Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Most recently in the Wiki Category

Federated Media is doing a campaign with Wikia for HP to get people to talk about PC’s to promote the hot new HP Blackbird. The Blackbird is a high-end, water cooled mod-friendly PC designed for gamers and other high-end users. They are trying to get people to talk about PC needs and the Blackbird on the Blackbird Wikia site.

They asked me to do a video so here it is.

FWIW, I think it’s a cool idea. I wasn’t paid to do the video although I’m an investor in Wikia so obviously benefit from this.

Oh, and they are giving away free Blackbirds to some of the people who participate in the conversation on the Wiki.

Just made a gallery on my Wikimedia Commons User Page. Wee.

One thing I've noticed as I get more and more into my vegan diet (which I am still on) is that there isn't as that much information about it as you might imagine. Since the fairly "strict" veganism that I'm tracking right now discounts the value of supplements (some are useful like Omega 3 and B12) and since it's rather simple to do ("eat your veggies"), there isn't a "business model" for the dissemination of information about veganism - at least to the extent that there is for sophisticated and difficult "get thin quick" diets, "exercise in the comfort of your living room" devices, supplement businesses and campaigns driven by the huge advertising budgets of the snacks, meats and dairy industries.

I have a feeling people did more things in an amateur (for the love of it) way in the '60s. Having said that, this whole "social software" space is supposed to be about "amateur content" and it seems like ideas like veganism should have a larger footprint on things like wikis.

Anyway, I went to take a look and noticed that there is in fact a I've started adding a few things and am sorting out structure stuff with the existing "residents" but if you have any tips, recipes, favorite restaurants, theories, books, resources or other vegan things to share, please sign up and contribute. I have a feeling this is a perfect Wikia application.

Disclosure: I am an investor in Wikia.

The Emergent Democracy article on Wikipedia has been flagged for deletion. "The article may be deleted if this message remains in place for five days.Prod, concern: WP:NEO and WP:COI This template was added 2007-02-02; five days from then is 2007-02-07." The neutrality is disputed and also is being accused of conflict of interest and neologisms. If you have have an interest in helping keep this article, please contribute to the talk page or help improve the article. I think more citations would help.

Last night was the launch party of CGM Marketing. It is a joint venture between Digital Garage, Asatsu DK, Dentsu and Cyber Communications (CCI). (Press release)

I co-founded Digital Garage in 1994. My little web/IT company called Eccosys made a joint venture with and later merged with the Garage group headed by Kaoru Hayashi. The Garage group was involved in advertising, marketing and content. We were their little Internet engine that could. In the early days of Eccosys, I had been talking to Yahoo about doing Yahoo Japan. After Softbank invested, it was clear that I wasn't going to get to run Yahoo Japan. I was offered 1% of Softbank Japan by Masa Son, but I turned it down. (Maybe I should have taken it. ;-P) Soon after, I was contacted from a friend at Infoseek about starting Infoseek Japan. We quickly shifted gears and started getting Infoseek Japan up. Softbank set up a joint venture with Dentsu, the #1 ad agency in Japan and called it Cyber Communications. They were tasked with figuring out how to sell ads on Yahoo Japan and interfacing with the agencies. We turned around and got Hakuhodo the #2 agency, Asatsu the #3 agency, Daiichi Kikaku, Yomiuri Kokoku and Daiko and created the Digital Advertising Consortium (DAC). In aggregate, these ad agencies approximately equalled Dentsu in size.

Infoseek had pioneered the idea of CPM ads, selling inventory based on impressions. At the time, none of the ad agencies liked the idea or thought they could sell it to their customers. They understood television GRP, but it was really a measurement of effect. The notion that you could sell ads by how many people actually viewed it, instead of the "value of the spot" was sort of a non-starter. We set up a study group/feasibilty study period for six months where we had people from all of the member agencies come together and talk and learn and eventually try to explain to sales teams in their respective groups. Infoseek launch around 6 months after Yahoo Japan, and we launched with a healthy rotation of ads.

Eventually, Internet ads were a big success and and CCI and DAC are now both public companies. Infoseek Japan now lives inside of Rakuten and is still one of the top portals in Japan, outliving the parent which was purchased and smothered inside of Disney.

In reflection, Infoseek and "home pages" didn't take off in the way I imagined. I thought we would have a lot more personal publishing. Instead, we ended up with big sites that were for all practical purposes, professional media sites. I had dreams of "the death of advertising" 10 years ago and had thought that personal publishing and targeted advertising would disinter-mediate some of the lying and stupidity. We didn't get that far.

So here we are - blogs, wikis, tags, Technorati, RSS/Atom, and the web looks a lot more like what I had envisioned 10 years ago. The online ad business is more innovative than its old media counterpart, but it has become mostly an inventory/sales business. So lets try this again. This time, we decided to hook up with Dentsu the #1 ad agency, Asatsu the #3 ad agency and CCI, the competitor to the company we set up to sell Infoseek ads.

Although I don't like the word "Consumer" in the "Consumer Generated Media Marketing" name, the idea behind this company is to try to take it the next step. (I wish we could use "user") At the first meeting yesterday, I said that I thought that advertising, PR and marketing would converge into "communications". That companies that created or improved good/great products would communicate with their users and that it was about getting involved in the conversation. It was not about spending money to force yourself in front of people who didn't want to hear about your message. It was also not about charging people to participate in "content". It was about people having conversation and about companies knowing when, how and where to say the right thing so that they contributed to the conversation and were welcome in it.

Clearly, the first step is to figure out things like ads that are smart about blogs, tags, time, context. It is also about treating the blogger and the advertiser equally where the ads reflected the desire of the person having the conversation as well as the desires of companies to participate in them.

