UPDATED: City of SF gets a ‘Salute’ in Government Video Magazine

Silent smiley face

And the award goes to . . .

The web channel we’re saluting for the week of Nov. 8, 2013, is the City of Sioux Falls’ YouTube channel. At a crossroads between the nation’s east and west, Sioux Falls has arts, culture, parks, scenery and — of course — the needs of any city for basic services, safety and overall management. All these are represented well on Sioux Fall’s active YouTube channel, including public chats with the mayor that would be hard to imagine in many cities. For the mayor of Sioux Falls, it’s just another day at a restaurant with some friends.

Okay, I will give the city some credit, they have a YouTube Channel, WOOT! WOOT! So do many elementary students featuring videos of them farting and making funny faces. But the ‘salute’ to the YouTube channel isn’t my issue, it’s the assumption that Government Video makes about transparency in our city;

For doing a great job of making government friendly and accessible, Government Video salutes the City of Sioux Falls’ YouTube channel.

Friendly and accessible?! Okay. Let’s go;

SIRE is broken, it has been broken for several years. (SIRE is the online program used to watch public meetings & to see documents related to public meeting agenda items)  Issues include;  long intros to videos (sometimes up to 20 minutes dead air before meeting starts), missing videos, bad audio, missing documents, and documents not showing up on the online until minutes before a meeting starts. This is not ‘friendly accessibility’ it is form of ‘soft’ censorship hiding behind perceived software issues.

While Central Services, Media Services and the City Clerk’s office has been told several times that SIRE isn’t functioning properly they have given many excuses, including denying it isn’t functioning properly. The Clerk’s office blames Central Services. CS has denied to me there is any problems, even though there clearly is. Weekly, there is at least one or more public meetings that doesn’t work right, disappears for several days, or has other issues. Remember, the city spends over $1,000 a month for the maintenance of SIRE by the software company that makes it. The city has also spent thousands of dollars over the past year on software upgrades and a backup cooling unit for the server room at city hall.

I find it hard to believe that Central Services, the clerk’s office and Media Services are all this incompetent, that is virtually impossible.

My speculation is that certain employees within the city are being ‘instructed’ to make the appearance that SIRE isn’t working properly. Remember, the city budget address wasn’t handed to the city council until a few minutes before the address. Is that the kind of transparency you want between City Hall & the City Council? I know what kind of ‘Salute’ that deserves. I have this underlying assumption that somebody is tampering with our ‘accessibility’ as citizens. And until SIRE is fixed and working properly, I will have no reason otherwise to assume this is NOT happening.

So a SALUTE to the city for accessibility is laughable at best, sad, disheartening and distasteful, and I encourage Government Video to retract their salute.

SiouxFallsYouTube

UPDATE: (H/T – GP)

Follow the links on the upper right hand corner (screenshot above). The person in charge of the channel has some weird fetishes.

Please note how Google relates the City Of Sanford Falls channel to others, then read the descriptions.

Related channels on City of Sioux Falls’ YouTube channel (upper right side of page):

SUPERIOR HISTORY (The rarest and best military history videos on the internet for the serious and technically disciplined. Stay on subject or get hit in the head with a ratchet.)

nuclearvault (Atomic Films Courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office)

Primeda (Tales of the Gun – Early Guns)

DarkFellowships (WW2 – WW1 – Third Reich)

Vasile Iuga (Scorched Earth S1/E1 – Panzer Battles)

lord lucan (some old news of the day when britian was great, purely for educational purposes)

Verrrry Interestingggg. You see when you do not clear your cache files before setting up your channel, Google takes your  computer’s tracking history and links to it. Now we know what they are doing while they are supposed to be working and it certainly isn’t repairing SIRE.



17 comments ↓

#1 Emmett Reistroffer on 12.02.13 at 7:11 pm

I agree with you Scott. I’ve also noticed issues with SIRE. I think we have other companies and smart people in Sioux Falls who can create a much better system for making public documents and meetings available online. Technical difficulties cannot be an excuse for more than another year. I’m willing to speak out at the Council meeting tomorrow night during public input.

#2 Poly43 on 12.02.13 at 9:08 pm

Thanks for the link Scott. I now have something else besides fox news and dakota war college in my Fake News Folder.

#3 Poly43 on 12.02.13 at 9:20 pm

Addendum…sorry rick. I forgot you over at vpu.

