New blog

All new content on my restarted blog is here

Saturday, August 25

Butch Russian mature top seeks brokeback

Gay men responding (unedited) on a gossip board to Vlad's come hither glossy pix - hot! hot! hot! - and he's not at all a hypocrite for using homoerotic tropes ...

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation.

Владимир Владимирович Путин

on holiday in Siberia....
Really not appealing to me

loon.gif shaky.gif

Well....I might.
Me too.
But only to sell the story. biggrin.gif
Siberia looks great though.
Then I'm sure You would Quietly go Missing or Mysteriously be Chucked out of a Window.. Oh, or Poisoned...
I'd vote for being irradiated with polonium 210.
I was gonna post something sarcastic.. but a black van has just parked up across the street and I'm scared that something is.. (click)........
You don't mean you fear a guy with man boobs do you? jordan.gif
I think all gay men are better d*** in his books anyway so you're already condemned. bleh.gif
You still there? blink.gif

Wow, he can plant his flag in my Arctic territory any time...
(that was sarcasm by the way!)
This post has been edited by varoistus: Today, 21:18
someone tell him that the cold war is over... and they lost (I think) :S
Apparently, Russian women are going crazy over him since these pictures were published: International Hearld Tribune
Political leaders' popularity based on what they look like stripped to the waist?

"Hi, my name's George Bush and my hobbies are poetry, the environment and world peace."
"Hello, my name's Margaret Tha - "
Bizarre. Just doesn't bear thinking about.
george bush and 'world peace' don't really go together....hey- I wouldn't mind looking like Putin when I'm 55- and I wouldn't mind injecting a few ex boyfriends with nuclear poison....

No he's not bad looking for his age.
But my personal opinion, which I know doesn't count for anything, is that politicians are a somewhat controversial and thus not entirely suitable subject for a forum such as this.
Sorry for sounding pompous, this is my honest opinion.

Putin's blog - [Pix] REPUBLIC OF TUVA. During the trip to Tuva.

Putin's English site search for 'gay'

+ 'homosexual' ... ('error')

Friday, August 24

Wikipedia Edits Cause Australian Political Scandal

This is too good to be true. Dorothy, we're back in Kansas ...


Duncan Riley


The Australian Prime Minister’s Office have been caught editing Wikipedia, the latest in a growing line of Wikiscanner entrapments.

Postscript: Obama and accessibility


Response to Your Message to Senator Obama
>>> "Obama for America Correspondence Team"
22/08/2007 17:59:44 >>>

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting Senator Obama and Obama for America with ideas for the use of technology on the campaign. Barack greatly appreciates the outpouring of support he has received from across the country and from Americans around the world, and on behalf of Obama for America, we appreciate hearing from you

There is a lot of work to be done, and we appreciate having the benefit of your ideas. Senator Obama is traveling around America listening to the thoughts and concerns of people from all walks of life, and reading letters and emails from many more. Barack knows well that Washington does not have a monopoly on good ideas, and neither does he. That is why it's important to hear from everyone, and we will take your ideas under consideration.

In the meantime, please bookmark and visit often.

We've built a set of easy-to-use web tools that empower you. At you can:

- build your own profile and connect with supporters near you
- find or create your own local or national group
- create your own personal fundraising page and track your progress
- find events near you or plan your own
- chronicle your campaign experience on your own blog

And there will be much more to come in the weeks and months ahead.

Thank you again for contacting Senator Obama.


Obama for America

Donate Monthly:
Join the Team:
Donate Once:

Look, tweak the software to at least think I might be DISABLED and tell me why I might care to vote for you because you CARE. This auto-email is telling me OBAMA DOESN'T CARE ABOUT DISABLED PEOPLE and I have to go and raise my voice somewhere else on line — is that accessible? Not if it's AJAX, which is most of Web 2.0 ...

They have fixed the Alt tags though.

Thursday, August 23

Milton Keynes betrays Keynes

google search milton keynes
The Guardian reports today that:

An independent website about life in Milton Keynes has failed in an attempt to win access to data on the same terms as the local council's official site. The decision by the government's watchdog on public sector information illustrates the weaknesses of rules supposed to encourage the re-use of official data.

