Yea! Makin’ stuff is definitely on the docket!
I love this idea but already have my own blog going, I was also once part of a blogging community similar to what I think is being proposed here, with different writers taking on different subjects. There wasn’t as much cross-pollination as I or the founders hoped, which is why I’m seconding or thirding this idea as brilliant:
@nimelennar At Least once a month, try to find two contributors who have differing views on a subject and have them debate it, with a third contributor acting as moderator.
I could see reading and commenting at such a place becoming my new waste of time, and maybe even contributing occasional “guest” articles. Heck, that might be a fun way to bring in other voices to supplement the regulars.
@OtherMichael has Have you seen This?
I’ll be your restaurant, wine, cheese, and pub critic.
No I’m not fucking joking, I take this more seriously than Sam Sifton or Frank Bruni could ever dream.
For what it’s worth I’m intrigued, but I’ve been part of more than one hopeful group blog discussion that went nowhere because no one wanted to take fundamental ownership of the project. If you’re in, you’ve got to be all-in. As long as we can wrangle enough participation, I’m all-in.
Don’t be so quick to dismiss hive minds, they are way better than consensus (PM me if you want a copy of the paper). I personally very much dislike consensus for reasons outlined here:
Hive minds do require an actual hive, however, so that’s out in any case. You need a relatively large number of people. I’m going to differ here and say I’m not crazy about debates. I prefer the concept of discussion. Persuasion. “This idea is persuasive because…” I like the idea of roundtables more than debates. I don’t think debates generate anything we haven’t heard about a given issue, and it sets people up for epistemic failure because you can’t concede ground in a debate. There’s something a lot more organic and a lot better about having people sit across from each other and go, “Okay. Well, I’ll give you that, but can’t you see that…”
Fundamentally, roundtable or debate, it’s all pretty low quality without some modicum of civility, which to put words in @nimelennar’s mouth is probably what makes a back-and-forth have real value. The other problem I have with debates is that they set up false dichotomies. Their’s often a lot of truth to be found “in the middle.” Not always, but often enough that I’m not sure we want to set up a zero-sum game dynamic that discourages more balanced or nuanced views. It’s the primary reason I cannot spend more than a couple of minutes in any gun thread. However I do think crosstalk is important in a group blog. Lack of crosstalk just leads to stagnation.
I do like the idea of blog discipline. I just don’t know that it can realistically be enforced. I have school, people have jobs and families. I do think if we hold ourselves to a post every two days, there might be real momentum because of the number of contributors.
Here’s another thing, I think something like this brings together diverse skillsets and personalities. Contributors don’t necessarily know how to make the backend work, but people might run the backend that don’t contribute posts at all or that much. What’s a post? A video? With the large quantity of people with relevant technical skills in this area, who gets to mess with the innards?
I’m also not sure we can escape clickbaiting (for at least one definition of the practice.) The question or list format that we all recognize as clickbait, “9 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders is Secretly the Devil,” is used because it works. It’s compelling on a visceral level. If the headline is misleading that’s unacceptable, but headlines have one purpose in life, to drive traffic. I’m okay with that. Like I don’t see a problem with writing something up called “19 Ways Sulfur Changed the World.” As long as it’s not secretly about nitrogen, or puppies.
I’ve got some domains and hosting that I’m not using!
And I think what makes us (those of us who have weighed in here about this idea) so excited is that we recognize among our number a whole lot of intelligent, well-informed, opinionated people who can passionately defend their ideals without devolving to flaming. Hey, if that sounds self-congratulatory, keep in mind that this is what I think of y’all, not necessarily of myself. I’m not all that well-informed, and my strongest opinions usually pertain to junk food… but I do know how to argue without getting into a fight… and so do you guys.
I love the main Boingers, I do… but my favorite topics and individual posts come from you guys.
That’s a terrific idea. I’m interested.
Organizing it would be interesting and maybe a good model for other projects.
How would the volunteer participants meet regularly to consider and promptly decide questions?
It does work on a visceral level, but I think what really drives clickbait is the incentives to writers that are placed on clicks by publishers. Writers at Huff Po, Gawker, etc are aware of, and often compensated based on clicks. I would want to avoid any system that rewarded that kind of behavior. Take away the reward, and the headlines start to get a lot more honest, I think.
Yeah! Any volunteers to edit this thing?
- Set up a blog at ghost.io
- Choose seven categories of topics
- Put together a half page style guide
- Set up Slack for editors to agree on publishing
- Send out invites
It’s a few dollars a month to host at ghost, but recurring dues from contributers are trivial to set up. All the technical stuff can be handled by at least half a dozen people here.
The vision needs to be clear and concise.
Not one of mine, I don’t do Flash!
You are a man of action. I like that.
If the expectation is revenue neutral, it’s easy. It’s when writers fatigue sets in that external rewards become necessary.
As I said, I prefer the idea that there’s no one “editor,” but that we do some sort of peer review system for quality control.
WHY THE HELL AM I OUT OF LIKES!!!
Sorry. Great idea. Totally agree.
Ok, everybody… wait until he goes to sleep and then we’ll elect him!
If this involves a Sharpie™ or shaving cream, I’m totally in.
Ideas for a vision statement:
- To present original and linked content to restore a sense of wonder about the universe.
- To grant insight by providing different perspectives on the world we live in
- To provide a haven of the intellectual honesty and integrity missing from other places on the Internet
- To transform cynical thinker into critical thinkers.
I think there are some startup and structural questions to answer first.
If some basic questions aren’t asked and answered then I worry that operating the project will be
farcical, enervating and sad harder.