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InvisibleEdame
gone

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1,270
Loc: outta here
BBC to launch UK activism site
    #1526828 - 05/07/03 06:17 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

I spotted this on alt.fan.rawilson last night:

Quote:

Web Antidote for Political Apathy By Leander Kahney
Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,58715,00.html

02:00 AM May. 05, 2003 PT

A couple of years ago the British Broadcasting Corporation was
blindsided by a grassroots campaign against rising taxes on gas.
Although discontent had been growing for some time, the BBC didn't
report the story until the British army was called out to protect gas
stations from protesters.

Hoping to avoid this kind of blindness to ordinary Britons' political
concerns, the broadcasting behemoth is launching a radical online
experiment to reconnect itself with grassroots sentiment.

In October, the BBC plans to flick the switch on an ambitious website
designed to help Britons organize and run grassroots political
campaigns. The site, dubbed iCan, is designed to help citizens
investigate issues that concern them, find others who share those
concerns and provide advice and tools for organizing and engaging in
the political process.

"It's a big change for the BBC," said James Cronin, the project's
technical lead. "It's ceasing to be just a broadcaster. It's starting
to enable conversations."

The BBC's purpose is twofold. On the one hand, the iCan site will help
keep the broadcaster's ear to the ground. By mining the iCan website
for leads, the BBC will be better able to respond to issues pertinent
to its viewers, or so it hopes.

On the other hand, the effort is intended to counteract what officials
at the broadcasting network feel is widespread political apathy in the
United Kingdom, marked by low voter turnout at elections and declining
audiences for its political programming. As a state-financed
institution operating under a royal charter to inform, educate and
entertain, the BBC feels it is within its purview to help
disenfranchised citizens engage in public life.


Details of iCan's workings are a bit sketchy -- the system is still in
development -- but an overview was provided recently at the O'Reilly
Emerging Technology Conference in Santa Clara, California.

Cronin and Matt Jones, an information architect with the BBC's new
media wing, told conference attendees that the idea is to provide a
loosely structured set of tools to make it easy for ordinary citizens
to run their own activist campaigns on the Net.

In fact, the system was designed after a three-month ethnographic
study of real-world grassroots political campaigns. Details of the
study remain confidential.

The system will consist of two main components: a public forum to help
people research their concerns and find others who share them, both
locally and nationally, and a "democracy database," designed to
provide a wealth of information on grassroots campaigning and the
legislative process.

Say there's a proposal to build a new highway. The iCan system will
help concerned citizens find each other through the forum and begin
the process of organizing an anti-road movement.

Using the democracy database, members of the fledgling anti-road lobby
will learn how to set up public meetings, lobby their representatives
and voice grievances during planning hearings.

Initially, six BBC news reporters assigned to different geographic
regions in the United Kingdom will watch the system closely for
potential stories for television and radio.

Cronin and Jones noted that television coverage of emerging campaigns
on the site likely will form a feedback loop -- political activism
becomes a subject for the news, which in turn generates more political
activism, and so on. If the iCan system takes off, and they think it
will, the BBC probably will assign more reporters.

The pair said that as a news organization, the BBC is very concerned
with remaining impartial, and will strenuously avoid the perception of
endorsing any given campaign.

"We're not trying to foment revolutions," Jones said. "We want to
reconnect our news gathering with people's concerns, and we hope our
grassroots system will help with that."

After the presentation, Cronin said the BBC's upper management also
was interested in finding ways to counter political apathy.

Cronin said that while citizens feel profoundly disconnected from
national politics, they readily become involved in single-issue
campaigns -- like protests against the war in Iraq -- or issues where
they believe they will have an impact. He said BBC executives were
impressed by a protest campaign last year against proposed ID card
legislation in the United Kingdom, a plan that was tabled after an
overwhelmingly negative response from voters.

The protest was led by Stand.org.uk's FaxYourMP.com website, which
makes it easy to fax members of Parliament over the Web. Cronin was
involved in setting up the site.

The protest helped convince the BBC's management that the Internet
provided a unique opportunity to inject politics with some
interactivity between citizens and politicians, Cronin said.

However, most citizens have no idea where to start in terms of using
the Net. In addition, they feel they are alone -- that their voice
won't have an impact. Cronin said these are the two main issues the
iCan site hopes to address.

BBC viewers, Cronin added, are tired of watching an endless procession
of politicians pontificating about the issues of the day, which he
called "output," and instead want action, or "outcomes."


"We wanted to work out ways to help people find outcomes," he said.
"People want to have more input in democracy than a single vote every
four years for parties that are more or less the same."

Of course, the big question is whether Britain's political
institutions will be receptive to citizen input. The FaxYourMP.com
case notwithstanding, the British government, like most other
democracies, has a long history of forcing unpopular legislation on
the public, no matter how loud the howls of protest.

Caleb Kleppner, a senior analyst with the Center for Voting and
Democracy, a nonpartisan think tank based in Takoma Park, Maryland,
welcomed the creation of iCan, but said it seems as though the system
will address a symptom rather than the root causes of voter
disenfranchisement. After all, in a representative democracy like the
United Kingdom's, politicians are supposed to be in touch with, and
act on, their constituents' concerns.

"It sounds promising," Kleppner said. "(But) we elect representatives
to promote the interests of the people who vote for them. If there's a
need for a system like this, it suggests that the whole system has
broken down."

However, the project drew kudos from Ross Mayfield, CEO of Socialtext,
one of the leading companies in the burgeoning social software
movement, an umbrella term for a wide range of software for social
interaction, from blogs to Wikis.