The Milton Keynes case concerns a four-year battle by a web design company, Zero-Now, for access to information about public services held on a council database called the Community Online Information Network. Zero-Now wanted up-to-date information for use on its website However the council preferred to make the information available through two official websites, run by a contractor partly owned by the council, and

The opsi logo (OPSI) [Describing themselves at "at the heart of information policy, setting standards, delivering access and encouraging re-use of public sector information"] failed to uphold the complaint - on the grounds that the contractor with access to the database was performing part of the council's "public task". So, as no re-use of the data beyond the public task was taking place, Zero-Now had no grounds for complaining about unfair terms. However OPSI decided there was "room for improvement" in the way Milton Keynes handled information, and made five recommendations.
These are:
  • OPSI suggests that the PSIH [Milton Keynes Council] should implement its draft re-use policy as soon as possible, and encourage the re-use of its information.
  • OPSI suggests that the PSIH considers undergoing the IFTS Online assessment process.
  • OPSI suggests that the PSIH publishes a standard licence on its website or considers mandating OPSI to license the PSIH’s material through the PSI Click-Use Licence.
  • OPSI suggests that the PSIH should publish details of any exclusive licensing and publishing contracts on its website.
  • OPSI suggests that the PSIH should publish a statement of what constitutes its public task.
However ...
PSIH would only be under an obligation to allow re-use in circumstances where re-use had already taken place either by the PSIH itself or by a third party.
So, the Council is entitled to deny access just so long as it refuses access to everybody. Great logic there. Plus it is entitled to 'exclusive contracts'. Somehow this 'encourage the re-use of its information'.

Sounds like OPSI needs to stop handing the job of reconciling these two opposites to someone else.

What's interesting is that there is a huge shade of grey here, because Zero-Now are nothing but a commercial enterprise and the Council dominates MK Web traffic.

The 'Official website for Milton Keynes'?!? Ya gotta love the chutzpah.

One look at MKWeb - #1 in Google for 'Milton Keynes' - tells me that it's taking it's community responsibilities online far more seriously. You'd like to hope it would be because it's council- sub-contracted and presumably Zero-Now's management there is suitably managed.

But despite all that, this still doesn't mean that Zero-Now shouldn't have rights to the Community Online Information Network stuff to use elsewhere, as a 'council person' (or OPSI) might think.

As The Guardian explains at length in the Free Our Data Campaign, this is about boosting the economy, amongst other reasons.

If this company - who do have a strong website of their own, marketing-wise - can do interesting things, imaginative stuff taking ideas from other websites, then surely the Council can reuse that elsewhere? Surely that helps the city? Put that in Zero-Now's contract.

It's worth noting that this also supports women in the economy.

There are many ways, through providing widgetised access to edited content, for example, like many a website does, that the Council can deal with them and everyone else. And can also provide access to - say - the local paper. or the local college or the local history buffs.

Even though the Council sites dominates on 'Milton Keynes' local sites thrive because people use them. Increasingly. Hence target the elderly, youth and radio four listeners (I'm characterising). They can have some screens, maybe one can be a (revised) 'PSI Click-Use Licence' - click - and you get a widget ...

I know there's this and there's that with government rules and scales and balances but this is 2007 and the Web is now several years ahead of government, especially slabs of it like the OPSI.

Where's the leadership to drive the changes which are needed? Who in government is doing that job? Gordon Brown? The Millibands? When did you last see a politician make a joke about their web-ignorance in public and be called on it by a MSM journalist, or themselves laughed at like they're an idiot and they need to get with the program? Huh?

One of the reasons I sound annoyed is because I was on a train the other day surrounded by teenagers talking Myspace this and Bebo that. The disconnect between their new world and the land of the OPSI's and most politicians is vast and agencies like OPSI and the COI are letting them down.

Another point which I doubt the Council is considering is that if Zero-Now really are as good at SEO as they claim then maybe they have something to worry about. However, given that a quick Google search reveals 933 incoming links to MKWeb versus 3 for, and given that this represents the standing start trusted sites have, then they shouldn't worry about too much traffic disappearing into a commercialised front-door.
"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones", John Maynard Keynes.
Give them access, manage that access and leverage benefits for yourself. Like other websites do.

Wednesday, August 22

Network TV · Eyeballs crashing but TV ads still work

Jeff Jarvis has looked at a new IBM study (he hat tips Om Malik) of (First World) media use.

