this blog has moved to a new address:

Please update your RSS, bookmarks, and links to

Thursday, February 04, 2010

the bill 44 debate lives on(line).

Mack Male has compiled an impressive collection of the Twitter activity that happened during the Bill 44 debates last year in the Alberta Legislative Assembly. Mack has archived a spreadsheet of the activity and a word-cloud of the content (as seen above). In May 2009, Ken Chapman wrote a great blog post on the effect that the online debate on Bill 44 had on citizen engagement in Alberta. I know many people who left the PC party after Bill 44 was passed into law. Many of them are now involved in Reboot Alberta.

With the Speech from the Throne this afternoon and regular sittings of the Assembly beginning next week, MLAs may have another controversial legislative session ahead of them.


Anonymous said...

Wonder if Rob Anderson wants a strengthening of Bill 44.

Anonymous said...

Word-cloud, Dave? Really? All that does it make us(those opposed) look like a bunch of nerdy dingbats. If only Plato had offered us a word-cloud...

Anonymous said...

Word clouds mean that people are OPPOSED. I mean, look at how big that "YEG" is!

daveberta said...

Thanks for the comments! For those of you unsure what a 'word cloud' or 'tag cloud' are, check out the wikipedia entry:



Anonymous said...

You still haven't demonstrated that people repeating themselves to each other on twitter has any impact on the government or the general public.

Anonymous said...

You still haven't demonstrated that people repeating themselves to each other on twitter has any impact on the government or the general public.


Anonymous said...

Wow - this blog post has EVERYTHING! A sense of entitlement, an overstated assumption on the importance of social media, and homage to the graven image of Ken Chapman. Not to mention a word cloud - that definitely shifted my paradigm!

This is representative of why I love Reboot...much for the same reason I love having a kids table at Thanksgiving dinner when the adults are trying to eat.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3pm. I have been reading comments on stories on the net all week. Yours is the best!

Anonymous said...

I agree. Anon 3PM is exactly right and had me laughing out loud.

daveberta said...

Hey everyone, Thanks for the comments! Anyone who is interested in finding out more information about Reboot Alberta can visit the website. The next event is February 26-28 in Kananaskis.

The November 2009 Reboot event in Red Deer was an incredibly positive experience - I wrote about it in Decmeber:

One of the main characteristics of Reboot Alberta that really struck me was the positive and respectful tone of the debate over the weekend. In a room filled with 100 type-A personalities, no egos dominated the discussion, no ideology dominated the room, and there was a willingness to listen and consider other points of view. Participants were honest about the challenges facing our province, but little of any discussion dwelled on the negative. The conversations focused on the solutions, and how to turn thoughts into action. This is a tone that I would like to see set for the politics of my home province.

Anonymous said...

So does "focusing on the solutions" include idiotic pictoral respresentations? Does it include the same two dozen people reaffirming each others assumptions in 140 characters or less and then triumphantly calling it a "shift in public opinion"?

Nice hyperlinking, by the way. Is this refusal to actually re-articulate your position based in a worry that you may contradict yourself? I doubt it, as you don't appear to stand for anything substantive.

Anonymous said...

"Save the whales"
"Kum ba yahhh"
"Save the whales"

H/T to Kevin O'Leary

daveberta said...

Thanks for all the anonymous comments! I didn't realize that a simple word cloud jpeg could illicit such a reaction!

Sorry to hear that there are so many anonymous commenters who were deeply offended by the word cloud. I will try harder to impress all of you anonymous commenters next time. :)



Holly Stick said...

Bow and floes and angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feathered canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I could have done
But clouds got in my way...

Berry Farmer said...

I often sit at the "kids table" at large family dinners... on purpose.

More honesty there... and usually a lot less posing, nattering and nasty, cheap criticism.

I like the "word clouds," but then again I like poetry, flowers and growing my own food.

Hey... maybe I'm a lefty...

... but at least I've got the balls to sign my name to what I write.

What is with this anonymous crap, especially over issues of such non-importance? If you don't want your identity pinned to comments about "word clouds," you must have some real commitment issues.

Just an observation from a flower-loving, berry-picking dumb, old farmer.

Perhaps you 'anons" ought to grab some 'nads and sign your names... or find the willpower to suppress your need to be heard on such issues of our day as 'word clouds' or criticise the earnest efforts people who step up with their own ideas... and have enough courage of conviction to sign their names.


Merlin Durken said...

Good points Berry. I notice the critical anons everywhere seem to heartily embrace social networking in their jihad to undermine... social networking. Unless of course it happens to be supporting whatever they are doing at the time. I guess if Facebook and Twitter are susceptible to their dumb nattering that's evidence enough the thing isn't worth keep around. BAM!! Owned!!! :-) I think the phenomenon was described aptly by Charles Dickens about 175 years ago. Circumlocution, at home and at the office.

Anonymous said...

Replying to a message in a medium does not undermine one's position that the medium is overrated. Owned.

Berry Farmer said...


... by whom?

If you want to "own" it... if it's worth "owning" then stand behind (in front, perhaps) of what it is you actually "own."

Look, I understand anonymity in certain circumstances: whistle-blowing... complaining about the boss... calling the police to complain about the neighbours.... I get that.

But to remain anonymous in order to rant about "word clouds" and the relevance of social media.

Give me a break.

Hiding behind a shroud in order to ridicule immaterial things.... Wow! Something odd and weak about that!

Anonymous said...

Buy any book of quotes and you will see Anonymous as a major contributor.

Look at how we honour the Unknown Soldier or the Anonymous Good Samaritan.

Look at the praise being heaped upon the brave anonymous person who exercised all our freedoms by liberation of the Climategate emails.

The fact is that Freedom is by the anonymous power of the every man and every woman.

