Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:37:30 AM EST
In my previous diary it became clear that I really, really need to try and explain my thoughts on expanding ET's reach via affiliated blogs rather than by simply trying to grow audience.
My theory is that, in the current European context, you can neither build a dKos like site, nor would you want to. There's no partisan them vs. us to build a big site around. My theory is that we'd be better off with a network of tightly and loosely affiliated sites with aligned interests, in several languages, rather than with trying to build a monster site.
There's also the issue of tools that ET doesn't provide for activism - collaborative editing and so on. These need to be integrated to some extent to make them more easily usuable and to get better feedback from the community.
To that end, I've been trying to work out how to handle that sort of affiliation and integration.
A few axioms:
- The people running affiliated blogs are going to be willing to accept different levels of integration with ET. es.eurotrib.eu might be willing to accept a lot more than ThatBritBlog, for instance, while the Oil Drum Europe would accept a lot less.
- People are more likely to comment if it is easy to do so.
- We have very limited technical time available, and building new tools is not what we're here to do.
- We don't know what we're going to want to be able to do in the future.
Given those, and given my natural tendency - which is to glue pieces of software together rather than to write new monoliths - the following system seems natural to me:
- We make headlines from the affiliated blogs available on the front page of the site. We're not a commercial organisation, and we don't actually care very much which of the affiliates people choose as their focus. The headlines are passed around by RSS.
- We make it possible to integrate logins between parts of the network. There are various ways of doing this: I'm thinking of putting in place an LDAP interface to the Scoop authentication mechanism which would be available to trusted network members. There are ways of doing it that could be made available to untrusted blogs as well - this is a reasonably well studied problem in the security world. An LDAP interface to most of the blog authentication mechanisms shouldn't be too hard either.
- The collaborative tools - the wiki for example - would use the same logins as ET and would accept logins from network members.
- Other toys would be provided by RSS as well. I personally like the idea of Sven's media feed, and that could be provided as a network service as could other ideas.