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Intel Employee Caught Running OLPC News Site

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the well-maybe-at-least-biased dept.

Intel 193

An anonymous reader noted yet another story about credibility and disclosure on-line. An OLPC news site highly critical of the project was run by an Intel employee who actually is working on a project that competes with the OLPC. Oh, and the site failed to disclose this pretty serious bit of bias. The article talks about the most extreme interpretation ("Intel secretly bankrolls blog that disses competitor") but even the less extreme version ("insider badmouths competitors anonymously at night") is pretty fishy. Just more reasons to never believe anything on-line, including me I guess.

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astroturf (2)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014796)

How many times is this going to happen before corporations realize front organizations don't work on the Internet?

Re:astroturf (4, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014922)

> How many times is this going to happen before corporations realize front organizations don't work on the Internet?

It'll happen about the same time people get tired of porn. That is to say, never. For every article that comes out revealing this sort of thing, how many aren't identified? Obviously it's impossible to say. So it will keep going on.

Re:astroturf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015440)

What makes you think that it doesn't work? Seems to me that it does work. It has worked for quite a while, will likely continue to work with whatever readers they keep, and I have no doubt there are other similar blogs out there.

Re:astroturf (3, Insightful)

camperslo (704715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015574)

How many times is this going to happen before corporations realize front organizations don't work on the Internet?

Although these things certainly can bring negative backlash when discovered, part of the problem is that these things do sometimes work. Perhaps we should be asking every website to provide a street address, phone number, and ownership report. That would be very difficult to enforce since some would simply host elsewhere. Perhaps a good start would be to require any site advertising on radio or television to provide that information in the ads. (The text size for ads that maybe be shown on secondary SD DTV channels needs to be bumped up too. Many of those channels seem blurrier than NTSC to me, although part of the problem is use of analog satellite sources)

With elections coming in many areas, I would not be surprised to find a number of front organizations providing misinformation online. I've already seen several of the "forward this to your friends" mudslinging emails around. The combination of semi-anonymous and dirt cheap makes these abuses too easy.

It is a bit surprising to see this sort of thing from a company that's doing pretty well with their product lineup. Perhaps it is more about fighting pressure on prices than about getting the business for low cost machines?

Re:astroturf (2, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015822)

What are you talking about? 95% of the people reading that blog still think it's legit. Besides, you'd never know whether internet fronts worked or not, as the only ones you'd ever find out about were the few that failed. From that sample set, of course you think they all fail. What you're forgetting is that by definition the ones that succeed will forever be ghost to you.

For every one on the floor, there are ten in the walls. Slashdot is actually owned by Hormel Foods. You didn't think about spam that much in the 80s.

Re:astroturf (1)

DirtyHerring (635192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015994)

What are you talking about? 95% of the people reading that blog still think it's legit. I just read about this rumour on the olpcnews.com forum. I don't know if it will be censored at one point, but until now it isn't. To Wayan I can only say, so far I couldn't find much anti-OLPC propaganda in his posts. Quite the contrary, Maybe he hates his employer?

I believe in CowboyNeal (0, Offtopic)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014800)

CowboyNeal rocks!

Put jokes aside, isn't this normal? One of my friend found some parameter of an IC he is using online, it turned out to be totally wrong, my the other friend searched density of a chemical online, and he ended up with a wrong compound. I found many mistakes on Wikipedia, like 99.99% charge-discharge efficiency of lithium ion battery. I think most people have learned the class someway.

Re:I believe in CowboyNeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22014904)

Put jokes aside, isn't this normal? One of my friend found some parameter of an IC he is using online, it turned out to be totally wrong, my the other friend searched density of a chemical online, and he ended up with a wrong compound. I found many mistakes on Wikipedia, like 99.99% charge-discharge efficiency of lithium ion battery. I think most people have learned the class someway.
Good point. The only thing I'm wondering is; what are we discussing here?

Re:I believe in CowboyNeal (2, Funny)

zig007 (1097227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015124)

Good point. The only thing I'm wondering is; what are we discussing here?
I have no idea. I thought that would appear from reading the comments.
Maybe mushrooms?

Re:I believe in CowboyNeal (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015304)

what are we discussing here?
That for every honest, educated person adding to this global repository of information, there are thousands more just pissing in the pool. (Whether the majority of cases are due to bladder control problems or malice is still up for debate, however.)

Re:I believe in CowboyNeal (1)

zig007 (1097227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015346)

Is there some weird crosspost happening here?
Or is the point that the "Intel Employee Caught Running OLPC News Site", talked about in the headline, was pissing in the pool of knowledge?

Old news... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014810)

from the clues, I'd say TFA was written sometime at the back end of 2006.

Re:Old news... (2, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014958)

from the clues, I'd say TFA was written sometime at the back end of 2006.

I'd think the biggest "clue" might be the datestamp on the article (January 2, 2007 at 09:08 PM). No need to guess.

Re:Old news... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015414)

Meh. Close. :)

Re:Old news... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015638)

I was actually pretty impressed that you got it to within a week or so.

Re:Old news... with some truth ... (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016604)

Corporatist/plutocrats and government/politicians, are like national/global-clerics and dogmatist/reactionaries.

They are connected (so damn tight) at the hip you can not tell who is the fuckor or the fuckee, but reasonable and compassionate folks know that those fuckors and Fuckees are all fucking US into the poor-house and maybe death.

Anyway, if you cannot fuck a corporatist ... then fuck a politician ... vote'em all out, and in only one term.

What matters is what was said, not who said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22014820)

We have to consider the message that was delivered. It is irrelevant who said it, or who he or she works for.

The criticism could very well be completely valid. It wouldn't matter if that criticism was delivered by an Intel employee, a priest, a mechanic, or a school teacher.

Likewise, the criticism could be completely invalid. Again, it wouldn't matter if that criticism was delivered by an Intel employee, a priest, a mechanic, or a school teacher.

