Weekly round-up, 26-30.3.12

What I’ve been up to these last five days …

I’ve made serious improvements to the script that shows who is posting news to LabourStart. It now shows the correspondent’s full name and country, and totals for the day and month, making it much more useful I think. And I’ve made this more accessible – but only to correspondents who have logged in, who will see a link to it.

We learn from this that about 91 correspondents have been active in March, and they have collectively posted 4,491 news links to our database — an average of 49 each this month, and an average for all correspondents of nearly 150 news stories per day, every day. At this rate, we’re publishing over 50,000 news stories every year.

Yesterday, I met with Shane Enright, the trade union coordinator for Amnesty International, and we discussed joint work. Today, for example, Shane will be promoting our Iran campaign to the more than 11,000 names on Amnesty’s UK trade union mailing list.

I have begun adding papers submitted by the participants from the Middle East and North Africa to our 2011 conference page. These were sent to us by the Solidarity Center, and are in English, French and Arabic.

I did some initial work on an RSS news feed for Europe at the request of a British trade unionist — but it’s still buggy and needs to be fixed.

I worked on the mycampaigns.cgi script, which shows you which campaigns you’ve signed up and which you’ve missed – on the language editions. There are still character encoding problems which I will fix very soon.

The Hebrew edition of LabourStart needed to be fixed up after years of neglect, so I did such things as add links to all our campaigns in Hebrew, translated the names of countries when we’re displaying news, and made sure that all the text which had been in English (including a link to sign up to the mailing list) is now in Hebrew. I’ve also been posting Hebrew news every day (other correspondents have also posted) and am looking for news in Hebrew that’s not only from Israel — which is not easy to do. (Israeli media are, understandably, focussed almost entirely on domestic and regional news.)

I followed up with the Education International on the Bahrain campaign, which has been running for two months and is considerably less successful (in terms of support) than the Iran campaign. I always do these follow-ups two months after a campaign is launched.

I completed the publicity for the ITF’s New Zealand port lockout campaign which at one point looked like it was heading for 10,000 supporters, but has since slowed down and as of this morning has only 6,834 supporters.

I intensified efforts to continue building our largest campaign ever – the one in support of Abdolreza Ghanbari in Iran — which has now reached 15,883, growth of less than 1,000 in the last week. I hope that the Amnesty mailing today (see above) will make a difference.

I discovered that LabourStart is blocked in Iran, and was curious to see which other sites were blocked — and which were not. See the results here.


  • derek

    Smallish thing: AI UK’s list is great, but there are others Shane might be able to get us access to as well. The AI SPain list is 90,000 for example (Canada’s a rather pitiful 1,600). As we already have translations done…

    A campaign that sets a new record for us is always worth looking at closely. As the Iran campaign slows and, inevitably, comes to a halt is there anything we can learn from it?

    One thing that occurs to me is that Twitter has been far more effective than I had thought it would be. Far more so than Facebook I think.

    Otherwise, it has confirmed some pre-existing opinions/annalyses: e-mail is the killer app for this stuff. Appeals involving an individual in jeopardy get a lot of attention. We still don’t know why most people don’t participate (if we could just get then to tell us why…:-) ).

    Comment | March 30, 2012
  • derek

    The new ‘who’s posting what’ page is very nice, potentially very useful in trying to better organize our correspondents.

    Comment | March 30, 2012
  • The relooked campaign stats page is good too but perhaps it should also be password protected.

    Comment | March 30, 2012
  • Looking at the “Who’s posting news” page, I wonder how the tables are sorted? It’s not alphabetical nor by results. For instance, today, I’ve entered 5 titles for the moment and I’m n° 1 whereas Derek has entered 31 and he’s second. Similarly, in the monthlong stats, the “podium” should be Derek, me, Andrew Casey…
    What’s the logic behind this?

    Comment | March 31, 2012
  • admin

    The order is by the user ID field — e.g., andy, dblackadder, gregbanton, igor. It’s done this way because this the date stored in the news links database, so that’s what’s sorted. Once it has been sorted and the totals determined, it links to a different file where the full names of the correspondents are stored, finds those and adds them.

    Comment | March 31, 2012
  • admin

    As for the campaign stats, we’ve never password protected it. What we did some time ago was stop showing the email addresses. The list of names here with affiliations and countries is one that the target employer or government already sees; this is just a public record of who has sent messages and can’t be data-mined to build a mailing list for example. I think we should leave it as is.

    Comment | April 1, 2012

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