  • TV networks’ share of online TV viewing is only about 33 percent, below YouTube and barely ahead of Google and social networks in the U.S. — and the alternatives are only beginning (in the life of internet video, it’s only 1954).
  • Says IBM:
    The global findings overwhelmingly suggest personal Internet time rivals TV time. Among consumer respondents, 19 percent stated spending six hours or more per day on personal Internet usage, versus nine percent of respondents who reported the same levels of TV viewing. 66 percent reported viewing between one to four hours of TV per day, versus 60 percent who reported the same levels of personal Internet usage.
  • 63 percent in the U.S. said they would watch advertising before or after quality, free content (34 percent said they’d be willing to pay). Speed up, advertisers.
  • “Content” is now, at last defined as conversation as well. Use of content services: 45% social networks; 29% user-generated sites; 24% music services; 24% premium video content for TV (not sure what that means); 18% online newspaper. Ouch.
  • 58% have already watched online video and 20% more are interested.
  • DVRs are good for TV: 33% watch more TV as a result (58% the same)
  • 74% contributed to a social network; 93% contributed to a user content site. Who says that forums are only for nuts, blogs for early adopters, and photo services for geeks? Everybody’s making content.
  • Why do they do it? Feel part of a community, 31%; recognition from peers, 28%. Conversation.
  • Primary reason for viewing content on a user site: 46% said the recommendation of a friend.
  • But here’s the fly in my future-of-advertising ointment. Asked which ads “most affect your impression of a product or company,” TV commercials on major networks got the lion’s share.

NASA's Second Life

Great cartoon from Federal Computer Week.

At least three agencies have property in Second Life: CDC, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NASA’s Ames Research Center has been particularly innovative in its use of Second Life, which gives the center a global tool for reaching and educating people they might not otherwise reach. NASA has even hired an intern in Second Life.
Still can't see the relevance for Borsetshire Council though ...

Conversational Marketing

Marketing is undergoing a dramatic shift as social media takes hold.

In this podcast, Eric Vidal of WebEx speaks with John Battelle, entrepreneur, journalist, professor, and the founder and chairman of Federated Media.

John also helped launched the Web 2.0 Conference. He has some great insights into the transition the industry is in the midst of, and vital information for anyone involved in marketing in the current media landscape.

Council website usage: huge differences?

We have started exchanging Google Analytics view access with six other councils and one thing stands out like a sore thumb: huge differences in usage.

It's a wide variety amongst us - big city, little city, rural, Scottish city etc. And between our relatively wealthy city and the poorest one we're exchanging with the web use is different by a factor of 3.5, taking population into account of course.

Even taking special factors, like tourism, into account that's an enormous difference.

Here's Visits Per Capita, based on Feb 1-Aug 14 total visits, excluding internal traffic and just counting the Council website (not other sites):

  • 1.1 - poorer district
  • 2.4 - city
  • 2.4 - small city
  • 3.0 - large city
  • 3.6 - small city

DirectGov's new boss

Michael Cross interviews the new chief of central government portal DirectGov, Jayne Nickalls, for the Guardian.

Not wanting to slag off the poor women as she's just walked in the door but this sort of thing is a bit of a warning:

A report, Power of Information, published in June by the prime minister's strategy unit, has questioned the whole basis of the way government works on the web. Rather than trying to control electronic information, it argues that Whitehall should let go, for example, by giving citizens' groups access to (non-confidential) government data to create self-help websites and encourage civil servants to chip in openly to blogs, wikis and social networking sites.

One of the report's authors was Tom Steinberg, interviewed in these pages in January, whose MySociety group fired a warning salvo at the government's ambitions when it created one of the best running jokes on the web: It mocks Directgov by racing its search engine against Google's. (Generally, Directionless wins.)

Unfair, says Nickalls. "Directionless does work a lot of the time. But it misses the point that Directgov joins up information for the citizen in a way that they understand. If you do a Google search you will get the information from a number of places and the citizen has to do the linking up for themself."

Why not just say 'one of our priorities is going to be to ensure we're #1 in Google so we're there for the citizen right at the gate and we can help them find what they want from where they actually are.'

The rest of Cross' article suggested to me that Nickalls thinks success online is all about branding. It's not, the thing's got to work for one thing and it's got to give the customers what they want and, actually, anticipate what they want (back to the BBC Web Principles).

Many a brand has been burned online by focusing just on branding. And see yesterday's Jakob Nielsen post for a warning about how easy it is to put money down drains chasing that.

I wonder if Cross edited this out but Nickalls take on Power of Information would, actually, be interesting. Has she read it?

Another concern is the coverage of local government in DirectGov — absent in this article, as usual.

