• Good afternoon to everybody. My name is Giovanni Allegretti. I am the coordinator of the Centre for Social Studies of the Project EMPATIA, Enabling Multi-channel Participation Through ICT Adaptation.

  • As you can see on the website of the project, we are today hosting at the Centre for Social Studies a working seminar of a colleague who comes from Taiwan, whose name is Audrey Tang, and is a civic hacker that we met during a series of other international relation development project is having with different country and parents.

  • I had the happy opportunity to meet Audrey, which accepted to explain us a series of interesting movement that have been happening in Taiwan in the past year.

  • We thought in the beginning to do like a web seminar, but because it’s a person who has a lot of...

  • (chair skids)

  • ...so in person, we prefer to have Audrey here today. Because we had several friends who asked us to be able to follow the seminar without being able to be here, we are transmitting live stream seminar.

  • We hope seminar will be the opportunity especially for a large discussion on issue that could be of interest of whoever is interested to EMPATIA project, in terms of cross-cutting issues related to data, open data, to civic engagement and to the transfer of click activists to a stronger commitment in civic issues.

  • That’s one of the reasons why I will stop talking here, and I will leave the floor to Audrey, which is doing also wonderful drawings on screen.

  • (laughter)

  • Is that you waving behind me? I feel like an aura of something happening. I see people laughing, so I imagine people laughing on the other side of the screen. I leave to Audrey, so I will eliminate the possibility to draw so much. Maybe he’s doing a horn on my head.

  • (laughter)

  • I have been transformed into a cat. Perfect. This is the start. Starting with a laugh, it’s always something wonderful, so we are happy. We’re sure that it will be a wonderful seminar. If I’m not wrong, Audrey opens the discussion in every moment.

  • It becomes usually...it’s yesterday? No, two days ago, that you were doing the conference in Paris.

  • Yeah, two days ago.

  • That became like sort of collective workshop, so we hope that it will be the same today. I left the floor to Audrey. Thank you very much for being here.

  • I’m very happy to be here, and since this is a very small room, I would encourage people to just interrupt me at any time. You don’t have to raise your hand, but if I happen to be looking elsewhere, you just wave your hand or something.

  • The idea here is, that for next two hours or so, I will go through five different talks, and I have no idea which of those five talks are of more interest to you. The five talks in very quick order, is introducing the political context of Taiwan and the Taiwan’s, what we call the g0v civic movement.

  • I will use one particular example, a crowdsourced dictionary, to illustrate. Then I will talk about the Sunflower Movement. Is there anybody here who have heard of the Sunflower Movement?

  • We occupied the congress for 22 days, and it’s one of the very few Occupies that is successful, defined in the sense that first we reached our goals, and also, we have a stronger consensus after the Occupy compared to before the Occupy.

  • Then I’m going to talk about the national level politics that changed because of the Occupy. In particular I’m going to talk about how we use the same technology that empowered the Occupy, to talk with transnational issues like with Uber, and with Airbnb, and with the other globalized factors.

  • Before I begin, I would like to know how everybody prefers themselves to be called or recorded. I’m Audrey.

  • I am Michelangelo, and I also work in the EMPATIA project. You can call me Mike. My name Michelangelo, it sounds artistic.

  • Sure, artistic. [laughs] Great.

  • I’m Valdemar, and it’s a pleasure.

  • Do you come from Mexico?

  • No, Bolivia. I’m from originally Brazil, so I’m Portuguese.

  • I’m Bruno and I’m studying society and social movements.

  • I’m Jenna, but if you call me Jenny, it’s OK.

  • I’m Luis. I’m also a member of the project EMPATIA.

  • (laughter)

  • I’m the technical coordinator of the EMPATIA project. I am very interested in trying to understand from someone who also has some technical background, how this government and citizens’ involvement, how can we handle this in the city? I’m very, very interested in receiving your feedback and your experience.

  • I am Andre, not a Luis, but similar.

  • (laughter)

  • I work as a project manager here and I also work with the EMPATIA project with delivery.

  • (laughter)

  • Wisdom. You can call her Wisdom.

  • I’m Vanessa, and I also work on the EMPATIA project.

  • I’m Penn, and I’m a researcher here at CES. I am part of the EMPATIA project, too.

  • Without further ado, I will just go into my talk. At any point, please just stop me if I start using three-letter acronyms, [laughs] or if I am talking too fast.

  • Yes, we could have that bill, yes. Also, if people are interested to go more in details into any particular slide, we just stop in that slide and start doodling. If I look at people and feel that you feel bored, then I will just fast-forward that particular section.

  • Fork, here, means in the ICT context to take something that is already here, not eliminating, not countering, but taking its doing to some direction. We take it to another direction. When we take to another direction, we experiment.

  • You may fail, you may succeed. But the most important thing about the name fork is that we also are open to the possibility of the original maintainer. This is calling merging back our work, because the way it was made to work in the ICT industry was by people abandoning part or all of their copyright.

  • This is like, this week in Paris is Fashion Week. In many jurisdictions, like in the US and in Taiwan, actually, any fashion designs cannot be copyrighted because it’s a craft. It is something you use every day, so you cannot copyright this design. You cannot copyright a type of sleeve or something.

  • Anything that shows in the Fashion Week gets copied the next week by other designers, because there is no copyright protection. Exactly because of that, we see a lot of forking going on in the fashion industry.

  • Anything that catches on, be it a color, a style or something, it becomes experimented in very different ways. Then, if some of the good ideas emerge, then it becomes just part of everybody’s wearing. Not designer clothes is, but it comes the fashion of the year or something. That is how the fashion industry already works.

  • The open source movement in the ICT industry is trying to use the same model as the fashion designers do to make the open source work, so that people who write programs to do user designs, and so on can also experiment with all different directions based on existing work.

  • Only the good ideas would be merged back to the next version of its original project. This is a very interesting idea, primarily used in the ICT industry, but the way we work in Taiwan is that we apply this idea to the government, to the society, to the governance procedure.

  • I’m literally from the future. I’m eight hours in the future, which is Taiwan in this place. Then I’m very happy to be here, jet lag notwithstanding.

  • The point here is that in Taiwan, because we are a very young democratic country, we lifted martial law in 1989, and then the first presidential election was in ’96. Basically, people only have less than 20 years of experience with representative democracy. They’re not very good at it.

  • When we start to introduce the Fork the Government idea with direct democracy, with deliberative democracy, with participatory democracy, it was not like, “representative democracy has 200 years of tradition, and now we’re introducing someone with 20 years, like a challenger.”

  • It’s like, “Representative democracy has 20 years, and direct democracy also have 20 years, so they are on par with each other.” We can say, “We take a better idea here,” and the government is much more willing to listen, because they don’t have a long tradition to uphold.

  • Now, something about myself. I’ve been working in the ICT industry for 20 years, and retired in 2013. That means that I started working in 1994 as an entrepreneur. When I retired, I do what retired people do.

  • I start to work on charities, voluntary work, [laughs] caring about the community, making dictionaries, [laughs] things that retired people do. Because my ICT career was built around open source and free software, naturally, I do also my volunteer work in the same way as I do my ICT work.

  • This becomes a very interesting factor for me, because then I started talking to the very vibrant community in Taiwan, where we call the voluntary sector, which is people, not based on taxing and redistribution, and not on exchanging of money to services, but just by people donating their time. It’s the voluntary sector.

  • The magic thing with open source is that when I start making, for example, a dictionary, as an open source project, which I will talk about in the next talk, people in the first sector, academics, could very easily take the product and then make it part of the Oxford University Press Dictionaries, which is a non-profit, academic endeavor.

  • Or when I make other deliberation platforms open source, then the National Development Council in Taiwan is free to take it. Then this is the subject of another talk, but not only the first sector. The private sector is also free to take whatever research we did as part of this, and make it, too, so that Siri speaks better languages in part of its process, or there’s social text, social computing company.

  • The idea is that while I work all in the voluntary sector, because my work is free for everybody to use, I was able to build much stronger connections to the first sector, the public sector, and the private sector, as well. That is the basic mode amount of the cross-sectoral partnership.

  • Is that OK? Am I making sense? OK. That’s great. [laughs]

  • I started learning computer programming when I was eight years old in 1989. When I got my first computer as a gift from my dad, he then went to Beijing for the first time in his life, to cover this very interesting student movement that was going on.

  • We all know how that student movement ended. It’s the Tiananmen Massacre. He got back to Taiwan in time, so I still have a father. He then took a strong interest in civic movement, democratization. He decided to do his PhD in Germany, studying the dynamic of the Tiananmen Movement.

  • When he finds his professor in Germany, he visited Berlin, and something else happened in the same year, the Berlin Wall fell. Some people say it’s because of the Beijing Massacre that the German people decide not to repeat the same mistake. They were somewhat peacefully democratized.

  • Then I also moved to Germany to study with my father, because that’s his PhD thesis, is about interviewing all the people who were activists in Tiananmen, who flew to Paris, to Germany, to other places, when they continued their study.

  • They were just really students. They’re studying all sorts of different sciences, but was debate on how to make use of what they learned to help the democratization process. Certainly, the way that they choose to in the first did not work, so we talked a lot about what kind of ways would work.

  • I come back to Taiwan in ’93. That was a very interesting time because that was the first time in Taiwan when the Internet access was made available to everybody. That is not specific to Taiwan. The entire world was getting on the Internet at the same year.

  • The thing in Taiwan is that we have an education system that I was never fitting in, but I found on the Internet this very interesting project called the Gutenberg Project. It is a bunch of people typing the books, usually in the public domain, published before the First World War, and they digitized all the books for free for everybody to use and to read. That becomes my primary education.

  • Once I started to learn this way, the textbooks just lose their attraction to me, because that was how knowledge was being generated. In ’94, when Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web, introduced to everybody, I found that all the researchers who work on those classics, are online the same time as I am.

  • They were publishing their preprints on the World Wide Web, and had published their email addresses. Because the Web was so young, everybody was very eager to know each other. We worked a lot on all sorts of different things, from linguistics to AI, to all sorts of different philosophy, everything, mathematics.

  • The beauty of it is, across the Internet, nobody knows that I am a 13-year-old. [laughs] They treated me like a professor to another professor. We just did work together.

  • That becomes so addictive that I decided to quit school, because school takes 10 years [laughs] for me to reach that level, and also it would take another 10 years for the cutting-edge research to become a textbook to be taught in a university or something, from the preprints to the dissemination of knowledge.

  • I quit school and I helped to build the World Wide Web, because I took so much from the web, I wanted to give back. I’m sure that only the most geeky people will recognize all the projects that I’ve worked on. [laughs]

  • I think this one, in particular, made a lasting impact that probably everybody knows about, is the Wikipedia project where people use the same open source idea, but use it to produce human knowledge.

  • There is one common thing in all this different project I worked with, is that it’s facilitating a safe space, where nobody could censor each others’ speech or drive a tank, or something, to stop other people from talking. In this relatively safe space, we can learn from each other, and just try one a time and many times, until we have something that’s working.

  • Before Wikipedia, there were at least 10 different projects like Wikipedia that I participated in personally. None of them worked, but the Wikipedia somehow clicked. It’s OK, because over the Internet, it costs nothing to fail. It is not a scarcity economy. We just keep trying until we get something that is acceptable to the world.

  • This is my colleague, Lu Chia Hua, who is the primary trainer of facilitators of participatory, and also deliberative, democracy in Taiwan. She said, “Behind every technology we should identify the values that identifies why we’re pursuing this kind of technology.”

  • My value was very stable for the past 20-something years. It’s just this value of the early Internet, that it was built through rough consensus. That’s all about me, is that OK? People are generally OK. The first talk I like to share with you is the g0v story.

  • In Taiwan in 2013, there’s maybe 90 percent of Internet users on Facebook. It’s the most popular Facebook place in the world. There is a prediction that says by the end of this decade there will be more Taiwanese Facebook users than Taiwanese people. That means that more...

  • (laughter)

  • We have that problem with cars. We have more cars than people.

  • (laughter)

  • Exactly. At least Facebook accounts doesn’t create congestions.

  • (laughter)

  • The idea is that people have more than one account. That’s first. Everybody’s on Facebook, and there’s a lot of activists, people, bloggers, civic media people that were very influential, like the author Zhang Dachun here.

  • Anything that he writes about the politics on Facebook gets any number of likes, shares, and so on. Of course Wired interviewed him, saying, “You are a very famous writer and sometimes a political commentary reaches any number of people, so do you think it will be a catalyst for civic participation?”

  • He was very cynical, because he thinks that people who share and like his political writings are not the same people who will go to the streets. When he calls people to the streets, the call to the people to the streets posts gets hundreds of thousands of likes but 10 people came, or something like that. [laughs]

  • The conversion rate is really, really, really low. He says that is because people are so lazy. They would spend only, at most, one minute of their time on Facebook in response to any call to action. Calling them to go on street takes more than one minute.

  • They will just click like, share, and feel as if they have participated. This is what we call clicktivism. He thinks the idea is that we need something practical that allows lazy people to engage in an action that makes a difference. This is called one minute limit.

  • The g0v is basically a movement that builds ways for lazy people to engage in real action. I’ll take one very concrete example. This example is called a CAPTCHA. I assume everybody knows what a CAPTCHA is.

  • This is the way to tell whether you are a human not a robot, by typing in some random numbers or text from an image. It works until maybe last year, because this year, AIs are better than humans for this. This doesn’t work anymore. It used to be that this tells a human from computers.

  • What we did was that we built a web site that asks people to just type here whatever they see from the CAPTCHA box, and then click enter.

  • We say when you do that, you are saving the country, because what this is is the campaign finance record of all the elections that came before in Taiwan, which were kept in a paper-only form in this building the corrective auditing organ.

  • The law that mandates this kind of sunlight campaign finance record was done in an era with only papers and Xerox printers. The law, the bill says anybody can walk into this building, and require a photocopy of the tape of the campaign finance record, but you cannot download it. You cannot take a USB, disc, or anything.

  • Now, of course, people proposed change to the law, so that we can download it over the Internet. If you think about it, the only negative stakeholder of this change are the parliament legislators. While the entire nation wants this, the legislators, they schedule it, but they never really debate it.