I was saying all of this in a room full of ad agency executives. It is always sort of funny talking about the end of people's businesses. On the other hand, many of the senior members there were the same guys I was talking to 10 years ago trying to explain CPM and banner ads. I felt privileged to be allowed some suspension of disbelief as well as some trust that we'd try to figure out where the business was. (I don't think anyone REALLY thought that DAC was going to become a public company 10 years ago.)

I think the world is more complex than back in the Infoseek days, but we have a lot more experience and trust this time around. It was a really nice feeling shaking hands with people I hadn't seen for almost a decade - all of us very eager to work together again. This time we get to skip the phase where they think I'm crazy and jump right into figuring out the ad business around Technorati Japan, Six Apart Japan and hopefully soon Japanese Wikia. Technorati is the "secret sauce" and shiny new thing that Infoseek had been 10 years ago.

I am going to be on the board of this company, but will not run it. My role will be to bring new things to them, try to help them with their bearings and stir things up once in awhile.

Disclosures/disclaimer: I am an investor in Technorati, Six Apart and Wikia. I'm an advisor to Digital Garage. Digital Garage is the Japanese partner for Technorati and operates Technorati Japan. I am on the board of and GM of International for Technorati, I am the chairman of Six Apart Japan. I am on the board of Technorati Japan and and am involved heavily in its operation.

Jimmy Wales blogs about Campaigns Wikia on his blog today. It's a new initiative of his at Wikia to use wikis for political campaigns.

(Disclosure: I'm an investor in Wikia.)

Wikia is the for-profit wiki company founded by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. They announced their raise today. I invested as an angel investor and will be serving on the board. Wikia will be using and contributing to the MediaWiki wiki platform that Wikipedia uses, but will provide free hosting for people who want to use the Wikia for special interests and topics. The content will be GFDL licensed. See the press release for more information.

Wiki site about ICANN. (ICANNWiki)


On Monday the Tech editor and I will pitch the blog column idea to the top editor of the International Herald Tribune.

Great suggestions when we discussed it here earlier.

Current thinking:

The Column: Of about 700 words will appear occasionally (until we can be sure quality is high enough) in the tech pages of the newspaper.

The Title: Lessons Learned; Digital Conversation; Any other ideas? (Actually, any other ideas might be a good name!)

The Form: Could be broken into three sections of roughly 200 words or one long column if interesting enough.

The Content: Would come from you. Best, I think, to ask people to submit 100 words on a given topic. That would enforce tight writing and avoid the impossible task of trying to summarize a blog discussion. People could submit multiple items, but none longer.

The Ideas: Would come from you. But the topic would need to stay relevant to the issue of technology, since that is where the column appears.

Any thoughts? I need a strong pitch for Monday morning!!!

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia joins us on the Socialtext board. More info at Socialtext.

We've been chatting on #joiito on Freenode to try to help coordinate technical support and resources for Katrina relief work. Please sign up on/edit the wiki page and join the conversation on IRC if you can help in some way.

SocialText just developed Wikiwyg. A way to edit a wiki by double-clicking on a section and just editing it directly. The code is open source and they are working on getting it working with other wiki systems. Currently it only works in Firefox.

Disclaimer: I'm on the board of the Mozilla Foundation which produces Firefox and I'm on the board of Socialtext.

For the last several days, I haven't been able to access the English Wikipedia from home. This has happened in the past. The reason is that the DNS that my ISP provides me is returning an error when looking up

;; Truncated, retrying in TCP mode.
;; communications error to end of file
The odd thing is that and other Wikipedia subdomains resolve. Also, when I try another DNS server, resolves. The DNS server I am using, DNS.CDN-JAPAN.COM ( is run by IIJ, my ISP. Has anyone else had similar problems either with other domains on IIJ or problems with on other DNS servers?

Sorry, for this obscure and geeky post, but being prevented from using Wikipedia has become extremely irritating.

UPDATE: en, fr, nl, de, pl fail. ja, eo, ko, es, zh work. It appears that the ones which are failing use geodns.

UPDATE 2: I caught up with a senior guy from my ISP IIJ at the Internet Association meeting yesterday and explained the problem to him. He said that MAYBE it is because they are running a load balancing thing that might interact weirdly with geodns. He's looking into it for me.

UPDATE 3: I got a response from my ISP. They said that the "AUTHORITYSECTION" was being returned making the record longer than 512 bytes forcing it to respond via TCP instead of UDP. They said that they thought my firewall was blocking TCP responses from dns. They changed the setting on the nameserver not to add the AUTHORITYSECTION and now it appears to work for me... I've asked them to provide me with another long domain entry greater than 512 bytes so I can see if I can replicate the error...

Technorati Tags:

I just noticed the Stealth Disco article on Wikipedia recently had an {{explain-significance}} slapped on it. This means that if we can't explain why it is significant, it will be nominated for deletion. Stealth Disco reminds me of the fun we used to have and it would be a pity to see Stealth Disco disappear from Wikipedia. Anyone have any good Stealth Disco stories or developments we can use to expand the article?

My first Stealth Disco

Stealth Disco'ed by Halley

UPDATE: Link to original Stealth Disco video from mhegge. (wmv) Must See.

I had a public To Do list on my old wiki, but never set one up on my new one. I just set one up. My inflow of email consistently overruns my ability to act on them and I am feeling increasingly guilty about stuff that I miss. If you're waiting for me to do something or would like to suggest that I do something, please feel free to add it to my public To Do list on my wiki. You'll have to register in order to edit the page if you haven't already. This doesn't guarantee that I'll do it, but at least I won't forget it or lose the email. Sorry to push this burden on you and I realize that I SHOULD really do this myself, but it will help me track stuff and be a bit more responsive. Thanks.