The biggest source of friction between DirectGov and local government is that they appear to want our traffic but on what basis? Where's the evidence that customers want to deal with my council via DirectGov?

Last year's £12m marketing exercise for local services (via DirectGov) gave very little benefit to local government - handing us the cash, or spending it on something like the American government's Web Managers University, would have had better, more sustained, effect.

Another source of friction is the absence of any channels whereby DirectGov supports local government in other ways — an excellent example of which is their new relationship with Google (they're partnering with them on mobile) and leveraging that for all our benefit.

It is a major hole that local government by-and-large hasn't got it's act together with search engines. Many councils just don't have the capacity. That's best accomplished in partnership with Google (my posts ad nauseum), and DirectGov could facilitate that but, unfortunately, experience tells me that this may well just not occur to them. Another example would be sharing what they've learned about usability.

Cross says:

Her empiricist training left a mark - she comes over as someone who prefers facts to opinions.

Let's hope that's true. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, for a while!

Tuesday, August 21

Jakob Nielsen comes clean: unethical ads pay

In the current Alertbox Jakob Nielsen sez:

I've been reluctant to discuss one of the findings from our eyetracking research because the conclusion is that unethical design pays off.

In 1997, I chose to suppress a similar finding: users tend to click on banner ads that look like dialog boxes, complete with fake OK and Cancel buttons. Of course, instead of being an actual system message -- such as "Your Internet Connection Is Not Optimized" -- the banner is just a picture of a dialog box, and clicking its close box doesn't dismiss it, but rather takes users to the advertiser's site. Deceptive, unethical, and #3 among the most-hated advertising techniques. Still, fake dialog boxes got many more clicks than regular banners, which users had already started to ignore in 1997.


We know that there are 3 design elements that are most effective at attracting eyeballs:
  • Plain text
  • Faces
  • Cleavage and other "private" body parts

Users don't fixate within design elements that resemble ads, even if they aren't ads ... Even when we did record a fixation within a banner, users typically didn't engage with the advertisement. Often, users didn't even see the advertiser's logo or name, even when they glanced at one or two design elements elsewhere inside an ad.


Several readers have asked whether banner blindness extends to search engine ads. It doesn't: text ads on a SERP get a decent number of fixations. The other exception is classified ads. Finally, it's possible that commercials that are embedded within a video stream get viewed; we haven't researched this yet. So there are either 2 or 3 exceptions to the general rule that users avoid looking at ads on websites.

  • The more an ad looks like a native site component, the more users will look at it.
  • Not only should the ad look like the site's other design elements, it should appear to be part of the specific page section in which it's displayed.

When you advertise through an advertising network, your ads will get fewer fixations than if you contract directly with the publisher for a specific placement and design your creative to fit that spot. As a result, you should bid less for network ads than for customized ads that you place yourself.

The honesty and rigour displayed in this post shows why Jakob is still someone worth reading, whatever web designers say.

New citizen video activism

Speak. Truth. To. Power.

Great story from New York. Guy calling himself Jimmy Justice videos Traffic Cops breaking traffic rules — parking by a fire hydrant whilst getting lunch for example. Here's his YouTube channel.

He hides his identity because he fears retaliation.

“The complaints have not been answered,” he said. “So I had no other method of recourse. I had to bring it to YouTube and bring it to the people what life is like in the city for the average man who has to live in the city.”

Jeff Jarvis reports that when Jimmy got onto the Today Show (NBC's breakfast show) they labeled him: “It’s a little obnoxious. Do you not worry about coming off as an obnoxious, aggressive guy here?”

My local cycling campaign is doing the same - showing the risks cyclists are under from motorists at various 'pinch points' around the city.

Gee, that's close ...

How would activists have shown this problem before YouTube/GoogleVideo? You couldn't. And how long before someone catches a UK official in-the-act and that goes mainstream?

UK deporting Iranian lesbian to likely stoning

An Iranian lesbian, Pegah Emambakhsh, is to be deported from the UK even though it is well known that her life will be in danger if she returns to the theocratic state.

I have posted before about the Deathzone for gays and lesbians which is Iran and Iraq — she fled after her lover was arrested, tortured and subsequently sentenced to death by stoning. It is certain that she will be arrested and tortured if deported back to Tehran.

The local MP, Richard Caborn (office: 0114 273 7947), should be ashamed of himself for not supporting her. She was due to be deported yesterday but he finally spoke up at the last moment, after being exposed by gay activists and local campaigners, thus postponing her deportation.

