Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Le Web 3 hacked by French politicians

French politicians invited themselves at Le Web 3, a conference that has nothing to do with politics and certainly needs no lecturing from the French Minister of the Interior about values and rules that we are supposed to be in need of. The web community has been working for the past 30 years building rules, protocols and acceptable practices making the web a space of freedom that needs no patronizing by French politicians!
What's more, I don't think attendants actually paid to get this content and think it is a shame some very interesting bits about the future of television (a most interesting topic... much more than French politics) received such limited focus, that the schedule has been so badly managed and that we basically lost energy and momentum because some bunch of French politicians wanted to do themselves some public relations and build an image of modernity. If they are modern they ought to go for conversations, not top-down broadcasts of official truths and by the way accept questions for the audience, Mr Sarkozy. The audience is also busy and made room in the schedule of the event for your speech; what respect do you show by leaving without taking any questions? How about some more participation of "the masses" in the political process? You might loose some control but everyone will win so much more democracy...
Crucially, we saw the appalling difference between the wisdom and height of views of Shimon Peres and the lowly PR calculations of politicians in-duty and full of ambitions limited by the borders of their nation states. Politics is in bad needs of a major upgrade IMHO.


  1. I understand your anger. I personnaly left the room during both political interventions, wich is the way we french people show our disagreement (why didn't you people do so ??).
    But 3 remarks on what has tremendously become the "leweb3" affair :
    1 - Loïc is naïve. I don't kno the guy personaly, but to me he looks like one who is totally overwhelmed by its popularity. Does this make him evil ? no. Just plain stupid sometimes...
    2 - I'm shocked at the amount of posts on this "political hijack" (which is true, I don't deny it) compared to the relative few posts about...the other 2 days and a half ! looks like finally, all that remains is these two (Pérès apart) clowns speech...is that all there is to leweb3 ?
    3 - now that everybody has whimped and complained...so what ? the only TRUE positive perspective I've read about so far... is Loïc's one : build a Bloggers For A Better World group. OK, the guy is a phoney, but it doesn't necessarily means that this idea is not good, right ? why don't you invest your intelligence, energy, etc. to take a good stake in this - in my opinion - very interesting idea ?

  2. Dear Laurent,
    Thank you for your valuable comments.
    Firstly, I think to some extent they show a considerable difference of culture between bloggers: I spoke to quite a few international bloggers and I know they stayed in the room (although not all of them) because (a) they were curious and (b) they were respectful of the people who came to speak... even if they were not scheduled, not relevant and at least one of them showed no respect for the audience that had made room for him at the expense of quality in the conference.
    Secondly, I certainly posted more on other topics than on this issue and my posts are longer about Shimon Peres, about Hans Rosling and about Zenström. I even made notes available, so I fail to see the relevance of your second point here.
    Thirdly, I have never expressed anything negative about Loic Le Meur as a person. He probably has hard time managing suddenly acquired popularity and most certainly does not realize the responsibility he has to maintain the flow and energy of a conference like this one. People from very far came to Paris and that was certainly not to listen to a political pitch in a late sixties style by Sarkozy. I even went on http://www.pointblog.fr and on Dieter's open letter (http://www.sierralog.com/stories/3056857/#3059446) to suggest a dissociation between Loic Le Meur as a person and the issue of the conference being highjacked...
    Finally, I like the initiative of a bloggers' group / forum and I think it should not be in the hands of one...

  3. I must admit your arguments are good, and I may have jumped to quick conslusions about the amount of "negative" posts on this event...
    Anyway, I only respect the ones who show me respect, and that was not the case for both french speakers in my perspective...but you're absolutely right about the different perceptions of this event, from a French point of view - somewhat used to this typical French mix of politics and basicaly everything else-, and the international, more open, and therefore more delused perspective...

  4. Thanks Laurent for this.
    I personally think respect is due to all human beings even though we may show total disrespect for their problematic behaviors and for their limitations (which is why feedback exists I guess).
    The community needs to move the conference to the next level and that's why I posted a proposal this morning. Many people out there (e.g. http://www.research2zero.com/blog/) feel that something new must come out of the ashes.

  5. It is a pity that politicians spoilt the event, which on the other hand was quite good. I also stayed in the room while Sarkozy was speaking because I was so shocked by what was happening that I wanted to judge it with my own eyes. Sarkozy is a great politician 1.0, but the worst politician 2.0. Loic should have told him not to come...

  6. I certainly agree with you that Sarkozy's style was extremely modern by 1980's standards... This is definitely politics 1.0 that relates only remotely with what is going on these days with the participative and inclusive culture of the web.
    As regards the quality of content, I think there is room for improvement despite a couple of very good presentations. Overall the event was not too bad. Weak points: (1) keeping the schedule, (2) organization clearly overwhelmed staring with queues at welcome in day 1, (3) animation of panels rather unsavory on a number of occasions, (4) some pretty bad presentations (the IPSOS guy for example), (5) complete loss of focus with the intrusion of politicians (and sadly judging from the French blogosphere, it seems it was scheduled in advance).
    The community needs an event like this one in Europe and it needs to be brought to the next level. I personally believe it can be a great forum for exciting business quests (my raison d'être) and I would love to see such a high quality conference rise from the ashes of Le Web 3.