Preaching our lives over the interwebs

Hel­lo Jon, A.J. and Wess,

So we’ve been asked to write a “syn­chroblog” orga­nized by Quak­er Vol­un­tary Ser­vice. It is a week­day and there are work dead­lines loom­ing for me (there are always dead­lines loom­ing) so my par­tic­i­pa­tion may be spot­ty but I’ll give it a shot.

The top­ic of this par­tic­u­lar syn­chroblog is Friends and social media and in the invite we were asked to riff on com­par­isons with ear­ly Friends’s pam­phle­teer­ing and the web as the new print­ing press. I’m spot­ty on the details of the var­i­ous pam­phlet wars of ear­ly Friends but the web-as-printing-press is a famil­iar theme.

I first man­gled the metaphors of web as print­ing press nine­teen years ago. That sum­mer I start­ed my first new media project to get paci­fist writ­ings online. The metaphors I used seem as fun­ny now as they were awk­ward then, but give me a break: Mark Zucker­berg was a fifth grad­er hack­ing Ataris and even the word “weblog” was a cou­ple of years away. I described my project as “web type­set­ting for the move­ment by the move­ment” and one of my sell­ing points is that I had done the same work in the print world.

Frac­tured as my metaphors were, online media was more like pub­lish­ing then that it is now. Putting an essay online required tech­ni­cal skills and com­par­a­tive­ly high equip­ment costs. The con­sis­tent arc of con­sumer tech­nol­o­gy has been to make post­ing ever eas­i­er and cheap­er and that has moved the bar of qual­i­ty (raised or low­ered depend­ing on how you see it)

Back in the mid-1990s I remem­ber jok­ing snark­i­ly with friends that we’d all some­day have blogs devot­ed to pic­tures of our cats and kids – the humor in our barbs came from the ridicu­lous­ness that some­one would go to the time and expense to build a site so ephemer­al and non-serious. You’d have to take a pic­ture, devel­op the film, dig­i­tal­ly scan it in, touch it up with a pro­hib­i­tive­ly expen­sive image soft­ware, use an FTP pro­gram to upload it to a web serv­er and then write raw HTML to make a web page of it. But the joke was on us. In 2014, if my 2yo daugh­ter puts some­thing goofy on her head, I pull out the always-with-me phone, snap a pic­ture, add a fun­ny cap­tion and fil­ter, tag it, and send it to a page which is effec­tive­ly a pho­to­blog of her life.

The ease of post­ing has spawned an inter­net cul­ture that’s cre­ative­ly bizarre and won­der­ful. With the changes the print­ing press metaphor has become less use­ful, or at least more con­strained. There are Friends who’s inten­tion­al­i­ty and effort make them inter­net pub­lish­ers (I myself work for Friends Jour­nal). But most of our online activ­i­ty is more like water cool­er chitchat.

So the ques­tion I have is this: are there ways Friends should behave online. If we are to “let our lives preach,” as the much-quoted George Fox snip­pet says, what’s our online style? Do we have any­thing to learn from ear­li­er times of pam­phle­teer­ing? And what about the media we’re using, espe­cial­ly as we learn more about elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance and its wide­spread use both here at home and in total­i­tar­i­an regimes?

SOPA would likely cause far more damage than it’s worth, keep the internet free…

SOPA would like­ly cause far more dam­age than it’s worth, keep the inter­net free from cor­po­rate cen­sor­ship. #sopa #inter­net

Reshared post from +Sergey Brin

In just two decades, the world wide web has trans­formed and democ­ra­tized access to infor­ma­tion all around the world. I am proud of the role Google has played along­side many oth­ers such as Yahoo, Wikipedia, and Twit­ter. Whether you are a stu­dent in an inter­net café in the devel­op­ing world or a head of state of a wealthy nation, the knowl­edge of the world is at your fin­ger­tips.

