November 2016 issue
To include updates about your project in the next edition of this newsletter, add it to the list of projects if it meets the criteria.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the freeculture.org newsletter. It is intended to collect information about projects consistent with the vision of free culture realized by projects like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap: a world where people can freely share in art and knowledge, entertainment and wisdom.
In this first edition, we're bringing you updates related to four projects: Common Search (a libre/nonprofit search engine), lib.reviews (a libre/nonprofit review database), freeyourstuff.cc (a tool to liberate data from proprietary websites), and Snowdrift (a libre/nonprofit platform for funding public goods).
If you're working on a project that could be relevant to the next edition, please join our wiki and add it, here: http://wiki.freeculture.org/Projects
A nonprofit search engine for the web
We are continuing to focus on reaching out to potential new contributors.
In October, we organized a 2-day sprint at https://2016.pycon.fr/ that resulted in 3 pull requests. We spotted a few improvements to be made in the documentation but we saw that new contributors can already be onboarded in less than 2 hours, thanks to our Docker images and tutorials: https://about.commonsearch.org/contributing
Our founder Sylvain will do 2 talks at the Apache Big Data conference on November 15 in Seville, Spain. The first will be on Common Search itself, while the second will be focused on open rankings and Spark. http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/apache-big-data-europe
A content liberation tool for supported websites
As of November 2016, in addition to previously supported sites (Yelp, IMDB, Amazon.com, TripAdvisor, Goodreads, Quora), you can now download your reviews from the following international versions of Amazon.com: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, UK.
A community for free and open reviews of absolutely anything
A few days ago, we released a new screencast that demonstrates some of our recently added functionality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjUasbFfCbU or https://lib.reviews/static/uploads/screencast2.webm
Most importantly, lib.reviews is now localized on TranslateWiki.net, and we've already enabled Bengali, Esperanto, Spanish, French, Macedonian, Brazilian and European Portuguese, Swedish, and Simplified Chinese, in addition to English and German. If you want to help with translations, please see: https://lib.reviews/team/6bfc0390-e218-4cb7-a446-2046cb886435/post/013b873d-7f3e-4cd5-9d88-ce6c37482c73
lib.reviews now lets you upload media files to illustrate review subjects, and you can associate your reviews with teams to collaborate with others and make them discoverable. We've also added Atom feeds for the list of all reviews, all reviews by a user, all reviews by a team, and all reviews of a given subject.
Add this URL to your favorite feed reader to keep up with development: https://lib.reviews/team/6bfc0390-e218-4cb7-a446-2046cb886435/blog
Crowdmatching for public goods
Though struggling with personal life distractions from the nearly-all-volunteer team, work has progressed to the point where the first usable version of the system is slated to launch this month! While not covering the fully working system as planned, the intitial launch will be a real-world, real money donation system for the site itself. Once any issues are worked out, and with adequate success, the next stage into the future will include opening the system up to other projects and thus operating as a full platform finally.
We have embraced the new term "crowdmatching" to describe the novel network-effect-driven many-to-many matching pledge at the core of the system. The new slogan for the site is "crowdmatching for public goods". The latter term, "public goods", clarifies the scope of our focus: all those projects that are non-rivalrous and non-exclusive. Of course, that means no special rights are exclusive (such as commercial rights or redistribution rights). Of course, we also focus on long-term, ongoing projects over one-off things, but we didn't want to worry about capturing that in the slogan.
The live site has been stagnant for months as we stripped out all sorts of useful but incomplete functionality that was stretching our resources too thin. The new functional launch will also coincide with the deployment of our stripped down site. Much work will then be needed to finish replacing the functionality (move to Discourse for discussions, for example), but we already have a working CiviCRM instance, mailing lists at https://lists.snowdrift.coop, GitLab running at https://git.snowdrift.coop/sd/, an updated wiki running Gitit at https://wiki.snowdrift.coop/ with a new format for our overview articles at https://wiki.snowdrift.coop/about, and project management at https://tree.taiga.io/project/snowdrift/. Getting everything up to date is one of the next challenges.
A few members of the Snowdrift.coop team will be at SeaGL this month, around which we plan to announce the launch of the new functional site!