Sunday, February 4, 2007

Anyone Want to Help Bake the Bread?

Hey Everybody!

My gift of Gojira Vison™ sees the content of a possible WAAGNFNP site as pretty simple, but possibly radical. Submissions would be invited from all Loyal Party Members, so we'd have posts from both experienced bloggers/writers and new bloggers, as well as everyone in between. It'd basically function as a community site, but blog posts would be submitted to the administrator before going up. This would be more for organization rather than editorial control over content. Since Party membership is diverse, with decent participation, we should see widely varied topics. A fair goal would be 3 posts a week to start out if all goes well.

A community blog where anyone can sign up and post diaries won't work. It's a full-time job overseeing that shit. And unless somebody's got a rich man for me to marry right now so I can quit my job, I don't have time for that by a long shot. But that's OK because the MOJ is already established in the WAAGNFNP storyline as the Supreme Authority, (now that Our Ex-Leader but-still-Chairman-for-Life is retired), and no Loyal Party Member should quibble about submitting their posts through the MOJ instead of being able to post directly. On a more traditional community-style blog note, with the support of brilliant image contributions from our Minister of Visual Propaganda, I'd like to have Open Threads and see how that goes.

Ministry of Justice intel has revealed that I can set up a site with all the bells and whistles we are used to for a reasonable price by hosting with Dreamhost at about $10.00 a month. I don't doubt that we can come up with this sum. Intel also tells me that their (Dreamhost) customer service is pretty good, so if we have site problems, we'll actually get a human response fairly quickly.

But set-up is the easy part. Maintenance is the real issue, isn't it? I'm willing to be the lead administrator and put my name out there with the full weight and authority of the Ministry of Justice, but I need help. It can't be like that Mother Goose tale about how everyone wanted to eat the bread, but no one wanted to help bake the bread. If all the responses from our core group here are "I'm too busy", then we need to just back away from the cliff right now and call it a day. (If you're not sure whether you'd be too busy or not, we can discuss that further. I think there's a way to make this as minimal a time-suck as possible we if all work together).

I'd need one person to volunteer to be a "co" or "assistant" administrator, and we'd need at least two more people to volunteer for blog-watch duty to keep an eye out for and eliminate spam or grossly inappropriate comments should they appear (which, hopefully they won't, at least not very often). Plus, our core group would have to step up big time with blog posts in the beginning until we get the ball rolling with submissions.

The goal is, of course, to generate the most fun possible for everyone without it being this incredibly stressful time-suck for the blog-keepers. I believe that his can be done with some strategic planning with regard to sharing the work load. A rotating schedule of duties would even allow (in theory) the blog-keepers to have a week off from all blog-maintenance duties every few weeks. I emphasize the "in theory" part because in reality, it's all just guessing. There's no way to tell how fast it would grow (or sink), and what's going to be needed. All we can do is try to be as organized as we can possibly be for the launch.

Everyone needs to chime in now. Thanks.

11 comments:

The Constructivist said...

Hey, Oaktown Girl, great ideas and good to hear from you! I figured adjusting to a non-nocturnal work schedule would be as bad as jet lag, so have tried to wait with something other than bated breath, but then I started hyperventilating, so I had to lie down for awhile. I'm back on my feet and have a few responses to your idea.

1) I like the idea of an official site for the Party. Maybe if we cast it as Berube's run for President in 2008 we can actually get some good electioneering parodies going. Your model sounds good, but sounds like a lot of work for the MOJ as it stands. What if we invited Party stalwarts to be co-authors from the start, and put out a call to everyone else to email any of us when they a) want to submit something to the site or b) when they've posted something Party-related on their own blog? I'm thinking of the way JPS's recent post started on Pandagon's comment thread, got made into a "Not a Nuclear Test" blog, and finally migrated here--that's pretty cool and no one had to do anything but marvel at JPS's genius.

2) The more authors from the start, the less each of us has to pay to maintain the site--I'd be in for $10 or $20 a year, but more and I'd start to worry.

3) I'd be happy to be keep the blogroll for such a site updated. I say we start small and only link to WAAGNFNP-affiliated blogs (by which I mean ones that have done Party-related posts, such as Le Blogue, Rox Populi, Pharyngula, Pandagon, Creek Running North, etc.). Then we expand it to acknowledge folks who do Party blogging of their own.

Whoops, crying 9-month-old. Gotta run!

Oaktown Girl said...

