Just to be perfectly clear, Michel Gondry is not missing

Michel Gondry is missing.

I ran into this poster walking around with Thessaly on Sunday. I took a photo and sent it to Flickr. I added a caption disclaiming it as being probably a hoax (I actually said it was probably a lame marketing ploy).

Then Gothamist blogged about the posters the next day using my photo.

Thankfully, today I received a message from Gondry’s office saying that no, he was not in fact missing:

Hi. I would like to make it perfectly clear that Michel Gondry has absolutely nothing to do with this at all. It is not a marketing campaign. These postings are the independent act of someone not associated with Michel Gondry or any of his work or projects. We would prefer that these signs be removed whenever possible. Thank you. -Office of Michel Gondry.

Does this mean I get to be in the next Michel Gondry music video?

ChowHound Doesn’t Understand The Conversation That Is The Web

There I was, advocating for the power of the web to connect people. How ChowHound was this awesome site to connect people looking for food. I even posted a link on ChowHound to my blog review of Picchu. But apparently that’s unkosher on ChowHound. They don’t like outbound links. I just received this e-mail, indicating that my post was deleted:


We’re sorry, but we’ve removed your post (below).  Chowhound’s mission is to be a trove of opinions and information, rather than a nexus of outbound links to opinions and information. So please opine on the Chowhound site rather than direct our audience elsewhere for your thoughts. Please either cut/paste your blog opinions or encapsulate them in your Chowhound.com postings.

We understand that there’s a fine line between sincerely wanting to point your fellow hounds to good info which happens to be elsewhere and plotting to steer our large audience elsewhere for promotion/ self-promotion. The problem is that we have far too many users and far too little time to draw this distinction. We need to stave off the considerable desire to use our loud microphone for promotion.

You can see more on our guidelines for bloggers and other journalists, including the appropriate ways to include your blog URL on Chowhound, in our Etiquette: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367605#2259234

The Chowhound Team
For Those Who Live to Eat

I don’t really get this. Is ChowHound worried about serving extra-Google juice to the undeserving barbarians outside their walled garden? What if they implement a nofollow policy ala Wikipedia?

If they’re worried about keeping conversations “inside” their forums, then they don’t seem to be understanding the nature of the Web as conversations happen everywhere. After I post this I’ll send the link to Twitter, and then that will show up on Facebook, and maybe I’ll send it in an e-mail to a friend I know cares about ChowHound, and so on. Finally I’ll track responses and conversations via Pingbacks and Google Analytics. As Dave Winer says, “The web is a conversation, too.

ChowHound’s solution is to have me copy and paste my own work (raising questions about what would happen if I object to what rights they claim to my work) for no other reason than to help ChowHound police their own boards is also silly.

Finally, while I’m sympathetic to the idea that policing ChowHound for “self promotion” is difficult, I’m not sure killing outbound links (or directions to external information) really solves this problem. Why couldn’t I just talk about myself? Or my hypothetical favorite restaurant which I happen to own?

Admittedly the spam / promotion problem is one of the hardest to solve on the web. Millions of words and thousands of hours have been spilled on Wikipedia trying to define what is notable and what is not in an attempt to keep Wikipedia clean from mindless self promotion. But ChowHound is not Wikipedia.

What I ultimately object to is the mindless approach CH has taken to moderation. Instead of really basing the decision on a community standard, the choice to remove posts is made from the top down, using mercenary logic.

Updates On Josh Harris and Facebook Censorship

John points out the Boing Boing post about Josh Harris claiming Pseudo.com was really a hoax:

I now acknowledge that Pseudo Programs, Inc., a New York City based Internet television network founded in 1994 and sold from bankruptcy in 2000 was the linchpin of a long form piece of conceptual art. Pseudo burned over $25 million in private and institutional capital over a span of seven years. Pseudo was a fake company.


And the conclusion is that Noneck’s facebook updates about his deportation are really PHP serialized data, says Mark:

That text is serialized PHP data. Specifically, it is an array (think of an array as a “group”) of six integers: 672053, 672054, 672056, 672057, 672058, and 672059. No idea what these mean, but as they are more or less in succession, I’d guess that they’re ID numbers for a database table.

Brian is suspicious that there’s anything behind YouTube’s take down of the video:

As for YouTube taking down the video, that has very little to do with whether or not it’s actually infringing. The DMCA requires that YouTube take down anything that anyone claims is a copyright infringement, so long as the claim fits a certain set of criteria. It’s not up to YouTube to decide whether it’s actually infringing; they’re just passing the message along. However, your friend can submit a counter-claim to YouTube, which they have to pass back to the IOC. The IOC can then either ignore the counter-claim, in which case YouTube has to put the video back up, or they can sue your friend, in which case a court decides whether infringement took place.

Let me just reiterate what I said — I’m not really placing any blame on YouTube. I understand how take down notices work, but Brian also provided YouTube’s policy here. What I was blogging about, and I should have been more clear about this, is the IOC’s reasons for sending such a take down notice, not YouTube’s reasons for obliging. From my original post:

My feeling is that the IOC likes to squash Tibet-related videos involving the IOC’s logo. Their dubious DMCA take down notice is a clear example of a corporation using copyright to stifle free speech.

So again, I’m questioning the IOC’s actions for doing this, not YouTube’s.

Apparently the video seems to be back up? I can’t find any evidence for this.