Don't you dare forget it.

Berry Farmer said...

I started on this thread as a bit of a joke. Yet I am amazed now that anyone would equate the spirit of the Unknown Soldier with the cheap criticism you use you Anonymous moniker you stand behind. You're kidding me, right?

You're comparing these trite comments about social media and "word-clouds" to the valour of the the world's "Unknown Soldiers?" Shame on you! They gave their lives (quite likely after joining up with their names and "dying" anonymously.

You are equating your evasion of taking responsibility for cheap shots with the example of the Good Samaritan who wants to avoid the limelight for doing good?

I will also remind you that however you look at the emails revealed in the climate-gate affair... they were hacked/stolen... and the thief is avoiding prosecution. I would have far more respect for the interests responsible if they stood behind their actions and we knew who they were.

I said before that I understand the need for anonymity in some things, but... please... don't equate the cheap anonymity here for some greater integrity.

What most of these "anons" are about is not having the courage to act with enough integrity to stand behind what they say.

Hurtful criticism is so much easier if no one knows who is slinging mud.

And as for your patronising statement "don't you forget it!"

I respond... you just don't get it.

Grab a spine or use your anonymity to donate to your favourite charity and/or help your neighbours, but for goodness sake, don't consider yourself some sort of hero for criticising "word-clouds and Twitter behind your handy mask.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the other anonymous posters. Your attack on the rights of average people to offer opinion, help others, contribute to charities or exercise their freedoms via whistleblowing anonymously is a hard one freedom and everyone's right.

For God's sake, we even have secret ballots which IS THE ANONYMOUS EXPRESSION OF THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

Berry Farmer, you come across as a hand waving, panicked and shrill apologist for naivist nonsense. Your faux offense and outrage is as hollow as your impotent rebunked ideology.

Thank God for these sensible anonymous posters here. Especially Anon at 3 pm!

Berry Farmer said...

I don't (and would never) deny the right of anyone needing anonymity to use it.

I prefer to converse/debate with those who identify themselves. I think those communications are almost always worth more... especially because people tend to moderate their language and behaviour more when forced to see others as real people.

I also believe face to face dialogue is preferable to the Internet for many of the same reasons. The truth is that I question the value of social media myself because of it's already "anonymous" aire. So, the irony of this thread is that I don't actually disagree with the Anons over some of their criticism.

My point stands... as "shrill" as it seem to you... and that point is: If one does not have the 'nads to stand behind little sniping criticisms which have little danger of retribution (and hence no real need for anonymity), one ought to hold one's tongue/keyboard until anonymity REALLY is required. To use the an identity veil to rag on someone because they like and/or use "word clouds" as art on a blog is simply childish and demeans the anonymity you (and I... check the thread) believe can be an important social tool.

I find it difficult to think all you anons and I could sit over tea and discuss anything remotely interesting in a straightforward honest and open way... because if you can't stand behind critiques where the responsibility and risk of exposing your identity is non-existent, how could you ever share a cuppa and express your feelings?

Again, I will defend your right to express yourselves anonymously. I just think it' chicken-dung to use such an important mode of expression to call down someone for openly expressing themselves... and for such trivialities as it is so often used here. If you value anonymity as you say you do, don't diminish it's value by using it to dump on someone's decisions to post a poem on his blog.

At any rate, if we meet, you would not find me shrill at all, I'm certain. And you are welcome to come and pick berries on the farm (identify yourself to me and I might even let you pick for free). I will supply the picking pail, the free tea and juice... and a bag to wear over your head... if you really do find me a threat.

Have a wonderful day, whoever you are.

Berry Farmer said...

... and one last thing: when you see the author of some quotation as "Anonymous" it more often than not means that the writer was not known... not necessarily because he/she wanted to hide identity but rather because the identity was lost through time or circumstance... or because there was a group of people claiming "ownership" over said quote/poem/song.

... but nice try on lumping yourself in with a creative stream.

Anonymous said...


It's quite funny to read these posts and as yet another anonymous poster, it is impossible to resist piling on with the others! Never have I seen so much time and effort gone into such a frothy and spittle specked condemnation of such an irrelevant and unimportant thing.

This berry guy has spent hours getting mad about people who are having fun quoting poems about "clouds" of all things!

The whole thing is hilarious! Why don't you Libby Boot Dip Do Dads do what you said you were going to and elevate the debate?

Now berry farmer, here is a song just for you. Please enjoy!

(to the tune of "The Berry Farmer's in the Dell")

I like the sun,
I like the sun,
I like the sun!

I like the snow,
I like the snow,
I like the snow!

I hate the clouds,
I hate the clouds,
I hate the clouds!

Berry Farmer said...

Pile it on... pile it on.

As I see it, it's not actually that much of my time. I type quite quickly. If this is what you think of as "so much time" I'd like to know what else you do seriously.

Anyway, it's always nice to meet new friends to discuss things with; I guess I just am not that good at conversing with web-ghosts, yet. But I'll catch on... given time.

About raising the level of the debate... we'll I'd like to, but I wasn't the one who brought up the word clouds. It was... it was... Oh, I guess I don't actually know who it was; you anons all seem to blend together.

Anyway, I think identity and integrity of ideas is quite important.

You can all collectively laugh and shake your heads at me... knowing who I am. I'm devastated... don't know that I will get over it.

Next time I speak out, I might just have to join you're crowd so I can say what I really think without suffering.

Okay, okay... I don't like word clouds and I think social media is bogus and... and... I'm not really who I say I am; I'm somebody else.

Hey, you guys are right; deniability is soooo much better.

Signed... some other guy

Anonymous said...

So much sadness and hopelessness.

- sigh -

Here is Bonnie Tyler and "Clouds in my Coffee".

Seems to sum up the mood.