Of course, offer­ing these ser­vices has come with its chal­lenges. Mul­ti­ple coun­tries have sought to sup­press the flow of infor­ma­tion to serve their own polit­i­cal goals. At var­i­ous times notable Google web­sites have been blocked in Chi­na, Iran, Libya (pri­or to their rev­o­lu­tion), Tunisia (also pri­or to rev­o­lu­tion), and oth­ers. For our own web­sites and for the inter­net as a whole we have worked tire­less­ly to com­bat inter­net cen­sor­ship around the world along­side gov­ern­ments and NGO pro­mot­ing free speech.

Thus, imag­ine my aston­ish­ment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none oth­er but the Unit­ed States. Two bills cur­rent­ly mak­ing their way through con­gress — SOPA and PIPA — give the US gov­ern­ment and copy­right hold­ers extra­or­di­nary pow­ers includ­ing the abil­i­ty to hijack DNS and cen­sor search results (and this is even with­out so much as a prop­er court tri­al). While I sup­port their goal of reduc­ing copy­right infringe­ment (which I don’t believe these acts would accom­plish), I am shocked that our law­mak­ers would con­tem­plate such mea­sures that would put us on a par with the most oppres­sive nations in the world.

This is why I signed on to the fol­low­ing open let­ter with many oth­er founders — http://​dq99alanzv66m​.cloud​front​.net/​s​o​p​a​/​i​m​g​/12 – 14-letter.pdf
See also: http://​amer​i​can​cen​sor​ship​.org/ and http://​enginead​vo​ca​cy​.org/

Embed­ded Link

http://​dq99alanzv66m​.cloud​front​.net/​s​o​p​a​/​i​m​g​/12 – 14-letter.pdf

Posted December 15th, 2011 , in Uncategorized Tagged ,

A first look at the Google Chrome browser

screen-shotMy Twit­ter fol­low­ers will know I’ve been slight­ly obsessed by Google’s new brows­er, Chrome, since word leaked that it was going to be released today (Tues, Sept 2). I’ve been hit­ting reload on the down­load site fair­ly obses­sive­ly. A few min­utes ago my per­sis­tence was reward­ed and I’m writ­ing to you all from the new brows­er (here’s the offi­cial release announce­ment).