  • It was always the last bill to be debated by the end of the session, so it’s never really actually voted on. It kept that way. Instead of rallying, protesting, or something, we decided to do something. We send people there to print these out, then we scan it, and we ask people to digitize it.

  • To do what the government would do but do it ourselves, this is the idea of forking the government. This takes only five seconds, and you’re saving the country. Now, when we take the print out like this, A4 paper, I tried.

  • It would take maybe two minutes or three minutes to type it as a cell or something like a spreadsheet. It’s too much. If we ask people to do this over the Internet, nobody would come. Why do we know? Because we tried.

  • Then we used technology, OpenCV, to cut this in to bite-sized tasks, what we call Tofu. Then for each one, you will just take five seconds. It’s the same amount as a like, a share, or as a comment on Facebook.

  • Instead of seeing more cute cat pictures, you can feel you are saving the country. That draws a lot of people. In fact, when we built a gamification website of this data, if people here have played FarmVille, Candy Crush, or any of those games, you know that as long as you have a progress bar and a counter, the countdown, and it says how many people are playing with you.

  • People will spend all night, not sleeping, doing some very repetitive task, just to see the progress bar reach 100 percent. This is human nature. [laughs] Basically, it became very addictive. People were calling each other to save the country by playing this game.

  • Then we have a lot of designers who made very cute banners of Tofu to call people to action. In the first 24 hours, the first batch that we brought out from the corrective building, like more than 300,000 records, were digitized by 9,700 people in 24 hours.

  • This kind of OCR technology, we call it the Otaku Character Recognition. Otaku is a Japanese word meaning nerd. This is geeks. Basically, geeks who have nothing to do but just swiping their phone or something help to do the character recognition. Now, we have to complete campaign finance record of the past elections.

  • Now, of course, when we have this data, and publish this data the corrective again said, “This is a not-so-good idea that you do this, because while you can say every Tofu has at least three people looking at it, two of them must agree, and so on, you cannot be 100 percent sure. You cannot be 100 percent sure this is actually what was printed.”

  • What we said was, “OK, so, you publish it. Then you can be 100 percent sure. Before you do this, we will keep doing this civil disobedience, because there really is nothing illegal of this kind of work.”

  • Now that they feel the pressure, we started doing a lot of data analysis. Based on this kind of data, we can correlate any legislators with the kind of donation that came, the individual donations, how it correlates to their portfolio, their stock options that they have purchased, the voting records that they did.

  • Also, when the campaign finance came from large corporations, we also have a network that says the holdings of those corporations. We also, because each legislator in some counties have this recommendation where they could recommend the building and constructions.

  • We also correlate the building of constructions and the owner of those companies, versus the companies that have donated to the legislator. This became kind of useful, [laughs] so that you can decide what kind of legislators you really want for your city. Then at the election of...

  • I have a doctor on the issue of the timeline. What you were analyzing first was a system of the nation, so the campaign. The other one that you show, this last one, was about during the legislation, what they asked to be done with the public money. You had to take, like, five years’ time.

  • That means, because you have to analyze what the legislator did during the mandate.

  • Exactly, exactly yes.

  • Yes, that’s a great question. When we do the voting guide, as Gio said, we could only really do this before and after analysis for people who are going to be re-elected, so that we can correlate their actual performance. For people who are going running for the first time, we cannot do the same kind of analysis, for obvious reasons.

  • Many people run for legislator, but before they are running for legislator, they are running for the county, a country counselor or city level counselor. There is still a track record on the national level, even if they are running for the first time for the parliament. They also already have a campaign finance record level on the local government before.

  • You started backwards from the ones that were candidates?

  • You chose the new candidates, and you see how many of them had passed? The lucky ones were those that were running for the first time, because they didn’t have any control on their previous mandate, because there was no mandate.

  • On the other hand that also was the more disadvantaged ones, usually, right, when they are running for the first time?

  • This kind of oversight is a net negative to peoples’ political capital. Actually, as you said, these people are lucky, but when they are doing their campaign finance planning and so on, they were doing under the pressure that they will be compared with the people they are running with.

  • By the end of the campaign, within 30 days, we will publish everything that they have done during the campaign. They must be very careful because otherwise it will look very bad, even if they are elected.

  • It’s funny, because what I imagine is, essentially, I think that, because we have a prejudice against the representative politics, I mentioned that somehow you were rebalancing the problems of the newcomers. You were reducing the image of transparency of the one, the previous government.

  • Exactly, the establishments, yes.

  • There were, for example, cases in which you could show that there were, for example, no direct relation between the funding and what they had done. Did someone emerge as particularly honest or not, involved within...

  • Exactly. That’s a great question. Yes, for example, for the city level voting in the end of 2014, there is a record number of independents running. Even an independent won the Taipei, the capital city, mayor, was a surgeon, who never participated in the politics before.

  • The environment was such that, when each county or each city click into here -- you see 18 precincts and 87 people running -- when you click into it you will see the analysis, as we talk about, but also a discussion board under every candidate.

  • People would crowdsource extra information based on what the public record and things like that. The primary use of this is that there were one legislator who said -- actually the one that I was showing on the photo -- [laughs] who said he is unbiased, he is bipartisan. He is not a party member. He often vote against his party line.

  • Then we go back to the legislative record and found that he never really did that. He was saying this on public television, because before, in mainstream media you can get away with saying anything, because people are not fact-checking it. If people are fact-checking it, it’s already past the news cycle anyway, so some people won’t pay attention to the corrections, even.

  • With this kind of technology, as soon as that person starts saying this, the commenter started saying, below, saying that, “But that is not the case.” His office has to issue a correction saying, “Oh, we don’t mean by the previous, because he was five terms. We don’t mean the previous term. We mean the terms before that.”

  • Then we speed up the digitization. In the 24 hours after that, we digitized everything in the previous terms and found out he really never voted against the party line in any of the previous terms. That becomes a tremendous pressure on the legislators to watch what they speak publicly about their past records.

  • Whereas before, you would take days or weeks in a news cycle to correct or to find the flaws in their speech, now, it is a matter of hours or even minutes, and that changed the dynamics.

  • People would click into it and say, “My precinct has 22 people running for councilor, and after I see this website I now only have to choose between two.” People become much more informed, and informed in a very quick way, of what kind of legislators they really want. This negates somewhat the mainstream media on a representative democracy.

  • We can also see which legislator received campaign donations from their own parties. We can analyze the Nationalist Party versus the DPP party. The red one was a, I must say, ex-mobster, because he’s not really a mobster now. [laughs] An ex-mobster who is very rich, so he can finance his own campaign.

  • The idea is that we make it very clear who is getting how much money from what. This kind of crowdsourcing of campaign finance records, of the news, and so on is not limited to domestic policies.

  • When we’re doing campaign finance records, we get contributions from outside Taiwan also, because you don’t really have to know Chinese. If you can read digits, you can help us digitizing the campaign finance records.

  • When the international community needs help, we also help to do, for example, this is working with the Humanitarian Open Street Map Team. Open Street Map is like Wikipedia, it’s a crowdsourced map.

  • When Nepal had this earthquake, all the major maps like Google Map, Bing Map, or Apple Map only really have the mapping data around Kathmandu and the major city connections. The street car doesn’t really drive to those rural areas, but those were the hit most hard by the earthquake.

  • What the HOT team did, in conjunction with the local chapters, was that we divided the satellite image that was taken before the earthquake into very small, again Tofu. Then we let people who have never mapped for their everyday lives take a half-hour course.

  • Then start to look at just one tiny piece of the satellite image, and mark the roads and the buildings on it. That’s all we ask them to do. Then again, just like the Tofu OCR project, it has to be two or three people looking on the same grid.

  • Then a mapping expert will do the review cycle, and so on. All this was done in 24 hours. After 24 hours of the earthquake, the satellite company donated the post-earthquake satellite image. That is the first time after disaster recovery we get donation in such short time-frame.

  • For the second day, people focused on the post-quake imagery, doing exactly the same thing, but now marking which roads are broken, and which buildings or camps have appeared, whereas there were nothing before on that grid.

  • On the third day, when the United Nations, the Red Cross field team came, they have an open street map on their mobile phone that shows which roads are broken, so you cannot enter there, and where are the refugees gathering, so you best deploy your logistics there.

  • This is something that couldn’t really be done with their ordinary helicopter, or any this kind of work. This has to be done on the satellite level. Of those 2,000 mappers, maybe 200 of them were from Taiwan.

  • Our President-elect, Dr. Tsai Ing-wen -- she was still only a presidential candidate at that time -- she held a launch on Facebook and other social media to call for her supporters to do this kind of humanitarian work.

  • What I’m saying is that with this kind of tool, the boundary of nations no longer exist. As long as we turn something into a crowdsource project, we can do this kind of crowdsource work anywhere. We can map all the buildings and all the roads that was impacted by the Nepal earthquake.

  • Using these as examples, I want to say that g0v, this movement, is really way for three different kinds of people to learn from each other, something that they have been missing in their previous lives. The core people, the first of our people who started to register the domain of g0v.tw had a very simple idea.

  • All the government websites in Taiwan ends with gov.tw. So, for example, the environmental agency is this. Now if you change in your browser the "o" to a "0" you get into the shadow government that is built by g0v.

  • It shows exactly the same data as the environmental agency. But whereas the environmental agency shows just tables, readings, and very boring things, in the g0v environmental agency, you see pretty pictures. [laughs] This is the air pollution level at this point.

  • People use that in news broadcasting, in everyday, because it was very useful. It’s a lot of fun. You can see the PM 2.5, the O3, the rainfall, whatever. Because it’s open source, you can look at the data, the code, and if you don’t like the color, you don’t like the font, or if you don’t like the way that the progression was spent, you can contribute very easily.

  • You can customize the visual?

  • Exactly. Yes, you can just click the edit button. It didn’t start this way. It started in a much more geeky way, but then we have professional designers who are very much into this Japanese comics and manga called “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”

  • He used that font from the Eva, Evangelion fonts, so that it now looks like something from a cyberpunk design. [laughs] That was the idea, anybody who want to make contributions made contributions. This is much cooler than the government website for obvious reasons. [laughs]

  • The data were the same, where exactly by the same source?

  • Yeah, we have web scrapers or whatever to take data from the government, but we present it in a way that’s open data, and that allows everybody to customize.

  • While in the previous thing you show us, you created new data. For example, in Nepal. In this case, the data source was not put into that. You were accepting the data, and just helping them to be more clear and visible?

  • Yeah, exactly, and also mashing up it with other sources of data. It works with all the major government organs. For example, the legislation is "ly" and so if you change to ly.g0v.tw, you see all the bills being debated, and it’s like a shopping cart.

  • You can see a progress bar [laughs] of where the bill is, and you can see a difference that shows in red and green, the before and after bill, the way geeks like it. [laughs] That was the initial group of people.

  • It is not just the geeks, because while we are the open source, hands-on hackers, we were actually not domain experts at civic participation. The traditional NGO people, the traditional mobilizers, organizers, people like that, they were very far from us.

  • There were very little overlap between people who actually understand environmental campaigning, like the Greenpeace people, versus the people who do this environmental visualization. We actually got a lot of things wrong in our first tries because we were not environmental experts.

  • We had to make contact. We made contact first with the people in the civic media like the bloggers that I mentioned, who has this very cynical view, because they thought this software cannot really change anything. Facebook doesn’t really motivate people.

  • Then we say, “If you go to our hackathon and present your ideas, we will help to amplify your idea, and then to reach more people into actually make a real impact.” Basically, we teach them this hands-on spirit of not just writing blogs but doing something.

  • Then we engage with the social activists, who are again, very hands-on, very public-spirited, but their main problem was that they don’t trust strangers. This is a fact. [laughs]

  • There’s a lot of, I wouldn’t say schism, but doubts of people going to different directions or a misleading data or whatever. The first thing they ask is always, "How do we know that our opposition movement will not feed us fake data?” or things like that.

  • The way we work with them is showing that, with sufficiently number people and ICT technology, we can build a peer review system that is safe against vandalism, and doesn’t have data that you care about. We teach them the idea of open source, while they teach us the idea of the public spirits, the areas of concern.

  • Because g0v is using this domain, we are not limited in our projects. For every government agency or ministry, there is some social activists working on that area. It’s not limited to just elections or democracy. It could be environment, agriculture, education, whatever, you name it. There is a ministry for it. There is a g0v website for it.

  • This is three very different kinds of people, but because we learn from each other, we generally build something that is useful for all the three different groups of people. The way we do it is with very good food.

  • We hold every month hackathons and a large hackathon that happens every odd month. Like in March, it’s March 5, the open day that day. We have anywhere between 100 and 600 people in the same building, in the same room.

  • We use the standard, what we call the Open Space Technology. You’ll be aware that I don’t use three-letter acronyms. [laughs] Open Space Technology, it’s spelled out in full. We have this large room where we invite people from all walks of life to join and to share food with us.

  • When people ask about, “Where do g0v gets the money?” Well, it’s our campaign finance. We say that we only spend money on really good-quality food. It’s not that much money. We don’t spend money on anything else. We use free software. We don’t buy commercial solutions. It’s all zero or very near zero cost.

  • We spend a lot of effort and time to think about very good food, because a month after a monthly hackathon, most people forget about all the projects and all the people, but they will remember the food. If the food is particularly good, they will be inclined to join us on the next month. If the food is so bad, they will say bad words about our community. [laughs]

  • You rely on low instincts of man?

  • Yes, the very basic instinct of people. Very good coffee and so on. We have a special domain called g0v.cafe, [laughs] where you can issue, print, and get this very high-quality instant coffee with g0v printed on it. It’s our souvenir. If you go to this web address, we ask for donations for the hackathon’s coffee and food.

  • That’s our fundraising way. When we raise funds and spend it on high-quality food, we spend everything immediately, so we don’t keep capital. When we run another month of the hackathon, we ask again for donations.

  • For your donations, the only thing you get is a guaranteed ticket to the hackathon. [laughs] This is purely without commercial interest. Because the hackathons were sometime very popular, they got sold out in hours. A guaranteed ticket to a hackathon is still very valuable. People were willing to sponsor for that, for the good food.