If you want to support her, I'm told that raising this publicly and widely is the best support for her — now it's only legal moves and pressure that will save her, she is now due to be deported next Monday (August 27).

Iranian Queer Organisation has more. She is being supported by asylum campaigners in Sheffield (but their website is down).

Obama and accessibility

Just sent this to the Obama website ( is consistent).


I love your site and have blogged about it - but your lack of attention to accessibility concerns me. Simple alt-text on images is missing.

I may be a foreigner but I bet a few Americans would be similar unimpressed.

Otherwise, go Barack!

Paul Canning

p.s. please fix the 'alt text' - it's the least you can do.

Monday, August 20

What I'm reading

I've made some changes to make the blog a bit more useful for myself.

I've started using Google Reader and it's by far the easiest way to note stuff I've read. I'm a quick scanner. This I'm outputting into a 'what I'm reading' widget in the left-hand column and it comes with a 'public page' for 'starred' items plus I can make tagged feeds public too, I've done this with 'egov' and 'netmarketing' tagged feeds thus far.

Not made Google Reader my homepage but I'll cull feeds on my iGoogle homepage probably back to BBC/drudge/local now I can add Reader to iGoogle. Apparently there's some hacks too. Plus I've got personal search so I get Google Trends analysis of what I'm reading!

Here's Matt Cutts' Reader trends:

From looking at my start, it reads like I've done shit-loads of 'reading' but a lot is reading one line, or rather scanning it. So '543' with a big pinch of salt ...

The other thing is to add many more tags (Blogspot calls them 'labels'). I should have done this from the start, it's the easiest way for me to access and organise stuff and seems to have had the side-effect of encouraging tag clicks, though on ones like 'RAF' and 'firefox' - previously, tag clicks were on 'usability'. It also has the side-effect of boosting post visibility to search engines.

Redefining 'boy'band

Yay. 'Old' queens can do tacky HiNRG, jiggle about and strike a pose too!

Actually quite well .. there's 'ope for the rest of us ...

They're called Bearforce1 and they're Dutch. Thanks to Paul in Oz.

Here's some real disco.

Sunday, August 19

Postscript: Undercover Mosque

The current Private Eye looks into the West Midlands Police decision to complain to the media regulators Ofcom about Channel 4’s Undercover Mosque (see my post 'Support Channel Four over Undercover Mosque').

It points out - as others have previously found out - that Ofcom will only accept complaints from “the person affected”. The police told the Eye that they'd “liaised” with Ofcom beforehand, but this amounted to showing them their press release only 10 minutes before it was issued.

The Eye also asked the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to cite some examples of the “complete distortion” they had accused Channel 4 of perpetrating on the views of the speakers in the documentary. CPS replied:

No. We don’t go into that level of detail.

Or indeed, the Eye notes, any detail at all.

Hat tip to MediaWatch.

Channel Four's Kevin Sutcliffe has criticised, rightly, the BBC's take on the episode [video]:

"Particularly BBC News 24 which really just ran it as a TV fakery story. They framed the debate early on and that was lazy."

The Tories have weighed in too. Telegraph:

Paul Goodman, the shadow community cohesion minister, has written to Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, saying the decision caused "widespread concern" and warned that it could encourage extremists.

Mr Goodman wrote: "This decision raises serious questions about media freedom in Britain, and about whether public authorities tasked with upholding the rule of law are now, as a matter of policy, giving special assistance to those who seek to undermine the rule of law, and the pluralist, liberal, democratic culture which both underpins it and guarantees community cohesion.

"As you know, the decision has caused widespread concern.

"It's hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a politically motivated referral, driven by the mistaken belief that the best means of dealing with separatist extremists is to appease them.

"If so, this referral is likely to encourage extremists, discourage moderates, damage public confidence in the CPS and West Midlands Police, compromise media freedom and undermine the Government's stated community cohesion policy."

Channel Four have made noises about suing the West Midlands Police and CPS for defamation. With the Tories now picking this up, this one isn't over.

Andrew Keen booed - and walloped

On the Colbert Report (it follows the Daily Show on Comedy Central):

He gets booed. Can't see him selling many books from that appearance.

Keen asked for advice (on his blog) beforehand.