April 07, 2005 08:01 AM US Eastern Time

Wikimedia Foundation Announces Corporate Support of Wikipedia from Yahoo! Search; Helps Allow the Organization to Run Wikipedia Independently

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. & SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 7, 2005--Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that develops and maintains free open content for the public, and Yahoo! Search, a leading global search engine, today announced that Yahoo! Search will dedicate hardware and resources to support Wikipedia, a community based encyclopedia written and edited by people from around the world. The contribution is the most significant dedication made to date to the Wikimedia Foundation by a corporate sponsor and is essential to furthering their global growth.

In addition, Wikipedia content will become available to hundreds of millions of users worldwide through Yahoo! Search via shortcuts that are automatically displayed above the relevant search results ( Yahoo! will begin making Wikipedia content available via shortcuts in the U.S., select European, Asian, and Latin American properties over the next several weeks.

So Yahoo beat Google in the race to support Wikipedia. Seems like Yahoo is running circles around Google these days. Anyway, congrats to all involved. Sounds like an excellent relationship.

UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that I should make it clear that the "race" I was referring to was that Google had been widely rumored to be in talks with Wikipedia for sponsorship. Yahoo beat them in the race to close a deal with Wikipedia. Maybe it isn't a "race" but it's interesting in light of Yahoo one-upping Google on a variety of fronts these days.

UPDATE 2: Announcement on Wikimedia Foundation page.

The Socialtext team have upgraded joiwiki. It is still requires a username to edit, but we've added the ability to register online so you don't have to email us for an account. Fee free use it for anything that isn't illegal or spammy. Please note that the Creative Commons license for joiwiki is Attribution 2.0. The upgrade also includes the ability to integrate Technorati Cosmos and RSS feeds into pages. (Click edit and look at the source on either of the linked pages to see how you can do it for different URLs.) The edit window has also been upgraded.

Disclosure: I'm on the board of Socialtext

We just had an IRC chat organized by Wikinews to talk about how bloggers and Wikinews could work together. If you don't know about Wikinews, it is an effort by the people behind Wikipedia to use many of the same principles behind Wikipedia to run a news site. They've had an early success with their scoop of the unrest in Belize.

Anyway, it was a very productive discussion. You can see the logs online. There is a page about Wikinews and Blog collaboration, but it's still pretty skimpy. A few ideas that came out:

Exchange IM addresses between active members in both communities to coordinate stories. (See page of IM addresses for Wikipedians.)

Create an RSS/Atom feed of new stories and hopefully for different tags from Wikinews.

MetaWeblog or Atom API to allow bloggers to post to some section of Wikinews using blogging tools.

Wikinews should accept trackbacks. They need someone to help write a trackback plugin for MediaWiki. Let them know if you can help.

What happens when you 1) were thinking about stupid songs that you can't get out of your head, 2) are listening to the audio of Jimmy Wales talking about Wikipedia in Boston (audio and text transcripts here), 3) are chatting to wikipedians on IRC and 4) happen to have Garage Band open? This (800K mp3 / 870K ogg).

PS I would like to add that many wikipedians contributed links, sounds and feedback in the creation of this piece. It's amazing what you can do as a community. ;-P Just kidding, I can not take credit for the entire work, but I have no one to blame but myself.

UPDATE: Eric Haller just cleaned it up for me and now it sounds much better. 963K mp3

I just watched this the video that Jon Husband points to in comments on this blog of David Weinberger at the Library of Congress.

For an interesting take on this subject, involving a sizeable audience of (I'm assuming) senior librarian types at the USA Library of Congress, watch David Weinberger trace knowledge from Plato and Aristotle through Descartes to the clash between official objectivity and personal subjectivity, moving deftly to the power and believability of human voice on ... of all things ... blogs (especially those with comments capability, which I think must be well in the majority ;-)
More formats on David's blog. Classic Weinberger. Excellent stuff. Even the bonus seeing Derrick de Kerkhove make the introduction. ;-)

Funny anti-blog anti-Wikipedia article by a librarian Greg Hill who manages to mangle the spelling of Dan Gillmor and Dave Barry's name while trying to argue that "librarians abhor using reference sources that don't have established credibility editorial rigor..." ;-)

I don't usually like to link to stupid articles, but this one's too ironic to just ignore.

via Dan Gillmor

Dan Gillmor
UPDATE: Trudy Schuett posted an extraordinary exchange of e-mails with the Alaska librarian, who has the nerve to say he knows of "no typos or mis-statements in that column, unless they are those of the sources I cite, and every point in my column stemmed from multiple sources. As a rule, there's not enough space in a 700-word column to list multiple sources, but I can readily produce them."

No, he can't. He can't possibly produce a citation that explains misspelling my name and Dave Barry's. He might alibi getting the name of my book wrong, because he quotes an early working title that I used in blog postings here. But even there, a tiny amount of due diligence would have produced the correct title.

I worship librarians as a rule, but I'm going to make an exception in this case.

Truely unbelievable.

Firefox extension for editing Wikipedia

I got to see an early preview of a useful new Wikipedia tool today since I volunteered to proofread the interface. Bananeweizen has created a Firefox extension to help with editing Wikipedia...

Yay! I just tested it on Firefox 1.0 on OS X and it works fine. Now my browser of choice works with my reference of choice.

Rebecca MacKinnon is a the former bureau chief for CNN in Japan and now a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She's one of the people I turn to when trying to understand the future of journalism and she writes about some of the difficulties Wikinews will have and provides some thoughtful suggestions.

Angela, Dan and Ross have blogged about Wikinews so I assume the idea is "out" and I can blog about it. Wikinews would be to journalism what Wikipedia is to encyclopedias. Reports and articles would be written by a community wiki-style and would follow the Wikipedia rule of Neutral Point of View (NPOV). There would be controls in place to decide when an article was "finished" and a lot of thought has gone into the workflow of how this would work. The idea of accreditation of contributors has also been proposed.

