Useful links in 2007

An eclectic best of-list from Undercurrent’s ongoing harvest. With these links you are well equipped for some of the things that will hit you in 2007. Happy new year!

“Cure us of the reliance on authority” – Yochai Benkler interview

Yochai Benkler’s book The Wealth of Networks is the best attempt so far at analyzing the developments that made Time Magazine dedicate its person of the year issue to YOU. Together with an email interview with Benkler the book has inspired several articles I have written the past few months (in Norwegian: about Wikipedia, future of the internet, the public sphere.) So in extended entry here – as part 3 of my “longest interview of the year-series”- is the whole unedited Benkler interview. Part 1 was with Daniel Drezner, part 2 with Jimmy Wales.

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“Empowering people to work together” – Jimmy Wales interview

Jimmy Wales in Bergen May 29, 2006 Photo: Olav A. Øvrebø

With the announcement of “Wikiasari” or Search Wikia, Jimmy Wales is in the news again. The Wikipedia founder wants this to be the “project to create the search engine that changes everything.” OK, we would get nowhere without ambition. But this gives me the opportunity to publish the full transcript (only some minor technical edits) of an interview I did with Mr. Wales in Bergen last May. I have used excerpts before in stories about Wikipedia for and Axess.

In the interview, Wales talks about business models for the different free culture/open access movements, the need for reform of intellectual property legislation, the background to the “neutral point of view” regime in Wikipedia, how to build and sustain a positive community of active users, how to achieve a good debate and handle vandals in online forums – among other issues. Read the full text in the extended entry.

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How to kill a good story

Thanks to Andreas and his link to a NA24 comment piece, I found back to this lost piece of news about the launch of the government’s long-awaited MinSide (MyPage) web portal. More about that later, when I can find the pin codes to log in. The point here is how the government buried this interesting piece of news by presenting it a) very close to Christmas, b) on the heels of an avalanche of other policy initiatives etc, and – the final nail in the coffin – c) the same day as the mother of all news stories in a petrokingdom broke.

As for b), the Friday before – I mean, Fridays are for hiding stories, right? – the government issued over 40 (!) press releases, and at least four of them contained interesting/important stories. Clearly, all the bureaucrats badly wanted to get some paper off their desks before Christmas. Somehow it’s sort of comforting to have a government so obviously lacking in spin doctors…

Blogger social responsibility

Rex Sorgatz has taken the trouble to compile a list of the “Best Blogs of 2006 that You (Maybe) Aren’t Reading”. Corporate social responsibility buzz has hit a new high with the Grameen Bank vs Telenor controversy. So let’s just call what Rex is doing “blogger social responsibility” (BSR) at its best. For my part I have only visited two of the 30 blogs on the list. Great pre-Xmas gift (*rubs hands*).

Cutting edge broadcasting

fredrik.jpg foto: SVT

Whenever Sveriges Television makes a new programme series presented by Fredrik Lindström, Undercurrent is glued to the screen. As the series on Swedish dialects showed, it’s still possible to create engaging, playful television – auteur TV. The new series is about Sweden – “The world’s most modern country – but the world’s most insecure people?”, and the first of seven programmes aired last night. Both the programmes and supplementary material, Lindström time travelling into the recent Swedish past, are available from the website. Broadcasters are improving: There’s also an RSS feed.

Another news navigator

Newstrust is one of those initiatives you just have to endorse. Readers rating news stories on criteria such as accuracy, context, balance etc is a great idea. Still, I wonder if it will be possible to recruit enough users to reach critical mass for this project. After all, it competes for the user’s time with excellent services such as And, for that matter, with bloggers in general, who spend a lot of time doing just what Newstrust does, in a less structured way. One suggestion could be to integrate posting to an individual blog with rating at Newstrust. For now, I’ll use Newstrust as yet another way of navigating the web.