March 28, 2002

Collabrative Blogging ctd..

Okay, I tried my best to get the gist of the comments that have been flowing in the post regarding the collaborative blog idea and failed miserably so I am putting up the truncated version of the comments before I post my thoughts.

Atul: I am interested in discussing and refining it further. My idea of a collaborative blog would be something like metafilter or something like sulekha hopper with more focus on links to other stuff and commentary/discussion by the community. But then I would like everyone else to contribute ideas and change, refine and find out how we can make it more interesting and sustainable.

Anand: My idea was not something like .. You need a PHP/ASP backend for running sites of that kind. Mine was a much more simpler idea. Something more like a magazine or a collection.

Since all seem to agree more or less, can we now discuss how it should look like ? If we can come to some conclusion before the weekend, maybe I can design a site during the weekend.

Few of the things he has suggested are given below:

• Name: What should it be called?
• archive
• tabbed with a single tab for each of us. having links to the best articles on our site.
• magazine.
• monthly if possible.
• one *new* article per person on the same topic.
• editorial.
• newsblog.
• poll.
• monthly polls.
• links to all Indian bloggers : both inside and outside India.
• discussion board like in, only to be used when the preferred method making a new post is not possible due to various constraints.

Anita: good idea. i think we can do something like the blogtank idea, but on a smaller scale. i think we should stick to one post per person per month, which we can all discuss collectively and come up with some sort of story. we won't be able to use a comments system, but something more sustainable. can you check out we should keep it small to begin with since all of us have limited time, but i think it will be a good way to get all of us Indian bloggers together. someone who is good with the tech stuff can look into the design, hosting etc.

She responds to Anand's suggestions in the following manner:

• Name: let?s ask everyone to come up with 3 ?4 suggestions, make a list and then vote on the best
• Archive: Yes
• The articles should be reproduced in full [that should also take care of linkrot, but will take more space on the host - CL]
• Magazine: I don?t think we force anyone, but one should be okay for everyone. Who decides a topic? Or do we all write on different topics? Also same topic might not be required if we have threads following our posts. We should all write on different topics. Where do these get archived? Who archives these articles?
• All members should be allowed powers to post, edit, but I think there should be one overall in charge of content and one in charge of tech issues, else it will get out of control
• newsblog/poll/monthly polls: I don?t think so as we do a lot of this on our own sites? what do the others think?
• links: a members page and have links to our individual sites from there
• discussion board: Not required, if no 2 can be implemented

floatingcreeper: I really like the idea of a magazine.. or probably more of a newsletter. It will also involve a good out-of-the-electronic-box activity, which we hardly have these days. what say ?

Could we crystallize our intention into a name, to begin with ? How is "Thought Marquee" for it ? { I would have loved it for a blog name! }

FC's pointers:

• We have been doing the web-stuff always.. why don't we try the magazine/newsletter stuff itself ?
• We could take turns on who does a particular issue and he will be the in-charge of that issue. Let us mail copies to subscribers (ha! sounds great na? funds?)
• Should we have this thread in e-mail ?

So the gist of it is a resounding yes from everyone. The only issue is what is it going to be and how do we go about it.

If you ask me, let us forget two issues for the time being, one being money and the second being the name. I firmly believe that so long as you can define what you are doing and what is being done is worth the effort and everyone's time the money should not be an issue. But before that is done it is pointless in talking money. First the basic framework needs to be worked out then the name can be figured out, after all what is a name without something to go with it?

All of this is done on borrowed time. That being the case, we should move ahead only taking in the minimum common sustainable denominator as the index and gradually moving it a notch up a time, unless if we can find a person who can devote a majority of his/her time to running/maintaining the show. With that in mind, I think the best way to start is to make an experimental mailing list and see how far we get. That should be a good test as far as the longevity of enthusiasm is concerned.

One thing to remember is to avoid bringing on the pressures of compulsion into the enterprise. The whole blogging experience is beautiful just because of the lack of compulsions. Bring it under any constraints and you take all of that away along with the quality of the discourse and writing.

Why not this thread in e-mail? Mm.... The main reason is that all this is way beyond my league. I honestly feel that the best way I can contribute is to pool in with my suggestions than to lead from the front at least as far as this is concerned. Anyone who can take care of all this idea in a better manner please feel free to do so.

I know I might be coming across as a tad unenthusiastic, but that is just me :-)

Bring it on folks.