I've been spending some time hanging out on IRC with the Wikipedia community ever since I met Jimmy Wales and a few Wikipedians in Linz. I've worked on a few articles, but I'm fascinated as much by the community as the product of their efforts.

That's why I'm against Wikimedia doing Wikinews. I think Wikinews is a great idea and a noble experiment. Someone should do it. I'm just worried that it will change the tone of the Wikipedian "bookworms for the common good" community. Competing with encyclopedias is very different from competing against journalists. it reminds me of the Jack Handy quote: "To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other."

On the other hand, who would have thought Wikipedia itself would have worked in the beginning. To their credit, they do have some rather politically charged articles that have managed to stay quite NPOV, but pumping a consistent flow of these out is another matter. I've posted more thorough comments on the Talk:Wikinews page.

In any case, it looks from the votes like the project will happen, so I will support and participate in any way that I can.

Boris and Ado just turned off the old Joi Ito Wiki running moin moin and posted the pages as static pages. You can no longer edit the pages. Please use the new wiki for new stuff.

I've been hanging out a bit with part of the Wikipedia community since meeting Jimmy Wales in Linz. One thing that has struck me is that many, if not most, of the people I've met from the community who are involved in managing Wikipedia seem to be women. I haven't conducted any scientific analysis or anything, but Wikipedia seems much more gender balanced than the blogging community. I know many people point out that ratio of men at conferences on blogging and ratio of men who have loud blog voices seems to be quite high. I wonder what causes this difference in gender distribution? Is it that the power law aspect of blogs is inherently more competitive and appeals to the way men are "trained" in society? Or is it that we're just talking to the "head" of the blog curve and that the more interesting blogs are actually by women in "the long tail"? Or is it something about Wikipedia that attracts powerful women? Has anyone else noticed this or done a study on gender distribution on wikis? I wonder if this true of wikis generally? I don't think Wikipedia is a "traditional" anything let alone a traditional wiki. Has anyone noticed this on other wikis?

Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, the REAL founder of Wikipeida, has started a blog. Yay! The domain is in the process of switching from the beta site to the real site.

According to The Lantern, LaRouche founded Wikipedia.

LaRouche, an outspoken political activist, set the record for consecutive attempts at the presidency by running eight times. He started, a Web site functioning as both a free encyclopedia and a wiki community, which allows users to add information to posted articles. He is known to be a promoter of conspiracy theories and has frequently been accused of being a fascist and an anti-Semite - claims he has denied. In 1988 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy, mail fraud and tax code violations but served only five.
I DID NOT KNOW THAT. So who was that Jimbo guy I met in Linz. Hmmm...


On October 4, 2004, an article titled “LaRouche PAC group sings, shouts, argues with Bush supporters” was published in The Lantern, the student newspaper at the Ohio State University. The published form of the article contained a terrible inaccuracy – Lyndon LaRouche was mistakenly credited as the founder of, the popular free online encyclopedia. Its founder is actually Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales, an Internet entrepreneur based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Newspaper articles pass through the hands of various editors before publishing, a fact that the public often is not aware of. The original copy of the article submitted to The Lantern contained information about LaRouche obtained from and attributed to Without the knowledge of other editors, a copy editor changed the article and inserted the erroneous information. The mistake was subsequently printed and published online.

The author of the article and a frequent Wikipedia user, Joktan Kwiatkowski, took up the issue with The Lantern immediately after discovering the mistake and also arranged for corrections to be made in print and online form following correspondence with Wales. However, the article was referenced in many weblogs and message boards, and Kwiatkowski was unfairly ridiculed and characterized as inaccurate.

The article was the first submitted by Kwiatkowski to The Lantern, and he received an apology from the paper over the incident. He has contacted bloggers that circulated the article, and some have already extended their support in an effort to help clear his name.

Ethan explains that although Wikipedia tries to maintain an neutral point of view (NPOV), it is inherently systemically biased by its demographic to pay more attention to articles that the contributors know about and research from sources which are available online. Xed, a Wikipedian has tried to address this systemic bias with a new project called the "Committee Regarding Overcoming Serious Systemic Bias On Wikipedia" or CROSSBOW.

From draft CROSSBOW manifesto
Wikipedia has a number of systemic biases, mostly deriving from the demographics of our participant base, the heavy bias towards online research, and the (generally commendable) tendency to "write what you know". Systemic bias is not to be confused with systematic bias. The latter just means "thoroughgoing bias". Systemic bias means that there are structural reasons why Wikipedia gives certain topics much better coverage than others. As of this writing, Wikipedia is disproportionately white and male; disproportionately American; disproportionately written by people from white collar backgrounds. We do not think this is a result of a conspiracy - it is largely a result of self-selection - but it has effects not all of which are beneficial, and which need to be looked at and (in some cases) countered.

Wikipedia is biased toward over-inclusion of certain material pertaining to (for example) science fiction, contemporary youth culture, contemporary U.S. and UK culture in general, and anything already well covered in the English-langauge portion of the Internet. These excessive inclusions are relatively harmless: at worst, people look at some of these articles and say "this is silly, why is it in an encyclopedia?" Of far greater (and more detrimental) consequence, these same biases lead to minimal or non-existent treatment of topics of great importance. One example is that, as of this writing, the Congo Civil War, possibly the largest war since World War II has claimed over 3 million lives, but one would be hard pressed to learn much about it from Wikipedia. In fact, there is more information on a fictional plant.

They are planning a variety of projects to try to address the bias. If you are interested and can help, you should.