Anyone have any advice about how to outwit the great Stephen Colbert?
One comments that Colbert actually offers his own advice to guests on his website:
“The best laughs [my guests] can get are through correcting my [character's] stupidity,” Stephen has said. “I think it doesn’t work when they have a joke or two that they’re desperate to say on the show, and then they don’t really actually listen to the conversation. ... They’re waiting to drop the joke in the middle of the interview, and it lands there like conversational plutonium.”
Sounds like Keen listened — he's humourless all right — but still manages to come across as an intellectual snob. No wonder he's getting these US Talk shows — that's one stereotype of Brits.

Commentators on his own blog said he came across as "an elitist", "a simpleton and a jerk", "a complete arrogant elitist", "an arrogant douche", "smug pompous ass", "a bitter talentless hack with a fake british accent", "born out of bitterness", "a stiff Euro no-name", "another cheap whore" and a "grumpy old man".

One said they'd buy the book.

One said:
Sir ... Your entire enterprise, by which I mean your book, this site and above all the arguments you espouse, could only be redeemed if it were, in its entirety, a satirical project.
It's not (ahem) but any 'project' is looking a bit holed below the water. Which is a shame, because Keen's book does raises points which should be discussed. But they're not because of Keen's parade of straw-men. It's the messenger hard-selling his book (and his publishers full-bore oppositionist PR) which is polarising debate.

He's gone back on the provocative book title - "I should have defined amateur more clearly" - and below admits he's beaten in argument. What's left?

Maybe a future with MSM? See here how ABC News backgrounds his comments with clips from their, completely unbiased of course, view of what User Generated Content is.


On his blog Keen says he was "walloped" by Guardian Unlimited boss Emily Bell in an email exchange this week:
I've finally been nailed. Till now, I think I've come out at least even in all my debates with Web 2.0 boyz like Chris Anderson, Kevin Kelly and David Weinberger. But all good things come to an end. I've finally been outdebated. By a lady -- and an English lady at that.
Keen suffering a touch of the Boris Johnson's.
In my Guardian newspaper debate with Guardian Unlimited's digital supremo Emily Bell, she outwitted me and then took me to the cleaners. My hunch is that I went in a bit cocky, stuck out my chin and got a good walloping. She's a tough bird, that Emily Bell. I'm not debating her again.
A 'lady' and now a 'bird'? Love the macho fighting talk. I'd pay to see Emily actually wallop Andrew.
Speaking of being outwitted and taken to the cleaners, I'm appearing on the Colbert Report this Thursday (8/16). So those of you who want to see me get the mother of wallopings should tune in then. No doubt he'll make me the central comedy on Comedy Central (serves me right for idealizing mainstream media).

Some of Bell's counter-points (my emphases):
The internet challenges us all to up our game - it exponentially increases our audience, but it exposes frailty.

If the internet is so full of amateurish dross then it is no threat to the polished professional - but what you know Andrew, is that it is full of people who are potentially as good as, if not better than, those who have been fortunate enough to reside in a distribution bottleneck - and that is why you are scared.

Thank you for your praise for The Guardian and Guardian Unlimited, but without the internet we would not have reached a worldwide audience of more than 15 million a month. We have an exciting opportunity to invest in journalism for the future and build not just a national but international presence for liberal news and comment. Without the web, our particular future would look extremely different, and not in a good way.

Tell me who, under the age of 25, agrees with your golden ageism arguments? Nobody who grew up with the internet feels your sense of deathly cultural foreboding. Many of them are creating new art forms online which you would shudder at. That's the point. This is their rock 'n roll, and maybe yours has run its course.

I was snagged by your assertion that nobody under 25 had anything to contribute on issues of the new economy or, alarmingly, on Iraq. Or even on anything. I believe Colby Buzzell was 26 when he was posted to Iraq - maybe that extra year gave him the edge - but his blog, and the book that it yielded, My War: Killing Time In Iraq, is certainly more insightful than anything you or I could have written about the conflict.

There are plenty of valid and good reasons for wanting anonymity which I would not presume to question. But it means authenticity might be harder to establish. Or does it? I find myself turning up the authority on technorati searches - but it is not the authority of paid professionals, it is the authority of others who blog in the same area. Take, for instance, the blogroll on Jay Rosen's site: for someone interested in the development of the media it is a goldmine of interesting nuggets. I trust Jay not because he is a skilled academic but because he has blogged for years in an area which I am interested in and have some knowledge of. His posts are informed and attract informed opinion. If an anonymous blogger posts a damaging fallacy, how much resonance does it really acquire? More t

Amateur is not going to fully replace professional - it is idiotic and misleading to suggest it will. But it will supplement and expose mainstream media - in fact it already does.