  • What I’m saying is that with this way of, the thing in common between the social activists, the free software people, and the civic media, is they love good food and good coffee. They come for the food.

  • When they join us early in the morning, in the hackathons -- as I explained, the large ones every two months. It’s 100 people. The every other month is maybe 50 people or smaller -- you will see a bunch of stickers on the large hackathons. Those stickers -- each one is like this high -- you would take the sticker that describes you.

  • For example, maybe I’m good at storytelling, maybe I’m good at making music, maybe I’m good at coding Python, or something. Then you take the stickers that represents your interests and put it on your shoulder. There’s also write-in stickers called “Nobody.” [laughs]

  • If you have a proficiency that we don’t have a listing here, you can write it yourself. If sufficient people use this, then we’ll print it on our next version of the stickers. This goes through many iterations.

  • This idea of the stickers have two issues that could interesting for us. The first one is that in some parts of Germany, people has stickers to declare their belonging to lobbies or potential...

  • For example, membership of an association of shopkeeper, trade unions, and all that. In order that when they speak, when they talk in public, people know from what position they are speaking, if they have one.

  • The second issue is that normally Open Space Technology have the Two Feet Law. That means that if you cannot contribute to a self-organized group, you go away in the next one. Here, you can see what kind of people there is there.

  • If you think there are too many engineers in that area or too many cook in that area, you can move not for feeling or not a tease in the group, but because you think that the group is too homogeneous.

  • Exactly. This is a diversifying way of the walking rule. This is not voting. This is diversification.

  • When you join for the first time you will take a deer sticker. Then, when you’re here for many times, a veteran, you will take a Taiwan bear sticker, and put it somewhere prominent. What are those stickers for?

  • The process is all day, sometimes two days. In the beginning of the day, everybody who has an idea -- “I want to do campaign financing. I want to do recall campaign. I want to do” whatever -- then I go on the stage, use PowerPoint, or some other tools to make a pitch for three minutes.

  • At the end of the pitch we ask everybody to declare how many people of what expertise do they need for this project to function. For example, for a public finance campaigning project, they will obviously need one engineer, and one designer, front-end designer.

  • They will need one legal people to negotiate with the corrective union, and they will need a storyteller to turn this into a public design for social media. That’s the initial four talents that we need for it to succeed.

  • Now, after maybe 20 projects, each present their ideas, people start to play musical chairs. That is to say, they crowd around the corner where the projects need those declared number of people. You can see it at a glance that this project already has an engineer, as the engineer go elsewhere.

  • Or that this project doesn’t really have a storyteller, as a storyteller, you will join them. By the end of maybe 10 minutes, 15...

  • Sort of markets of talents?

  • Exactly, yes. Then, by the end of maybe 15 minutes...

  • Yes, it is. There will be a lot of a deer caught in headlights, staying in the same position, not sure where to go. [laughs] There will be a lot of bears coming one on one, joining to the side of this first-comer, and start to talk with them, saying, “What is your concern usually? What brings you here? What is your daily life? What kind of issues you care about? Walk with me.”

  • By the end of the walk, they will find themselves in a project. That is the kind of mentoring that we do. For a 100-people hackathon, usually maybe 40 people or 30 people will be first time in the hackathon.

  • Currently the demographics is about maybe 20 percent engineers, 20 percent designers, and then other people, storytellers, news media people. There’s a lot of public servants now and people from all walks of life.

  • Then they have a project now, which we call kou, meaning a gap. The reason why we don’t call it a project is that people who are founding projects, in Chinese at least, have this notion of project leader, a project commissioner, a project organizer.

  • Sometimes people just identify a gap, and then they walk away. They just really have an idea, and they work on some other thing. They should not have authority or control on the people who actually fill the gap to do the actual work.

  • By rephrasing things this way, by identifying a gap in reality, where we have to hack on, we erase this kind of top two-button function of organization, so anybody who walk into this gap is a contributor. Then we hack for an entire day or two days.

  • Now, after the entire day or two days, every project has five minutes at the end of the closing day to present what they have built over the day. Usually, they will have the prototype already, because they have the right talents.

  • Then their presentation would say what in the next month, what is their participation policy? Some projects will say, “We meet every Friday after next month.” Some projects would say, “We meet in this chatroom in IRC, in Slack.”

  • Some project would say, “This is a long-term project. We just meet again at the next month’s hackathon.” Every project is different, but this is very important because then it connects people who already connect to the project to future meet-ups.

  • Many projects have this weekly meet-up where it’s just three people, five people, seven people, but they do sprints to make the project actually happen between the large hackathons. When you participate in those sprints or meet-ups, you will meet more people.

  • Then you will tell those people that hackathons are a great place, so they will join the next month’s hackathon and identify more projects. [laughs] This really is a circle, and g0v is not an organization, this is just a way of doing things.

  • Its just a habit, a way of living. Anybody who come is a participant, and who contribute is a contributor. We don’t have a leader. We don’t have a spokesperson. It’s just space, really, online space and offline space.

  • I’m curious of one thing.

  • My question was quite simple. Just give us some example of projects recently, you came up with this hackathon mechanism, just whatever. Doing this kind of project that has strong ICT content, or there are projects that are completely...

  • Yes, that was my next slide. [laughs]

  • My question was different. You often say “we,” and so, I was trying to understand the “we” you say, what is referred to. Now, you are talking about something which is a space of encounter, and not a movement. When you say “we,” you talk about what exactly?

  • In order to be a g0v project, the only requirement is, if it’s a coding project to use a open source license, meaning that other people can use your product without asking your permission.

  • If it is a non-coding project, we ask people to use Creative Commons, which again, is a way to say people can copy your work without asking you. When I say “we” and people who agree to this protocol of social...I would still say it is a movement.

  • People say open source movement, the Creative Common movement, the free culture movement, but this is not specific to Taiwan, or specific to g0v. It is a global -- not even global -- this is a both global and also on the Internet, mixed-reality kind of movement that is happening all around the world.

  • g0v really is like a gateway into this wider, world-wide movement that is defined by the open source and Creative Commons, free culture movements. When I say “we,” I mean the people who see this way of doing things, and is willing to contribute or at least participate under this protocol.

  • Any other questions?

  • Do you think that others also use “we?” You feel a strong identification with those principles. Do you think that this is spread around, so you all behave in the same way?

  • Yes, exactly, because we don’t really have a spokesperson. There is nobody who speaks for g0v. This used to confuse the media to no end. They would say, “I would like to interview your leader,” and we were like, “We don’t have any leaders.”

  • There was a very early motto of g0v that says, “Don’t ask why nobody is doing the work. Admit first that you are that nobody.” This is a combination of many different slogans before, [laughs] but this means that it is OK to start doing something imperfect.

  • When the media people says, “Why is nobody working on the project?” we will say, “Be that nobody. You come to our hackathon, and you start a project.”

  • This is a way, what we call, “Worse is better,” which is a core open source tenet. This is an example for you. This is 0th g0v hackathon. We count zero-based, we’re geeks.

  • On the 0th hackathon, there is a logo of g0v that was designed by two coders, two friends of mine. I wasn’t joined in g0v at the time. I joined two months later.

  • They were brilliant coders. They were master hackers, but they sucks at visual design. Anybody here can design a better logo than this. It’s very difficult to get an uglier logo than this, especially with the JPEG artifact.

  • This is so ugly. They had the guts to print this in A1, hang it in Academia Sinica, in open space as a welcome banner, “This is the g0v hackathon. Come and join us.”

  • For the 100 or so, 90 people joining, it became a very sore spot, because it’s so ugly. One of the visual designers wrote on social media that, “This is so effing ugly that I cannot do anything productive, unless I make a better logo.”

  • We infuriate a visual designer. He just looked at this very ugly logo, feeling completely outraged, and produced a better logo. This is at the end of the day at the hackathon. This is his only contribution, because he is immobilized. He cannot do anything else, so now, he makes something better.

  • This is like discussion. This is actually a lot like your logo. This is a lens that is viewing the society, and then this is melting. It has some culture in it, and it’s much easier on the eyes.

  • Then, because he abandons copyright under Creative Commons Zero, people were free to then iterate, to improve on this idea, which is very important, because this doesn’t look so well on mobile phone. If you look at it in a very low resolution, it doesn’t look like G-O-V or G-0-V anymore.

  • It will look like G-Q-V. We registered gqv.tw just because of this, [chuckles] because people typed in the wrong way. Then it was iterated. A much better visual design came, which looks like this. On low resolution, we just show the square, which is very identifiable as a zero.

  • Without the two shameless people who published their ugly work, they would not infuriate a designer. If they do not infuriate a designer, we would not have a better logo. It’s very minor things like this. We overcome the Asian culture of what we call “losing face.”

  • There is nothing to lose while doing something imperfect. There’s this Leonard Cohen song that says, “There is a crack in everything, and that is how the light gets in.” Without this imperfect thing, nobody will come and help, but if you do something a very ugly way, everybody will come and help you. [laughs] That is the basic operation way that g0v works.

  • That’s the first hour. Is it OK with people?

  • Now, a larger project. This is the project that brought me into g0v, and it is a dictionary. It is the Ministry of Education Dictionary.

  • It is not the project that was born inside the hackathon?

  • It was, but it was on the first hackathon. It used to confuse the media, because the first hackathon is the second hackathon. The zero was the first. [laughs]

  • On the first, which is really the second, hackathon, we started this project called the MoeDict. By last year -- actually, this is an old slide -- we have seven million visits per month, and we have half a million Android, iOS, Windows phone, Symbian, Blackberry, or whatever users.

  • People really use this to teach in school, Chinese, because Chinese in Taiwan is spoken in many, many different ways. There’s Mandarin. There’s Taiwanese Holo. There’s Taiwanese Hakka. There’s also the Taiwanese Austronesian upper region Amis. There’s also Tibetan, because of the Tibetan Buddhism influence, there’s people from the mainland China, who came to live in Taiwan, and so on.

  • There’s just a lot of different ways Chinese and Austronesian language is spoken in Taiwan. This dictionary website, this project, integrates everything together. You can type in French, in German, or in English, see the Chinese word, and how the Taiwanese Hakka, Holo, Mandarin people pronounce it, the strokes of how it should be written, and so on. It’s a very useful website.

  • It started in the first hackathon, by my very old friend Yeh Ping. He was a physics professor, quantum physics, in National Taiwan University, but he joined Google Taiwan, to work on Google’s cloud center in Taiwan. After working in Google for a few years, he moved to the Valley. Now, he works on Google Analytics, I think.

  • When he moved to the US, he brought his children with him. He found that it’s very difficult to teach his children Chinese when he was in the US. Learning Chinese is hard enough, [laughs] but learning Chinese in a foreign country is very difficult.

  • The way we learned Chinese in our generation was through the Ministry of Education Dictionary, which was available as a website in the Gopher protocol. Many people here will not remember this, but before the World Wide Web, there was Gopher. There was Archie.

  • Those were the pre-World Wide Web kind of World Wide Web. That’s how we learned the dictionary, because it was published on Gopher. Of course, after the World Wide Web came, everything becomes the World Wide Web, so it has a website, and that’s how we learned from it.

  • The website was built at the dawn of the Web. Nobody really knew how to do websites at that point, so it was an absurd website, but the content is top-class. It is the definition of Chinese language, in classical Chinese.

  • Because of Cultural Revolution, Mainland China doesn’t really retain that much material about classical Chinese anymore. It’s like the Latin, or ancient Greek of Chinese. This dictionary has all the citations, all the etymologies, and everything about classical Chinese, and how it’s evolved into modern Chinese. This is linguistically a treasure.

  • But, because this website was built in ’96, there was no idea of a bookmarking or a permanent link. You cannot bookmark and visit again. It won’t work. Because it was using legacy encoding, there was no Unicode at that time. All the difficult characters were done in 24 x 24 bitmaps, which you cannot copy and paste.

  • It doesn’t support mobile phones, because there were no mobile phones [laughs] at the time. If you view source, you will see it’s best viewed in IE5 or Netscape 4.7+. The plus here is redundant because Netscape has discontinued after 4.7. [laughs]

  • This is a very, very old website. I’m just trying to get through this feeling of a ruin, a living fossil, or something of a website. Because HTTP 1.1 has not been invented at that time, the idea of a keep-alive connection is not invented.

  • It automatically logs you out after 30 minutes of inaction to conserve server resources. The funny thing is that there is no login button, so you will get redirected to the home page after idling for 30 minutes, saying, “Sorry we had to log you out.” But there’s no login button. Why are you logging me out? [laughs]

  • All the dictionary websites after this took this as the spec, because it then became as procurement as part of the functionality spec. All the modern websites built by the ministry of education in the next 10 years have the same function, even if it makes no sense now. It became an absurd, ridiculous joke of an ICT technology, even though it’s a great dictionary.

  • Having basically attended a hackathon from abroad...

  • Was it a useful function, or?

  • Switching to engineering mode, as a geek, HTTP was invented in a very draft form where it was not possible to automatically keep the connection between the browser and the server. This is what we call stateless. You make a request, like ordering something from the menu.

  • Then browsers evolved. Netscape 2.0 or something introduced this idea of a keep-alive connection where, when you make a request, it doesn’t close the connection. It will just keep it open in case you want to click somewhere else.

  • Because the server software were written in ’96, before the HTTP 1.1 spec, it doesn’t know that after five minutes of inaction, I just terminate this browser connection. Every browser connection was consuming one process, one resource on the server.

  • Because the server cannot auto-disconnect, it will become overloaded if too many simultaneous connections are kept.

  • That happens within the agency. It’s called flag searching.

  • Or something like that, yes. Then, actually, in ’97, most of the modern Web servers has this idea just called, "keep-alive:closed." If a web server says this, the browser will not keep the connection alive.

  • Because the website was not updated, there’s no budget for it after ’96. A technical problem in ’96 lived on for 20 years, even though all they have to do was to upgrade to the newer version of the NCSA, later Apache web server.