And that's why it's the reader's responsibility to consider what he or she is reading, and perform due diligence in verifying what is said.

Re:What matters is what was said, not who said it. (1)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015146)

Although I agree with that, unfortunately in practice a great deal of people don't independently consider things they read. The source of information often indicates a certain level of bias one way or another though, and if it's a signficant level of bias it perhaps should be highlighted.

You also have to consider that, even if any criticism given is warranted, a person with bias could purposely omit complimentary information - something which happens a lot in Slashdot summaries.

Re:What matters is what was said, not who said it. (2, Insightful)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015418)

And that's why it's the reader's responsibility to consider what he or she is reading, and perform due diligence in verifying what is said.

By due diligence you mean that the reader should check if the author is not working for the competition? I mean, one of the first things I've been told when writing my thesis is to check the credibility of the authors of my sources...

Sorry to put it bluntly, your point is completely absurd, who gives criticism is completely relevant, since their position has a grand impact on how they themselves perceive events.

Re:What matters is what was said, not who said it. (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016096)

We have to consider the message that was delivered. It is irrelevant who said it, or who he or she works for.
Sure. There are some cases that an ugly truth is still true no matter the messenger. But such truths are few and far between. Most of how we look at the world is largely up to interpretation. Our biases will affect how much weight we put to facts - causing us to find some points significant while ignoring others. In addition, we rarely have all the facts and are left to our own to fill in the gaps. In short, two people with different biases are very likely to look at the same event and draw entirely different conclusions as to the "truth" of what was presented.

The messenger is therefore a large part of the message. One needs some understanding of what facts the messenger actually has access to as well as what biases will cause them to pick and choose from those facts. This applies to anyone - not just those times when the messenger's bias is contrived to drive a very specific message.

Depends what was said. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016442)

Depends, especially, whether what they said is independently verifiable, and how much effort you're willing to put into that independent verification. I mean, what are you going to do? Look it up on Snopes? [xkcd.com]

I am going to go out on a limb here (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014928)

And say that this blog never really had that big of a following. I just scanned the front page, and it didn't seem like it was any worse than a lot of the biased crap that I've seen on TheRegister. The conflict of interest angle is certainly a black mark on them, but I think it makes them look more desperate than anything else. Personally, I think this just smacks of the sort of crap that Saddam's information minister pulled denying that U.S. forces were gaining ground in Iraq.

If Intel were smart, they'd start on a program to give away Eee PCs to kids that show a strong desire for science and engineering. Don't give them to the sort of kids that are just using them for porn in Nigeria, but give them to the studious kids who might actually use them for something cool. The Eee PC is a good deal more powerful than the stuff from the OLPC program, so giving away 10,000-20,000 high end Eee PCs might do a lot of good in the right kids' hands.

Re:I am going to go out on a limb here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015628)

El Reg? Biased crap?

Sense of humour transplant required here, nurse. May as well use the lobster, it's better than nothing.

Re:I am going to go out on a limb here (4, Interesting)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016218)

this blog never really had that big of a following
If it doesn't have much of a following its probably due to the obvious bias of the site. I don't recall the first time I read olpc news and how I got there but it was obvious from the start that it wasn't really an olpc news site but rather was simply an attack site spreading the same disinformation we see posted to message boards.

The olpc news blog attacked the educational objectives of the project from the start, not by critically assessing the years of research and study that went into the plan rather, by completely ignoring not just the research and study but even the advertised objectives and methods written in plain english on the loptop.org web site. How many times does it have to be explained to these people that its not a laptop project dumping laptops on starving third world children, its about the educational concept of constructionism [laptop.org] .

It even continues to this day where he posts "news" that there is no news showing that the kids who have so far received laptops are learning when again if he has been following the real news, you know, journalists and reporters actually out in the field finding out for themselves, the educational benefits are beginning to demonstrate themselves in small ways just as they did in the research.

And even if the blog is not closely followed, this guy is being interviewed and quoted all over the radio, even by NPR, as a source for OLPC news. That would be news about OLPC, not the website olpcnews which is a misnomer. Its disgraceful. Even though I stopped reading the guys web site I still had to listen to his crap on the radio when ever the OLPC project comes up in the real news.

Even though there is an obvious conflict of interest, and his site seems to be very biased, I can still see the possibility that he was just creating a blog about something he was interested in. I don't believe that the XO and Classmate were originally competing products as the target kids and communities for the OLPC educational program were outside the realm of Intel's existing educational assistance programs. The problem is that marketing PR, and in the case of Microsoft politics concerning open source software, drove them to "compete" in the OLPC "market" when in fact there is no market, its a charitable non-profit cause. As things were getting ugly in the media between Intel and OLPC he really should have disclosed the conflict of interest that arose.

So...... what? (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014954)

The headline says "caught" as if this person was doing something illegal or unethical. Please explain.

Intel employee shilled in a blogging incident (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015192)

The headline says "caught" as if this person was doing something illegal or unethical. Please explain.
Better headline above. I should charge for this.

Re:So...... what? (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015216)

Failing to reveal such a blatant conflict of interest is unethical. Glad I could help.

Re:So...... what? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015360)

Conflict of interest? This is as much of a conflict of interest as a RedHat employee saying bad things about Microsoft. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:So...... what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015384)

Only if the redhat employee didn't disclose it.

Re:So...... what? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015534)

That's not a conflict of interest though.

From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust, such as a lawyer, insurance adjuster, a politician, executive or director of a corporation or a medical research scientist or physician, has competing professional or personal interests. Such competing interests can make it difficult to fulfill his or her duties impartially.


This Intel employee isn't in a position of trust, and has no competing interest in either promoting Intel or denigrating OLPC.

Re:So...... what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015584)

The Intel employee is paid by Intel for working on a rival product. He chose to hide this fact in his attack on the rival product. It doesn't come more blatant than that.