Why a New Brows­er?!?
Before I begin, let me rec­om­mend the Google Chrome online com­ic book for those with tech inter­ests. Google does a good job explain­ing why they’ve joined the brows­er wars. At first glance it seems a need­less move: they already fund much of the devel­op­ment on the open source Fire­fox brows­er. But Fire­fox, like Microsoft Inter­net Explor­er and every oth­er brows­er, is built around cer­tain assump­tions about how browsers process appli­ca­tions. Google is start­ing from scratch and think­ing about the brows­er as an oper­at­ing sys­tem run­ning increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed appli­ca­tions (like Gmail). Chrome sep­a­rates mem­o­ry process and inter­net per­mis­sions in new ways.
Obvi­ous­ly, Google is going after Microsoft (the ini­tial release of Chrome is Win­dows only) – not just its brows­er but its Vista oper­at­ing sys­tem as well. With the expan­sion of high speed inter­net access and so-called “cloud com­put­ing,” func­tions that used to require stand-alone clients can now be han­dled inside the brows­er. Email has prob­a­bly become the most wide­ly adopt­ed brows­er appli­ca­tions but you can also do things pho­to edit­ing and video record­ing through the brows­er. Google knows that once an appli­ca­tion is run­ning inside a brows­er, the oper­at­ing sys­tem doesn’t mat­ter. Gmail works equal­ly fine from Vista, Mac OS X, or Lin­ux.
It is in Google’s strate­gic inter­est to advance the state of brows­er tech­nol­o­gy and they do that with Chrome. But it is in the inter­est that every­one have access to these lat­est inno­va­tions and that all browsers can run the most sophis­ti­cat­ed appli­ca­tions Google engi­neers can put togeth­er. So Chrome is open source and Google invites oth­er browsers to incor­po­rate many of its fea­tures.
First Thoughts on the Prod­uct:
The down­load was quick and easy (of course).
I was sur­prised that when installing it only offered to import my MS Inter­net Explor­er book­marks. My most com­plete and up-to-date book­mark list is in Fire­fox (synced among my oper­at­ing sys­tems by the excel­lent Fox­marks exten­sion).
I went pret­ty imme­di­ate­ly to Gmail. Google says they’ve rewrit­ten a lot of the back­ground ren­der­ing code from scratch and I was expect­ing to see instan­ta­neous load­ing. Frankly, it seemed to load as quick­ly as it does in Fire­fox. Any appar­ent speed increase isn’t imme­di­ate­ly obvi­ous (this is a tes­ta­ment to how fast they’ve man­aged to get it to load in all browsers).
speed-dialThe inter­face is very sim­pli­fied: few but­tons, tabs up top, no sta­tus bar. There’s a lot of sur­pris­es here, like an auto­mat­i­cal­ly gen­er­at­ed page with thumb­nails of your most fre­quent­ly vis­it­ed sites (see image, right), an idea bor­rowed from Opera browser’s “Speed Dial” fea­ture (avail­able through to Fire­fox users through the Speed Dial exten­sion).
You can also “Cre­ate appli­ca­tion short­cuts” which turn ser­vices such as Gmail into client-like appli­ca­tions that sit on your desk­top (screen­shot right). Open them up from here and the nor­mal loca­tion bar and brows­er but­tons are gone.
There’s a lot more to explore here. It’s obvi­ous that Google has put a lot of thought into this. I’m not going to dis­miss any fea­ture or odd­i­ty too quick­ly. They helped a lot of us rethink how we orga­nize email using a sin­gle “Archive” fold­er instead of the elaborately-maintained fold­er hier­ar­chy. Google actu­al­ly have put out a num­ber of half-baked and under-supported ser­vices (Froogle and Google Check­out come most imme­di­ate­ly to mind) but it’s clear that the Google Chrome brows­er is a very seri­ous ini­tia­tive by the com­pa­ny.
Will I Use It?
The big ques­tion, right? Actu­al­ly, I won’t use it much for now. For one thing, I’m a Mac user. I have a Win­dows XP vir­tu­al machine run­ning most of the time cour­tesy of VMWare’s Fusion. I’m sure Google has set a high pri­or­i­ty to make Mac OS X and Lin­ux ver­sions of Chrome – they’re whole strat­e­gy rests on this being woven into the brows­er lin­gua fran­ca that keeps Microsoft’s Vista at bay, remem­ber?, but until that time Chrome won’t be my nat­ur­al first choice.
But I’m also going to miss my Fire­fox exten­sions. I for­got that the web has lots of ads (Adblock Plus). And I don’t like the extra clut­ter of Gmail with­out Bet­ter Gmail 2 (just the “Folders4Gmail” fea­ture of the lat­ter saves my eye more scan­ning time than any speed tweak Chrome deliv­ers). And these days the Web Devel­op­ers Tool­bar, Last­pass, FireFTP exten­sions are pret­ty essen­tial to my work day.
But if a native Mac ver­sion was released? And if Fire­fox exten­sions start­ed being rewrit­ten for Chrome? I just flipped back to my reg­u­lar brows­er to check some­thing and even after an hour with Chrome, Fire­fox felt so heavy and clunky. It is pos­si­ble to see Chrome could a seri­ous con­tender for my atten­tion.

Superstar? Aw shucks!

And a shout-out back to Hit­Tail folks who linked to my arti­cle on Adword shenani­gans by nam­ing me a super­star! Every­one Loves Hit­Tail: Hit­Tail Helps Super­star Blog­ger Mar­tin Kel­ley Save Mon­ey. Is it get­ting hot in here?

