Consortium cont.

Recovered from the Wayback Machine

B!x posted a link to my previous posting, Weblogging Consortiums, at Blogroots. I recommend that you read the comments attached to the posting.

In particular, Matt of MetaFilter fame believes that the concept of weblogging consortiums is too idealistic, and too based on trust. Pulling one entire comment;

burningbird, what you describe is ambitious, but far too idealistic. I too want the world to sing and have a coke on their low-cost blogs, but you’ve outlined a tremendous amount of work, risk, and trust.

When something looks like a lot of work, the natural question is to ask: why not get paid to do all that work, take all that risk, and trust people you’ve never met? You’re proposing a team of people unconnected collectively create the equivalent of their own geocities, out of the goodness of their hearts.

As for the people that can’t afford 13 bucks a month, how can they afford a computer in the first place?

Cornerhost is a service “by webloggers, for webloggers” as well as a few others (there’s one called blogmania or blogorama, but I forget the exact title and URL) and presents plans that are lower cost than traditional ISPs. I think that’s as close to someone creating something useful to newbies as you can get.

Matt does have good points, and the the reference to Corner Host is a good one. However, I think that Matt, and others, sell webloggers short. Or does he?

Something such as a Consortium would require a great deal of work, though the reliance on trust could be aided by good organizational structure and accounting practices. However, the assumption that people would require pay for this kind of work disregards all the effort that has ever been accomplished without pay within the open source movement, including Perl, Python, Apache, Linux, FreeBSD, PHP, and so on. If all the people associated with these efforts only worked for pay, you wouldn’t be reading this weblog now. Most likely you wouldn’t be accessing the Internet now.

But can we ask for this same level of involvement from webloggers? Don’t webloggers just want to have fun?

We keep saying that webloggers are a community, that combined we can make a difference in politics, to journalism, to business, to society as a whole. Well, if this is true, then we must establish more discipline than is demonstrated in Daypop and Blogdex. Really, at times it seems as if webloggers have no more focus than a 13 year old heterosexual boy learning calculus in a room full of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders — easily sidetracked by tantalizing glimpses of Something Interesting.

For any long term effort, webloggers are either dependent on a company — such as Userland and; or we’re dependent on individuals, such as Mark Pilgrim and his “Dive into …” online books. How can we channel the connectivity and energy and intelligence and interest that make up the weblogging world and focus it into something practical? Something like a Weblogging Consortium?

Perhaps I am too ideal. I’ve been told in the past that I’m too ideal. And I know that with my current effort on both the RDF book and ThreadNeedle (yes, this is currently in development, but more slowly then expected) makes it difficult for me to take on something new.

However, once both ThreadNeedle and the RDF book are finished, I would be willing to explore the concept of a Consortium more fully, and work on same. But I won’t do it alone. If the interest isn’t there, I’ll assume it’s another one of my more idealistic but impractical ideas and let it die.

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