Re:So...... what? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015678)

He's not working on the rival product (the OLPC, from his/Intel's point of view).

Granted, claiming to be an independent source of OLPC news and commentary is less than honest, but I maintain that no conflict exists.

Now if he had been working for OLPC while secretly being funded by Intel to trash the project, that would be a conflict of interest.

Re:So...... what? (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015830)

He claims to be a journalist (blogger) that's a position of trust. He is working for a competitor (conflict) and not only does he not disclose that he claims to be independent.

I'd say that fits the definition of "conflict of interest".

Re:So...... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22016002)

He claims to be a journalist (blogger) that's a position of trust.

At least as far as I'm concerned, bloggers haven't even come close to earning a position of trust. Hell, even most bona fide journalists these days don't deserve that kind of esteem.

Re:So...... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22016282)

Isn't in a position of trust? This character is regularly posting news articles that some would believe are from the OLPC project, and therefore, they (would) trust the content.

Re:So...... what? (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015804)

Conflict of interest? This is as much of a conflict of interest as a RedHat employee saying bad things about Microsoft.


Yes, its exactly that kind of conflict of interest: if a site that purported to be a "Windows News" site, that was highly critical of Windows, didn't disclose that one of its primary writers was a RedHat employee, that would also be an unethical conflict of interest. When you hold yourself out as a news source on a subject, and have personal financial interests that are indicative of a natural bias (or print material from someone who does), the ethical thing to do is disclose your (or the source's) interest so that readers have a fair opportunity to consider it when interpreting your reports. Failing to do so is unethical.

OLPCnews.com much worse than Mike Rowe Soft (2, Insightful)

fritsd (924429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016798)

If that RedHat employee runs the blog "microsoftnews.com", using the logo colours of Microsoft, and gives the impression of being "stern but fair" in their (manifold) criticism, then I'd say you have a point.

I haven't read olpcnews.com often but I thought it was VERY well written. It took me over 15 minutes to get a nagging feeling that something was very wrong with what I read (and I hadn't heard of the site before, I found it while googling for OLPC; olpcnews.com sounded more appropriate than "laptop.org"). I think it is quite difficult to impart on your readership the feeling that a project is well-meaning but delusional ("trust me, I've worked in the third world" - ffs).

What annoys me personally is to find this anti-OLPC criticism site BEFORE finding the project website [laptop.org] ; it really doesn't bother me too much that this Wayan person tries to wipe the floor with the OLPC project; in case it's fair criticism it can be used to improve and strengthen the project, and else, well everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

But I think it's really bad that he chose to deck out the website in OLPC-XO green and white and doesn't have a clear disclaimer saying he's working for a direct competitor, because it may confuse some of the readers (say, oh, ministers of education) that this is a more or less independent source of information.

BTW if you made an anti-Microsoft site microsoftnews.com, using Microsoft's logos and colour schemes, run by a RedHat employee, I think you'd get sued by Microsoft for trademark infringement (Mike Rowe Soft [cnn.com] , anyone?). But maybe I've seen too many American lawyer drama's.

P.S. it seems microsoftnews.com is still available, I just checked to see if it was a RedHat-run covert operation ;-)

The real story (5, Informative)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014956)

Okay, after being forced to dive into the sources by lousy reporting, here is the story:

Christopher Blizzard has posted to his blog [0xdeadbeef.com] that Wayan Vota, a main writer for OLPC news is the director of Geekcorps. That Wayan Vota writes for OLPC news is not a secret (his name is on every post). And a Google search for "Wayan Vota" [google.com] turns up the Geekcorps result as its third hit.

Now, on Geekcorps' website, of one their technology partners [geekcorps.org] is listed as Intel.

I don't know about you, but that's enough to convince me that the black helicopters are involved! What a conspiracy.

BTW, is this the Digg effect? I notice more and more looney conspiracy stories over there all the time. Maybe it's spreading.

Funny thing about conspiracies (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015086)

They really do happen. we have all seen outrageous things like this happen with MS and Intel before. More likely than not, this has funding by Intel and MS. Afterall, he runs no commercials on his site (i.e. it makes no money), and yet he is buying ads elsewhere. So what is his angle on it? Think it is just a free service that he is doing? I seriously doubt it.

This is just another OSS vs SCO/MS/Sun type angle being able to OLPC vs OLPCNEW/Intel. I would also not be surprised to see MS in this, but that has zero proof.

Re:Funny thing about conspiracies (2, Funny)

robteix (581906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015306)

You're right! He's blogging for free on the web! It's obviously a conspiracy.

Re:Funny thing about conspiracies (1)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015458)

I see you are currently modded funny and thus hope that you are joking. The crux of the matter is that the site is not a revenue source for the authors yet they are purchasing advertising for the site. Combine this with the fact that one of the primary authors also happens to work on a competing project for a large corporation and did not disclose this on the site seems to imply that there is something more to the site than simply being someone's personal blog.

Re:Funny thing about conspiracies (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015476)

He's paying extra to get advertising space for his blog on Google. http://www.google.com/search?q=olpc+xo [google.com]
What does that say about your theory?

Re:Funny thing about conspiracies (2, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015734)

Dunno about anyone else, and I'm not explicitly defending this guy, but many webhosts give away Google AdWords vouchers for free - in the past year Ive personally used about $200 worth of adwords placements without paying a penny.

Re:Funny thing about conspiracies (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016038)

he's a marketing man and he is Director of GeekCorps.com which he likely sees OLPC as a competitor.
There is no conspiracy here, he's doing his job as a marketeer and chose to do so by negative 'campaign' tactics against the competition. He could have gone the other way created a site pushing positive attributes of his business and business partners but did not. he chose the tactics Intel themselves are using around the world to stop the OLPC project.

http://www.wayan.com/marketing.html [wayan.com]

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595-6043635.html [zdnet.com]

LoB

Re:The real story (2, Interesting)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015494)

Okay, after being forced to dive into the sources by lousy reporting, here is the story:
Now, on Geekcorps' website, of one their technology partners [geekcorps.org] is listed as Intel.
Funny how you failed to mention that Geekcorp is not just a technology partner, but that Geekcorp is working with Intel to develop a
competing product.

