Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Data Lock

Since I've had a few nitpicks over my description of Facebook as a closed service, let's talk a bit about open data. This is hugely important in the social media realm and in politics, and I'm passionate about it in both fields. Fortunately, enough other people are at least as passionate about this as I am and have already put in the time to put some clear information on the matter "out there" on "teh intarwebs".

While I would have preferred a more complete checklist of "social media" services, the article Wired posted a few months back entitled What Do We Want? Our Data. When Do We Want It? Now! does a pretty good job of summing up one of the biggest issues with social media sites - some of them let you take your data off the site, while others try to trap you in. The issue is actually a bit more complex in some cases - Flickr's policy, for example, is that only Pro users can use the bulk export tool to download all of their photos at once. For an initial overview, though, Wired's got the bases covered.

The world of open data in government has hit similar snags. Although this was one of the big things in Obama's favor last election (and the other side expressed interest in the topic as well), the current administration is still having trouble getting this right. Sunlight Labs has been tracking the progress on this front, criticizing fairly but lightly in the way that a group lobbying for openness must (Although a volunteer effort and something of a watchdog group, they are still essentially lobbying at some level). One of the biggest issues has been Adobe's lobbying efforts holding sway with many government offices even though Adobe formats aren't truly open. In most cases, a PDF file is more like a picture of a document instead of an actual useful document.

There are, of course, many other issues related to all of these - for government data, we want to be able to write programs that can parse and re-use the data, and with social network data, the ideal would be to make it possible to share between networks and directly download (and/or remove) all data and directly upload large amounts of data on any given site. I have a laundry list of issues with Facebook (expect me to post that here sooner or later - I actually logged on to that site once last week and saw it's as bad as it was two years ago when I previously logged on. Since I do not put any content on there, I will not be adding it to my "Stalk Me!" list on the sidebar here), but data lock seems to be one of the bigger problems and one of the few that most of us can agree on.

(In case you couldn't tell, this is one of a number of older "drafts" I've recently decided to clean up and post. Data lock is an important topic and while this is clearly just a start, I can always revisit this - so here's this much to get things started.)


Steven said...

I'm not surprised that you are a creep. I haven't seen you in years, but I do suspect you are one those creepy anti social people, especially the technocrat language you wrtie on this blog and the tone of the anti Facebook bitching thats on this post.

Facebook has since changed from the 2007 era of a completely closed network. Facebook is open if the account holder wants it open. Its up to the person to control the privacy.

I don't think some party girl wants her pictures tracked by the anti social creeps that run Google.

And since Obama raped the oval office, he's made government even more closed and private. There's an openess for you. C'mon I know big government, I went to school in Massachusetts for 6 years, and know the corruption of the hackerama there. I got a worse education because of government.

And if you are all about openess, then why do you screen (and sometimes don't) post some of the comments? With all my blogs, I have the door wide open, and only delete after the fact, if its needed.

I personally don't like Facebook because of the snotty, narciisstic college punks. As well with the constant changes of the generic Facebook experience. I am a New Englander, and I struggle with change. But this perspective comes from a person living in a upper class town in the New England region, and without and education from some lavish state operated university.

Dan said...

To start with, the reason to moderate comments is to keep spam and trolling to a minimum. Irrelevant comments don't help anybody. I try to keep things safe for a broad audience here, so I prefer not to let crazed rants and scammy bot-placed ads see the light of day. I do let offensive comments through if I feel that they add value in a way that outweighs their offensiveness. In this case, your comment is so absurd on its face that it's illustrative as an example of exactly why some comments shouldn't be made public. That comment crossed the line from ridiculous trolling into unintentionally hilarious nonsense.

You really think I'm a creep because of the tone I use here? It's not like I spend my spare time trolling blogs I don't like. To each his own I guess, but if you hate me so much, you probably shouldn't be reading this blog.

Your conspiracy theories here speak for themselves. Really, you think that the heads of a successful company are anti social creeps that want to track party girls? I'm sure their wives would find that entertaining. Your Obama bit is even more outrageous - yes, he's failed to live up to his campaign promise on that front, but claiming he's actually been doing the exact opposite thing even though he has taken small steps in the right direction is just dishonest (and that's ignoring your hyperbole). Did you want to tell a bad education anecdote that's only barely related? You hinted at one but didn't bother to finish it.

Then there's the bit about "worse education" - I can't imagine you'd have gotten much of an education at all if there were no government to fund it. Not that it seems to have helped in your case - I'd expect fewer spelling errors, fewer lousy sentences (how many did you start with conjunctions?), and fewer outright conspiracy theories from someone who learned English as a second language.

I know I shouldn't "feed the trolls", but you've done this a few times now. Give it a rest. I don't plan on letting irrelevant crazed rants take over this blog. It's a poor use of your time and mine to continue this nonsense.