decided to announce it publicly to the community after seeing Wool's note go up. Patrick will continue with the foundation until March 31 and has retained executive headhunting firm Phillips Oppenheim to help find a permanent director for the foundation.

Another good article, by Kim Zetter at Wired :)

(update) The link succumbed to rapid web-rot, and I have updated it to:

Wired News: Wikipedia Shakeup: Resignations

Wikipedia staff changes
Topic: Cyber-Culture 3:20 pm EDT, Mar 22, 2007

Big changes at the Wikimedia main office this week. Danny Wool (sort of a "#2" at Wikipedia, under Jimmy Wales, and one of the prime opposers of my own adminship nomination, as well as the individual who nominated my Wikipedia bio for deletion) has resigned. (resignation letter)

And a new Volunteer Coordinator, Cary Bass (aka Bastique) has been hired.

These are both great changes, IMHO. Danny had been in the middle of several controversial / incidents in the past. I wish him well at his next job, but he just wasn't a good fit at Wikipedia.

Bastique, on the other hand, is a fantastic choice. He's someone who worked his way up from the trenches, to become one of the highest-ranking volunteers at the Wikimedia Commons. He's thoughtful and level-headed, and has the respect of everyone I've talked to. Because of his experience as a volunteer, he's got excellent context with which to manage the ever-growing team of wiki-editors. Plus I think his professionalism and sense of ethics will be a very useful ingredient at Wiki-HQ in Florida.

Congrats, Bastique!

Elonka :)

P.S. Another update: Brad Patrick, the Wikimedia general counsel, is also resigning, effective March 31st.

Wikipedia staff changes

ABC News: Wikipedia editor revealed as fake (March 6, 2007)
Topic: Cyber-Culture 2:48 pm EDT, Mar 22, 2007

An ABC video about the Essjay scandal.

Does anyone know a way to embed this video? Or is that for YouTube only right now?

ABC News: Wikipedia editor revealed as fake (March 6, 2007)

Baudburn's upcoming wedding
Topic: Cyber-Culture 5:20 pm EST, Feb  9, 2007

Even though I wasn't invited (sniff), I still have to say that this is one of the most beautiful wedding websites I've seen. The photography is amazing.

Congrats on your upcoming nuptials, Baudburn!

Elonka :)

Baudburn's upcoming wedding

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