Re:The real story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015718)

I'm still confused. According to Geekcorp, Wayan left in Sept 2007. http://www.geekcorps.org/2007/09/geekcorps-says-goodbye-to-waya/ [geekcorps.org]

And when I look at the Geekcorps website, I don't see anything about Geekcorp working on any project with Intel: http://www.geekcorps.org/category/programs/ [geekcorps.org]

Re:The real story (2, Informative)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015766)

Geekcorps has partnered with Intel Emerging Markets Group in Intel's "Discover the PC" initiative focused on delivering products and technologies that are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of people in emerging markets.
http://www.geekcorps.org/partners/ [geekcorps.org]

Still confused?

Re:The real story (4, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015832)

I've not seen where either he states he's an Intel employee or is listed as such. But, as was mentioned, geekcorps.com is where he's involved and that is listed as being created(whois) in 1999 with the goal of adding wireless infrastructure and Via computers to poor and rural areas of the world. Kinda sounds like where the OLPC is also going and if this is looked at as a BUSINESS, it is competition. If it's looked at as charity and with a desire to better the lives of others, OLPC would look like a partner. Vota seems to be looking at this as competition.

OLPCnews.com was created(whois) in Aug 2006 and is registered to Wayan Vota.

Oh, Mr Vota also owns Wayan.com was created(whois) in March 2000 and nowhere on this site does it say he is an Intel Employee. It does say that he's pretty much a marketing and sales guy.

IMO, after looking at Mr Vota's background and skill set, he's not someone to trust as a reporter, blogger, or speaker for a site with a name(OLPCnews.com) which sounds like it is a common site for general news on the OLPC project. His background shows that the OLPC, in his eyes, is a competitive project to his geekcorps.com and his employer( if he does work for Intel ).

Regardless of there being the ability for readers to dig all this up and figure it out, he is/was deceiving the public and his readers in a marketing effort to disparage the OLPC project. Vota, it's time for a name change buddy. And OLPC should claim the domain name because it was deceptively leveraging the OLPC name for competitive purposes. IMO. Let him purchase ClassmatePCNews.com since it isn't used yet.

LoB
   

Believe (4, Informative)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22014980)

"never believe anything on-line"? As opposed to believing anything that is printed on dead trees? Just apply the same rule to the internet as to books or newspapers: Use your own brain.

Re:Believe (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016264)

Thomas Jefferson -
Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.
Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.

Distortion ... (2, Interesting)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015022)

TFA: "It turns out that one of the site's authors works on an Intel project that is competing with the OLPC. Oops."

TFS: "An OLPC news site highly critical of the project was run by an Intel employee who actually is working on a project that competes with the OLPC."

TFS: "Just more reasons to never believe anything on-line, including me I guess."

q.e.d.

CC.

The defense from the astroturfer is sad. (4, Interesting)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015026)

Wayan seems to be replying to every article about this.

His argument seems to be:
It is a coincidence that he is working on a competing product to the OLPC.
It is a coincidence that he started a "personal" project slandering his business rival and getting Google links to the OLPC.
It is simply standard procedure that he is buying negative Google ads to promote his personal site. (You know, the way you buy Google Ads all the time for your personal projects.)

His screeching denials are more damning than anything else.

 

Re:The defense from the astroturfer is sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015084)

This article is a joke, and you're an idiot for falling for going along with it. The guy has never made it a secret who he is or who he works for (as a number of posts above have explained), and as other people have said, his criticisms are valid whoevver he works for. Are you always this easily lead?

Re:The defense from the astroturfer is sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015312)

Hi Wayan.

Re:The defense from the astroturfer is sad. (0)

initialE (758110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015368)

I'd mod you up if I had points. Even worse, there appear to be astroturfers here on Slashdot, more than willing to defend (anonymously of course) the guy.

Re:The defense from the astroturfer is sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015704)

I've followed OLPC news on occasion for several months. Not exactly a fan of how the project is run myself, though I find the hardware interesting so I keep tabs on it. I post anonymously because I can't really bring myself to create a slashdot account (ha! :-) rather than hide accountability for who I am. I could care less for who you think I am, but, I thought I'd drop you a line with my thoughts...

Anyway, if someone works in an industry, he has a motive. And that motive may not be for his primary employer, it may be to accomplish purpose X. So if Wayan Vota wants to help educate children around the world, he might work for Intel, he might run a blog on OLPC. All of which is consistent with his overall purpose. Though if you read his coverage of OLPC you might like to know of his relationship with Intel.

Do remember that it was only but a few weeks ago that Intel was on the OLPC bandwagon, is it a conflict of interest then? Prior to then? How about now? So you see, context is important here. Now that Intel is out of favor, suddenly it's astroturfing. This little bit of news has actually been around a while and honestly, I could care less and I still read his site.

Anyway, I like the coverage of OLPC news. He lauds them on occasion and berates them on others. He's current on all the happenings and progress on the project. If you want to keep tabs on it but don't want to wait for slashdot/arstechnica to pick up all the details it's a good site. He gives enough information for me to make up my own mind rather than simply take his word for it.

Is there bias? Absolutely, his own personal bias and I don't find it terribly offensive or bad.

The grave mistake that most people make is the failure to acknowledge the massive bias in all media outlets. Once you realize they all have it *cough* advertisers *cough* editors *cough* owners *cough*, you can read the media and use your brain as an intelligent media bias detector.

