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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

The basics

How things get published

How things get translated

Media and journalism

The basics

Q: What and who is Global Voices?

Global Voices Online is an international, volunteer-led project that collects, summarizes, and gives context to some of the best self-published content found on blogs, podcasts, photo sharing sites, and videoblogs from around the world, with an emphasis on countries outside of Europe and North America.

Want more details? See our About page. We're a multilingual community of bloggers who collaborate on a range of projects including Global Voices, Rising Voices, Global Voices Advocacy, and Lingua.

We're proud of our Leadership Team and Authors.

Q: How did it all start?

The idea came out of a December 2004 one-day blogging conference organized by two Berkman Center research fellows: technologist and Africa expert, Ethan Zuckerman and former CNN Beijing and Tokyo Bureau Chief, Rebecca MacKinnon.

Many attendees – bloggers from around the world – felt there needed to be a community like Global Voices to help bloggers from different countries find each other and engage in a global conversation.

You can read this account of the 2004 conference, or listen to a podcast and hear directly from those who were there.

Q: What are your core values?

Our core values are outlined in the Global Voices Manifesto, a document drafted collectively by participants of the Global Voices 2004 conference and many other bloggers around the world. It has been translated in to numerous languages, including Chinese, Arabic, Swahili and Spanish.

The Manifesto begins:

“We believe in free speech: in protecting the right to speak — and the right to listen. We believe in universal access to the tools of speech.

To that end, we seek to enable everyone who wants to speak to have the means to speak — and everyone who wants to hear that speech, the means to listen to it…”

Read the rest here.

Q: How are you funded?

Global Voices is a non-profit project incorporated in the Netherlands as Stichting Global Voices.

Our current list of Sponsors is here.

An initial grant from the Open Society Institutes’s Information Program helped us bring international bloggers to our December 2004 meeting. Initial funding to set up the project was provided by grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the Dutch NGO Hivos.

In January 2006 we received an unrestricted grant from the international news agency Reuters, which enabled us to expand our core editorial team, hire a managing editor, pay for more technical assistance, do more outreach and fund our annual Global Voices conference. Thompson Reuters provided generous support through the end of 2008.

In 2007 we received funding from Hivos which allowed us to hire an Advocacy Director. Hivos continues to provide generous support, for our advocacy, translation, and core operations.

We are grateful to the Knight Foundation for the $10,000 Knight-Batten “Innovations in Journalism” grand prize awarded to Global Voices in September 2006, and awarded us a Knight News Challenge award to support our Rising Voices initiative, launched in May 2007.

The Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Arca Foundation, among others, also provided generous support in 2009.

Q: How can I get involved?

There are lots of ways you can help Global Voices and support the work of bloggers everywhere. Read more about Getting Involved.

Q: How can I keep up with it all?

Reading every post on Global Voices is practically a full time job. If you would like an overview of the feature posts published each day, we recommend that you subscribe to the Email Digest, Twitter, or Facebook page. If you are interested in following a specific country, topic, or region, you can subscribe via RSS Feeds.

How things get published

Q: Who decides what gets published on Global Voices?

Our Editors review all stories before they are published on Global Voices. Every Editor works with a team of volunteer Authors who help monitor and write about blogs in their country or region. Our editorial coverage is driven by what Authors tell us is important to pay attention to in their blogospheres.

Please send us links or ideas for stories, or you can volunteer to write or translate for Global Voices by contacting the relevant Editor.

Q: Can anybody post a comment?

Anyone can post a comment on the Global Voices. However, we do moderate comments in order to keep out spam, pornography and hateful speech. Authors do not moderate posts themselves. Please don’t be upset if it takes a few hours for your comments to appear – especially if you post your comment while the moderators are asleep!

Q: Is your content copyrighted?

All Global Voices content is published under a Creative Commons attribution license, which means that anybody can re-publish our content as long as they follow the guidelines we lay out in our attribution policy.

We believe that this approach is consistent with our main goal of amplifying the voices of bloggers around the world.