Our good friend Andrew Orlowski points out that as Wikipedia tries to get more distribution on smaller devices such as mobile phones, they need to be wary of the size of the database and the framework in order to be more inclusive than just web oriented techies or in his words, "Californian techno-utopians, wiki-fiddlers."

So the most useful thing the Wikipedia project could do is not write another adoring 20,000 word article on our good friend Joi Ito (the spiritual leader), or "memes", but nail down a simple lightweight framework that librarians, schools, churches and small businesses could use as an annotation and broadcast channel.

This is another way to address the bias. Move to non-web devices too, although in this article Andrew is talking about "Questions like 'What's the kid's soccer schedule?', and 'Is Thursday street cleaning day on Geary?'" I do agree that Wikipedians should be spending their time writing about the Congo Civil War instead of writing a 20,000 word article on me.

As of yesterday, Wikipedia is inaccessible from most of China. It appears to be inaccessible from 11 out of 12 points in China. It was blocked for a few days back in June or so, but this block appears to be broader than the last one. Hope this one gets resolved quickly too.

Wikipedia has just announced that it has reached one million articles. Congratulations Wikipedians! Wikipedia is in more than 100 languages with 14 currently having over 10,000 articles. It is ranked one of the ten most popular reference sites on the Internet according to (trumping Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times). At the current rate of growth, Wikipedia will double in size again by next spring.

Wikipedia is a volunteer effort supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Please contribute to their fundraising effort.

Coincidentally, this is the 3000th post on this blog.

Kamelopedia, originally a German parody of Wikipedia, has launched in English. Kamelopedia uses the same MediaWiki software that Wikipedia uses, but it is a joke encyclopedia based on puns and mistakes. Wikipedia has an english language description of Kamelopedia. I just signed up, but I'm not sure which is more fun... trying to be funny, or writing in the Wikipedia deadpan tone about something that is funny. (I'm working on this style on the Stealth Disco article.) There is also the Wikipedia Bad jokes and other deleted nonsense page.

via Jimbo

My new wiki using Socialtext (based on the open source Kwiki) is up and running. We've implemented a login if you want to edit as a short term fix for wiki spam. We will convert it to self-registration soon, but for now, if you want an account, email Adina and she'll set you up.

The old Moin Moin wiki is eventually going to be shut down and is already being infested by spam as the attention on it wanes. If there is anything on the old wiki that you'd like to keep, please move it over to the new wiki. Jon L will be doing the Emergent Democracy pages so contact him if you can help on those. For other pages, if it is going to take a long time, just put a note on the Moin Moin page that you're working on moving it over so people don't step on your work. Lets make this an opportunity to refactor some of the stuff.

There is a script and some help on converting Moin Moin pages to Socialtext on my wiki.

When I was at Linz, a bunch of people made me provide a list of all of the applications that I'm running on my Mac. I realize I do this to people too. I've seen people make lists of their favorite applications on their blogs, but I realized that it might be better to do on a wiki. I've made a list of my favorite applications. Feel free to click on any of the application links and comment on the page for the application. Also, feel free to make a similar page for yourself and list YOUR favorite applications. If we can get a bunch of people on the wiki with their lists, it might end up being an interesting resource.

Is there something like this elsewhere already?

I was just on a panel with Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. We've been talking the last few days about communities and it turns out the #wikipedia IRC channel is about the same size as #joiito. (approx 100 people online. Wikipedia has many other sub channels though so in aggregate they are much bigger...) Anyway, Jimmy noticed that I didn't have a Wikipedia article and he decided to go to his community and see if he could get an article written while we were on the channel.

-- Jimbo has joined #wikipedia
Jimbo: Just a fun experiment...
Jimbo: Joichi Ito is here at this conference, on the same panel with me.
Jimbo: But we apparently have no article about him.
Jimbo: A challenge: in the next hour, how good of an article can we create?
Member1: '''Joichi Ito''' is a [[person]]. {{bio-stub}}
Jimbo: Yes, he uses wikipedia too. But he's famous and important and we need a bio.
Jimbo: I have to go, because our panel is about to start again...
Jimob: But please, remind people as they wander in here, and let's see what happens.
Member2: who the fuck is Joichi Ito
Member3: Member2: write an article and find out
Member2: Jimbo can write the article if it's so important
Member3: someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today
Member1: The easy way out would be to grab an article from another page, cross out the name and write 'Joichi Ito' over it in crayon
It's the same on my channel, but leadership/foundership has nothing to do with authority. In fact, trying to exercise authority often has exactly the opposite effect. The article did end up getting written though. ;-)

IBM History Flow visualization of the "Islam" article on Wikipedia.
I think the gaps are where the page has been erased and restored.
See the IBM History Flow page for more details and examples.
I think this has been mentioned in the press already, but I confirmed with Jimmy Wales that a study done by IBM (The group that did the history flow work) tried to measure how quickly vandalism on Wikipedia was identified and corrected. They searched for pages where suddenly all of the content disappeared or a huge amount was deleted. They found that the median time for such a page to be restored was 5 minutes. This did not take into the account the process that where Wikipedians often refactor or move pages and redirect them which would show a similar behavior. So the median time is probably less than 5 minutes. In the context of our discussion about Wikipedia authority, I think this is quite an interesting and impressive statistic.