  • Nobody was around to do that, so the same function [laughs] was there for the next 20 years. It was basically “out of maintenance.” All the staff they have just knows how to buy more hardware, things like that. The programmers, they all went away.

  • I imagine this is not a Taiwan-only problem. When you contract out the ICT solution, the funding is just for one year or two year, the team disbands, and it’s not open source, it becomes very difficult to get the second team to carry on the work.

  • Sometimes, they just rewrite everything, and if they rewrite everything, they ask for more budget. If they ask for more budget, and the ministry doesn’t have it, what you have is a legacy system that runs for 20 years. That’s it.

  • With that, Yeh Ping attended the hackathon from the US, and that is when we started to do live streaming for our hackathons, because they had to attend from all over the world, not just Taipei City.

  • For that hackathon, we had Taipei, Tainan, and Taichung -- that’s three cities in Taiwan -- simultaneously using this kind of telepresence. He outlined a vision, saying that, “I need data collection, data cleaning, structured data,” and so on, other the requirements.

  • Within 24 hours, we, the hackers, downloaded everything from the dictionaries and Yeh Ping designed a JSON -- that is to say, structured data -- that matched the HTML. Some other hacker wrote a program that converts the website into the structured data.

  • Some other hacker converted the relational database, and some other hacker turned it into a website, also an input method extension, also an online dictionary, also an offline dictionary, and also a mobile phone. All of this was done in 24 hours. [laughs]

  • This is called rough consensus, because we don’t need anybody’s permission. Everybody just works on whatever they need or their children need, with out any niche coordination.

  • About those 24 x 24 bitmaps, where we need to identify the Unicode for it, we set up a Google spreadsheet that asked people to look at the pictures, and then using handwriting input method something, to try to identify the Unicode for those characters.

  • Again, within 24 hours, we had participants all around the world, about 100 people. We thought it was a lot of people at that time. About 100 people identifying all those difficult words from pictures into the Unicode code points, so we can copy and paste the definition in the dictionary.

  • The fun thing of this is that we brought down Google Spreadsheet, because there’s too many people editing in the same time, and there’s too many pictures. This is going to become a trend. Anytime we try a new service in g0v, we would bring down that service. We’re like the scalability testing team for new services on the Internet.

  • For this case, I had to actually build a new spreadsheet system called EtherCalc. EtherCalc is like Google Spreadsheet, but because it’s free software and because you don’t have to sign in, the server overhead is much lower. People can just do whatever they want on it, without incurring the same server load of things.

  • Now, we’ll face the legal problem. The reason why the Ministry of Education, nobody was doing this before, was that they say, “All copyrights reserved” on their front page. It says, “You may not link to individual entries in the dictionary.”

  • Actually, you cannot link to it anyway, but they said you can just link to the home page and “all copyright reserved.” In Taiwan, the Fair Use law says you can use a reasonable part of a government-produced work, as long as you’re using it for non-profiting purposes or for educational purposes.

  • I imagine it’s the same doctrine anywhere. We’re not using a part, we’re using 100 percent of that data.

  • Correspondingly, we have to relinquish 100 percent of our claim. At that time, there is an invention firm Creative Common movement called Creative Commons Zero. When people use CC0, they say, “I relinquish even the attribution copyright.”

  • It’s like it enters the public domain immediately, without waiting for me to die, and the 70 more years. With CC0, we said all our code in the dictionary are CC0. All our data that we converted are CC0, meaning that we’re really just doing data conversion work for the government.

  • We’re not really claiming any copyright on it. We argue this is a fair use, because it’s proportional to the proportion that we use, zero, 100 percent. [laughs] This is a very interesting legal case.

  • While the lawyers in the ministry are debating this subject -- they took a year -- we try to say, because it’s not one individual doing in, it’s 30 hackers doing it, it’s called “civil disobedience.” [laughs] We maintained this fair use, peaceful doctrine by that.

  • Now, we have structured data, what we call five-star data, meaning that every word has a URL, has a website address. Data, ziliao, in Chinese, everybody knows its website address in MoeDict, because it’s just moedict.tw/資料.

  • There’s no need to remember. This is again, the same hack as g0v.tw. You don’t have to remember our website. It’s just government website change.

  • With linked data, open linked data, when you mouse over or hover over any word in the dictionary, it will show a cross-reference of the dictionary definition in other dictionaries or in the same dictionary, in a linked data kind of way. This is how we do permanent links.

  • People started showing each other definitions of words on Facebook. We did for Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ what we call an Open Graph cover image. The cover image means that anybody who types moedict.tw/開放資料工作坊, meaning open data workshop. Of course, there is no such entry in the dictionary, yet.

  • Instead of saying, 404 Not Found, we say, this is the definition of open, this is the definition of data, this is the definition of a workshop. Then we use beautiful calligraphic to produce an image that is whatever you have just wrote.

  • This became the sweetheart of mobilizers everywhere, because on Facebook, this virality is 10 times more than compared to if you just had a message without a picture. If you have a picture that doesn’t match your message, it could be a counter-influence. If you have a really good high-quality image, maybe it’s copyrighted, so that’s another problem.

  • The mobilizers spent a lot of time searching for high quality images that matched their message. Now with MoeDict, they don’t have to do that anymore. They just say, “Go to the streets tomorrow,” and then you have a banner that says, “Go to the street tomorrow.” It looks like this.

  • Then you can use whatever message you have and, because we abandoned copyright, nobody will sue you. This becomes the preferred banner tool for online mobilizers in Taiwan.

  • With this kind of technology, if you think this calligraphy is not fitting you message, we offer you a whole menu of open source or free fonts, so you can tailor-make the font to suit your message, whatever you want it to look, very violent, very peaceful, or very classic, whatever.

  • People use this for most mundane things like, “I feel so good today,” or whatever. They just let their friends know their feelings. In a sense, we hack into the Facebook algorithm with this kind of dictionary technology.

  • When you see people share like this, you can then re-share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. It went viral very easily. Now, with this kind of virality engine, we have seven million visits per month.

  • When you have 7 million visits per month, whenever we put a call to action on the website, as MOE Dictionary, even though maybe 1 in 1,000 will donate their time, that’s a lot of people. We will start to ask people’s time to digitize old dictionaries made in the ’70s, that we only have very low quality print-version now.

  • We do a scan and then we ask people, again just like the Tofu, to adjust for the OCR because the OCR of low quality sometimes makes mistakes. You look at the OCR result, you correct the mistakes, and you send it out. Again, we have the progress bar that lets everybody know that you are contributing to preserving the culture of the Aborigines.

  • “You’re doing a good work, thank you,” and so on. It worked. The Amis-Mandarin-English trilingual dictionary, this dict, was digitized in just two days and a half by a lot of those people, and then we have an electronic dictionary.

  • People who love words spent a lot of time on this, just doing free work, and then digitizing the dictionary that they care about. They don’t even need to know Amis or Français, because it’s just typing in Latin characters.

  • While the ministry lawyers were debating our case, they were having an activity where they asked people to spot problems -- typos, errors -- in the MOE dictionary. They’re finally, after 20 years, trying to do a new version.

  • Now, within those 18 days, we started a campaign on our version of the MOE dictionary, saying we use a program to identify two entries that cites the same source, but differ by one word, meaning one of it is probably a typo. A computer knows which one is different, but it doesn’t know which one is correct.

  • We asked our readers to Google, see which one is correct, choose the one that is correct, and send it out. We collect more than 5,000 erratas from the dictionary this way, and sent it all back to the ministry. They have maybe 6,000 contributions, and a majority was from the MoeDict.

  • On the day of our sending of this dictionary errata in this huge spreadsheet, they gave us an award and say, “What you’re doing is fair use.” If they sue us, it’s not against 30 hackers any more. It’s against thousands of language lovers, teachers, high school students. They cannot risk even alienating any of those people, because they’re the core constituency of that ministry.

  • When we involve all the teachers, all the students, all the linguistics scholars, and academics, the civil disobedience becomes a national thing. Then all they can do is, “I give you an award. This is fair use.”

  • Now, we digitized the aborigine dictionary. This is the Amis, slada, meaning a square. The way we do this is not because a project leader like me or Yeh Ping, knows Amis, Français, or Hakka. We don’t, actually.

  • The way we do is that we work on a language we know, and then we open source everything. Then any other language, just take it, and build their own MoeDict website. This is different from how the ministry used to do things.

  • The ministry used to do things in a coordinated way. They have a committee of five people, and when the sixth people join, they have to know the other five people, each one representing one language, a community. There’s a lot of fighting of which council member represent that minority.

  • Some Aborigine will say, “We are actually two tribes, not one tribe, so it’s not fair,” things like that. Committees have a lot of problems, exactly because human beings cannot really know 30 people in the same room, and have the same share of time.

  • With the way MoeDict is doing things, which we call collaboration, if we have started something that we share, and then any other language is free to take it in whatever direction. Sometimes, like in Amis, they will have very good idea.

  • Then the Mandarin dictionary will just merge, because everybody relinquished their copyright into the Mandarin dictionary. Then other dictionaries will follow. If some ideas are so fringe that it’s only useful for their community, it’s still OK.

  • They just fork the project and maintain an independent website, specially tailored to that community. This is what we call a rough consensus. As long as people agree generally on the direction, even people who collaborate with enemies, are able to work together by going on their different ways. That’s another half hour of talk.

  • What are we doing? Do you want to have a break?

  • Let me finish with just one last slide. Yeh Ping registered this domain. Now, you know what it means, edu.tw to 3du.tw.

  • After two years, the Ministry of Education finally says, “All our dictionaries, past, future, are released under Creative Commons. You don’t even have to do civil disobedience or fair use. We now join your movement.” It took two years and a half.

  • Or, for example, we have an open data portal where we wrote an open data license that we will want to see from all the communities in Taiwan. The government, the National Development Council, saw it as a much better license than the license they were using, which is not 100 percent open data definition compatible.

  • Because they merged back the data portal from g0v, suddenly all the levels in the city level and the national level are in an open definition compatible license. Because of that, the Open Knowledge Foundation Network, OKFN global open data index, Taiwan became, from g0v was first founded, the 36th place, to 11th place, to now, this year, the first place.

  • That is not because we produce more data, but because all the agencies merged the g0v way of doing open data, including the license and the infrastructure. I think we will have a pause for maybe 10 minutes, but people are still free to talk and ask questions.

  • Do you need coffee or something?

  • Coffee would be great.

  • Coffee would be great.

  • (background conversations)

  • Espresso is great. Thank you.

  • (background conversations)

  • Thank you. We are just halfway, so I’m worried about time.

  • This is still recording, so keep in mind that.

  • We can go all the way to 5:30 or something? It’s not a limit?

  • We reserved the whole afternoon.

  • I think it’s 5:30. I think, maximum, 6:00. Vanessa, for example, it’s snowing in her village, so she has to go before the snow cover. The majority of us, we can stay here. It’s just to learn some, and I think the next slide is on the budget?

  • Yes, it’s about PB.

  • I think it’s very, very interesting. It’s the first time that I see a presentation about egovernment and this type of movement from people who really know what...

  • Because most of the people have no clue what these agencies do, like the Clipper chip, and the Web. It’s important to see, also, if you understand that design is also important.

  • I was there when it was being done. I was reading all the RFCs when the Web was being created. Yes, because the laws on the Internet that...

  • 13 or something. The laws on the Internet are like physical laws that define what’s possible and what’s impossible. In policy discussions, if you don’t have people who know what’s possible and what’s not, it’s very difficult.

  • Did you participate in the IETF?

  • Yes, but that’s in the early 2000s, 2000, I think, ’03 or ’04.

  • More or less same time.

  • You have the same age, more or less, ’81.

  • I started coding in ’89.

  • I’m ’90. We are the same age, like... I’ve been to several meetings, because I was working in a draft proposal. I didn’t like the way that was. I don’t know what is your opinion, but I didn’t like that much idea, because you have...

  • Which working group were you on?

  • IETF is a standardization where we, it’s where I grew up, the Internet, basically.

  • It’s like the Parliament of the Internet...

  • I was with guys from Siemens, and stuff like that. It pains me that most of them are there only to do work and business, and go forward. You see what, the old guys, the guys with white hair and beard...

  • Right. I think the IETF in the early ’90s is very different from the Millennials.

  • When I say to the media usually that I’m a conservative anarchist, I mean that I want to conserve the ’90s idea, spirit. It’s going narrower, but I think we still need to keep that tradition.

  • I saw so many stuff going around. I went something like three years, went around to all the meetings. I saw things like people discussing outside the meetings, what they want to be presented at what...

  • Yeah, we should probably start.

  • (background conversations)

  • (background conversations)

  • We continue after the break. The floor is yours. If you need more water, I have it.

  • Sure. For the people...

  • ...our things, our specific things.

  • It took much longer than we expected, but I was told that we have this floor until maybe 5:30, or even 6:00. The thing is that for the people -- hi, over there [laughs] -- we will continue for at least an hour. In the beginning of the hour, I will start talking about one particular case, that the g0v -- it’s actually the Zeros Project of g0v -- it’s budget.g0v.tw.

  • The magic about this project was that it was the initial thing that promoted the creation of this domain. It started with a television advertisement. The Taiwan government has, at that time, what they call an economic boost-up plan. It’s like one of those five-year plans.

  • The plan is very complicated. To spend the budget wisely, they reallocated all the different ways to spend public money on the national level. Now, they filmed a movie, an advertisement -- just five minutes, short movie -- that they broadcast on YouTube.

  • It was the first YouTube account movie that they published to the netizens in addition to television networks. That advertisement, which I will spare you, is basically showing the economic power-up plan on top and then five people looking very puzzled to this banner.

  • Then the voice-over says, “The economic power-up plan is a very complicated plan. We would like to explain in five minutes, but it is not possible. We will just tell you that we have everything figured out. In the five minutes time, I would ask you to not question the government’s decisions, and just go on with it. To do economy, we don’t need more debates, we just need actions to go ahead and do it.”

  • So, “Trust us. Trust us, and don’t criticize.”

  • Yes. Trust us, and don’t criticize. It is a very complicated plan. “You must trust us, and we don’t trust you to understand.”