Q: When you link to something, are you endorsing it?

When we link to something we’re saying: “This is interesting and is worth reading.” We strive for accuracy as responsibly as we can, but do not have the resources to fact-check every blog post we link to.

We do not believe that any one piece of information or analysis from any single source should be unconditionally believed by the reader (or listener or viewer). This goes for works by professional journalists as well as the work of bloggers.

We encourage you to approach all information on all blogs – including Global Voices – with skepticism, until you get to know the background, biases, and inevitable human weaknesses of the people writing the blog.

Also, we often link to viewpoints that we, as individuals, may not agree with. We may link to them for the following reasons:

  • We think that a blogger’s viewpoint, analysis or information is useful in understanding how people in that person’s country or community think
  • We think it provides unique information or analysis we haven’t seen anywhere else, which a significant number of Global Voices readers will find interesting or thought-provoking

Q: What are your political and religious orientations?

Global Voices strives to be non-partisan and non-denominational. We welcome all people who believe in the importance of protecting and promoting freedom of speech and tolerance. We’re aware that free speech is threatened by a wide range of ideologies and religions in different countries — and that it is also being defended in different ways by people of diverse religions and political persuasions. We don’t care what political party or what religion you belong to if you agree with our core values.

In fact, we are actively seeking participation from those who represent a wide range of political orientations and faiths. We are against racism and bigotry. And we are against violence and terrorism. We generally avoid linking to bloggers whose work endorses or reflects these things.

Q: How do you decide what goes on the country list?

Global Voices sorts all content on the site into Regions, Countries, and Topics. Our reason for creating Country categories is to make Global Voices easier to navigate for people looking for specific information.

Our guide to what goes on the Countries list is the Wikipedia List of Countries. This list includes independent states (recognized and unrecognized), inhabited dependent territories, and areas of special sovereignty. The world is complex, so no list is perfect.

We try to cover citizen media in as many different languages and places as possible. Usually, whether we have content from a place or not depends on we have a volunteer available to write it. Note, we provide only limited coverage of North America, Australasia, and most of Europe.

Q: Why do you link to so few U.S. blogs?

Mainly because lots of other sites — BoingBoing, Metafilter, Slashdot, Daily Kos already do. You can read those and numerous other sites of their kind if you want to keep up with US politics, technology or other widely blogged-about subjects. One of the reasons we started the Global Voices was to call attention to voices that are rarely heard in in the mainstream media. When we link to bloggers in the United States we usually look for minority voices or topics.

How things get translated

Q: What is Global Voices Lingua Project?

Lingua is a community translation project that makes stories from the Global Voices in English website available in other languages. The project was inspired by a workshop on Global Voices and Language at the Global Voices 2006 Summit in Delhi, India. Only a year later, there five Lingua sites up and running, as of November 2010, there are over 30.

Q: Who decides what gets translated on Global Voices?

Every Lingua site has its own team of volunteer translators and one or two editors who decide their own working procedures (in accordance with shared guidelines across all languages). Usually, translators themselves are free to chose any posts from Global Voices in English, Global Voices Advocacy or Rising Voices websites that they would like to translate.

Occasionally, translators may be invited to collaborate with special projects, such as the translation of manuals and guides produced by Global Voices Advocacy and Rising Voices.

Q: Are your translations copyrighted?

As with all Global Voices content, all translations are published under a Creative Commons attribution license. This means anybody can re-publish our translations, as long as they follow the guidelines we lay out in our attribution policy. Please feel free to spread the work of this fantastic community of translators, and don’t forget to link back to the original posts.

Q: How can I join Lingua as a volunteer translator?

Thank you for your interest! Using translation to bridge communities and amplify voices is extremely rewarding volunteer work. Also, Lingua translators receive top of the page credit for their work and can gain valuable exposure for building translator portfolios. Check our frequently asked questions and, to get involved, please use thisLingua contact form to reach the relevant site manager. Chose your language in the drop down menu. Feel free to write either in English or the language you selected.