I will say that these guys are real­ly good track­ers. I some­times think if I said “hit­tail” in my sleep I’d awake to an email thank­ing me for the men­tion. I’m always sur­prised at how many com­pa­nies don’t fol­low their own pub­lic com­men­tary on them across the inter­net, but Hit­tail cer­tain­ly does.

Banking on reputations

I was referred to a web­site the oth­er day that bare­ly exists, at least
in the way that I see sites. It’s home­page was built entire­ly in Flash, was com­plete­ly invis­i­ble to search engines and bare­ly func­tioned in Fire­fox. Domain​tools​.com gave it an SEO score of zero (out of a scale of one hun­dred). It’s Google PageR­ank was three out of ten, mak­ing it less vis­i­ble that my kid pages.
But this was a web­site for a high-flying web devel­op­ment house, a
com­pa­ny that works with some of Philadelphia’s most promi­nent and
well-endowed cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions. Their client work isn’t quite as
invis­i­ble, but their web­site for Philadelphia’s relative-new $265
mil­lion per­for­mance arts cen­ter has a PageR­ank equiv­a­lent to my
per­son­al blog – youch!

I think there’s a les­son here. Promi­nent cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions don’t look at Google (and SEO-friend­ly
devel­op­ers) because they’re big enough and well-known enough that they
assume peo­ple will find them any­way. They’re right, of course, but how
many more peo­ple would find them if they had well-built web­sites? And
what’s the long-term vision if they’re rely­ing on their estab­lished
rep­u­ta­tion to do their web mar­ket­ing?

It’s per­haps impos­si­ble
for a net-centric start-up to repli­cate a hugely-endowed cul­tur­al icon
like an orches­tra or bal­let, giv­ing some degree of insu­la­tion to these
insti­tu­tions from direct inter­net com­pe­ti­tion. But if these non­prof­its
saw them­selves in the enter­tain­ment busi­ness, com­pet­ing for the lim­it­ed
atten­tion and mon­ey of an audi­ence that has many evening-time
pos­si­bil­i­ties, then you’d think they’d want to lever­age the inter­net as
much as they could: to use the web to reach out not only to their
exist­ing audi­ence but to nur­ture and devel­op future audi­ences.

Are the audi­ences of high brow insti­tu­tions so full of hip young audi­ences that they can steer clear of web-centric mar­ket­ing?

The new aggregators

A look at the new class of “Sin­gle Page Aggre­ga­tors.”

Way back in 1997 I was one of dozens of lots of web design­ers try­ing
to fig­ure out how to bring an edi­to­r­i­al voice to the inter­net. The web
had tak­en off and there pages and links every­where but few places where
they were actu­al­ly orga­nized in a use­ful man­ner. As I’ve writ­ten before,
in Decem­ber of that year I start­ed a week­ly updat­ed list of anno­tat­ed
links to arti­cles on non­vi­o­lence, a form we’d now would rec­og­nize as a

eigh­teen months ago I start­ed a “links blog” of inter­est­ing Quak­er
links, incor­po­rat­ed as a side­bar on my pop­u­lar “Quak­er­Ran­ter” per­son­al
blog. I even­tu­al­ly gave the links their own URL (Quak​erQuak​er​.org)
and invit­ed oth­ers to join the link­ing. I always stum­ble when try­ing to
tell peo­ple what Quak­erQuak­er is all about. The best def­i­n­i­tion is that
its a “col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly edit­ed blog aggre­ga­tor” but that’s a hor­ri­bly
tech descrip­tion.

The rise of blogs is cre­at­ing the neces­si­ty for these sort of theme-based aggre­ga­tors. This morn­ing I stum­bled on Orig­i­nal Sig­nal, a new site that organzes the best Web 2.0 blogs. A site called Pop­URLs does the same for “the lat­est web buzz.” A site called Solu­tion­Watch has writ­ten about these in Track­ing the web with Sin­gle Page Aggre­ga­tors. We’re all on to some­thing here. I sus­pect that some­time this fall some clever per­son will coin a new term for these sites.