Re:The defense from the astroturfer is sad. (2, Insightful)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016052)

...
Do remember that it was only but a few weeks ago that Intel was on the OLPC bandwagon, is it a conflict of interest then? Prior to then? How about now? So you see, context is important here. Now that Intel is out of favor, suddenly it's astroturfing. This little bit of news has actually been around a while and honestly, I could care less and I still read his site.

Please. There have been numerous stories in the last couple of weeks about how Intel was acting in bad faith through the entire partnership, even going to the point of trying to talk people out of signed contracts. If they are willing to do that, keeping a slander blog up for the duration of the partnership that was "deniable" is the least of their efforts.

...
The grave mistake that most people make is the failure to acknowledge the massive bias in all media outlets. Once you realize they all have it *cough* advertisers *cough* editors *cough* owners *cough*, you can read the media and use your brain as an intelligent media bias detector.

The logical failings abound. Because there are inherent biases in everything, we should ignore an explicit conflict of interest? Whatever, Wayan.

But, once again, please answer this one question: How many "personal" blogs have you bought Google ads for?

Re:The defense from the astroturfer is sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22016506)

Do you win all your arguments by dismissing people as astroturfers, shills, zealots and the like? I bet you win quite a few by saying things like 'oh, thats racists!' too. Sure sign of a weak mind. Then again, this is slashdot...

Another coincidence? (1)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015720)

Perhaps it is another coincidence that a lot of people searched for olpc [google.com] today and clicked on the sponsored olpcnews link? :D

No wonder (1)

deconvolution (715827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015032)

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

How is this any different (1)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015038)

How is this any different than (insert most media sources here)? If you're jusy waking up to the fact that many "news" sources recieve payouts for favorable reviews, or to be critical of someone elses work, then I'd say you've been living under a rock.

Just because it's Microsoft in this case makes this newsworthy?

It's bad journalism to be sure, that is all.

Re:How is this any different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015688)

Just because it's Microsoft in this case makes this newsworthy?
Are you drunk? Who said anything about Microsoft?

Re:How is this any different (1)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015750)

Ugh! That's what I get when attempting to feed my 2 month old while replying to a /. story :P

Re:How is this any different (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015866)

How is this any different than (insert most media sources here)?


Yes, other people do unethical things. That's no excuse to ignore the specific instances of people doing unethical things. In fact, its why it is important to take note of them.

Just because it's Microsoft in this case makes this newsworthy?


No, undisclosed conflicts of interest are always newsworthy, to the extent that they relate to a subject that is itself a focus of attention in the community in question. The OLPC has been the subject of attention on Slashdot, and OLPC News has been a frequently-cited source in Slashdot discussions of it (and, IIRC, also the source of several of the front-page Slashdot stories regarding it, though I'm not going to bother going back and checking at the moment.) The undisclosed conflict of interest at OLPC News is, therefore, worthy of attention at Slashdot.

Re:How is this any different (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016196)

How is this not newsworthy here? There are two elements that are of interest to many slashdotters.

I. This is about how a corporate shill is attempting to distort reality using the alternative media in relation to a community, not for profit based project.

II. The OLPC is a project that many slashdotters are interested in because it is a technological project which is for the most part not commercially motivated which attempta to change the lives of children in third world nations.

And here we find this joker who works on a competing commercial profit based project denegrating a community based project. Here we have a clown who disses the charty work of others while being paid to work on a project intended to destroy this work.

Not the $100 laptop (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015156)

From the original article:

The OLPC News website in the past months has build up a reputation for sharply criticizing the $100 laptop project headed up by Nicholas Negroponte.

Please, please, please stop calling it "the $100 laptop." With the current prices for anything less than a million units roughly twice that figure, it's hideously inaccurate.

When they get it down to $100 and stop charging wildly different prices based on order quantity (a scam since all the tooling is done, and they won't be placing individual orders with their manufacturers), you can call it the $100 laptop.

Re:Not the $100 laptop (2, Informative)

hedu (1215514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015626)

When they get it down to $100 and stop charging wildly different prices based on order quantity (a scam since all the tooling is done, and they won't be placing individual orders with their manufacturers), you can call it the $100 laptop.

The tooling may be done, but it still has to be paid for. Charging different prices for different order quantities just makes those who place larger orders contribute less per unit to the cost of tooling. A common practice in any field of manufacturing.

I can't say I care. (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015178)

He's working on his own version for his employer. He presumably thinks it's better. That would explain why he's working on this project. It would be great if more people who were critical of products created a better version.

It's only a blog. It's not pretending not to have a bias. It's a blog. They're all biassed.

He's allowed to say what he likes. He was critical of the OLPC when Intel were amongst its proponents, so it seems pretty likely that this is his personal opinion. as such it would have been a bad idea to mention his affiliation with Intel since that may have suggested it was the company's views rather than his own.

Re:I can't say I care. (5, Informative)

Cato (8296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015708)

Sure, it's not pretending 'not to have a bias' apart from the bold-italic part at the top of every page that goes:

'Your independent source for news, information, commentary, and discussion of One Laptop Per Child's "$100 laptop" computer, the OLPC Children's Machine XO, developed by MIT Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte.'

See the 2nd word there? Sure he can say what he likes, but he needs to disclose this blatant conflict of interest, which renders him very biased indeed.

Re:I can't say I care. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015930)

It's only a blog. It's not pretending not to have a bias.


Not disclosing a personal financial interest in a competing project when holding yourself out as a news source focussed on a particular project is precisely "pretending not to have bias".

He's allowed to say what he likes.


No one is saying he is not allowed to say what he likes. What people are saying is that he has an ethical obligation to disclose the conflict of interest if he holds himself out as a news source (whether the form is as a blog or otherwise). Ethics aren't a matter of what you are compelled to do or not do (though certain professions also have binding ethical codes), but what you should do or not do.