Mayfield applauded the idea of putting Internet-based activism tools
in the hands of ordinary people.

"(The iCan project) is the best use of social software people are
attempting right now," he said. "Anything that uses the Web to foster
interaction with the government is what this kind of software is all
about."




What do people think of this idea? I like the concept, but I'm a bit unsure about the BBC's motives. I'm not suggesting anything (too) sinister, but I would imagine that people would have to register for this site with their real names and addresses which has the potential to lead to abuse or harassment.

There was a well-written reply to this article on the newsgroup from which I'll make a small quote:

Quote:

Meanwhile, the BBC TV-detector vans continue to spy on the private
homes of UK citizens, looking for people who watch TV without a
license (cost of TV license: equivalent to approx 200 USD per year).
They choose the areas to spy on using national statistics on
social/economic deprivation. They choose the poor areas. They put poor
people into prison for watching TV without a goddammed license. And
they spend tens of millions of the license money on the BBC website -
which the less well-off people probably can't afford to benefit from
in the first place.





It will be interesting to see how this works out.


--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


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Offlinemetalchimp
bionic monkey

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 355
Loc: Cambridge, England
Last seen: 7 years, 8 months
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: Edame]
    #1526911 - 05/07/03 09:14 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

they only fine you if your TV is tuned into the BBC you can watch every other channel

Its because of funding it this way that we dont have to sit through mind numbing adverts telling us we need certain products to be attractive/worthwhile

Advertising is one of the worst evils in our society today, brainwashing our children before they even get out of fucking nappies

they dont put poor people into prison, they would fine them but only if they were in effect stealing, we all like somthing for nothing
& wheather you like the fact or not only poor people give a fuck about ?120 (myself included).
People who are well off pay the money without even thinking about it

they spend hundreds of millions of pounds on the programming too & the money has to come from somewhere

the BBC is an institution which has been invaluable in educating the British public (granted there is an inordinate amount of dross) but there are frequent jewels, including British films

forgive me if I seem arrogant but I dont believe (in my limited viewing of American TV) that there is a channel that is anywhere near as professional incisive or coherent as the BBC,

there are two sides to the BBC, there is the sniveling brown nosed side with complete allegeince to the crown & the state that is completely content to allow un-inspiring rubish fill the prime-time slots
but there is also an edgy side just below the surface, with informative well thought out & boundry testing programs

I only hope that this Idea fufills is potential & doesnt fade into obscurity


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OfflineGazzBut
Refraction

Registered: 10/15/02
Posts: 4,733
Loc: London UK
Last seen: 4 months, 5 days
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: metalchimp]
    #1526943 - 05/07/03 09:46 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

they only fine you if your TV is tuned into the BBC you can watch every other channel




It doesnt matter if you have only got a satellite dish and never tune into the BBC, you still have to pay for a TV licenece.

Personally Id rather pay for the Licence and have access to 2 channels without adverts and some of the highest quality current affairs programming available anywhere in the world. Plus all the radio stations and the world service.


--------------------
Always Smi2le


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OfflineGazzBut
Refraction

Registered: 10/15/02
Posts: 4,733
Loc: London UK
Last seen: 4 months, 5 days
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: Edame]
    #1526944 - 05/07/03 09:47 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

It does sound like a good idea but as you say can we trust Aunty's motives?


--------------------
Always Smi2le


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Offlinemetalchimp
bionic monkey

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 355
Loc: Cambridge, England
Last seen: 7 years, 8 months
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: GazzBut]
    #1527138 - 05/07/03 11:52 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:


It doesnt matter if you have only got a satellite dish and never tune into the BBC, you still have to pay for a TV licenece.

 




didnt know that :blush:



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InvisibleEdame
gone

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1,270
Loc: outta here
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: metalchimp]
    #1527669 - 05/07/03 03:20 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

There was also an article in The Register a few years ago, about the BBC also wanting to charge a license fee if you watched streaming (BBC) broadcasts over the net. Whether it was successful, or how they planned to implement it, I don't know.

I don't really watch a lot of TV, but when I do I can't tell much difference between BBC programming and the other terrestrial channels. The BBC is full of ads anyway, it's just they they are all for BBC services.


--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


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OfflineAzmodeus
Seeker

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 3,392
Loc: Lotus Land!! B.C.
Last seen: 11 years, 11 months
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: Edame]
    #1527778 - 05/07/03 03:50 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

I am 21 and have cancelled my cable.....hopefully forever!

I have always had tv.  I needed to watch movies to fill the time for the first two weeks.  I put the time now to growing ethnobotanicals, and meditative arts.....and video games. :wink:


--------------------
"Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Lest we forget. "


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OfflineGazzBut
Refraction

Registered: 10/15/02
Posts: 4,733
Loc: London UK
Last seen: 4 months, 5 days
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: Edame]
    #1530016 - 05/08/03 06:19 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

There is definitely alot less advertising on the Beeb!! And as for the programming compare BBC2 with ITV1 - There is a fairly big difference!


--------------------
Always Smi2le


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Offlinemetalchimp
bionic monkey

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 355
Loc: Cambridge, England
Last seen: 7 years, 8 months
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: GazzBut]
    #1530714 - 05/08/03 02:22 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

I don't watch much TV either but advertising upcoming programming hardly compares to the commercial shite that is rammed down your throat on the other channels


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InvisibleEdame
gone

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1,270
Loc: outta here
Re: BBC to launch UK activism site [Re: GazzBut]
    #1530778 - 05/08/03 02:42 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

That comparison is a little unfair, ITV1 has more in common with BBC1. BBC2 is more of a niche channel, much like Channel 4.


--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
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