#4 Poly43 on 12.02.13 at 9:40 pm

You’d think Info Tech would have their poop in a group by now going from 2.8 million in 2011 to 3.7 million in 2013 in taxpayer funded expenditures.

#5 Testor15 on 12.03.13 at 7:47 am

Note at 1:42 during the YouTube intro video how they brag about the video system upgrades at Carnage Hall to make us happy. The little closet holds a lot of equipment so the ‘engineer’ can do a fantastic job! Oh wow!

#6 anominous on 12.03.13 at 9:25 am

Sounds like a good plot for another episode of “Tom Goes to The Mayor”.

#7 l3wis on 12.03.13 at 9:29 am

Read my update above.

#8 pathloss on 12.03.13 at 11:42 am

It’s important to keep the mayor on a pedestal. It occupies his ego so he’ll spend less time pushing the city further into debt promoting foolish projects. Apparently, Government Video doesn’t recognize YouTube & SIRE are just more venue for city propaganda because nobody watches Channel 16.

#9 Detroit Lewis on 12.03.13 at 1:34 pm

I wonder if any of that “related channels” stuff is just from other traffic to the USS South Dakota video on the channel? It has about 620,000 views, which is a lot more than most of the other stuff. I have actually watched that video, and it is pretty good.

#10 Guest Poster on 12.04.13 at 12:18 am

So we have city employees watching NAZI stories while they are supposed to be making city government more open? Am I the the only one who see a problem with this?

Related videos are generated by the cache and cookies as it was when the channel’s video supplier started the link. These are the interests based on the user’s activities.

#11 Craig on 12.04.13 at 8:55 am

“Related videos are generated by the cache and cookies as it was when the channel’s video supplier started the link. These are the interests based on the user’s activities.”

Sorry that isn’t how it works. YouTube cares less about the person who created the channel and more about the viewers who will be watching it. They attempt to use an algorithm to determine what other channels would be similar to the channel being viewed, and this is influenced by a number of factors such as tags, keywords, subscriber data, and other YouTube viewers who happened to view those videos.

Of course I wouldn’t want to allow a manufactered controversy to be overlooked by any means. I know you guys have a city-centered complaint quota to maintain, so by all means carry on and pretend we have secret Nazi’s working for city hall.

#12 Detroit Lewis on 12.04.13 at 9:36 am

I think the Battleship video has something to do with the recommended links, but whether it is controversial or not, not sure, but it is pretty funny when you go to the city’s youtube channel you get video links to Nazi Germany.

#13 Detroit Lewis on 12.04.13 at 9:47 am

I also had to laugh at the irony yesterday during the informational, city clerk Hogstad was bragging about how great the city’s YouTube channel was, and how they need to do more with the city’s twitter and FB accounts. Then like clockwork, when you go back to watch the informational there is about 13 minutes of dead air at the beginning of the video, and the Council Meeting video is missing. Instead of worrying about Twitter, FB and YouTube, they need to get SIRE working since it has been broken since it’s inception.

#14 Guest Poster on 12.04.13 at 11:16 am

Craig, we know you are a bright person in man areas. Take a moment to learn something from someone who has spent decades doing forensic datamining and data relationships.

#15 Craig on 12.04.13 at 11:48 am

Or perhaps I could just read Google’s own press releases and summary data (which has been posted on their own company blog) on how they determine what recommended videos to suggest to viewers and how their system has evolved over the past several years.

Think about it this way GP… YouTube (Google) makes money from advertising. Their incentive is to keep the viewer watching videos for as long as possible, and thus it is in their best financial interests to show videos which appeal to the viewer – not the person or persons responsible for the original content.

If I have a personal interest in Ikea and spent the past month watching every Ikea unboxing and assembly video I could find, and then I suddenly post a video which relates to how to cross-pollinate various corn hybrids…. do you think the recommended videos shown by YouTube would relate to Ikea – or do you think that just perhaps they would relate to corn, hybrids, pollination, and other videos that seem to relate to the same subject matter?

Even if I ignore Google’s own statements surrounding the matter, Occam’s razor leads me to the same conclusion…. it makes no sense to base recommended videos upon the history of the uploader as that would have a negative impact upon revenue.

Now when it comes to what videos they recommend to you as a viewer then yes that is based upon your viewing history, but they don’t use the same algorithm for published content.

#16 Guest Poster on 12.04.13 at 12:05 pm

There are the ‘written’ rules and the way it works.

#17 Guest Poster on 12.04.13 at 12:15 pm

BTW, so much for open government based on a totalitarian model.

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