Looks like the case of the fake ODF (2, Interesting)

filbranden (1168407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015188)

Looks like the case [slashdot.org] of the fake Open Document Foundation, that had nothing to do with ODF itself, and was just spreading FUD (probably trying to get money from Microsoft, in that case).

On the good side, these "schemes" tend to be found and revealed really quickly these days.

Re:Looks like the case of the fake ODF (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016016)

On the good side, these "schemes" tend to be found and revealed really quickly these days.

On the bad side, damage has still been done. There are generally going to be more people who hear the initial message than hear of the source being debunked.

plastic colors (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015194)

The B1G1 program gave US purchasers the same green & white one that impoversished children were getting because there was no way to make an alternative color. Yet the picture clearly shows an all-red OLPC at a trade show. Non-green/white plastic does exist after all and , wonder that.

Re:plastic colors (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015340)

The red and yellow machines were prototypes. Models beginning with the letter C are green and white, as are the MP (mass production) machines. More here: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Pictures [laptop.org]

Intel employee != Intel (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015264)

Has it been proven that he maintained that site under bosses orders or at least during work time? Just because an Intel employee runs an adult site doesn't justify a headline "Intel supports porn".

Re:Intel employee != Intel (2, Funny)

RazzleDazzle (442937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015768)

Oh but Intel does support porn. I bet over half of the porn sites out there are running on Intel hardware! Intel is actually the mack daddy of porn supporters if you think about it in this way.

This is just bad, Slashdot! (1, Informative)

robteix (581906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015286)

The title of this story is just wrong. Nowhere -- other than at Slashdot itself, that is -- the "Intel employee" is even remotely identified as an Intel employee. This is just cheap -- is there another kind? -- sensationalism.

I know Slashdotters love conspiracy theories, but this one is not only far-fetched, but the title is purely misleading.

For the record, I work at Intel, although I have nothing to do with Classmate PC or OLPC. I just searched for the guy's name on our directory and he's either not an Intel employee or he uses another name (oh, here's another Slashdot theory!)

Or I'm just lousy at searching for names ;-)

Re:This is just bad, Slashdot! (4, Informative)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015562)

Nope, I don't think the story is wrong:

US Dept of State [state.gov]

He is a member of the Intel Corporation NGO Advisory Board and writes for several publications specializing on the role of technology in development.

And (3, Interesting)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015382)

Slashdot, with its numerous Microsoft bashing and Linux praising articles, is owned by OSTG (or SourceForge, whatever it's called) which has everything to gain from, er, the promotion of Linux and F/OSS.

So, where's the full disclosure on this, hum?

Re:And (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22015660)

Look at the bottom of the page: "All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest © 1997-2008 SourceForge, Inc."

There is even a link to SourceForge. There it is pretty easy to see that promoting OSS is one of the main interests of the company.

Re:And (4, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016190)

Generally, any story they do directly about OSTG/SourceForge/etc includes that disclaimer.

They tend to be good stories anyway.

Intel Doesn't Need To (2, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015432)

Just to let you know, in case you haven't figured it out... Intel doesn't need to badmouth the competition. Intel employees are some of the biggest zealots available on the market and HR at Intel hires based on how much of a zealot a person can be for their brand. Brand loyalty is the number one trait that Intel HR is looking for in a potential employee, above and beyond skill level. If you have ever had a conversation with an Intel rep you will know exactly what I'm talking about. They store up a bunch of company info and spew it at you, nonstop.

Therefore I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this is a zealot who decided to take the zealotry to another level in the form of a website.

Zealots take business to the personal level, and therefore it would be false to suggest this was a paid-for stunt by Intel... even if they cop to it. A PR person might suggest that Intel takes the fall for this in order to drive the free media exposure higher than it has to be (businesses actually do that stuff sometimes), but that wouldn't be the truth, IMHO.

Luckily no Intel here! (1)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015500)

This piece of news only makes me prouder to be completely Intel-free (only PowerPC Macs and an AMD-based PC here). Not that I had anything against Intel so far, but from now on I'll never buy anything Intel-based.

Trying to pass off competition bashing as objective news is already bad, but trying to sabotage a charity-funded non-profit association really means being the scum of earth.

Blog = Bias (1)

PolarBearFire (1176791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015728)

It's a blog, nobody should take the contents of a blog seriously. I'm constantly amazed that people take blogs as a primary or secondary source of information. The truth none of it is backed up by journalistic integrity or as much that would be contained in a personal diary. Blogs aren't news sources people, and people who write blogs aren't "reporters" just like Dr. Phil isn't a real doctor and Col. Sanders isn't a real Colonel.

Re:Blog = Bias (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016284)

and Col. Sanders isn't a real Colonel.

You Sir, have besmirched the Good name of the Colonel. I demand satisfaction.

I'd be pretty satisfied with a bucket of Chicken. extra, I say Extra Crispy.

/foghorn leghorn.

OK, the irony of a rooster defending Col. Sanders is a little too much.

don't beieve offline either (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22015968)

never believe anything on-line

Offline isn't much better, either. When I have to choose between offline and online, I think online is actually better.

Today is Vota's wedding day (5, Informative)

fang2415 (987165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016100)

Just in case anybody's wondering why Vota hasn't posted anything to explain this... I think he might be a little busy at the moment, since he's getting married today [bellybuttonwindow.com] .

Not that that affects any conflict of interest either way, but he is a private citizen who's been running the blog in his spare time for at least a year. Sucks for him that this hits Slashdot today.

For my part, I've been reading olpcnews for a while and I think it's a serious stretch to call it "highly critical" of OLPC. Vota seems to love OLPC in general and has started a forum for Give-One-Get-One donors (like himself) to post hacks, guides, and help for the machines. He's pretty critical of Negroponte, but it seems that that's mostly because he (reasonably) believes that Negroponte's utopian rhetoric harms the project.

