The Week in Bloggingportal: ACTA, the crisis, and a half-naked EU Commissioner

To make a long story short: The best post I read during the week was L’Europe Libre’s observations on a speech Merkel held China on the topic of Europe. Besides this short geopolitical-philosophical dissection of the queen’s speech, the two major topics in our Editors’ Choice this week were: ACTA and the crisis. Yawn.

The ACTA “news”: Europeans are fighting ACTA and snow. The European Parliament is fighting ACTA. An EU deputy is defending ACTA. An Estonian thinks that ACTA is not evil but still bad enough to be rejected. Europeans protest against ACTA.

The crisis “news”: The European Central Bank is not taking its responsibilities in the Greek debt restructuring. Greece is (yet again) a test for European solidarity. That makes it three years of pain for the Eurozone. More than that: Youth unemployment is sky-rocketing. And Germans have their own perspective on all this.

In other news, people want a more democratic Europe or a more federal Europe or a reinvented Europe. An internet freedom activist talks to Neelie Kroes’ digital freedom in world advisor zu Guttenberg. And the EU Council innovates the way its meetings are organised – at least once.

In not so serious other news: All Europeans should speak Maltese so that they would understand why EU Commissioner Kroes is tweeting half-naked - which in fact she only does to rank higher in the Eurobarometer statistics on EU Commissioners’ recognition.

That’s it already. From a blogging perspective, your humble editor is not convinced that this was the qualitatively best Week in Bloggingportal. That is meant to be a self-criticism: The fact that our Editors’ Choice feed of the last seven days wasn’t as diverse and compelling as in some other weeks is entirely our fault – we didn’t dig up the additional hidden gems we should have found.

I don’t want this to be understood as a critique to those blog posts we have selected, but sometimes something is missing. It’s just a feeling you may get once you’ve written the Week in Bloggingportal for a while. Maybe you know what I mean.

So if you agree that we’ve missed something amazing – tell us in the comments!


Protesilaos StavrouFebruary 5th, 2012 at 13:26

My impression is that Bloggingportal needs to be redesigned bottoms-up. The idea of having a pan-European feed aggregator is excellent, but this is not enough.

Instead of searching for the “hidden gems” -which is quite a difficult thing to do in many respects – I believe that you should instead organize the blogs/feeds that you aggregate by topic of specialization. So you should provide multiple feeds instead of the main feed you now have. For example you should have different blogs/feeds listed in “economics”, others in “culture” etc., while you could also cluster them under regions or countries or language.

As such you would provide users with ample options for them to choose what best suits their needs. This will soon become an automatic system, that will require minimal effort from your side – if of course the initial redesign is done properly and efficiently.

Finally you could still have an “editor’s choice” feed to run in parallel with the thematic/category feeds that you will provide.

Easy navigation, specialized aggregation and efficiency should, in my view, be among the priorities of Bliggingportal, thus making your (and our) lives easier and better.

mathewFebruary 5th, 2012 at 14:43

Hi there, many thanks for dropping by.

Your ideas are actually already part of a half-prepared spec for bloggingportal I prepared a couple of years ago. More on that spec, and what happened next, in a recent post.

The problem with your idea is that it assumes that each blogger only posts on one subject – i.e, they’re all policy specialists. Such bloggers could make a real difference to building bridges between EU and national policy discussions (see Specialists required to build bridges), but today most Eurobloggers are specialised in EU affairs as a whole, so their posts are likely to vary enormously in topic, requiring post-by-post categorisation. Hence my advocacy of machine-driven semantic analysis, coupled with machine translation and federated search, as part or the solution.

Protesilaos StavrouFebruary 5th, 2012 at 19:03

Yes this can also help. Just to clarify that categories can be as broad as possible. At any rate the idea is to make the portal even more effective in bringing the European blogosphere together.

mathewFebruary 5th, 2012 at 20:38

Yep, something like BP is absolutely essential if the EU online public space is to really take shape. The main question is not What to do, but How to get the resources to rebuild it, and then provide a minimum level of curation. Any ideas on funding gratefully received.

FYI, I’d advocate exploring both broad categories and highly granular tags. The latter can map to the former using tag bundles – e..g, a post could automatically appear under a category if it was assigned one or more of the tags associated with that category. In this way a post can appear in one or more categories, and can be presented depending on its ‘tag bundle score’ (so a post which is tagged with 3 tags associated with a section would be more visible under that section than a post which only had one tag).

Most importantly, this allows for automatic categorisation, as semantic analysis software is probably better at auto-adding high granularity tags than broad categories.

BrusselsbloggerFebruary 6th, 2012 at 20:12

Just a quick note that Bloggingportal is currently also aggregating the tags defined in the original post. But we don’t use it as they seemed to be to generic at the beginning (i.e. many posts tagged “news”, “EU” or “politics”). But this doesn’t mean that one could give it another try. All data is there. It probably just needs some manual selection of blogs where tags can be “trusted” (like most ones from blogactiv, where they do tagging well).

herbertFebruary 10th, 2012 at 22:02 zu Guttenberg must leave the European Commission

simonfjFebruary 21st, 2012 at 23:44

That’s good Pro, Matt,

“The idea of having a pan-European feed aggregator is excellent, but this is not enough”. We’re having much the same discussion in the NRENs (national reseearch and education networks) at the moment, mainly as their euro association, terena. (although you won’t find many blogs, or much socialable comment above the radar).

If you draw a string between unis and the EC (as a large uni) the main message (from me) is that the world revolves around disciplinary-centric global groups. You can imagine the problem is that NREN’s world revolves around providing a backbone and services to “their” National unis, schools, etc. So it’s the same discussion so long as we consider e-government institutions to be aligning with the habits as those of e-ducation.

One thing which really turned my head on this post was that link which mentions the “EU Council innovates the way its meetings are organised – at least once.” For me, the is the main social change that needs to permeate the institutions, both .edu and gov. “at least once took me to that mm page. Couldn’t find the report (if you could point me). But the head turner was the little WAYF logo. Pretty exciting to see the institutional log-on used outside the unis.

For me, this is the main paradigm shift. People on one institution have the rights to get into services which are shared between others, to some degree. OK, just to use a blog is not exciting. But you should see all the other goodies which sit below the http layer. I suppose you haven’t a use for some spare time on a hadron collider? :)

So as far as the funding ideas go, I’ve got a few. Most are based around using combinations of goodies to open up discussions, between the usual suspects, in some remote room. We’ve had that discussion mathew.

One approach might be a catalyst. The terena guys are having their annual pow wow in May. It’s very hard for these moustrap builders because they, like everyone else, gets together in some remote room and ……………………… This event gives you an idea of how silly it gets. (just to give you some study to do, you might check out what REFED means – down the page). They could use a good media adviser as much as (EU) bloggers could use some good network managers.

So let’s leave it at that for now. I’m really interested in that report on the original spec. I’m more interested in the combination of goodies which you might see. Again, (using your gardening metaphor), one species of bloom is OK, but I’d much prefer, even as a horticultalist, to be presented with a nice “attractive” bouquet.

P.S. “The problem with your idea is that it assumes that each blogger only posts on one subject” AT ONE TIME – “i.e, they’re all policy specialists”. The (99% of the) rest of the time they’re just part of the crowd. Thanks so much.

[...] in 2012 we celebrated our 3rd birthday. The European Public will also remember its first victory in the fight against ACTA, a crusade that dominated the first semester together with the Eurocrisis. It thus seemed to be a [...]

Leave a comment

Your comment