  • (laughter)

  • This is so insulting that the director of that advertisement was replaced promptly. Also, that sufficient people used this YouTube feature called report as spam on that YouTube advertisement so that the Taiwan government become the first government to be marked as a junk mailer and to be removed the account from YouTube. People were just saying this is spam.

  • Of course, all it takes is for a letter to YouTube to restore their account but one of the founders of g0v, CL Kao, was at the time in the Yahoo! hackathon. They were doing a very commercial kind of hackathon, where people present commercial ideas.

  • They were trying to do some eshopping, this kind of hackathon. Because of the YouTube account was restored that day, they feel very much insulted. They changed their topic on the very last minute, and decided to download all the PDF and Word files of the national budget.

  • Saying, “You don’t trust us to understand it because it’s too complicated, and cannot be explained in five minutes, but maybe the problem is the way you share your data. Maybe the problem is not with our brain, maybe the problem is with the way you show it, with 500 pages of PDF files.”

  • They took those 500 pages and made a website, budget.g0v.tw, that shows the same national budget but in a way that could be explained at the end of the hackathon in five minutes, as existential proof that this could be understood in five minutes. They had to register a domain for it.

  • They registered this domain, and that was the beginning of g0v, because they got some minor award from the hackathon. They used the money to buy very good food for their fellow hackers. That was the creation, so to speak, of g0v. [laughs]

  • Exactly, exactly. Now, from the environmental agency, I will now take you to the budget side. This is the Taipei City government. The web address is budget.taipei. If you type budget.taipei in your browser or something, you will go to this website.

  • This is saying very prominently on the top saying, this is a fork from the g0v central government website. It’s right on the top, and it has any number of Facebook likes.

  • What this is doing is, it’s saying to you that the education budget is the largest among all the city government budgets. However, it’s getting cut by about two percent, compared to the previous year because of the color. Everybody could see that right?

  • Then the environmental...

  • Yeah, the pinks are the cuts. The red are the severe cuts. The green are the increase, year by year. The one that was a red circle around it, are the maintenance costs. Meaning that this has to happen every year. You cannot cut this. Yes, any questions?

  • The non-red ones are investment, meaning that it is subject to change year by year. Now, you could see that in a glance, that for example, social housing, social security is getting more and more, and so on. If you want to look at the entire budget, you can also do that. [laughs] The ones that are getting increased float.

  • The areas are organized by areas with cuts and area with...

  • The color is meaningful?

  • Yeah, that’s what the color is saying. You can see that the top one with the red circle, I have no idea what it is, actually. Oh, it is the pension because Taipei City is letting go of all their private chauffeurs for the city officials, in a way to reduce costs or something and all the benefits that the Taipei officials are having.

  • They’re now just taking the metro, like everybody else, but they need to pay the pension to those private drivers that were driving for them before. Anybody, in a few seconds, can see what this is doing.

  • In the United States, I don’t know if you know. There is a thing called debt-in-taxes, which has been done by a marketing agency. There was a representation of the American budget, which is in the studio of each one of the members of parliament because it is the only way.

  • They did an experiment and now it’s a three meters long poster that I have also at home, which is very interesting. It was an experiment of marketing but it became the only way for the member of parliament to understand the budget.

  • Exactly, to visualize. Now, here what we see is four buttons, meaning that you ask for more of this budget. You do not understand the explanation, you want to cut it or you want to delete it altogether.

  • Whenever you click that, you will be asked, why? The interesting thing here is -- all this in Chinese, obviously -- I will go to maybe social security, labor, whatever, social. I think labor is more interesting.

  • You have to be logged in to do that.

  • To comment, of course. For example, in labor, where they have a reeducation and whatever, you see a treemap, but you also see the very fine details. You can see, for the labor insurance, for the labor union or whatever, how they exactly are spending the money.

  • This is what they send to the council. This is exactly the same work as they send to the city council. With software, we can highlight the parts that gets increased or gets decreased, and the reason behind this.

  • When people have a discussion of this, sometimes we want people to understand exactly how this is like. For example, when we switch to the units that is perhaps iPhone 5 -- I don’t know why iPhone 5 is here -- it would tell us how many iPhone 5s is this amount of money and so on. When people...

  • Calculate it in iPhone 5.

  • You can calculate it in pharma, for example.

  • Yes. You can use very creative units.

  • Can I ask just one question?

  • Can you show, for example, what is the amount of repaying the debt in this budget?

  • For example, in Italy we’ll have big, big bubble that is corresponding.

  • It’s obviously possible.

  • It’s here, actually.

  • You can choose several things that you can use to calculate, can you choose here or the iPhone 5 the only option?

  • No. [laughs] The other ones are in Mandarin.

  • I will translate for you. These are, in order, yuan, which is just Taiwan dollars, and then this is a lunch, how many lunch there is, the average national salary, how many minutes of space travel. [laughs]

  • Yeah, business trips. "How many bubble teas". "How many Icelands".

  • "How many Icelands".

  • Yeah. I think they’re using the total Iceland’s bailing out money as the unit, I think, when Iceland went bankrupt...

  • [laughs] Yes, as a loan. Yes.

  • There’s no loan from Iceland.

  • (background conversations)

  • How many ports is that?

  • [laughs] Yes, and you can see this, how many relative size and things like that. To answer your question, the debt is here. It’s in the other expenses, which is not that much actually. Also, the pension, and also this is disaster preparation. Then this is like temporary workers actually, which is not so much. It’s OK. Yeah.

  • So the main issue is it is a multi-level readability. You can adapt to the culture of the reader, different level of understanding?

  • Exactly. If you are an expert, then you debate on this level. But if you’re just a layperson, you still have a basic idea to what the budget is about.

  • In iPhones. Exactly. [laughs] Exactly in iPhones. Because each of this has a discussion board, people could click on it and say” I want more, I want less,” and so on and have a Facebook discussion on it.

  • After one month of people pressing like and saying whatever they like or dislike about the budgets, the city government surprised all of them by having all of the office reply to all of the comments directly.

  • This is amazing. We use the focus conversation method to reply first to the fact questions. Like, I see the stadium being invested by. I don’t see the construction what’s going on? Then the reflections. Like, this should be more, this should be less, then ideas.

  • People were very surprised when the city government people replied to them in this way. The reason why they do that, as I’ve said, the mayor was an independent. He doesn’t have a party. The entire city council is his opposition.

  • When he want to do participatory budgets, by allocating some percent of the city investment budget, the council was against that because there was no party backing the mayor. Then it was seen as they shouldn’t have attacked our representative democracy from the direction of direct democracy.

  • The mayor then said, “We bypass the council. We now recruit people who can make sense out of this information, who made interesting or useful contributions. We send them invitations through their local communities for them to attend classes to educate for them about budgeting.”

  • When they get 12 hours of education, they get a credit card. When they get 24 hours, they get additional training on how to talk with civic servants specialties. Then, if they enroll in another 12 hours of training, they train to become facilitators.

  • How to hold meetings, how to take records, how to do cross-sectoral stakeholder analysis, very basic facilitator training, and they call it deliberators -- city deliberators. By the end of the 36-hour training, they get this metro card that has their name on it, saying that this is the biz-B card.

  • You are now a biz-B of the Taipei city. That is like a civil servant, but from the civic society. When they have completed training of maybe 300 people in three different batches of these kind of deliberators, they now have the same kind of counter-expertise that could rival the budget committee of the city council.

  • Now, they see the same data and they have more or less the same level of expertise and knowledge. Then Mayor Ko could start doing participatory budgeting. Before that, he doesn’t really have the buy-in from the city council.

  • The city civil servants would be very scared, because then maybe all the budgets gets cut when the participatory budget process runs at the end. It still need a stamp of approval from the city council.

  • Now, with this threat, or carrot on a stick kind of thing, of saying, “You will get bypassed if you don’t buy-in into this process,” Mayor Ko now gets much more buy-in from the city council, which is now their role as the leaders of those civic deliberators.

  • Now, they are much more aligned in value, but this is because we have people who speak the civil service language or the elected council member language through this kind of public education for at least half a year. That’s how Taipei does its PB plan.

  • It’s based on the national budget work that g0v did as its Zeros Project. I hope I am making sense. Any questions?

  • That means that he’s strengthening his weak political position through a program that was matching transparency, civic training, in order to create precondition to have a society that could support externally the lack of political support into him?

  • Yes. That’s brilliant analysis. Exactly. Yes.

  • That was because you were there to help him with this?

  • Without your system, it wouldn’t have happened?

  • Right, because then the council would have to approve a budget to buy a system to replace them, which will never happen. [laughs] The fact that we offer this system for free is, of course, critical.

  • Of course, we are trying to imagine what kind of things EMPATIA can offer. It’s attractive because it’s for free, but at the same time, obliged to a larger level of transparency, of responsiveness by the institution than what exists now?

  • We understood that also from your perspective, the fact of offering for free tempting things, although these tempting things included a responsibility, a duty of transparency, they continue to be attractive.

  • Our discussion is exactly on that, on how we can get attention and try to contribute...

  • Also, when Taipei City did this, the Taichung City, the southern city, announced immediately that they would also publish their entire PDF in an OpenSpending format to join this platform, because they don’t want to be seen as less administratively progressive than Taipei City. They’re fighting for the capital position, actually. [laughs]

  • All this budget platform relies on the publication of budget data and open data from central and local authorities in all the online?

  • When you started already, you had this source of open data?

  • The platform was also able to, let’s say, activate?

  • Because one problem, for example, we met one of another project, which is like a clean or cozy project, also founded by the UN. It’s called Open Budget, and focuses exactly on providing semantic, blah, blah, blah, blah, for analyzing code.

  • The point is that it originally relies on the fact that it’s based on a whistleblowing principle, so that citizens will provide this kind of data bottom-up.

  • Which somehow, it’s a mechanism that can be enacted just when there is a certain kind of critical mass, I would say, that push other to imitate it with something that exists, but I’m not sure, how does it start? How did it start? What was the original for that?

  • I’m reminded that I should not write acronyms so I will write Freedom of Information Act. I think most countries have something like that where you can ask your government things, and they must publicize it.

  • The problem is, this act is read-only. The public, in most civil tradition countries, meaning that if they give you an A4 paper, or a PDF file that is scanned, the only thing you can do is to read it. You cannot sell it. You cannot change it. You cannot even put it on your website sometimes. All you can do is to read it, maybe aloud to other people, but that’s the only thing you can do.

  • (laughter)

  • Then, again, what it gives, is information, meaning, it’s understandable by people, but not necessarily computers. If they give a very low quality scan, there’s nothing you can do with it on computers, without human. The Freedom of Information Act is a start, but it’s never strong enough.

  • In Taiwan, where we’re pushing for open data, we make a very, very clear distinction saying, “When you go from public read-only to open read-write, you enable people to make things like this because you can now change the way the data is presented.”

  • You can make tabular data into treemaps, but in the original public Information Act, you cannot do that because it was not licensed using an open definition or a Creative Commons license, that enables remixes and creativities of this kind of thing.

  • We sell the idea of open data not through data policy, but through the openness that allows people to do the convincing, the translation, the visualization, everything, reporting, storytelling work for the government, for the civil servants.

  • For the civil servants this is very attractive, because that makes their position much more important than the elected officials, because they are the provider of this information, which then gets converted for free to reach more people. This is the first thing.

  • Now the next thing as you said, sometimes with whistleblowers or with Freedom of Information Act, all we get is low quality information, but we want to turn it into a machine.

  • Maybe you are in a certain spot, a specific area, or have good information, but you cannot go over a...

  • Exactly. It’s not machine readable. If it’s not machine readable in its entirety with context, then it’s not really data. You can call it raw data, but this is very stretching it.

  • To make information into something that is also machine readable, we rely on the international community like the OpenSpending Community, the OKFN, the W3C, Code for All, the usual suspects to define the international formats.

  • That we say, “If you convert your information to this data definition that’s being maintained by 27 countries,” which is true, “you automatically get visibility to 27 countries.” Because Taiwan is not part of United Nations, it’s not part of WIPO, all the elected officials are very interested in getting pilot visibility anywhere in the world, [laughs] because it was like a hidden country.

  • Under OKFN where we were, the first place, they had to change this column. This used to say, “Country,” but now it just says, “Place.” Because of that, that Taiwan is not in the United Nations, they had to change for a multilateralism way of thinking, of sovereignty to multistakeholderism, where Taiwan is 23 million people of a civil society, or some other things like that.

  • The idea is that elected officials buy into this, because when they publish information in a way that it is also compatible with international data, then they get international visibility like the top space on the OKFN index, which is very good for publicly elected officials.

  • This way, we convince the public servants and the elected. This way, we convince the elected officials. Together, we change Taiwan’s norm from the public information to open data. Now, any information system that costs less than one million euros are open data Creative Commons by default.

  • They cannot even argue. They cannot even refuse. As long as this is built in under a million euros of total budget over the past three years, they must be open data in a machine readable format, under a Creative Commons compatible license. This completely changes the role of civil servants. I will explain how we get to there in the next slide. Is that OK?

  • As I said, all the technologies we worked that I showed so far is from the government to the civil society, and asking for the feedback, but the civil society is not satisfied with that. What we really want is agenda-setting power, is saying, "What kind of things must the government think about."

  • This is because the civil society, although it has solidarity, linking, whatever, is never getting the same amount of early-stage decision data as the private sector lobbyists are getting within the government.

  • Maybe individual academicians, scholars, committee members have some representation in those committees, like the environmental, or budget or development committees. The problem is that they don’t have this natural, what we call the "industry chain" connection that the lobbyists have.

  • A lobbyist in one industry naturally has affinity with their vendor’s and their customer’s industry, so their natural interests are aligned. Our individual committee members don’t have this kind of natural chain.

  • The reason of this is because, when they can share a lot of information within the lobbyist network, there is no comparable network for the civil society to share those early-stage decision-making information.

  • As a result of that, the protesters on the street, [laughs] even though they could mobilize a lot of people, they’re not really speaking the same language as the lawmakers are speaking. They could escalate however they want, but it’s not the same kind of process. This is a general enough graph. I think this applies to pretty much any democratic country on the planet.