I'm not sure I've seen him weigh in strongly either way on Intel, but he's certainly very against seeing Windows on the OLPC [olpcnews.com] , and has posted articles from other authors [olpcnews.com] that are quite critical of Intel. So IMO: pro-Intel bias, maybe. Anti-OLPC bias, no way.

Re:Today is Vota's wedding day (1)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016230)

Really? Someone should tell him (from the linked article): "So I wonder if anyone realizes this post is a year old? As in Jan 2007. It was a sad conspiracy theory back then: http://www.bbwindow.com/2006/america/blogging_big_leagues.html [bbwindow.com] And now that I no longer work for Geekcorps, even more out of date and out of touch: http://www.geekcorps.org/2007/09/geekcorps-says-goodbye-to-waya/ [geekcorps.org] Posted-by: Wayan | 12 Jan 2008 17:38:11"

Re:Today is Vota's wedding day (1)

fang2415 (987165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016456)

Hah! Didn't read the comments in TFA and didn't realize that the post was dated Jan 07, not Jan 08. Oh well. Whatever the Moral Truth of this melodrama, Vota still has some valuable things to say (as well as some not-so-valuable); is providing what, at the moment at least, seems to be one of the best OLPC resources on the web at the moment; and hopefully won't get his honeymoon completely ruined by a bunch of angry nerds slamming him over a year-old conspiracy theory.
That makes this my $0.04, now...

Where is the evidence of astroturfing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22016342)


'Astroturfing' implies an aggressively critical (or really just very negative) portrayal of the object in question, secretly funded by an organisation.

Reading the posts on the website however, there are a large number of posts that are either:

A. very positively inclined towards the OLPC, or,
B. critical of the relative educational merits of the project.

While B seems to be where the beef lies, the problem with that is that the only realistic way Intel could make money from competing with OLPC is to launch their own laptop for the same segment - and one that by all accounts is likely to be even pricier. To occasionally question the relative priority of money is absurd if your goal is to outcompete at a higher price for the same segment and with the same rationale. Furthermore, a very large number of posts are very positive, as below:

December 2007:
"Wow, 150,000 G1G1 donated XO laptops for children in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia and Rwanda. Once they start shipping, it will be an amazing New Year for everyone's favorite XO laptop."
"..And did you start to shake with excitement when you saw the DOOM on XO video?"
"I am very sad to learn that today is Mary Lou Jepsen's last day at One Laptop Per Child... she made the XO the greenest laptop ever made... And Mary Lou Jepsen is Number One to me for more than her technical contributions to OLPC. She also kept the program real, skipping the grandiose statements for getting things done.. She delivered us clock-stopping hot technology without pretense. She just delivered. From all of us who care about OLPC, may we deliver you the best wishes for you and yours in 2008 and beyond."
"If you have an XO laptop, you've seen the XO safety screen. Right about now, I'm thinking about safety in a much larger context. The concept of safety education for children, taught through the XO laptop. Recently a man died in my arms, his blood still warm on may face from an unsuccessful attempt at CPR revival. In a quiet moment afterwards, I thought it smart to add basic first aid information to the OLPC library."
"Will your child be safe carrying around one of the hottest, and scarcest pieces of consumer electronics ever released?"

And so on, and so on. How can a huge number of statements like these be reconciled with the claims that Intel funded an anti-OLPC blog?

Did he do something wrong by not disclosing that he was contracting for Intel? Possibly yes - he did not however do anything to hide the fact either. There are however a large number of claims that he has done something more than that, and 'astroturfed' - the tag to this story is even 'astroturfing', and that implies a hidden negative bias. The people who accuse Intel of funding an anti-OLPC blog without having actually shown that such a strong negative bias for own gain exists deserve to be treated like shits, like people who have done something extremely wrong - like accusing someone of pedophilia without cause. You do not publicly accuse someone of being a hired tool for astroturfing without at least some good evidence, or apologise if you are wrong. If you do you are an ass, and represent evil.

Re:Where is the evidence of astroturfing? (1)

Electrode (255874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016414)

When you post something like this anonymously, it does raise questions about your own affiliations and interests...

Legal liability for trashing competitors (2, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016356)

As a real journalist, I can tell you from first-hand experience that in the more credible publications, (a) if a journalist was getting anything of value from a company (money, travel and accommodations, etc.) he would not be allowed to write about that company. (b) If an expert were writing something about his specialty, and he was getting something of value from a company as a consultant or something (which is legitimate), that expert would have to disclose his financial arrangements to the readers.

You can see these disclosures in scientific journals all the time. I just signed a disclosure form myself, in which I affirmed that I had no financial interests in the story I was writing about.

I admit there are a lot of astroturf publications in which an advertiser can buy a story, sometimes written by a PR firm, without disclosure, but I think most people who read those publications realize what's going on and give them the credibility that's appropriate.

I think the biggest concern is, what happens if you get sued for libel? The American libel laws tend to favor journalists who are writing about public figures, which means almost anybody who is in the news. If I make a mistake, as long as I was acting in good faith, they can't get damages against me.

To win a case against a journalist, a public figure has to prove malice. Malice is a specific legal term which is different from the everyday meaning of the term, but one example of malice would be writing defamatory charges against a competitor.

The worst case I can think of offhand was a TV producer for one of the major networks, who left TV and went into public relations. One of her clients was a bank, which was competing with Safra. The ex-producer got the bright idea of faxing unfavorable stories about Safra to newspapers and magazines, most of them in underdeveloped countries. The stories were anti-Semitic and contained false, defamatory statements about Safra.

When she was working in journalism, she was used to keeping her sources confidential, but in public relations, there's no such confidentiality, especially when people get sued for libel, and lawyers start taking depositions. She was so stupid that she didn't realize that her fax machine was sending her own phone number at the top of the fax and could easily be traced back to her. So she and her banking client got caught. (But they would have caught her anyway, because when lawyers sue somebody for libel, they can force the defendants, or anyone connected with the case, to disclose lots of information.)