Al Fasoldt, staff writer at The Post-Standard in Syracuse, writes about how untrustworthy Wikipedia is based on an oh-so-trustworthy email from a librarian. Mr. Fasoldt asserts that Wikipedia is not a verifiable authority and that it is it is not trustworthy. Mike from Techdirt tries to explain Wikipedia to Mr. Fasoldt and receives insults in return. For those of you who haven't yet taken a good look at Wikipedia, you should. It is a community built encyclopedia where anyone can edit any of the 300,000+ articles in it. The fact that anyone can edit the pages appears to be why people like Mr. Fasoldt question its authority, but that is that exact reason that it has authority. Any comments that are extreme or not true just do not survive on Wikipedia. In fact, on very heated topics, you can see the back and forth negotiation of wordings by people with different views on a topic until, in many cases, a neutral and mutually agreeable wording is put in place and all parties are satisfied. Tradition authority is gained through a combination of talent, hard work and politics. Wikipedia and many open source projects gain their authority through the collective scrutiny of thousands of people. Although it depends a bit on the field, the question is whether something is more likely to be true coming from a source whose resume sounds authoritative or a source that has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people (with the ability to comment) and has survived.

I believe that Wikipedia is helping to revive the encyclopedia as a form and it hurts me to hear such ignorant criticisms. Having said that, Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal, Dan Gillmor of the Mercury News and many others have already written tons about Wikipedia so maybe I'm overreacting to an isolated case of ignorance and insulting the knowledge of my readers in the process...

Anyway, I was on the jury which gave Wikipedia the Golden Nica this year, the highest prize in the Digital Communities category for Prix Ars Electronica. I will be going to Linz, Austria next week to attend the festival and will be meeting the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales. More on Wikipedia then.

via Boing Boing

Pierre Omidyar the founder of eBay has a new project called the Omidyar Network. They just invested in SocialText, a wiki company that I've invested in and am on the board of. Pierre blogs about the Omidyar network and the investment in Socialtext. If you have heard of the Omidyar Network:

We believe every individual
has the power to make a difference.

We exist for one single purpose:
So that more and more people discover their own
power to make good things happen.

We are actively building a network of participants
because we know we can't do this alone.

Other investors in this Series A funding include Reid Hoffman, Mark Pincus and Jun Makihara. Full story on Socialtext page. Congrats and thanks to all involved.

I've been using MoinMoin, a python based wiki because I thought I'd be able to hack it since I was learning python. It turns out that I haven't had any time to hack MoinMoin and frankly, it looks too difficult for me. The SocialText (I'm an investor and on the board) wiki software has become quite stable with some cool features so I've decided to switch my main wiki from Moin Moin to SocialText. The question I have is whether I should migrate pages from my old wiki and whether I should continue running the old wiki. If I am going to migrate the pages, another question is how to move the pages... Anyone have any thoughts?

Creative Commons is experimenting with using a wiki to discuss using a wiki to maintain a Wikipedia of sorts for Free Culture. Drop by and give us your thoughts.

Stephanie writes about her collaborative note taking effort using SubEthaEdit and a wiki. We always talk about doing this, but I think this is the first successful case I've seen. Very cool.

Cory's excellent drm rant which he presented at Microsoft Research has now been wikified to allow people to comment and add to it. Excellent.

Loic blogs about and starts a wiki page on Emergent Democracy in Europe.

I just updated the JoiTravel page on the wiki. As you can see, I continue to burn a lot of jet fuel and I apologize for that. Also, apologizes in advance to people I will be missing along the way. Feel free to add to the wiki if we're crossing paths, particularly in Tokyo.

I'm giving a speech about the future of the Internet tomorrow afternoon from 2:30pm-3:30pm JST. The speech will be at the Rakuten New Year party. (Rakuten acquired Infoseek Japan and I am now on the Portal Group advisory committee.) I'll try to stream it, but it will be in Japanese. My slides are in English and I've put my outline on my wiki. Please feel free to add comments or links to examples on the wiki. The outline just lists the topics I will cover, but not what I'm going to say. ;-)

I'll be giving live demos of #joiito and IM so if you're around, I might ping you.

I'll be using keynote exported to QT inside of Safari with my examples loaded in tabs.

The latest version of the Keynote QT is here.

GRIPE : Keynote doesn't let you put hyperlinks in presentations. They should either figure out some way to embed Safari inside of a Keynote presentation or allow hyperlinks. Apple Computer presentations use two machines, one for browsing and one for Keynote. Doh. Not very user-friendly.

I will be streaming this if I have enough bandwidth. Copy and paste this URL into QuickTime rtsp:// (Warning. Japanese.)

UPDATE: Sorry folks. Didn't have a Net connection so couldn't connect to IRC or get Hecklebot working.

Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, Masuda, CEO of CCC/Tsutaya and me. Photo by Ms. Noumura.

I feel like a proud dad. Six Apart's Movable Type got 5 stars, TypePad got 4 stars and an Editors' Choice and Socialtext Workspace got an 4 stars and an Editors' Choice in the recent PC Magazine's Editors' Choice Awards.

Good work folks!

Socialtext announced the released version 1.0 of their workspace package. It's groupware thingie for enterprise. I'm using it for a lot of my workgroups. It's basically a wiki with a blog-like feature that sort of looks nice and has login, which makes it not really a wiki, but not a blog... I guess it's a workplace. Anyway, as you know, I love this kind of alchemy.

They also announced Kwikspace based on Kwiki as an open source project.

Disclosure: I'm an investor in Socialtext

Neal Stephenson launches a Wiki to explain his new novel Quicksilver. Very cool.

via Boing Boing via Jeremy

IBM has a very cool project called "History Flow" that visualizes the evolution of documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors. There are many interesting views. They are using wikis for this.

Thanks for the link Clay!

I'm curious; perhaps someone out there knows...

Has anyone yet attempted to create "RSS email", where the "feeds" served to a feedreader might be automatically synthesized from the emails themselves as things such as Person (from or to), Thread, Folder, etc?  (One could probably easily implement this as a straight layer on top of IMAP.)  Rather than just inserting RSS into an email client paradigm as in Newsgator, it might be amusing to invert the solution and explore the usability issues of rethinking email as being just another form of feed served up to a reader, with plug-ins for creating & replying, etc.  Hmm.