  • One of the ways we turn this around is by Occupy. I imagine all of you know how Occupy works, so I will not explain the Occupy or the hand gestures. The place where we occupy is the Legislative Parliament, the Congress. Why we occupied was that it refused to do its job. The background, which could be very easily explained in one minute, is this.

  • In 2014, Taiwan is about to sign a cross-strait trade agreement deal with Beijing. When Beijing, China agrees on this much better than the World Trade Organization term, they offered cross-strait, very, very good deals about the service agreement, basically giving a semi-domestic monopoly, so to speak, to Taiwan-based companies.

  • Normally, when we sign something like that with, say, New Zealand, or with Japan, or with Portugal, there is a process. The Parliament must hold a hearing. All the impacted industries must send representatives, and then they debate case by case. They do an impact analysis. This is the same as in any other democratic country.

  • Constitutionally, Beijing is part of Taiwan in the Taiwan Constitution, because of a loophole in the Constitution, because the government that occupies Taiwan was the government of China. Constitutionally, they consider Beijing part of Taiwan, Mongolia part of Taiwan, Tibet part of Taiwan. [laughs]

  • Any agreement that we sign with Beijing is like the national government signing a deal with the Taipei City. This is a domestic agreement, and a domestic agreement is administrative business that is nothing of the Parliament’s business. Because that’s how the things work.

  • If all the Taipei City or Taichung City budgets must go through the national Parliament, the Parliament doesn’t have to do anything else. This is too much for them. Because Beijing is a local government, [laughs] a Taiwan institution, this kind of trade agreement is when the president and administration want to sign it, the deal doesn’t have to go through the legislative.

  • The legislative, when they sit on it for 90 days, it automatically gets passed. There’s no way to not sign this sort of agreement. Clearly, this is against the intuition of everybody in Taiwan. But this is part of the Constitution and the Constitution defined the function of the Parliament.

  • The Parliament cannot really function, other than saying, “We cannot talk about it. We cannot deliberate about it.” By the date of this automatic expiry, that it automatically goes into effect, there was this large protest outside of the Parliament building, where I was supplying the Internet connectivity for broadcasting.

  • This is what we call the 0th Sunflower Digital Camp, because this is the first time, as a demonstration, it was not done on the street. It was done in the Parliament building.

  • The protesters were not doing their usual kind of mobilization, where they were just doing counter-power. They were demonstrating in a demo kind of way, “How should we talk about service agreement like this?” They were doing the legislator’s job in the legislative building for 22 days. That was the idea of the Occupy.

  • A few months after the Occupy, something very similar happened in Hong Kong. It’s called the Umbrella Revolution or Movement. Again, it’s self-organized. Again it was, just like in Taipei, called by the world’s media as the world’s politest protestors, which do garbage recycling for themselves.

  • I was in Dusseldorf, Germany at that time. I was joining with telepresence, typing the message which was projected on the Occupy Central walls in Hong Kong.

  • I was in Hong Kong in those days.

  • Really? You saw those projectors, yes. Then, one of the people there tweeted saying the website of the Occupy Central has got to be the most technological advanced in history. Now, one of his friends said, "I have seen this website before."

  • Then CL Kao, one of the g0v founders, saying, “Yeah, because that’s the Sunflower movement website on GitHub.” They just forked the g0v Sunflower Movement website.

  • For people who have not seen the website before, this is crowdsourced bookmarks here. Everything is crowdsourced. You can add a bookmark here. This is all the live video feeds that is seen here, and this is the real-time map, so to speak. This is newsroom, and this is logistics.

  • In finer detail, the highlights shows you the medical areas, the barricades, the concentration of police, a war map, basically, that anybody who plays video games knows how to use. [laughs] This is to tell rumors from facts. Any rumors get triaged by on-the-field photo, and it’s done in a timeline map.

  • This is also a time mapper, and again, a g0v export, so to speak that correlates those rumors and news to the place where they happened. Then, this is all the cameras that people brought. In real-time videocasting, you can view four of it, or nine of it, at a time.

  • You can just correlate those news with real-time transcripting service that people do next to the videos. When I was in Germany, I can see that now there are maybe 12 different places occupied. For every Occupy, this is the last update date.

  • They say that they need water, Pocari Sweat, drinks, ponchos, towels. We see these places are being gas-attacked, so they need N95 masks, and things like that. Any new supplies, they know where to flow.

  • This says, “Urgent releases,” and what kind of extra supplies they have, so that they can also repurpose the supplies to other nearby Occupy areas, and so on. This is a very useful application, obviously, but this is what Clay Shirky calls a situational application, a sit app. Because if you use only Twitter, only Facebook, only Google+, you cannot do movements this way.

  • This way of doing movements requires the hackers go for Hong Kong, in this case, being on the field, changing the software every day, responding to the need of the Occupy of that day, and deploying it in a matter of minutes to everybody on the occupied areas.

  • Without hackers at the front line of an Occupy, these kind of occupations could never happen because Facebook and Twitter, as great as they are, they were not designed for Occupy. The 0th prototype of it happened in the Anti-Nuclear Force Plant Protest.

  • A year before this, in 2013, there was a very large, almost quarter million, protest because that was after the Fukushima nuclear plant event in Japan. Everybody was very against nuclear power at that point. Taiwan was doing its fourth nuclear plant, and people went out on the street to say, “We don’t want that.”

  • When people were on the street, the news media came, and they found that all the cell phones were down because they could not report on the field, because the 3G network just got overloaded with that many people on the street.

  • None of the real-time media people could send out their footage. Even though there is very many people, you can only look at those next day’s newspaper, which decreased the bargaining power of the movement.

  • That year, in 2014, they don’t want to repeat the same mistake, so they searched for experts, that is to say g0v people. I’m not a CPR expert, but I know something about software. We worked with the cable power radio experts in the g0v team to a hackathon that we called the Parade Hackathon. The Parade Hackathon takes place outdoors.

  • Then we issued for a 50 megabit line to a nearby building. We want to broadcast. We expect a quarter million people to come. We would give all the journalists real-time footage. They could stream everything. We had everything planned out.

  • Now, but on that day a typhoon came, [laughs] and it was raining cats and dogs. Not even quarter a million people. It’s maybe 50,000 people, or even less. It became a very small kind of show. People were ready to help and it was raining so hard.

  • We had a very high speed fiber optic line, but we didn’t know what to do with it because, people could just use their 3G network. There is not that many people. Then YouTube just opened its YouTube Live platform a few weeks before that.

  • We have extra bandwidth and we have a high definition video connection from the stage, where the shows, the protests, the speakers, and those bands were playing. We just repurposed that line connecting to my computer with a Thunderbolt port and broadcasted it through YouTube online.

  • It was not announced because we did not expect that we’d have bandwidth to do that, but now we have all the extra bandwidth, so we do live broadcasting. Now, people feel guilty for not showing up on that day because of the weather, so they spread the news very quickly, as soon as we posted the link to the YouTube broadcasting.

  • In a matter of minutes, there are more people watching than people are around the stage and because we’re just broadcasting the camera, the people watching don’t really know that it’s just a few people there. It looks like still a very large festival, event, and whatever.

  • People feel like they are in a virtual parade, so to speak, that still has some kind of influence. We worked on the protocol of how to do this kind of live broadcasting on that day, and just 10 days after that, the Occupy Parliament happened.

  • We set up the same kind of gears here, and we expect it demonstrate for a night, and people would go home. One of the young students, who lent me his laptop, said, “This is my administrator password.” This is a laptop of 16, 17-inch-large laptop. He says, “You can use it as your broadcasting station and I’m not going to use my laptop anymore.”

  • I’m like, “This is a university student. He’s not going to use his laptop, huh?” It turns out that he went to the other side of the Parliament building and broke through the window and occupied the Parliament.

  • What we learned that day, all the occupiers -- there were maybe 50 or so students -- they are only allowed to carry MacBook Air. Anything that is heavier than MacBook Air they cannot climb over the walls with it, so they have to leave it on the street. [laughs]

  • It makes sense, right, and iPad, of course. When they were in the Parliament building, nobody was expecting it, so there were just a few police. There was very civilized. They don’t even have to fight with police, there were no police.

  • Then the video team that supported this g0v live video happened to have this very high quality video camera, with this long stick, and so on. They covered the entire process of breaking into the Parliament building.

  • Once they are in the Parliament building, they set up this so called sandals broadcasting station, which has been broadcasting whatever happens on occupy area for the next three or so days. We have three video sources at that night.

  • The police soon came and surrounded this place. But because we already have people watching the live video, people went to take buses, take taxis to support, and they counter-surrounded the police. It was like 10 to 1 ratio.

  • The police dare not move, and the people were just counter-surrounding the police, so the new the police cannot join the people. It became a very interesting situation, where new people also cannot join the inner occupiers, but they were very interested in participating.

  • When they do listen to our YouTube views or the students Ustream views, we ask people to type whatever they hear into this Hackpad system that g0v uses all the time. This is like Google Docs. We brought out Hackpad immediately. They bought a new cluster, I think, in EC2 or something, specifically for g0v, because otherwise their other paying customers couldn’t use their service.

  • Then we used this to correlate the transcripts with the translations, which it was at the time, 12 different languages. This is basically a media apparatus that is like any other media, but it was built by civil hackers over the first 24 hours.

  • This is important because the news cycle. We occupied on the night, and the next morning, all the printed papers saying, “These are monsters. There were drunk people. They were breaking things,” what mainstream media do. But the agenda-setting power is done by the civic media already before the morning papers were printed.

  • People see on YouTube with their own hand how the breaking in happened, how there were peaceful negotiations with police, and so on. By the time the morning paper printed, people knew these were lies. Like, there were no fights and so on.

  • Then it became we set up the hack folder. That was the prototype of the Hong Kong system that you just saw and then the same designer who designed the g0v logo, designed the main visual identity. Then we crowdsourced all the bookmarks.

  • For the next few days, it becomes a war between traditional media and civic media. It’s a war on agenda-setting, on virality, on everything. We easily won that war in three days. Because the agenda setting power when you see it with your own eyes, the transcripts are accurate and the transcripts are translated and broadcast overseas. This is a reach that the traditional media just don’t have.

  • On the third day, we run into something that all the Occupies, when they are more than a week or so, run into. It’s the spreading of rumors. Because when there are more than one sites, for example, here we see people rumoring that the people in the Parliament are being attacked by the police, so they want to escalate the fight with the police, for example.

  • The leader has to come out and say, “No, this is not actually the case.” Because while people could fact check in their phones, the rumors still spread faster than the time it would take to check their phones. What we did was that we brought our own projector, and we set up this temporary projecting screen. We worked with a stenographer in the Parliament building.

  • She types everything she hears in the Parliament building, which is then broadcasted to the outside wall on the wall of the Parliament building. I brought to the ICT experts this very long Cat-6 line that’s 350 meters long, and they deploy this as an Intranet to all the three different sites of occupation.

  • It becomes a LAN party, so to speak, so that we have sub-10 millisecond view of everything that happens in the Parliament. People who don’t have the time to check the screen can see the stenographic transcript and say, “That is correct.”

  • It’s as if the police that is between the Occupy area and the streets don’t exist. It’s as if we can see straight into the Parliament building. Rumors spread now slower than facts. Because it’s such a good idea, the people in the Parliament building soon set up their own projectors that shows the projection on the streets. [laughs] It really just wired in a lot of people.

  • We provide this as a neutral role because during the Occupy, aside from the students and the protesters there’s a lot of other protesters on the street representing roughly speaking the separatists from China, independence.

  • And the environmentalists who protest against agreements, ecological impact, and the leftists, who protests against the delaying of the trade agreements that would cause the loss of jobs, or the loss of life, quality of labor people.

  • These three kinds of people are considered also protesters, but the other three kinds of people were considered neutral roles. They are doctors who upheld the right of health, so they will treat police, protester, or anything, and lawyers protecting the right of due process.

  • The g0v people used a g0v sticker on their shoulder. We call ourselves, “Upholding the constitutional right of communication.” We were the communication experts. Anybody who has anything to say, we are there to support their right to say anything on the Internet.

  • This is important because it’s only with this kind of neutrality people could trust us that we’re actually representing people inside and outside of the wall in a neutral fashion. This comes to test just two days after we declare ourselves neutral.

  • On the training floors, a bunch of students decides from the occupied Parliament building and the streets, three streets near it, to attack also the administrative building. That was just the next street. This is very dangerous because the administrative building is the executive power.

  • The police went and tried to evacuate the people who went there, and at the same time as the action which was un-pre-announced, we got cyber attacked through our crowdsourced bookmarks and our crowdsourced transcripts.

  • It’s like a coordinated attack under the infrastructure of communication. Because we use only free tools, because its open source, because it costs nothing, it took us only one hour to recover on another platform. We just changed the CNAME, and for the DNS provide it, that’s the only time we need to wait.

  • On the same time we send people with a WiMAX, that is to say, a high-speed connection, and as many battery packs as we can muster, and an iPad to cover, as a real-time stream, the attack on the administrative building from the occupiers.

  • Now, the police, who went here, and then the students, who went here, behaved very peacefully. Because they know they were being watched by 60,000 people online. There is a counter on Ustream. They broke the glasses, maybe. There was some shouting or something, but they behaved very civilly.

  • On the other side of the administrative building, there was police brutality of some degree. It was very, very brutal. That’s because there is no camera filming them. On that night we learned that people behave differently [laughs] under the camera versus not under the camera.

  • Of course we all know that, but we learned it very painfully. We decided then -- OK. I still have time -- to deploy not only the stationary cameras, which by that time, its numbers is in the dozens but they were stationary.

  • We decided that we need mobile cameras everywhere, around not just the streets but anywhere with any kind of possibility of escalation. We built a website. This is the Civic Journalism Batch Generator. All you have to do is to write your name here and upload your photo here.

  • It will print you a batch of your desired size that will fit your phone or the iPad that declares that you’re a journalist. Then we print on the other side of the badge, or the flip side of the badge, this QR code. What is this QR code?

