. community —

Fwd: [biodev0506] announcing activista (radical search engine)

Begin forwarded message:
> == Announcing Activista ==
>
> In cooperation with resist.ca and protest.net, riseup.net is proud to
> announce the launch of Activista, a search engine focused on activist
> resources and vegetarian/vegan recipes. Comprised exclusively of social
> change websites, Activista helps people quickly find the activist
> information they search for. As a added bonus, vegetarian recipe sites
> are included. Why? Because recipes are yummy!
>
> What can I do with Activista?
>
> Well, just type in the words or topics you want to find information
> about and then page through the results. No ads, no sponsored links,
> just radical goodness! Try it out at http://activista.org. But wait,
> there's more. A few of the many easy to use features include:
>
> - Advanced search page makes it easy to create targeted searches
> - Use our plugin to search directly from your browser
> (http://activista.org/plugin/)
> - A multi-language search interface.
> - Add an Activista search box to your website (you can also use this to
> search only your website).
>
> Why an activist search service?
>
> We believe there is a pressing need for a search engine with a focus on
> liberatory social change. For example, if you search for
> "biotechnology" in a typical search engine, you get hundreds of entries
> for biotech corporations. With Activista, the same search returns pages
> of people working to expose the dangers of biotechnology.
>
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Comments

Andres Manniste May 4 2005 05:38Reply

ryan griffis wrote:

Activista? Because recipes are yummy!


One would think that an alternative search engine would come up with an alternative name. The reference to Altavista is a bit of an acceptance that your definition of alternate occurs within the shadow of a determining model, which in your case seems to be loosely based on the North American one. (My jeans are torn to demonstrate to you that they are not like your jeans)

The tangent into "yummy recipes" is strange. At the least it really focuses on an occidental middle class bias and as such brings into question the entire "alternate" premise. How does one describe the eating habits of two thirds of the world as alternate? It only makes sense within a really minor cultural bubble.

ryan griffis May 4 2005 11:01Reply

interesting crit - i'm sure the folks at protest.net, et al who created
this would be interested to hear it.

On May 4, 2005, at 4:37 AM, Andres Manniste wrote:

> ryan griffis FORWARDED:
>
> Activista? Because recipes are yummy!
>
>
> One would think that an alternative search engine would come up with
> an alternative name. The reference to Altavista is a bit of an
> acceptance that your definition of alternate occurs within the shadow
> of a determining model, which in your case seems to be loosely based
> on the North American one. (My jeans are torn to demonstrate to you
> that they are not like your jeans)
>
> The tangent into "yummy recipes" is strange. At the least it really
> focuses on an occidental middle class bias and as such brings into
> question the entire "alternate" premise. How does one describe the
> eating habits of two thirds of the world as alternate? It only makes
> sense within a really minor cultural bubble.

Blaine May 9 2005 12:19Reply

Andres Manniste wrote:

> One would think that an alternative search engine would come up with
> an alternative name. The reference to Altavista is a bit of an
> acceptance that your definition of alternate occurs within the shadow
> of a determining model, which in your case seems to be loosely based
> on the North American one. (My jeans are torn to demonstrate to you
> that they are not like your jeans)

I assure you that coming up with a name for a search engine that at once reflects the purpose of the tool and the political alignment is not an easy task. I think coming up with the name was a work-in-progress for the better part of 1 1/2 years. The top candidate after "activista" was "ourSearch", which really isn't that great.

To be sure, our efforts with activista do occur within a determining model - we have neither the talent, nor time or resources to create a fully "novel" search engine, and as such ours is built on top of open source software that is an analog to many of the existing corporate search engines. The difference is that we are attempting to create a space for activists that is currently dominated by "friendly" corporations that exist to sell us to the advertisers.

It should be noted also that "activista" is intended to be a tool that activist web developers can use - an example is http://search.corpwatch.org/ which is using activista as their back-end search engine. We will be adding an indymedia search, an anarchist search, a green search, and so on. These are all things that will have front-ends that are very different from the activista front-end, but will leverage the same effort.

> The tangent into "yummy recipes" is strange. At the least it really
> focuses on an occidental middle class bias and as such brings into
> question the entire "alternate" premise. How does one describe the
> eating habits of two thirds of the world as alternate? It only makes
> sense within a really minor cultural bubble.

It's just that - a tangent. The announcement was meant to have a bit of humour, perhaps that didn't come across. Anyhow, one of the things that activista does well, that isn't done by any other tool as far as I'm aware, is searching for vegetarian / vegan recipes. I'm unclear as to your comment about 2/3 of the world's eating habits… Some aspects of activista might have broader appeal, others narrow appeal. What I'm interested in is providing a platform to which others can contribute and build.

Thanks very much for your criticisms - it's important for me that we-as-activista (which isn't really a collective or anything per se, just a bunch of people who are interested in working on this project) are as open and responsive as possible.

b.

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Cynthia April 5 2009 23:02Reply

There should be a search engine about <a href="http://www.vegetarianweightloss.com">vegetarianism</a> and veganism.. and other health issues. :)