Safra sued them, and the bank finally settled for several million dollars, which Safra contributed to charity, as I recall.

But the point is, if you're a journalist, you're operating by one set of rules. If you're getting paid by a company, and acting in their interest, you're operating by another set of rules. If you don't disclose your financial interests in the matters you write about, you're skating on thin ice, and opening yourself to libel. You're also dragging your client into liability for big (multi-million dollar) damages. If they sue you, all the facts will come out.

I expect that Intel will decide that they don't want to be associated with Wayan any more.

Do I have freedom of speech? (2, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016386)

I work for a major engineering company. My views do not necessarily represent the views of my employer, and I wish it to remain this way.

So, if I personally felt that my employer's project was superior to a competitor's, should I be forced to disclose my employer? What if I felt my employer was following the wrong marketing strategy? Should I disclose then?

The problem, as I see it, is if I disclose my employer, people will associate my opinions with my employer. Or worse, if I am critical of some new technology, will assume that my employer is also critical of said technology. Either situation can damage the reputation and possibly the business prospects of my employer. In light of such, if people knew who employed me, I would be less likely to state my opinion, for fear of the negative repercussions.

Unfortunately, all too many people are willing to discredit others based on their affiliations and associations rather than the strength or weaknesses of their arguments. The problem, as I see it, is that everyone seems to want an unbiased source, rather than dealing with the fact that this is almost impossible in the real world, and rather than evaluating the bias of the debater, we should be debating the merit of his arguments. Sadly, because so many are concerned with the authority and credentials of the presenter, those of us who actually have authority on technical issues are loathe to discuss them in public. I would rather have my arguments evaluated in light of their strengths and weaknesses than whom has chosen to employ me.

And for this reason, I chose not to divulge my employer. I want my arguments evaluated on their merits, without respect for my authority in the field. Too many people have adopted the practice of taking a position in a debate based not upon the merits of the arguments, but rather, the authority of the presenter. I expect people to think; I'm not here to make up your mind for you.

Re:Do I have freedom of speech? (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016570)

Not disclosing any conflict of interests that you may have, and then later getting found out that the conflicts were not disclosed is far more damaging to your reputation than disclosing them up front. There are any number of cases where not disclosing these conflicts is actually illegal; for example if you are a stock analyst, judge, lobbyist or politician.

People are not as dumb as you might think. If you disclose the potential conflict a reasonable person can evaluate what the potential issues are; if not there is always the question regarding what axe you are grinding. If you disclose a reasonable person would at least feel that he is being told what the viewpoint of the person is.

Senator George Mitchell once said when being evaluated for a position as a special envoy to Ireland to negotiate a settlement between the IRA and British government that the conflicts of interest that you have to worry about are the undisclosed ones.

The fact is that there is no such thing as a completely unbiased observer. The best thing is to know the biases so you can evaluate the work in the correct context.

Be Suspicious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22016388)

You mean we should consider that when someone runs an pro or anti-'something' website or blog that the person may have an agenda? Shocking!!

Wayan Vota doesn't work for Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22016392)

But I do.

In the non-HR version of our employee listings, there are two listings for 'Vota' as a last name--Paul M and Eric J, both ex-employees who left in 2000 and 2001, according to the database. Geekcorps employees, it would seem, are not Intel employees.

You want *negative*???? (4, Interesting)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016432)

I frequent that site [olpcnews.com] . I actually find most of Wayan Vota's postings about the OLPC to be neutral or positive (with other contributors all over the map).


Jeesh, go visit right now. The lead article's titled "10,000 Give One Get One XO Laptops Going to OLPC Mongolia". Hardly the stuff of astroturfing.

You really want _negative_? Go visit their forums (same site) and read the posts from the hundreds of "Give One Get One" donors who've been out $423.95 for over two months now and still have no XO laptops to show for it, due to OLPC's incompetency and inability to manage the program. _That's_ negative stuff.

Full disclosure: I'm one of those unfortunate donors.

/tsg/

News (but not surprising) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22016494)

It's not correct to say that the blog is "independent" and that should be reported. But, there are all sorts of blogs out there that have hidden associations to a business.

I know of one company that is (or is planning on) having a blog that is "independent". They don't believe that what they are doing is wrong. They believe that customers are ignoring what they say about their product as salesmanship or hype. So, they feel that they need to report the information as coming from an independent source so that people listen to it. As far as I can tell, they aren't lying about the data (I don't know that much about their product). But, I don't fee that it's right to promote the blog as independent.

Therein lies the problem with "salesmanship". The bigger the lies, the more people ignore what all salesmen say. Which results in the salesmen having to come up with bigger lies, creating a type of Ouroboros.

ancient article (1)

fche (36607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016642)

As usual, TFA is over a year old.

Blizzard didn't produce evidence that Vota was an Intel employee, only
that the Geekcorps organization may or may not have some Intel funding.

Otherwise, usual quality news here at /.

I've been following this conspiracy (2, Informative)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22016668)

for a while now. Does anyone realize the linked article is A YEAR OLD? It was written Jan 2, 2007. Subsequently, you can see a little back and forth with the accused (Wayan Vota) in the comments section through Jan 4, 2007. Then no one comments on the damn thing for *AN ENTIRE YEAR*. Then someone makes a comment on Jan 4, 2008, and the accusations fly again. Jan 12, 2008? Slashdot picks it up as if it's news. Problem is, Wayan quit Geekcorps a long time ago, so the article is no longer valid except that at one point in the past, there was an undisclosed conflict interest that no longer exists. At its height, you could say this was a bit shady and Wayan has most certainly continued to be an open critic of OLPC, but come on now, can we at least check the year before posting out-of-date crap like this in the future?
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