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Monday, March 24, 2008

Extrapolation 101

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Update @ 2303 hrs: There may be some truth to this after all... the Government changing its stand, that is... (see end ot the full post).

Original post:
To extrapolate is to arrive at a general conclusion based on specific information. Like... McDonalds uses lots of salt on their french fries - therefore, everybody's french fries are salty. That sort of thing.

Or, like how the statement of ONE blogger (via an event attended by two bloggers) can be spun to reflect the opinion of the entire Malaysian bloggerhood.

Reading thru the entire news report, we find out that actually only ONE blogger expressed this opinion - the other blogger was there at the event, and it's not clear whether the other one even expressed anything.

Grammatically, though, the headline is correct. One blogger, two bloggers... Context-wise - totally different story... Because once you pluralize a word, it could construe meaning the entire group of people called "bloggers".

Spin so powerful, Walski's startin' to feel a little dizzy...
(blah-blah-blah, in the full post)

Okie dokie... to be fair, the new Information Minister has come out to state his willingness to engage with bloggers. And this is good - looking at whom he's replaced in the role of Information Minister. He wants to meet with bloggers to "better understand the role of blogging in nation-building" (via NaSTy Pee).

In other words, we cannot really extrapolate his position - yet.

Oh, and he wants to invite ALL the bloggers in a few weeks time:

“In a few weeks, we will invite all the bloggers for a meeting, to better understand their sentiments and provide them an avenue to express themselves,” he said.
(source: same NaSTy Pee article)

Offhand, Walski doesn't know of any venue in the country big enough to hold ALL the bloggers indoors. Just how many of us are there? Well, to be honest, Walski can't answer that. Definitely more than a thousand, by best-guesstimation.

Seriously - if you want to engage bloggers constructively, read the blogs first-hand. And there's no better place to start your adventure than SoPo Sentral of Malaysia (the labor of blogging love by A Voice). Then, you can imaging how big a venue you'll need if you still wish to invite ALL the Malaysian bloggers.

But that said, compared to his predecessor, Walski thinks that Shabery is indeed starting on the right foot - or left foot, which is okay, too. Let's hope he continues walking with us, and not trip along the way...

Malaysiakini reports that the government is indeed interested in reaching out to bloggers, and will drop the threatening stance that it earlier took.

The nation's mainstream media is mostly part-owned by parties in the ruling coalition, and what was seen as biased coverage in the run-up to last month's vote has boosted demand for alternative news sources including blogs.

After being hit with the worst results in its half-century history, including the loss of its two-thirds parliamentary majority, the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition now says it wants to listen to dissenting voices.

Newly appointed Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said he is keen to meet bloggers.

"I am trying to build a bridge between the government and the people so that we can have a two-way dialogue - and bloggers are a key part of this," he told AFP.
(source: Malaysiakini, subscription required)

Which, as Walski had indicated earlier, is a good thing. It's just that Walski, being Walski, thinks that it's early days still. He would like to see the proof of the pudding, so to speak. But this is not to rain of the positivity parade shown so far, though. Positivity is a good thing. Let's see more of that, Shabery... the proverbial ball is now in your court...