Of Theo, threats and selective press quoting

The Baby Theo blog got a men­tion in today’s Philadel­phia Inquir­er, It’s almost as good as being there, by Kathy Boc­cel­la. They missed out on a huge rat­ings bonan­za by not pick­ing Theo for their pic­tures. Stranger was that two inter­views pro­duced only one off-topic sub­stan­tive line: “Mar­tin Kel­ly [sic] expe­ri­enced the worst of it when some­one threat­ened his infant son on his Baby Theo Web page [via Archive​.org, as it appeared around the time this arti­cle was writ­ten].

Above: Theo on learn­ing he wasn’t going to be the fea­tured baby pho­to in the Inquir­er piece… Real pho­to cap­tion: This week­end Julie Theo and I took a mini vaca­tion to the Penn­syl­va­nia coal regions. One of the stops was the beau­ti­ful­ly restored Tamaqua train sta­tion, where Theo’s great great grand­fa­ther, the first Mar­tin John Kel­ley, worked as a Read­ing Rail­road con­duc­tor. We woke the lit­tle guy up from a car nap to see the sta­tion and snap this pic­ture, cru­el par­ents that we are.

The Baby Theo site has been a lot of fun and it’s had great com­ments and emails of sup­port. It’s real­ly a shame that the arti­cle only used it to strike that tired old refrain about the pos­si­ble dan­ger lurk­ing on the inter­net.

The threat had noth­ing to do with Theo or with the baby blog. I’ve run a promi­nent anti­war web­site (closed, was at non​vi​o​lence​.org) through two wars now, and in the nine years of its exis­tence I’ve amassed quite a col­lec­tion of abu­sive emails. I try not to take them too seri­ous­ly: most come from sol­diers or from the fam­i­lies of solid­ers, peo­ple desparate­ly afraid of the future and sure­ly torn by the acts they’re being asked to com­mit. The inter­net pro­vides the psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­tance for oth­er­wise good peo­ple to demo­nize the “com­mie Saddam-loving peacenik cow­ard.” You could get mad at a Pres­i­dent that active­ly mis­leads the coun­try into war but it’s eas­i­er to turn your anger on some schmuck who runs an anti­war web­site in his spare time. Send­ing threat­en­ing emails is itself cow­ard­ly and anti-democratic, of course, and as I’ve writ­ten on Non​vi​o​lence​.org, it’s ter­ri­bly inap­pro­pri­ate for “mil­i­tary per­son­nel to use gov­ern­ment com­put­ers to threat­en the free speech” of a dis­sent­ing Amer­i­can cit­i­zen. But it hap­pens. And because it hap­pens and because South Jer­sey has its share of pro-war hot­heads, you won’t see our spe­cif­ic town men­tioned any­where on the site. When I asked the Inquir­er reporter if they could not men­tion our town, she asked why, which led to the threat­en­ing emails, which led to the ques­tion whether Theo specif­i­cal­ly had been threat­ened.

And yes, there was a retired Lieu­tenant Colonel who sent a par­tic­u­lar­ly creepy set of emails (more on him below). The first email didn’t men­tion Theo. It was just one of those every­day emails wish­ing that my fam­i­ly would be gang-raped, tor­tured and exe­cut­ed in front of me. I usu­al­ly ignore these but respond­ed to him, upon which I received a sec­ond email explain­ing that he was mak­ing a point with his threat (“You, your orga­ni­za­tion and oth­ers like you rep­re­sent the ‘flab­by soft white under­bel­ly’ of our Nation. This is the tis­sue of an ani­mal that is the tar­get of preda­tors.” Etc., etc., blah, blah, blah). This time he searched the Non​vi​o​lence​.org site more thor­ough­ly and specif­i­cal­ly men­tioned Theo in his what-if sce­nario. This was one email out of the thou­sands I receive every month. It was an inap­pro­pri­ate rhetor­i­cal argu­ment against a political/religious stance I’ve tak­en as a pub­lic wit­ness. It was not a cred­i­ble threat to my son.