Postscript: Keen's blog entry about doing the Colbert report.

Those Wikipedia edits in full ...

CalTech graduate student Virgil Griffith built a search tool that traces IP addresses of those who make Wikipedia changes.

WikiScanner is the work of Griffith, 24, a cognitive scientist who is a visiting researcher at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. Mr. Griffith, who spent two weeks this summer writing the software for the site, said he got interested in creating such a tool last year after hearing of members of Congress who were editing their own entries.

Mr. Griffith said he “was expecting a few people to get nailed pretty hard” after his service became public. “The yield, in terms of public relations disasters, is about what I expected.”

Mr. Griffith, who also likes to refer to himself as a “disruptive technologist,” said he was certain any more examples of self-interested editing would come out in the next few weeks, “because the data set is just so huge."

Here's Wikiscanner. It's slow but persist — I found edits done from my work PC (these were legit!).

It has "editor's picks" — showing the latest body to be 'outed' using WikiScanner.

The Independent has helpfully done a round-up of what's been discovered thus far about who's editing Wikipedia.

  • Exxon Mobil and the giant oil slick
    An IP address that belongs to ExxonMobil, the oil giant, is linked to sweeping changes to an entry on the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. An allegation that the company "has not yet paid the $5 billion in spill damages it owes to the 32,000 Alaskan fishermen" was replaced with references to the funds the company has paid out.

  • The Republican Party and Iraq
    The Republican Party edited Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party entry so it made it clear that the US-led invasion was not a "US-led occupation" but a "US-led liberation."

  • The CIA and casualties of war
    A computer with a CIA IP address was used to change a graphic on casualties of the Iraq war by adding the warning that many of the figures were estimated and not broken down by class. Another entry on former CIA chief William Colby was edited to expand his cv.

  • The Labour Party and careerist MPs
    An anonymous surfer at the Labour Party's headquarters removed a section about Labour students referring to "careerist MPs", and criticisms that the party's student arm was no longer radical.

  • Dow Chemical and the Bhopal disaster
    A computer registered to the Dow Chemical Company is recorded as deleting a passage on the Bhopal chemical disaster of 1984, which occurred at a plant operated by Union Carbide, now a wholly owned Dow subsidiary. The incident cost up to 20,000 lives.

  • Diebold and the dubious voting machines
    Voting-machine company Diebold apparently excised long paragraphs detailing the US security industry's concerns over the integrity of their voting machines, and information about the company's chief executive's fundraising for President Bush. The text, deleted in November 2005, was very rapidly restored by another Wikipedia contributor, who advised the anonymous editor, "Please stop removing content from Wikipedia. It is considered vandalism."

  • The Israeli government and the West Bank wall
    A computer linked to the Israeli government twice tried to delete an entire article about the West Bank wall that was critical of the policy. An edit from the same address also modified the entry for Hizbollah describing all its operations as being "mostly military in nature".

  • The dog breeders and fatal maulings
    A dog breeders association in America removed references to two fatal maulings of humans by the Perro de Presa Canario dogs in the US. In 2001 a woman was attacked and killed by two Presa Canario/Mastiff hybrids in the hallway of her apartment building in San Fransisco. Last year a pure-bred Presa Canario fatally mauled a woman in Florida.

  • The gun lobby and fatal shootings
    The National Rifle Association of America doctored concerns about its role in the increase in gun fatalities by replacing the passage with a reference to the association's conservation work in America.

  • Discovery Channel and guerrilla marketing
    A source traced to Discovery Communications, the company that owns the Discovery Channel, deleted reference to company's reputation for " guerrilla marketing".

  • MySpace and self-censorship
    Someone working from an IP address linked to MySpace appears to have been so irritated by references to the social networking website's over-censorial policy that they removed a paragraph accusing MySpace of censorship.

  • Boeing and a threat to its supremacy
    Boeing has made it clear that it is not just one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers, but is in fact the leading company in this field.

  • The church's child abuse cover-up
    Barbara Alton, assistant to Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison, in America, deleted information concerning a cover-up of child sexual abuse, allegations that the Bishop misappropriated $11.6 million in trust funds, and evidence of other scandals. When challenged about this, Alton claims she was ordered to delete the information by Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori.