Hey TC, thanks for the input.
I wouldn't want to have a set group of authors at the beginning because no one wants to commit to that at this time (I've done a lot of leg work here already). There are folks that want to participate, but not commit to a "group blog" dealio. We'd line up a bunch of non-time-sensitive posts before Day One.

Berube for President/WAAGNFN Party Slate is a good idea for a running theme on the blog. I wouldn't want it to be the blog title or the main focus because that would get old.

Don't worry about "years". We'd commit to doing this for one year up front, then see what happens. That minimizes worry about blog burnout or making a Big Decision (echo, echo, echo) about quitting the blog.

At the end of one year, either Michael comes out of retirement and we move WAAGNFNP operations back there, or we carry on because blog is rolling along quite well and things will be really heating up in the Presidential Primaries and no one wants to stop, or we don't carry on for whatever reason.

The Constructivist said...

Heh, leave it to the MOJ to do her homework. Count me in as assistant. I agree the presidential run should be one storyline of many, not the main or only thing. What do you think of the April 1 Blogocalypse Carnival? And the May 25 Star Wars-in?

JP Stormcrow said...

OG, yes this does sound like a workable way to do it. I am willing to help with any shortfall you may have in the expenses for the year. I can help if needed with any admin, but can really only do it off work hours (Eastern time.)

I have been thinking about group and individual blogs, both from messing around here at MH, and trying to find amenable post-Berube blog communities. The group blogs can almost move too fast and be a bit disjointed (if the posts are substantive and not just quick Atrios-like lookat this here stuff.) For instance am not sure the new exPand-agon is going to work as well as before. I do thank TC for the invite here, and a chance to get my feet wet and learn in public in an "ego safe" zone. I would not mind contributing on occasion to [insert wildly appropriate name here], but also will probably turn my Wordpress test blog into a personal one that I continue with - some WAAGNFNP & some not.

Speaking of which:

I'm thinking of the way JPS's recent post started on Pandagon's comment thread, got made into a "Not a Nuclear Test" blog
Hmm, did I mention that, or did you sleuth it. I set that up to test Wordpress and at some point report back here. It is OK, like some things better than blogger, others not as much - it is important to distinguish between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. The latter provides blogging software, the former is a hosted site using the latter's software. Thus there are a number of restrictions on .com that preclude the pictures in comments stuff, but it is probably fine for my limited individual needs.

I looked at several other blogging software packages. Do you have one in mind OG? Dreamhost looks good, they can host whatever it seems. They do provide a very quick setup of wordpress.org software - but if you did that, would want to do the adding images in comments hacks. (Pictures in comments seem to be the third rail/shared needles/unprotected sex of blogdom - much sanctimonious preaching on their evils. It is interesting to look back at how it was only in the last several months at MB's place that they really got used.)

As I finish this long, long comment, it occurs to me that what you are looking to construct is a club house, where there are periodic "events" that one goes to. If you added Open Threads that would be like having the doors open in between for just hanging out as well.

JP Stormcrow said...

2 other things:

1) The Snap functionality which previews links can be used as a poorman's image viewer (I think they come up 200x170) - you can see it in action at my test wordpress blog, hover over links.

2) And unless somebody's got a rich man for me to marry right now so I can quit my job - you will have to beat me to him first (I'm speaking here of course of a platonic heterosexual marriage of convenience) Are mixed sex platonic menage a trois marriages legal in Pennsylvania? Is my wife game? [How rich? is her reply.] Ah money, the only true reality. Rejection of reality the only true crime.

The Constructivist said...

JPS, I think at the end of the Pandagon comments thread you linked to there was a pingback or something that listed your site.

Oaktown Girl said...

JP -
First, thanks for the input. Second, what needles have you been using lately that you're calling me OG? You know that's not cool!

To your points:
I can help if needed with any admin, but can really only do it off work hours (Eastern time.)
Are you kidding me? Outside of working hours is all I have too, plus an actual life that I'd like to engage in now that I'm off the graveyard shift. That's why I am so not going to do this without committed people backing me up.

it occurs to me that what you are looking to construct is a club house, where there are periodic "events" that one goes to.
Naw, that's not what I had in mind at all. It'd have to be a blog with regular and consistent posts (at least every other day) or else no one would show up on a regular basis, hence the WAAGNFNP community would not really re-assemble in any substantive way, and then what would be the point of doing it?

