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Anarchist News: June 2012 updates

Anarchist infrastructure. What do we need and how do we get it? It took a while for me to come around to the idea we needed infrastructure of the sort that anarchist news provides. Of course it isn’t enough but it is what we have and it is reliable.

Often times it is reliably frustrating: it is frustrating that this opportunity doesn’t magically reflect itself in constructive criticism & activity. It is frustrating that so many of us live isolated lives where the Internet is the closest we get to other like minded people, to other anarchists. It is frustrating that the growth of anarchism in North America isn’t demonstrable in obvious metrics like “winning” or “popularity” but with becoming the next boogey man that sloppy journalists and politicians will use to grow their budgets and sell their… (what does journalism sell again?)

Anarchist News is counter-information. It exists to give an anarchist perspective about the world that we live in and for anarchists to give that perspective. To tell that story better we have a number of new tools, upcoming functions, and a serious request.

TL;DR: Anarchist News is aggravating and important. It continues to add features. Now it will be more cautious about inappropriate comment (both admin & user submitted). This project costs; please donate.

New tools

  1. Tracker: http://anarchistnews.org/tracker. This is a good tool in general but a great tool if you are a registered user. I use it as my primary interface with the site (for reviewing comments)
  2. links: http://links.anarchistnews.org/ Eventually every anarchist link should live here. This is crowdsourced bookmarking. Help add all the things!
  3. @news pad: This is a brand new service. This is intended for anon communiques and other shared, collaborative, work. These links can be source of @news stories. Check it out! http://pad.anarchistnews.org/

Upcoming features

  • Site redesign: I’d like to do this but it’s been hard to prioritize this project. While I agree the site looks out of date (it based on slashdot code from 10 years ago) I am not sure how much this matter. There are three kinds of readers of @news as far as I can tell. Those who read the stories (only), those who read (every) comment (may emma save their souls), and those who read the rollers. I am not sure any of these three types would benefit from a big change. Perhaps there is an occasional drive-by reader who is turned off by the site, but obviously there are bigger issues for them to stick around. The bigger issues, for me, are that I would like to add some more functionality like more/different side bars (specifically based on International coverage and not-necessarily-anarchist-but-of-interest-to-many coverage) and probably ads. More on this later.
  • Crowdsourcing: A new feature to the general site will be the addition of a new landing page to organize and encourage people to help out with anarchist projects. This will start with more specific information for the Anarchist Library but also will include a yet-to-be-announced crowdsourcing translation project that will be enormous in scope.

Self-Criticism

This project has long since exceeded the size where I should just treat it like it is mine. There are hundreds of visitors here on slow days and thousands on normal days. There are several kinds of users to Anarchist News: readers (and posters) of stories, readers (and posters) of comments, and people in dialogue with the sites “meta” content.

I have occasionally posted “meta” content that led people to believe that I (worker) or the site (http://anarchistnews.org) was advocating for positions that we were not. I regret this and in the future will refrain from using images that exceed a PG (or rarely PG-13) rating. There are tons of (meta) conversations to have about this issue but suffice it to say that in the USA, even in the anarchist context, salacious material is distracting and creates a safe space for moralizing. This is not the Anarchist News project so this material will no longer be posted.

Additionally, I fee like the troll activity on the site was fun for a while, but has exceeded it’s expiration date. This will continue to be a hard line to hold (because the skeleton crew of moderators aren’t interested in becoming cops) but as we intend on growing the number of moderators who are active perhaps there will be additional intelligence on how to solve this problem well.

If you are interested in participating in these conversations (and possibly becoming a moderator for @news) drop me a line at worker@anarchistnews.org.

A Serious Request

It has been over a year since I’ve asked the site for cash. I would like to ask for it now. The best way to donate is to send $ via paypal or the LBC Link that’ll be below. The servers have recently jumped in cost which means that I need to raise nearly $700 to cover the expense (a bit over $100/server, 2 servers, quarterly payment). Later in the month I will ask for assistance more vigorously.





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