  • It’s a link to a Supreme Court’s ruling a few years ago, that says, “Article 11in the Constitution protects not only speech, but also news gathering. News gathering is not limited just to professional journalists, but also protects any ordinary person who gathers information with the aim of providing newsworthy information to supervise the government.”

  • Whenever the police stop a civic journalist, we ask them to scan the QR code and read the Supreme Court’s decision. That says, “Any area where the mainstream media can enter, the civic journalist who printed this badge must be able to allow to enter. Otherwise, we will take you all the way to the Supreme Court.”

  • They assented, because this decision was done in an unambiguous way. Everybody voted for it, all the justices. The thing is that, with this kind of civic journalism badge, suddenly, we have dozens of mobile news feeds on the ground.

  • After that day, there is no injury, no fighting, nobody missing. It became a totally non-violent protesting. Now, when people become non-violent, we can actually do some deliberation. Beginning at March, 29 we went public this eight-months-old project from g0v, called, "Are you Affected by the Cross-Trade Agreement."

  • This is a website where you can be with your mobile phone. You can enter the trade you’re in. Maybe you’re in the IT industry, or you can enter your company name. Then you will show cross-linking to the company registration database the five trades your company is working on.

  • Then clicking on the kind of work that you do, it will show in a three-panel comic how exactly does the CSSTA affect you.

  • It will show you a mail-in Chinese coming by person or just the money, whether you can also do it to some province or the entire mail-in China, and how many impact would it have on your neighboring industries. Or if you are not in that service industry, it will show you that you are not affected by the CSSTA.

  • Instead of reading through hundreds of pages of PDF files, which was the launch we were working with, we correlated it with the registration data, with the UN data, with the WTO data, was the mail-in Chinese laws to show everybody in five seconds how exactly do they affect them, and to show the support of the occupiers on the street.

  • On that day when we started the deliberation in place of legislatures, the president said we do not acknowledge the result of this deliberation. We do not think, even though you can convince thousands of students, they are representatives in anyway.

  • Half a million people showed up on the street of Taipei and says, “This is not right. We must deliberate, and the administration digitalization must accept the result.” Then, what do we do with half a million people on the street?

  • We group them, again, according to existing streets into the independents, separatists, let deliberation, which talk about in sovereignty or the relationship with China of the trade agreement. Then the ecological, the green people talk about the ecological, the land, the farmland, and whatever impact.

  • Then the leftist people talk about the labor rights and so on. Our own ICT people started using Loomio, which is a specifically designed for the Occupy situation application, where people could share in their local area network how to reach consensus.

  • One of our topics here is how do we tell ICT volunteers from people who are just here to use this neutral, fast lane to get a very good view of the Parliament? Because g0v people, because our logo is creative common zero, anybody can print it, and put on one badge. It says that, “We are a radio-powered technology expert. We’re neutral, so please get us in.”

  • What they really want to do is to check in on Facebook. Basically, we need to tell the ICT people from the non-ICT people. There were a lot of proposals being proposed on Loomio, starting from very stupid ideas, like we could ask for their ID card, or something like that, or credentials, or something.

  • We would ask them to make a GitHub commit to prove, something like that. None of these are very practical in this kind of on-the-field setting. The beauty of Loomio is that we can have multiple stage of straw polls.

  • Whenever a new idea comes, we can do another stretch of poll until everybody agree, converge on the consensus. Our final consensus was that whenever a new person shows up with the g0v badge saying they are of the ICT team, we ask them what is 2 to the power of 16.

  • If they can answer this mathematical question, what is 2 to the power of 16, they’re probably a geek. If they’re not, they are probably not really the ICT team. 2 to the power of 16, that was the consensus. It was really effective.

  • Using the same technology, we captured the deliberation that was happening on the street in a different part of CSSTA. That was our first encounter with the people doing deliberative democracy or participatory democracy, and to lend ICT support to their cause.

  • That is how we met those people, and that’s how g0v, as a whole, gained a whole new dimension, that we want to set a mediation space where everybody could trust us, and for the private sector to sit down with the civil sector about the things that government’s not having the entire agenda-setting power.

  • I think it’s time for another 10-minute break. Are people OK with this story? Any ideas, thoughts, comments?

  • I actually have a question.

  • I was thinking about the participating budget and the website. I am from Turkey. It’s not really a comparison with being how many millions of people we have in Istanbul during the evening traffic.

  • Still, I was thinking about the other question that you really need to have a critical mass to be able to affect the politicians. My question is how many people follow this website? Is it really active in the society at large?

  • Yes, you mean the PB website? The budget in Taipei?

  • Or any other g0v website?

  • g0v website, yes. We have a million people on the street. They show up, but it’s easily 10 times this number online. This is because everybody is concerned about the CSSTA.

  • Now, the Taipei budget, I don’t have the numbers. In the ballpark, the day when the mayor, he said something very interesting. He said, “Without this kind of educational tool, any PB is just populism,” which is kind of true.

  • Then people are voting without knowing what they are voting for. This gets quoted on the national media. On the first day, we get, I think, almost a quarter million people who joined this kind of news cycle, who went very viral because...OK.

  • (hammering)

  • (background conversations)

  • Someone want to knock, and a big transparent...

  • Yes, exactly. Yeah, but I cannot speak Morse code, so we will need an interpreter. In any case, to answer your question directly. The number of people who care about Mayor Ko, the Taipei City mayor, is a lot nationally because there is a tradition in Taiwan that for the mayor of the capital to become the next president.

  • Mayor Ko was unique, because he have never done politics before. He was a professional surgeon. He was generally seen not a leftist. He was generally seen as somebody who thinks Singapore is a really good idea. Modern, efficient, you know?

  • Something a surgeon would like. Clean, and things like that. With this g0v partnership of participatory budgeting, he said something very, very important. He contradicted himself just a week ago. That’s another things he likes to do.

  • He would say something. Then a week after that, or even a day after that, he will say, “I was wrong yesterday. Sorry.” Now, he admits publicly he is on the autism spectrum as an Asperger’s person. It’s very natural for him to just speak the facts.

  • His child was diagnosed as an autist. He has this special quality of not feeling any shame or losing face, of saying, "OK. I was wrong. Now I think this way." Which is great, for a direct democracy.

  • Then, what he said essentially was this, that democracy is very young in Taiwan, but we can either roll back, and go back to the authoritarian Singapore model, or we can go forward. We can bring it to the 21st century, and do something that nobody in Asia has done.

  • Then for participatory budgeting he buys into this idea, exactly because nobody else in Asia is doing PB this way, as the Taipei City is doing it, based on open data and direct participation, bypassing the council entirely, having a counter-expertise to the council, things like building his own council, basically, and things like that.

  • He sees it as a democratic innovation. When a potential future presidential candidate says that, it gets national attention very quickly. I think everybody in Taiwan knows about this, but people check at his website, only maybe people living in the north region of Taiwan, which is slightly fewer. It’s still a large number of people.

  • Something that you said before, it was like, I was seeing all this, which is this idea that...You are saying, “We were able to put cameras on a certain side of the school. The level of violence decreased automatically once transparency was projected in the public space.”

  • The public was pretty significant and transparent. That’s something that I was thinking about. I don’t know. I was seeing, for example, in Turkey. Last year we had a lot of public demonstration, a lot of cameras on the street.

  • Still, the level of violence on the people who was protesting was really strong and really high. I’m wondering, in what measured way...I think, the way in which you frame transparency and attribute a set of political band, entrenched in the concept of transparency, is not completely neutral, with respect to the effect that transparency has on the society, were you to implement it.

  • I don’t know if I’m being clear on this point.

  • Yes. This a very quick, so, there is two levels. There is transparency, and there is reflexivity or reflectivity. The important thing is not the camera, it’s the projector. It’s the thing that people donated two-story high projectors installed on the street.

  • Everybody sees everything that is taken by the on-field camera in real-time, as if they’re telepresent in the same space. The important thing is not the nation sees the street. The important thing is the street sees itself through a mirror, knowing that the nation is seeing it. Do you know what I’m talking about?

  • Basically, this is a “Truman’s Show,” so to speak, that we make the space itself a space of mirrors, a reflective space. Without this kind of setting, with just cameras, people are not being made aware that they are inside a panopticon.

  • I have a theorem on that.

  • (laughter)

  • We have an entire social computing theory about this.

  • An example of the differences. I think, even if the cams could be used...it always depends about the power relation, where you set it down. I was thinking, for example, the rally of Donald Trump. The other day, they were clearly knowing that there were cameras on a position.

  • They used this situation to draw black people away from public space where Donald Trump was speaking. It was a clear political message to the people that was attending, and to the people at home. It was.

  • Yes. I have more slides that talk about that.

  • [laughter] Yes. Exactly. Yes, I agree with this analysis. This is completely true.

  • I’m not saying that you assess that transparency is a neutral plan. It is just that what we make it.

  • Yeah, exactly, which is why this is not enough. This setting is not enough, because if the private sector interests are much larger than what I draw here, then the civil society, this becomes a method of exclusion.

  • Because this becomes what the political analysts say is tokenism. You are here. Everybody can be here, but it doesn’t really matter, because you are still a minority. We evolve this idea in my next slide. Any other thoughts, ideas, questions, comments, tweets?

  • We have some people at home, they’re now asking questions. We can ask them instead.

  • If someone at home wants to ask questions, you can...

  • One of the relay people will relay for you. Now, evolving this idea. After the Occupy, the politics in Taiwan changed completely. After the Occupy, and the Occupy Central, there was this reelection of the city level government.

  • The Nationalist Party, which was the dictatorship party, morphed slightly into a democratic party, lost completely in that election. I’m glad to say that all the legislator voting guys, and everything that I had mentioned, maybe played a part in this.

  • A lot of mayors from the Progressive Party in the independence were surprised they were elected, because their numbers went, like, 10 percent more than they predicted. A lot of the Nationalist supporters just refused to vote.

  • After that landslide victory of the counter-power, the ruling cabinet, the prime-minister resigned immediately. Then a new prime-minister came, still working for the Nationalist Party, but knowing that he only has one year, until the election cycle that changed the president and the entire administration and legislation on a national level.

  • When he was tasked with directing the country’s agenda, when he have only one year left, and he has essentially two bosses. The president that’s going down with an approval rate of nine percent, and the president’s that coming up controlling all the cities, but not yet the national parliament or national administration.

  • The new prime minister is in a very difficult position, but he is an engineer. The day he went on office he was quoted saying, “An engineer has no right to say no to a technical problem,” which is a very good mentality, which I completely agree with. He then set a completely new agenda for the next year that will not alienate any of his two bosses.

  • The three agenda are open data, crowdsourcing and big data, because they are infrastructure. All these three things are infrastructure. No politically elected official could be against that. Plus, it is the same agenda the g0v people has already been advocating about, so they know they have natural allies.

  • He appointed the vice prime minister, a Simon Chang, an ex-Google engineer, so he knows something about open data. Then Simon Chang recruited Jaclyn Tsai, a legal expert, an ex-judge who worked for IBM Asia, Head of the Legal Department for a few years.

  • Again, she knows something about the ICT industry and the legal things about it. It becomes, for the first time in Taiwan’s history, a cabinet lead by engineers, or technocrats, if you are against them. [laughs] Then they identify for the next year the topics they want to talk about, that is neutral to any of the left, right, or whatever. It has to happen.

  • They started with the open data definition. Then, an equity-based crowd funding, and closely held LLCs. Then, taxation, privacy and de-identification, security, telework, telemedicine. Again, none of this is partisan. Whatever ideology you have, this is the bridge between the civil servants and the rest of the Internet. That becomes the new agenda of the year.

  • The first thing they want to do is to talk with people doing this kind of mobilization on the Internet and saying, “Now, we finally want to treat you as a peer, like face to face. How do we use the social media tools for rule-making? Because we know that you can mobilize any number of people, and we cannot say. How about we start talking about those kinds of things?”

  • The problem is that a government-initiated deliberation is completely different from an occupier-initiated deliberation. The occupiers knows that the people on the street are already interested in the topic. Otherwise, they wouldn’t show up, but the government don’t really know who the stakeholders are.

  • The stakeholders don’t know what the government is deliberating about. If they set up a website, people don’t know how to actually comment effectively, even they have all the open data and things like that. They are often trolls, they are often partisan attack, ad hominems.

  • Even if you have a really good moderator, people were still faced with information overload, because there’s a lot of three-letter acronyms in all of those legal code and things like that. It is like coding. When you change one line, you change the entire system.

  • If you are not a legal expert, you don’t know how the entire system will get changed. It’s a very difficult problem. They lost the election here, and then a few days after that, they brought some g0v people, and said, “We now want to start to edeliberation, the way you do in Sunflower Movement.”

  • Then we select a topic that concern all of you. It is called the teleworking from the start-up company that don’t have a physical office address, which is a good topic. This is a topic that obviously concerns everybody on the Internet.

  • They say the way administration do things is to hold a public hearing. When they do hold public hearing, they want representatives from the associations, from the guilds, and from the labor unions. That’s how they do things.

  • They ask us, “Is there a union for all the teleworkers in Taiwan, who could speak as representatives for everybody who work at home?” This is ridiculous, because a programmer who work at home, a musician working at home, and a designer working at home, is completely a different kind of trade.

  • Nobody would dare to speak for other kind of people, because the entire work flow, the labor and the company relations is completely different. Nobody would stand and say, “I represent all the teleworkers.”

  • They change course. They say, “OK, but how about the companies, early stage startups who only have an email address. Maybe they go on Kickstarter or some other you know confounding website, registered their company in Cayman Islands, and then they’ll have a physical address. Is there an association of such early stages starters and representatives?”

  • Of course, there are not. They have problem paying their next month’s salary. Why would they form an association? This is ridiculous. Then, they were faced with a problem because if they ask only the startup entrepreneurs and the teleworkers they know, everybody else will say this is lobbying, this is just closed deal with the people who are so close to administration, and so on.

  • They were very afraid that they would get occupied again if they do that. It is always this sword hanging over their head around that time in Taiwan. Like, if they do the deliberation wrong, they will get occupied again.