Has anyone yet attempted to create what I guess I'd refer to as a "Hyki" - that is, a character-by-character real-time collaborative (Hydra-like, Groove Text Tool-like) editor with automatic creation of real-time linked sub-documents when CamelCase words are typed, etc.  ??

I'm curious too. That would be great.

Ray, if you find something or someone else knows. Let me know too!

I met Kris and Maciej of netomat at Supernova and just got around to downloading and playing with the beta. It looks interesting. It's like an email/wiki/link sharing tool. It's written in Java and runs on Mac and Windows. It's pretty easy to use and is more "rich" than a wiki because it has things like drawing tools that let you annotate pages in a way similar to a white board. You create pages with your netomat client. You can publish it with editing enabled so anyone can modify it. It keeps a history of changes. You can email pages to people. You can include lots of things in pages including audio, images, links, etc.

If anyone else is running the beta, send me netomat mail so that we can mess around. I am jito on netomat. My first netomat page is here.

I apologize for the light blogging the last several weeks. All of my spare time has been consumed by IRC. acrobat on #joiito compared it to a well placed water cooler. I drop in in the morning with my coffee, between meetings, from cab rides and after dinner before I go to bed. Some people who work in front of computers for a living "park" themselves in the channel. There are about 40 people on the channel now, only a half dozen or so are actually focused on the conversation. We've got a pretty interesting distribution of people. Most major time zones are represented and there are quite a variety of personality types and professions. It's also interesting to note that there is probably an equal distribution of people who are using IRC for the first time, rediscovering IRC and are IRC regulars. The conversation is much more random than my blog, ranging from total silliness to heated debates about RSS. I do think most of us agree that IRC today (or at least my #joiito channel) is much different from the IRC we used to use. I think the blogs help people identify each other and the wiki creates a bit more context and memory for the channel. IRC has definitely reduced my blog output, but in exchange, it has helped me make a much stronger emotional link to many of the people I blog/email with. I think it is the sense of spending time with people that creates this new sense of connection. It's almost like Sims Online. You see people drop off to take care of kids, cook, shower, go to work, come home, etc. Some of the more persistent personalities update people on what's happened during the "day" when you check back in after a being away. It's like being flat-mates with 50 people from around the world. "Hey, if you see so-and-so, tell them I'm looking for them and if so-and-so drops by while I'm out, be nice to them and introduce them to everyone..."

A useful thing about the IRC channel is that it is a 24 hour support system for a variety of issues. Just this week, Dave Sifry "held court" about Technorati, Mark Pilgrim explained python unit testing to me, Doc talked about the 17" PowerBook he was testing out, I got rojisan to book the venue for the DC party, I got Kevin Burton promise to finish the OSX version of NewsMonster and sniffles wrote a bot to remind me not to drink too much. ;-)

A controversial, but interesting thing in IRC are the bots. They are programmed to do a variety of tasks. There are bots that log, take notes, post stuff to wikis, answer questions or annoy people. The bots are probably how IRC will be integrated better into blogs and wikis. There are a few bots on #joiito. Jibot has become a collaborative effort with regulars pitching in via CVS on Sourceforge to add features to the bot.

As I continue to be immersed in IRC, the question that I am struggling with is how better to integrate IM, IRC, wikis and blogs. There are so many ways to do this yet no one seems to have done it well. There is also the issue of the metadata and meta-services like reputation tracking, search, identify management, etc. I'm sure different communities will find different combinations of tools useful.

Even though I call my blog "a conversation" I now realize after using IM and chat a lot that it still looks more like publishing or giving a speech although the comment threads are like conversations. IM chats can be like transactions. IRC is conversation or even "hanging out" with friends. The wiki is where we collaborate. The core strengths of each of these tools is very important and I think we all do a little bit of each of these activities. The alchemy of these tools is really interesting and I urge people to get over the hump and try these tools in combination and join us in thinking about what this all means. ;-)

Technorati just hit 400K blogs and Sifry's created a wiki for his developers.

While I was asleep, a debate raged on the IRC channel about whether IRC logs should be automatically turned into blog entries. kensanata pointed out that VotingIsEvil so I proposed a sort of deliberative democracy approach. Lets all have a discussion on wiki page and post our positions on the issue. The point would be to change your mind freely and try to sway the opinions of others and recruit them. Like neuronal recruitment. I don't feel strongly about this issue and it appeared quite controversial. I thought it would be a good experiment in emergent democracy on wikis. That and the emergent democracy of picking a party date. ;-)

Boris writes about it here.

Had an interesting chat with Alex Schroeder on the #wiki IRC channel. We were talking about whether my #joiito channel was increasing concentration of attention, etc. Alex has written some interesting stuff on his wiki about Attention Concentration.

I thought a lot about the name of my blog, wiki and IRC Channel and chose very egocentric names "Joi Ito' Web", "JoiWiki" and "#joiito" because I wanted to make it clear that it was my own space. I have several reasons for this.

In the past, I have run maling mailing lists with names like "netsurf" which I put a lot of energy into setting up and running. At some point, these "places" became public places and I ended up becoming a custodian. It's like having people come over to your place to party leaving you to clean up the mess. I lost control of the community, but not the responsibility. If it was called "Joi Ito's list" I think people wouldn't have come into the discussion thinking that it was a public place.

Also, I think that putting my name on the blog makes it clear that it's my personal perspective and point of view -- nothing more, nothing less.

I do agree with Alex that there is an attention concentration element to my #joiito channel on IRC, but I think of my blog, wiki and IRC channel as my living room. I'm happy to host parties and discussions in my home, but am also happy visiting other homes to join discussions there. I spend a lot of time on the wikis and blogs of people who I meet on my blog, wiki and irc channel. I think that although there is some concentration in my living room, people can meet, speak and draw traffic back to their living rooms quite easily. I think it's a fairly inclusive. I'm MUCH MORE likely to go and read the blog or wiki of someone I just talked to on IRC than someone who sends me unsolicited email.