Q: Do I need translation qualifications to join as a volunteer translator?

No formal translation qualifications or minimum experience are required, but you need to show the ability to translate from one of the languages we offer into your mother tongue to join as a volunteer translator.

You don’t even need to master the English language: it is possible to translate from another of the Lingua languages. For example, you can translate posts written for Global Voices in Spanish or French into German, Arabic, or Serbian.

Everything you need to know technically will be taught to you, and you will be able to count on community help to get started. If you have no translation experience, you may initially work under closer supervision of team member.

Q: Do you also need help to translate into English?

Yes! Since April 2010, we have gradually begun publishing posts in non-English languages on some Lingua websites. These are always translated into English, so we now also have volunteer opportunities for native English speakers who can translate from our many Lingua languages into English. Please contact us through the Lingua contact form if you have what it takes!

Q: My language is not listed. What can I do?

The languages available reflect interest from a community of speakers. If you have the time and enthusiasm to start up a new Lingua volunteer translation website in your language, please contact us via the Lingua contact form!

Media and journalism

Q: What is your relationship with Mainstream Media?

Positive and mutually beneficial. We look beyond the “journalism versus blogging debate” to find sustainable ways in which both groups can benefit from each other. The blogs whose content we link to and amplify are a rich resource for journalists who wish to find out what ordinary citizens in various countries are talking about.

We are frequently approached by media organizations and journalists looking to connect with bloggers we have featured on the site. Our writers are available for interviews about citizen media and current events in their countries. Please visit our Media page to learn more.

Q: Have you checked the backgrounds of the bloggers you link to?

Our Regional Editors and Authors are people who know the blogospheres in their region very well, and we count on them to take precautions and avoid linking to people who are dishonest or spread disinformation. As regards to anonymous bloggers to whom we link to frequently, it’s often the case that somebody on our team has established contact with that person and verified his/her identity confidentially.

However, everybody makes mistakes from time to time, so please let us know if we have mistakenly linked to wrong information.

Q: What is your position on anonymous bloggers?

We do link to anonymous blogs. The reason for this is that in some countries it is very dangerous to speak the truth if you don’t publish anonymously. We encourage bloggers living under regimes that do not respect freedom of speech to use our anonymous blogging guide.

We do try to find out as much as we can about the anonymous bloggers we link to, and sometimes communicate with them privately. If we can verify that the anonymous blogger really is in the country they say they are, this enables us to link more confidently to their material and vouch for its authenticity.

In the case of blogs from democratic countries where the bloggers’ lives and livelihoods are not endangered by speaking their minds, we generally consider anonymous blogs to be less credible. Exceptions to this rule include cases where a bloggers’ employer, for instance, or the topics they discuss, might require them to remain anonymous.

In those special cases where it is important for a Global Voices Author to remain anonymous, an Editor will know his or her true identity. As for Project Lingua translators, due to the many cultural differences regarding online identity, each community has adopted their own policy towards anonymity.

Q: What do you mean by “online citizen media”?

Online citizen media is a term we use to describe content that is self-published on the internet by individuals or groups, usually in a non-professional capacity.

Many times it could be blogs, but also forums, micro-blogging, websites, photos, podcasts, videos – any form of online citizen expression. It's usually something distinct from professional journalism.

At Global Voices we write stories about how people use online citizen media around the world and what kind of things they are saying. We quote, link, and translate in order to give voice to thousands of people who are reaching out to a world audience, or trying to improve societies with the internet.

Q: What is the difference between Global Voices and other “citizen journalism” websites?

Different from Global Voices, many projects seek to promote first-hand reporting by citizens on their own websites and platforms, including Ground Report, Demotix, iReport, Indymedia, and many others.

Global Voices Authors rarely do first-hand reporting, nor do they seek to imitate journalists. We almost never link to mainstream media. Our Authors are primarily concerned with aggregating and linking to content that people have produced on their own platforms and communities, in their own languages and countries. Part of the challenge is the search. Our hope is for readers to explore the many links we recommend.

World regions