Still, pre­cau­tion is in order. I men­tioned this sto­ry to the Inquir­er reporter only to explain why I didn’t want the town list­ed. When I talked about the blog, I talked about old friends and dis­tant rel­a­tives keep­ing up with us and shar­ing our joys via the web­site. I talked about how the act of putting togeth­er entries helped Julie & I see Theo’s changes. I told Kathy how it was fun that friends who we had met via the inter­net were able to see some­thing beyond the Quak­er essays or polit­i­cal essays. None of that made it through to the arti­cle, which is a shame. A request to not pub­lish our home town became a sen­sa­tion­al­ist cau­tion­ary tale that is now being repeat­ed as a rea­son not to blog. How stu­pid.

The cau­tion­ary les­son is only applic­a­ble for those who both run a baby blog and a heav­i­ly used polit­i­cal web­site. When your web­site tops 50,000 vis­i­tors a day, you might want to switch to a P.O. Box. End of les­son.

For­tu­nate­ly with the inter­net we don’t have to rely on the fil­ter of a main­stream press reporters. Vis­i­tors from the Inquir­er arti­cle have been look­ing around the site and pre­sum­ably see­ing it’s not all about inter­net dan­gers. Since the Inquir­er arti­cle went up I’ve had twice as many vis­its from Google as I have from Philly​.com. Viva the web!

For those inter­est­ed, the freaky retired Lieu­tenant Colonel is the chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of a pri­vate avi­a­tion com­pa­ny based in Flori­da, with con­tracts in three African nations that just hap­pen to be of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to the U.S. State Depart­ment. Although the com­pa­ny is named after him, his full name has been care­ful­ly excised from his web­site. I don’t sus­pect that he real­ly is retired from U.S.-sponsored mil­i­tary ser­vice, if you know what I mean… Here’s your tax dol­lars at work.

A few news­pa­per web­sites have repub­lished up the Inky arti­cle and two blog­ging news sites have picked up on it:

  • Yet Anoth­er Baby Blog­ging sto­ry uncov­ers dan­ger — but it’s not true ran in Blog​ging​Ba​by​.com: “When some­one threat­ened his son on his Baby Theo Web page, he took the site down; but left up a pic on his home page. Well, that is, accord­ing to the arti­cle, which some­how man­aged to not check its facts (maybe, ummm – go to the link you includ­ed in your arti­cle?) and dis­cov­er that, in fact, Baby Theo’s page is alive and well. We’re glad, Theo’s a cutie.”
  • Baby blog­gers ran in Net­fam­i­lynews. “The $64,000 question(s) is: Is this a shift of think­ing and behav­ior or, basi­cal­ly, a mis­take?.. Mar­tin Kel­ly, whose baby was threat­ened by some­one who vis­it­ed his baby page, would lean toward the mis­take side of the ques­tion.” (No I wouldn’t, as I explained to the web­mas­ter lat­er)

History of Non​vi​o​lence​.org, 1995 – 2008

Non​vi​o​lence​.Org was found­ed by Mar­tin Kel­ley out of a home office way back in 1995. Over the 13 or so years of its exis­tence, it won acco­lades and atten­tion from the main­stream media and mil­lions of vis­i­tors. It’s arti­cles have been reprint­ed in count­less move­ment jour­nals and even in a fea­tured USAToday edi­to­r­i­al.

From 2006:

The past eleven years have seen count­less inter­net projects burst on the scene only to with­er away. Yet Non​vi​o​lence​.org con­tin­ues with­out any fund­ing, attract­ing a larg­er audi­ence every year. As the years have gone by and I’ve found the strength to con­tin­ue it, I’ve real­ized more and more that this is a min­istry. As a mem­ber of the Reli­gious Soci­ety of Friends I’m com­mit­ted to spread­ing the good news that war is unnec­es­sary. In my per­son­al life this is a mat­ter of faith in the “pow­er that takes away occas­sion for all war.” In my work with Non​vi​o​lence​.org I also draw on all the prac­ti­cal and prag­mat­ic rea­sons why war is wrong. For more per­son­al moti­va­tions you can see at Quak​er​Ran​ter​.org, my per­son­al blog.