  • Amnesty and anti-Americanism
    A computer with an Amnesty International IP address was used to delete references accusing the charity of holding an anti-American agenda.

  • Dell computer out-sourcing
    Dell removed a passage about how the company out-sourced its support divisions overseas.

  • Nestle and corporate criticism
    Someone from Nestle removed criticisms of some of the company's controversial business practices, which have all subsequently been re-added.

  • The FBI and Guantánamo
    The FBI has removed aerial images of the Guantánamo Bay Naval base in Cuba.

  • Scientologists and sensitivity
    Computers with IP addresses traced to the Church of Scientology were used to expunge critical paragraphs about the cult's world-wide operations. On biography pages for dead celebrities, links were added to articles by a Scientology front group suggesting that pharmaceuticals were responsible for their deaths.

  • News International and the hypocritical anti-paedophile campaign
    Someone at News International saw fit to remove criticism of the News of the World's anti-paedophile campaign by deleting the suggestion that this amounted to editorial hypocrisy. The original entry reminded readers that the paper continued to "publish semi-nude photographs of page three models as young as 16 and salacious stories about female celebrities younger than that."

  • Oliver Letwin and his great disappearing act
    An edit linked to the Conservative Party IP address expunged references to The MP Oliver Letwin's gaffe during the 2001 general election when he reportedly said he wanted to cut "future public spending by fully 20 billion pounds per annum relative to the plans of the Labour government" . The accompanying paragraph, explaining that when his own party failed to support the move he took a low profile on the election campaign, was also removed.

  • Some more:

    • Someone from SeaWorld's owners removed a paragraph about criticism of SeaWorld’s “lack of respect toward its orcas [Killer Wales]”.
    • Ebay deletes criticism of Paypal.
    • Last year, someone at PepsiCo deleted several paragraphs of the Pepsi entry that focused on its detrimental health effects.
    • Someone inside Wal-Mart Stores changed "Wages at Wal-Mart are about 20 percent less than at other retail stores," citing the author Greg Palast as the source, to "The average wage at Wal-Mart is almost double the federal minimum wage", citing Wal-Mart.
    • Last year, someone using a computer at the Washington Post Company changed the name of the owner of a free local paper, The Washington Examiner, from Philip Anschutz to Charles Manson.
    • A person using a computer at CBS updated the page on Wolf Blitzer of CNN to add that his real name was Irving Federman. (It is actually Wolf Blitzer.)
    • Someone at The New York Times Company changed the page on President Bush repeating the word “jerk” 12 times. In the entry for Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, the word “pianist” was changed to “penis.”
    • A member of Pope Benedict’s staff changed Gerry Adam’s entry to remove links to newspaper stories written last year that claimed Mr Adams was involved in a double murder in 1971.
    • A BBC employee changed US President George W Bush’s middle name from 'Walker' to 'Wanker'.
    • Someone from Al Jezeera changed Israel's entry to add: "Jews believe that they are chosen by God and that they are better than other people."
    • Someone from the United Nations changed the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci's entry to describe her as a “racist whore.”
    • Two Spanish TV stations exposed for performing an 'experiment' on John Lennon and Elvis Presley's entries.
    • Games trade association ESA removed references to mod chips which can be used to play pirated game software.
    • Apple employees editing the Microsoft page.
    • Someone using a Connecticut Police computer added " the holocaust is fucking awseome."
    • Editors from Christian-right Liberty University deleted the fact that Moral Majority leader and Liberty founder Jerry Falwell was fined in 1987 for illegally transferring funds for his ministry to his political action committees.
    • Someone in the South African Government added "'I think that was all bullshit, thats why I deleted it. Thank you motherfucker!" on being discovered editing the HIV/AIDS entry.
    • Someone at the ACLU added "during the Pope's final illness, he carried out many of the Pope's functions as leader of the Catholic Church, such as molesting young boys and degrading women."
    • FoxNews removed references to misquotes, legal brushes, bad ratings, and gaffes by personalities — and, once exposed, responded by attacking Wikipedia's credibility.
    The only people who seem to have come out clean from Griffith's 'disruptive technology' are Microsoft.

    In another blow to Andrew Keen, FoxNews and other anti-Wikipedia credibility types, they are now adding 'nofollow' tags to all outgoing links, thereby destroying Search marketeers attempts to 'game' Wikipedia.

    Postscript: According to TechCrunch, Google also come out clean.