Having said that, I think that there may be other structures than "this is a place, this is my living room." I think that the best case might be if we ALL had our own blogs and we could get rid of blog comments all together and use trackbacks or a similar mechanism to have our conversations across the blogs. Then the "places" would be the topics of conversation.

I don't know what the wiki equivalent of that would be. I have a sense that wikis and irc channels work better with multiple contributors and are inherently places, compared to blogs which could turn into identities and voices that participate in places that are conversations across blogs.

Figuring out how to deal with the attention concentration issues, inclusiveness and responsibility and accountability in these places is the key to Emergent Democracy, I think.

Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn has just gone through and responded to many of the points raised in the LinkedIn wiki page. If you had posted comments and were waiting for him to respond, please go check out his comments. He has interspersed his comments in dialog in wiki style. Thanks to the people who posted comments and thanks to Reid for all of the thoughtful responses. Now my wiki is much smarter. ;-)

I've just upgraded my Technobot. It is run every 10 minutes on my server and goes to technorati, gets my cosomos, and does the following:

  • Makes my technorati sidebar for my blog
  • If there are new inbound links, it sends the link info to to the following places:
This is yet another step in the rather blasphemous experiment to connect all of the social software I can find together into one big blob. It's rather interesting watching people discover or rediscover new communication modes and the new meta-modes that the connections enable. For instance, I think that wikis and IRC seem to work well together since wikis are an easy way to log some of the interesting things in the rather transient conversations on IRC. Blogs are cool in IRC because it's a nice way to find out more about each other or to link to things one has said without quoting it in IRC.

Now I'm beginning to have the too-many-windows-to-focus-on-syndrome. Maybe I need another screen. ;-)

Thanks to rvr for helping me with the irc stuff...

So I created a wiki page for my irc channel. Now there is a guestbook for regulars and a section for limericks by Kevin Marks. Wikis work well with irc since irc is so transient and wikis can capture "those moments". ;-)

Salam Pax from Baghdad is back!

via Nick Denton

I was talking to someone today about Marc Canter and all of the other people who think Wiki's are ugly. I was talking about how Marc Canter was a "media" guy and how Wiki's are for text people. Then, it hit me. (Apologies to everyone else who already thought of this before...) McLuhan talks a lot about how "looking" at TV is different from "reading" text. When you read a book, your eyes are focused a bit above the text and the text sort of just goes into your head to create symbols. With TV, you actually LOOK. You really care if the font on the TV is ugly, but you rarely remember the font of a good book you just read.

So, maybe this is the difference. When I am on a Wiki, the way it looks really doesn't concern me as much as trying imagine and understand all of the context that is captured in the web of pages linking to and from the page. I imaging all of the people from all kinds of places and what they must be thinking. It's less about user interface and more about code.

When I think about broadband, iLife, digital photos and things that I "look" at I CARE how the user interface works and how it feels as an experience. On a Wiki all I care about is that it is easy, which is part of user interface, but a different part. (I think I saw a discussion about the aspects of user interface somewhere... but I don't remember where.)

So... if you follow McLuhan's thinking, the looking culture and the reading culture are different. Are blogs/Wiki's going to merge them? What happens? Can the "keep it simple and easy, I just want the context, I don't care how it looks" people co-exist with the "give me an experience" people? Is it about meta data?

Again, another random note on a Japanese holiday...

I spent the day learning Python and wrote a script to make a category index of my blog on my Wiki

Thanks for the help Sen!

In an EXTREMELY feeble attempt to integrate my Wiki with my blog, I have created a little link at the end of each entry that sends you to a page on my Wiki linked to the blog entry. The problem is, I have not figured out what I should call each of the Wiki pages. I thought about category/entry ID or something, but everything I could think of was kind of clunky. I ended up with just JoiBlog/EntryId(Entry#) which is REALLY ugly. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. These thoughts will then probably force me to learn Python so that I can actually build something useful. The other thing that I will need to do is actually put something useful in the Wiki pages that are created instead of just the current "Would you like to create this page?" thing. BTW, please click on the Wiki links and go ahead and make pages if you feel like it. My guess is that most people won't feel like it. ;-p

I've moved my Wiki to a semi-permanent server and started adding content. The URL is: One page, I thought might be interesting was a public To Do List. Anyone who wants me to do something or who wants to reach me should feel free to add to my public To Do List. I promise to check it every day. Please make sure you sign the To Do entry and also create a homepage on my Wiki with your contact info so I can track you more easily. This is an experiment so any constructive thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

I first started using a Wiki in the Emergent Democracy Happening because the SocialText folks used a Wiki to organize the information. I had visited Wiki's before and knew about them, but the ED Happening was the first time I had really used one. Then I saw Robert Kaye using a Wiki to take notes and he said he was addicted. Robert runs MoinMoin Wiki on his PowerBook. I figured that running the same Wiki software as Robert would be a good place to start. I got it running on my PowerBook, decided that I wanted one in a public place too, so I put one on my XServe box. I've been surfing around WikiSpace today trying to understand all of the interesting things like InterWiki links and stuff.

So, my plan is to take notes locally on my PowerBook and paste publishable stuff onto my public Wiki. Using the same software lets me keep the punctuation which seems to be different between Wiki's.

So my question to all of you Wiki gurus is this. Is there any way to get OPML into a Wiki easily? I've been taking notes in NoteTaker which exports to OPML. My blogroll and just about every outline I have is in OPML. I would LOVE to be able to import this into my Wiki...

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