A Non​vi​o​lence​.org Timeline

Screenshot from 1996 via
Screen­shot from 1996 via Archive​.org

In 1995 I was edi­tor at an activist pub­lish­er strug­gling to adapt to a rapid­ly chang­ing book world. Many of the inde­pen­dent book­stores that had always sup­port­ed us were clos­ing just as print­ing costs were ris­ing. The need to re-invent activist orga­niz­ing and pub­lish­ing for the 1990’s became obvi­ous and I saw the inter­net as a place to do that. One of the ear­li­est man­i­festos and intro­duc­tions to the Non­vi­o­lence Web was an essay called The Rev­o­lu­tion Will be Online.

I began by approached lead­ing U.S. peace groups with a crazy pro­pos­al: if they gave me their mate­r­i­al I would put it up on the web for them for free. My goal was to live off of sav­ings until I could raise the oper­at­ing funds from foun­da­tions. “Free type­set­ting for the move­ment by the move­ment” was the ral­ly­ing cry and I quick­ly brought a who’s-who of Amer­i­can peace groups over to Non​vi​o​lence​.org. I knew that there was lots of great peace writ­ing that wasn’t get­ting the dis­tri­b­u­tion it deserved and with the inter­net I could get it out faster and more wide­ly then with any tra­di­tion­al media. For three years I lived off of sav­ings, very part-time jobs and occa­sion­al small grants.

Through 1998, Nonviolence.ommarg devel­oped into a web “por­tal” for non­vi­o­lence. We would fea­ture the most provoca­tive and time­ly pieces from the NVWeb mem­ber groups on the newly-redesigned home­page, dubbed “Non­vi­o­lence Web Upfront.” A online mag­a­zine for­mat loose­ly mod­eled on Slate and the now-defunct Feed Mag­a­zine, it also con­tained orig­i­nal mate­r­i­al and links to inter­est­ing threads on the inte­grat­ed dis­cus­sion board. With these pop­u­lar fea­tures, the Non​vi​o​lence​.Org became a “sticky” site, one which attract­ed reg­u­lar vis­i­tors. The com­bined vis­i­bil­i­ty for mem­ber groups was much greater than any­one could obtain alone and we earned plen­ty of awards and links. There was a New York Times tech pro­file (boy was that a weird pho­to shoot!) and I was invit­ed to write the guest Op/Ed in USA Today.

But this mod­el couldn’t last. A big prob­lem was mon­ey: there’s were too few phil­an­thropists for this sort of work, and estab­lished foun­da­tions didn’t even know the right ques­tions to ask in eval­u­at­ing an inter­net project. Non​vi​o​lence​.Org was kept afloat by my own dwin­dling per­son­al sav­ings, and I nev­er did find the sort of mon­ey that could pay even pover­ty wages. I took more and more part-time jobs till they became the full-time ones I have today. At the same time, inter­net pub­lish­ing was also chang­ing. With the advent of “Blogs” and open-source bul­letin board soft­ware, Non​vi​o​lence​.org has con­tin­ued to evolve and stay rel­e­vant.


Non​vi​o​lence​.org con­tin­ued to be one of the most highly-visible and vis­it­ed peace web­sites, being high­ly ranked through the first Gulf War II, the biggest U.S. mil­i­tary action since the web began. This mod­el of inde­pen­dent activist web pub­lish­ing was still crit­i­cal. The Non​vi​o​lence​.org mis­sion of fea­tur­ing the best writ­ing and analy­sis con­tin­ued until 2008 when Mar­tin final­ly moth­balled the Non​vi​o​lence​.org project and sold the domain.