Global Kids, in association with the Markle Foundation, organized a very successful simulcast of a talk by Beth Noveck, Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the White House, into Second Life today. The event exemplified some of what I love most about Second Life: how diverse communities across distances can collaborate, engage in rich discussions, and have shared, immersive experiences together.
For once, I was not the producer of this event, but merely the in-world moderator, passing along questions from Second Life to Ms. Noveck, who was speaking from the Markle Foundation offices in Manhattan. My colleague Krista handled the event producer role with enthusiasm and attention to detail that made me proud, assisted by Joyce, Amira, and Bing from my team at GK. I did my best to transmit to Ms. Noveck as many of the excellent questions that came in from the virtual audience, as well as provide a flavor of the rich discussion happening in-world simultaneously during Ms. Noveck's talk.
Beth Noveck spoke eloquently about "Wiki Government" — the potential for social media to enrich and deepen our democracy, to make our government more efficient and transparent. And it's clear that Ms. Noveck gets what makes Second Life so powerful as a medium, despite all its flaws. So it was a unique pleasure being among nearly 100 avatars listening to a representative of the Obama administration talk like one of us about these social media tools.
I love my job.
Video and other reports on the event will be posted shortly to the Markle Foundation and Global Kids websites. Also read the report on the event on the Second Life Official Blog and Any1 Gonoid's excellent write-up on the CNN iReport website.
7 thoughts on “White House Deputy CTO Beth Noveck speaks in Second Life about wikifying government”
I’m a huge critic of Noveck as you know. I had a more important RL meeting to go to right at this time so I was sorry to miss it. After you get over the enthusiasm of having someone in power come into SL, you have to ask — but what about her collectivist ideologies? She entirely diminishes the role of the individual in favour of “groups” that she then swings around and says have to be run by certain leaders and rules — it’s really a scam to say it’s all about “openness” and “democracy” when it’s just the usual collectivism.
I have some simple questions about all of this I keep asking at every eruption of enthusiasm about the collosal boondoggle known as Gov 2.0:
1. Who gets to code the wiki, what procedures are policies in place for overseeing the coders of the wiki?
2. Do users of the wiki have buyin to its actual coding and function, or must they use at the behest of the coders?
3. Can you vote “no” on the wiki, are there polls and voting mechanisms not with just ratings, or pushes up a “yes” double-plus-good, but is there the capacity to say “no”?
4. How much of the code used is open source, and how much proprietary? How are these programs reviewed? Is the huge balloon cost of consulting required to run “free” opensource software projects also calculated in? What is the budget for the wiki and other “gov 2.0” social-mediaficiation ideas?
5. Who curates the wiki? How is the input of the citizens monitored, edited, aggregated, etc.? Who reads it? can you cite some examples of “citizens’ input” that wasn’t a feel-good?
and so on. There’s an awful lot of ridiculous hype around all this, like much of the web 2.0 hype itself.
There is a LOT more I could say about Noveck’s ideas — projects like group improvements of the patent system are a cover for a more insidious philosophy and even here, it’s not clear that in fact protecting copyright and intellectual property is ever a goal.
Here’s more of the *real* face of Beth Noveck. Saul Hansell, who is a groupie for collectivist ideologies himself, gloats about how the “Wonks” have triumphed over the “Trolls”. It’s disgusting:
This cannot stand, as it is antithetical to American democracy and freedom.
Thanks for your feedback, Prok. I was surprised to not see you there!
Yes, indeed, public accountability for code is an important question to answer for all government online initiatives. It seems to me that wiki’s are least vulnerable to claims of rigging of the outcomes, since there are well-known platforms out there that have been used by millions of users and coders. Still a very valid point to raise.
Don’t discount the value of “feel good.” People should feel good about contributing and participating. You should feel good after voting, after serving on a jury, after participating in a Town Hall meeting. Creating positive feedback loops is an important aspect of how we design participation mechanisms.
That said, “feel good” does not necessarily equate with true voice. That much is obvious.
But many online public participation tools make me “feel bad” which means that I and others won’t use them again.
WHAT exactly is MORE TRANSPARENT about WIKIPEDIA or SECOND LIFE.
From what I see LL is guilty of the most “inside” voodoo type communications and consumer abuse of almost any MMO publisher.
Check your Better Business Bureaus for complaints in the past.
Them’s some damning language. I’d be curious how you could even compare LL to Habbo, There.com, or Club Penguin on transparency and consumer responsiveness.
The only one that comes close is Metaplace, and they are just outta beta, run by that commie Raph Koster. (jk, Raph!)
Hi Rik! Any word on when the transcripts/video might be posted?
video should be early next week. Hopefully transcript will follow shortly afterwards.