  • They need a different solution. They want to talk with people who already registered at Cayman Island or work for a company registered in Cayman Islands, and find those people. Ask what kind of loss of teleworking, and of startups, the company loss, will it take for you to register in Taiwan? Why are you registering in Cayman Islands, and why are you working at home?

  • They want to reach everybody who would do that. This is an engineering problem. The fun thing is that Jaclyn joined the hackathon as a civilian. We call her Jaclyn, not minister. Then, she took three minutes, just like everybody else, showing this design saying, “We want to reach people registered in the Cayman Islands.”

  • The phrase is an engineering problem. We need one editor, a few engineers, and so on, so play it by g0v rules. Then, we gather around the white board, using Open Space Technology, and work on the website that will enable this kind of edeliberation. That was at the end of December.

  • It took actually only a month for us to build this system and this slide was our first case, the company law change. The way we did this was modeled after IETF in the early ’90s, in the previous century. This is saying we held a mail list, a public forum and everybody can join as long as you have an email address. Then, we welcome discussions.

  • We are not saying anything about law. We are asking for stakeholders to identify themselves. Are you a startup lawyer? Are you an something, and something? Then any experience that you share is very much appreciated. When people share something useful or contribution, they get marked as being valuable.

  • We invite those people to the administration building and hold after-hours -- we are not wearing suits or anything, but it’s in the administration building -- with the ministries of economy, finance and something, and with the leading scholars of civil law and case law, and all the local government people working on registration of companies, to talk with those people.

  • Anyone who contributed on the mail list in a constructive fashion are invited to attend. Then, it was done in the same technology as the Sunflower Movement. It was captured in real time, transcripts broadcasted outside of walls, whatever.

  • The way this works is that we identify all the concerns everybody have, and then we ask people who make contributions to form a working group. The working group is responsible to produce a document that’s called a request for comment that is a request for commentary on the closely-held companies.

  • It used the language of the IETF, saying, “If Taiwan must make a law on the closely-held companies, like the Cayman Islands, it must allow multiple votes per share,” for example, and “It must not limit the crowdfunding venues and it should, for example, allow a telecommuting shareholder meeting.”

  • Then, “It should not, and may, or may not, or something...” This is language the Internet Engineering Task Force. Now, we produced this, and then we sent it to the ministries to translate it to legalese, to legal code.

  • They agree when they translate this to cross-link back to this suggestion, so that this is the first bill in Taiwan where every line was annotated with the demand or specification where it came from. They become our coder, and we are like project managers. They have to identify the specification-implementation link.

  • At the end, the suggestions were then linked to the specific points in the video feed when and where people brought this topic up. After this deliberation process, when the two parties are in the parliament filibustering each other, they couldn’t pass anything at that time.

  • The season ends in June the 3rd. This is the only bill where none of the parties want to block. Because first, all their parties have participated already in the working group. Unless they discover new facts that was not covered by the working group, they don’t have any rights to say we don’t have consensus. We have consensus.

  • Again, if they blocked this bill, they were against the entire startup community, and all the teleworkers who paid attention, thousands of people who viewed this policy consultation deliberation. They are not blocked this. It was passed in record time and signed into effect. Now, Taiwan has this kind of law.

  • To go into detail because you are experts in this, we use Focused Conversation Method. We identify all the speech and online mailing list discourse, and we separate it into the facts, the objective layer, the feeling of those objective facts, and the suggestions resulting of the feelings.

  • We use a font with six different weights of the font, showing the strengths of consensus. Just in a glance, you can see the overall strengths of different options that has the support. We talk about one aspect of the standard law.

  • Every slide using this pen and paper technology -- well, screen technology -- which is then broadcasted online. People will participate online. We take 20 minutes to talk with face to face with the group members, and then we shift to here, and then see what people online have to say.

  • We give them also 20 minutes to set the agenda for this particular slide, particular topic, so they can express their consents, their worries or their total support with cat smileys, [laughs] and things like that. There is a lot of non-verbal kind of communication going on.

  • We have a professional deliberator online, Lu Chia-Hua, who takes care of that online part, and carry it to the offline space. I was the first for the term, offline space, and was using the kind of technology to broadcast it to people who attend from the remote. You don’t have to be in Taipei City, and you’re guaranteed the same amount of representation to working group meetings.

  • This is very effective, and when the whole country is seeing this, either from a recording or from mainstream media reporting, there is no denying seeing that there really is consensus being formed in this deliberative process. That is how we run the working group meetings.

  • Again, every word, every sentence was captured on SayIt platform, so you can do a link to one specific utterance within context, which the mainstream media people, it saves them work. They don’t have to think of a very contentious title, topic, or something. They just copy and paste, and make reports out of it.

  • The design principle of this system is this. To reduce the ignorance problem, all the ministries who propose things, like the Ministry of Labor, of Economy, they must first do a slide on SlideShare that explains the problem statement very clearly, and we have amateurs trying to read it, and make sure.

  • Then for every keyword -- "startup," “closely-held cooperation,” “telework” -- we ask for a 140-letter definition, because most the online deliberation is wasted on fighting over the definition of keywords.

  • When we start to define the lexicon the way the MOE dictionary does when you hover it, you see a definition, it saves 80 percent of people’s time. Now, we say, “We know ’startup’ means different things to different people, but for the sake of deliberation, it means exactly this.”

  • Then when we do the initial stakeholder interview and agenda-setting, we make sure that one representative from elected official office, from Jaclyn’s office, one from public servant’s, one from the Information Industry Association representing the private sector, and one from the ground zero civil society people.

  • At least, four people, but sometimes five, six, or seven people. These people are the people who built this website. We set the term of use together, the license together, everything together.

  • When we do interview of the stakeholders on some agenda-setting, we lend each other a kind of legitimacy that any other kind of initiation would not have, because everybody knows that all the agenda-setting are being done in balance with each other’s sector’s ideas.

  • Then we ask people’s opinions. We say, “We’re not asking you to vote, we don’t do voting.” What we are asking is an agenda for the face-to-face hearing. When we’re running a public hearing on it, we promise we will only talk about the things that you propose to us online, where you reach a consensus on.

  • This completely changes the dynamic of the ICP, of the virtual part of the deliberation. Now, it’s responsible for the objective, that is the fact, and the reflective, that is the feeling, parts of the deliberation process. We leave the idea interpretational part and the decisional part to the face-to-face meeting, but we use the eforums or whatever to collect as wide as possible.

  • When you bring a useful contributory idea, then you are invited into the working group, who do the idea and the decision. This is a self-selecting process.

  • Now, this is a very geeky point, but I always want to emphasize this. It’s a safe space, meaning that when people propose their responses online, sometimes you see 10 sentences, nine of which is very useful, a disclosure, or a useful contribution, but one sentence is an attack, either to the agenda or to other people.

  • As a moderator, you’re faced with a dilemma. If you censor this, if you kill these comments, people will say that you’re draconian or something. If you keep this, the next reply is not going to reply to the civilized part. It’s going to reply to this one sentence that’s attacking people.

  • Then you will get another reply that is 50 percent attack, and then the next reply is going to be 80 percent toxic. The next reply is going to be a cat picture, and then [laughs] once you reached the point of cat picture, there is no return. [laughs]

  • The challenge, then, is to how you construct a safe space where you can have a discussion before the cat pictures arrive. The way we do this is by editing the comments. When anybody sign on we show a very clear term of use, code of conduct, and say upfront, “Your comments it’s an ad hominem attack, when it’s toxic, it will be deleted.”

  • We delete only that part of the sentence, we keep everything else. We delete may be four words, and then we send a private message to that person saying, “You’re a violation of our terms of conduct. You say public servants are just pigs, wasting taxpayers’ time. This is not OK, this is not constructive, so we deleted that, but we kept your other very useful, sensible contributions.”

  • Because it’s version controlled, everybody who is so willing to do dumpster diving can [laughs] see the original comments. For most people who enter the first part of discussion, and reply to those civilized points.

  • So you keep memory of all the original comments?

  • But you give like visibility to...

  • Even if you want to see, the disclaimer posted..

  • Yeah, it says edited, and it says version three. You can go back to version two and version one, if you have too much time. [laughs] Yeah, exactly.

  • For the troll, that is important.

  • Since people seem disproportionately interested in this, I will go into details. Trolls on the Internet are just people who crave for attention that they cannot get from the real life. For people who...

  • (laughter)

  • [laughs] I had a problem in the airport of Florence with a bagger.

  • [laughs] The important thing is that you must hug the trolls, knowing that even if they say 10 sentences, 9 of which are trolling, just one sentence is useful.

  • It was not actually, but you can read it peacefully. You ignore those parts that was toxic. You maybe delete or moderate it out, but you respond very enthusiastically to the part that was constructive, because they are just people craving attention.

  • They learn with seeing one or two exchange that bringing something useful to the table was the only way to get attention. Because they crave attention, they now think of ways to do constructive work. We reform the trolls very quickly with systems like that, by giving them due attention to just a part of it that was of benefit to the community.

  • The safe space was not just a moderation thing. It was also acculturation. We bring a culture of civilized discussion saying, “If you crave attention, this is the only way you’re going to get it.” I hope I’m making sense.

  • Just to step back. You said that most of the interaction you bring in-person and online is mainly based on the idea that online, the function which is done online is the agenda setting. You will have the, let’s say, final development of the idea and the decision in-person?

  • Exactly, yes. We use telepresence to extend what in-person means, of course. That was the principle.

  • You never vote, neither in person?

  • We do straw votes. The way IETF votes, basically, it’s a vote that is never binding. It is a way to see what people feels. People can change their votes anytime. This is not really voting, right.

  • Wait, you’re talking online or in the final?

  • When you’re go in-person, you’re voting for the final decision, or not? In case the idea is fork, and there are competing ideas which are not easily...

  • The idea of rough consensus is that the deliberation never ends until we have consensus. If we don’t have consensus, we say we leave it to the next administration. We don’t even vote. That’s the idea.

  • I’ve got a question online. Are there examples in other communication spaces of these more measured approach to dealing with toxicity and trolling?

  • Are there more examples to deal with trolls?

  • Toxics nowadays and trolling?

  • In other communication spaces, out of this.

  • Yes, I see that. I’ll show one about Uber in the next slide.

  • (background conversations)

  • Show us the next slide, please.

  • Yes, but I want to stress the idea about safe space. Safe space means usually that anything that’s violating the code of conduct is not tolerated. It means zero toleration, but there is a difference between a safe space enforced by people and safe space enforced by algorithms.

  • If you have an algorithmic safe space, the trolls don’t play attrition game with mediators. Whereas before, like in Wikipedia, a Wikipedia editor, when it fights the trolls, or the revert wars, or something, the operators must put in exactly the same time as the people doing the vandalism, even with the help with bots, with robots, like automated tools.

  • The vandals also have automated tools. You have to put in, when you are playing by the same rule, exactly the same amount of attention. If the trolls outnumber the moderators, then they dominate the attention of other people nearby.

  • It could only be controlled when the mediator puts in disproportionate amount of time and attention, so that it overrides all the vandals and all the trolls. What our innovation, I would like to say, is that we watch what the moderators do, and then we turn them into code. That is to say, we automate this kind of process of mediating of moderation, so that any number of trolls are now faced with robo-mediators. [laughs]

  • They cannot waste people’s time. When trolls see that they are not even wasting the operator’s time, they lose interest, because there are much more interesting ways of wasting other people’s time.

  • Griefing, that’s how they call it, other parts in the Internet. They go to those other parts of the Internet. I am going to show an example with another automated system in the Uber case. Thanks for the question. Let’s go on, because we’re almost...

  • ...at six, yes. So with the vTaiwan system, we spent a lot of time saying no to the ministries’ proposals. Because the ministries always want to talk about the things, that they feel like hot potatoes. They’re civil servants, and civil servants in Taiwan are in this very unenviable position, as a new democracy.

  • If they do anything wrong, because we don’t have an anonymous civil servants culture like in the UK, they get blamed for it publicly. If they do something right, the elected officials get all the credit. The thing is that they’re in a very powerless position. With things like vTaiwan, public servants feel very much empowered.

  • They offset their responsibilities, but they gain credibility, because they interact meaningfully with netizens as part of deliberation thing. They bring us a lot of very tricky issues, like gay marriage. They say, “Let’s have a national deliberation out on gay marriage.”

  • We say no. We must keep saying no to these kinds of thing. vTaiwan was designed for a town hall. It must affect only people who are netizens as the main stakeholders. We’re like a small town of network-using people, negotiating with the government. This is how we get our legitimacy.

  • Otherwise, people would say it’s just a technocrats, the elites doing the deliberation, who are so good at typing at a keyboard, or using a pen and pencil online, or something, or showing up with telecommunication, deciding the fate of people who are not so good at this sort of thing.

  • We don’t want that. We must ask all the ministries to prove a very high correlation between the people they are going to affect, and the people that’s on the Internet all the time, the netizens. Because the Ministry of Justice cannot prove there is a strong correlation between going on the Internet and being gay, [laughs] we don’t do that case.

  • This is very important actually. Then it must be something that is codifiable, because otherwise, it doesn’t really work.

  • This exclusion was not motivated by a more political issue, related to minority and majority? We are not going to discuss an issue of minority in front of a majority, but was more related to the internal coherence of the system of deliberation?

  • Exactly. Because, what we are saying, essentially, is that for the parliament, we’re getting all the stakeholders on a multistakeholder dialogue, that gets all the facts, and all the reflections, and give a recommendation. If this stakeholder does not represent everybody that’s going to be actually having a stake, because those people don’t use the Internet, then we’ll lose this kind of legitimacy.

  • The parliament could very easily find a representatives from other fields of life, saying, “But you’re missing their voice, because they are not on the Internet.” Then we lose the entire basis of this legitimacy, of the vTaiwan system. I hope I’m making sense.

  • I understand the issues exactly to the certain stakeholders, or between what’s a stake and in the discussion, and what the participant hopes.

  • Do you think, progressively, are you able, since you use for example a typical netizen dynamics, to start to introducing a technology, this can include...

  • More and more people...

  • ...once it shows its effectiveness, and a possibility to actually influence the public relation?

  • Yes. That’s three slides.

  • (laughter)

  • You can just strike that.

  • I think that someon