The group blogs can almost move too fast and be a bit disjointed
JP, that is exactly why I propose that submissions would come through one central source: for organization. And that's why I wouldn't just hand out a whole bunch of blog keys at the beginning to writers. It'd be way more work for me trying to oversee and communicate with all those people.

I would not mind contributing on occasion to [insert wildly appropriate name here], but also will probably turn my Wordpress test blog into a personal one that I continue with - some WAAGNFNP & some not.

Well, JP, I'm expecting that many of the submission, especially from established bloggers, will be cross-posts from their own blogs. Many Party members have their own sites. When I put feelers out for participation, I asked if they'd be willing to either crosspost or submit original material. So we would get some cross posting, and some unique stuff. (For folks without their own blog, it'd all be unique stuff).

Pictures in comments seem to be the third rail/shared needles/unprotected sex of blogdom - much sanctimonious preaching on their evils. It is interesting to look back at how it was only in the last several months at MB's place that they really got used.
I think they only got used at the end because people only discoved at the end they could be used, and Bill showed folks like me how to do it.
But the decision on this is not once and for all. With Dreamhost, we could choose to allow them, and if it doesn't work out, just not allow them any more. Or, we could program the system to say that comments with images must go through "moderation" first.

About Money - Dreamhost has a function where blog readers can contribute directly to the support of the site. So contributions go directly to Dreamhost, not through Paypal or some other account. That way, people have a 100% guarantee that their money is going to support the site. And it saves the Administrators time as well. (We'd still have to provide the up front ourselves, of course). But that's a nice feature.

christian h. said...

Hi Guys,

just showing up quickly between innumerable job interviews to say that
(a) I still exist and miss the party meetings (sniff) (b) I am impressed by Oaktown Girls organizational skills and JPS's and TC's dedication to the GNF,
(c) I'd be willing to help out with upkeep/posting starting around March 1st,
(d) I don't really understand the techno-babble, but am convinced you guys do and
(e) once I actually get one of them jobs I'll be happy to pony up 10 bucks a month (maybe I can get an NSF grant for this - after all, it's nuclear-physics-related?).

The Constructivist said...

Yeah, Christian, with all the great bloggers going pro or about to (Amanda, Melissa, Lindsey [if This Modern World counts as pro], Glenn, Elayne) and the shake-ups at stalwart standbys (exPanda-gon, guest bloggers going regular at Jesus' General, Orcinus), we ought to have an ongoing series of jokes about our Party and our blog selling out to the highest bidder--which, by the way, ought to be our response to pie-in-the-sky anti-proliferation nuclear abolitionists (some version of "a nuclear device in every pot" could be our Party line).

JP Stormcrow said...

Oaktown Girl - A clarification on a couple of points. Sorry about the OG, was just saving some characters on a too long comment, will not repeat.

On the admin, let me know if you need me. With Eastern, Pacific & Japan - have good time zone coverage. Europe would fill in nicely.

JPS: clubhouse .. periodic events
Oaktown Girl:
Naw, that's not what I had in mind at all. ... need more regular ...

Let me clarify - I meant a clubhouse with events several times a week, guest lecturers, weekend concerts, poetry readings etc. - am with you on the frequency.

And I was describing the "too fast" group blogs to point out why I thought your model might work better.

On the pictures, I think it is good to give it a try right off. Was just noting that it is hard to find software that allows it, and there seems to be a strong Internet sentiment against it. But, hey! They laughed at Custer.

Thanks for your efforts.

Oaktown Girl said...

Thanks JP, and TC, and Christian.

I meant a clubhouse with events several times a week, guest lecturers, weekend concerts, poetry readings etc. - am with you on the frequency.

Oh, gotcha. You mean general posting as opposed to Major Events like show trials.

And I was describing the "too fast" group blogs to point out why I thought your model might work better.

Yes, exactly. Of course, if we implement my Master Plan as given to me by the grace of GojiraVision™, and somehow it all goes horribly bad, I'm going to throw TC under the bus so fast it will make your head spin. : )

Images - my intel was pretty clear that'd we'd have a very high level of control over these (allow, not allow, allow under specific conditions) with Dreamhost, but of course I'll re-confirm.

Time zones - JP, yeah, I agree that with West Coast, East Coast, and the Pacific Rim, we would be able to get good blog-watch coverage. And now we know Christian can help as well. That at least gives us our 4-person core maintenace minimum. I sent emails to spyder and Bill, so I'm hoping to hear from them. And maybe peter will chime in too.