Berkman Buzz: December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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PRX launches Matter Ventures, an accelerator for media start-ups

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We are super excited to announce the launch of Matter Ventures, the new name for the Public Media Accelerator. Not only does it have a new name, but also a new space in San Francisco, and a new investor and partner in KQED, who is joining PRX and Knight to launch the new company.

From Jake Shapiro's blog post for PRX, Matter launches: new name, new space, new partner, applications open
About PRX | @prx

Ethan Zuckerman weighs in on the WCIT

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The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT, pronounced “wicket”) opened Monday in Dubai. If you’re heard about the conference, it’s likely because many articulate and smart proponents of an open internet have been waving arms and warning of the potential dangers that may come from this meeting. Fight For the Future, an organization focused on mobilizing individuals to the defense of a free and open internet, have switched the Internet Defense League’s vaunted “cat signal“, urging supporters to stop an internet coup by the International Telecommunications Union, the UN agency responsible for communication technologies.

There are reasons to be concerned about WCIT and about the ITU asserting more control over Internet governance. But there’s also a great deal of exaggeration and fear-mongering that’s making it hard to see the issues clearly. And one of the reasons offered for defending against an ITU “takeover” is a disturbing one, the idea that the Internet works well enough as it is, and that we should be opposed to any changes that would alter how it functions and is governed.

From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post, Good and bad reasons to be worried about WCIT
About Ethan Zuckerman | @ethanz

Alison Head and Rey Junco collaborate on Project Information Literacy infographic

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From Alison Head: "Want to know how social media can work to spread the word to educators? Ask Rey Junco. In a pseudo-experiment first discussed 'in the ceiling,' Berkman Fellows Rey Junco and Alison Head decided to create an infographic about findings from the ongoing research study Alison directs, Project Information Literacy. Rey cajoled and coached Alison through the creative process.He also lent his corneas to colorize the finished product (Alison's colorblind; yes, really). They posted the finished infographic this week on Rey's blog, 'Social Media in Higher Education.' There were over 700 shares in two and half days."

See Rey Junco's blog post, How college students find and use information [Infographic], for the full infographic
See Project Information Literacy for more information
About Rey Junco | @reyjunco
About Alison Head | @alisonjhead

Kendra Albert explores the effect of kittens on profanity in online forums

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Peruse ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2 forums at length and you’ll see a peculiar phenomenon. There’s no swearing. There’s very little bad language, period, and I’ve never seen anyone actively try to get around the word filter. I had never seen a gaming forum with so little profanity before.

Sure, players have to agree to a lengthy Code of Conduct, but that’s the case everywhere online these days. (And I’ll be coming back to some of the major issues raised by the contents of said Code of Conduct in a later post.)

But here’s what it looks like when you try to swear: "Kitten that!"

From Kendra Albert's blog post, "Bullkitten: Filtering Profanity on Forums"
About Kendra Albert | @kendraserra

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Thrilled to see my piece at @TheNation on women & like-ability is still on the most-read list
Jessica Valenti (@jessicavalenti)

Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy: New Survey Findings from Pew Research Center and Berkman Center

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“Teens...have mixed feelings about being friends with their parents on social networking sites like Facebook. Some teens like the fact that they are friends with their family members. Other young users prefer not to friend their parents, but do it anyway because it is expected from them. And yet others keep their profiles secret or restrict parents’ access to information,” said Sandra Cortesi, Director of the Youth and Media Project at the Berkman Center and a contributor to this report.

The findings of the study are detailed in a new report called, “Parents, Teens and Online Privacy” that is the result of a collaboration between the Pew Internet Project and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

From the Berkman Center, "Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy: New Survey Findings from Pew Research Center and Berkman Center"

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Education in the Developing World: “There’s an app for that” - The Dewey Digest Interesting student perspective
Justin Reich (@bjfr)

The CMLP comes to the defense of the political fact-checker

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One overarching theme of the 2012 election season was a struggle with truth. Both campaigns were accused of serial falsehoods, and continuing to spread incorrect information after the truth was reported. The utility of fact-checking in the election was also questioned: David Carr argued that the efforts of fact-checkers were irrelevant to the conduct of the campaigns, while the parsing of endless minutiae fed partisan bickering; Bill Adair of PolitiFact responded that the purpose of fact-checking was to inform voters so that they could better judge the candidates, not to moderate the statements of candidates directly.

As a lawyer who has defended more than a few defamation cases, all of this led me to consider the difficulties faced by those who attempt to analyze the truth of even seemingly simple statements.

From Jeff Hermes's blog post for the Citizen Media Law Project, "The Thankless Task of the Political Fact-Checker"
About the Citizen Media Law Project | @citmedialaw

Virtual Game Leads to Real Job as Football Manager in Azerbaijan

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On November 21, 2012, Vugar Huseynzade, a 21-year-old university graduate whose favourite past-time is playing the computer game Football Manager, was confirmed as the new manager for Azerbaijan side FC Baku's reserve team. In an unprecedented move this gamer pipped former footballers including Frenchman Jean Pierre Papin to secure the job.

From Richard Wanjohi's blog post for Global Voices, "Virtual Game Leads to Real Job as Football Manager in Azerbaijan"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated

December 6, 2012