Group Blogging - i think i get it now

I'm still pretty amazed that i had not thought about this thing before, ie. a group blog. I've been looking for a "forum/blog/cms-like-thing-that-wasn't-quite-a-forum/blog/cms" for a good while, and this site is so much like the thing i was looking for.

This will be my first blog post on TW. Only, now i don't really know which category to choose. I guess it's most like "Publishing & content", but then again "Social & Community" or even "Tools & Tehnology" fits fine as well. This, in essence, mirrors quite well what i think about this - it's a fine mix of different things.

The About page states that it runs on Drupal, and i had actually been visiting Drupal before, but their site doesn't really give the impression that you can use their system for a thing like this. Too bad.

Now, i guess you could use other cms'es for this task as well, but i just didn't see it untill i saw it *lol*

The thing i really like... no, the things i really like are:

  • You can have a lot of writers, like in a forum
  • You can discuss posts, like in a forum
  • You can have the "news list front page" with brief posts like a blog
  • You can have sections in stead of that nonsense calendar view blogs have
  • It's easy even for newbies to figure things out
  • You can do membership stuff, pm's, syndication, alerts, and so on
  • It's fun, as well as easy to navigate around ...and it will easily become highly addictive
  • ...and then some

I can think of more than one site where this would be a nice add-on that would give even more benefit to the core users than a forum or a blog would.

Anyway, as i'm new to blogging - does anyone know what "Send trackbacks" mean? Nevermind, i'll figure it out i guess.

Comments

free and stuff

I'll get to the commercial stuff soon enough... Actually i find the "making money" part of "making money" dull and trivial (invoicing, accounting, sales, advertising, paying bills, all that stuff) - it's so much more interesting either planning, researching, or plainly doing something than all these other excercises that you have to take care of in order to make a living.

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Anyway, a little more on this group blog thing...

I didn't discover it until i digged a little deeper and activated my mental drawing board, but for the things i'm thinking about some sort of WIKI or "news site" functionality is also needed. I'm especially thinking about an autolink feature of some kind (not the Google kind though *lol*).

Below the subject level, this setup does have the reverse chronological sorting that forums and blogs share which makes it difficult to find related posts/threads. This makes site search far too important (as good search is hard to do), and it inevitably leads to very similar posts (repetitions) as time passes.

Linking related posts (even across subjects) should be taken care of automagically somehow.

Q1: Anybody know what i mean?
Q2: Anybody know if this can be done?
Q3: Care to drop me a link to something that does it? all?

Oh, and it must be a lean mean machine of course - none of that full featured CMS stuff, just the essentials, and preferably in neato modules. No MS stuff (too many dependencies there), but perl, php, python, whatever, no problem.

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Well, back on the money: Well, no... I'll make a separate post of what was below, to stay on topic here.

>>nick beats me up

heh, i do don't i?

Well iv'e stopped fighting a losing battle gurtie :) When there is only one form, none of that will matter...

Quote:
I think you would probably be able to justify a small fee in order to get in the black and have more development done if that's a problem. Nowadays you don't see many ad free sites - imho it's really a relief to see one, and it's worth paying for as well (of course the content must be there, but if you are an active user already, then no problem).

The problem is, as this site started out with no intention of being anything other than a small personal site i've overlooked (or not thought about at all!) many things in the beginning.

A few people have warned me that TW will lose members the minute i try to monetize it, so whereas im not 100% sure that's right, i am treading very carefully. Hence members being able to turn ads off in their profiles (if you go to your profile, you'll see the switch is already in place)

>small fee

Not the way i want to go, but i was considering an "optional contribution" button on the page that explains how to turn ads off. Im not big on "donations" not by a long shot, and certainly not as business model, but it might be worth doing something like that eh?

I also want to find time to start agressvely seeking companies to give TW members free stuff - it worked beautifully with the first go and i'd like to do more...

All suggestions and comments welcome - no point having a whole group of site monetization experts in the house without asking for advice is there? heh..

Congrats to claus...

One of these days I hope to have the time to figure out what the #$@!@! is going on here re: "pleeker's blog" and the difference between "blog it" and "submit thread", but for now it's good to know that you've taken the plunge and succeeded. And I'll just keep enjoying the posts and adding a couple pennies here and there, which I have figured out. :)

"Blogging it" is dangerous

>>most of us now tend just to "Blog-it" rather than using the "Submit Thread" format

Nick beats me up whenever I do that.

Guffaw!

>fortune :)

Too funny heh..

The most interesting money things have been the offers to buy threadwatch - so much more than just cash involved though, and more than a few time wasters...

Im trying to find time for it cornwall, what i could really use is a partner to do that shit while i concentrate on the stuff i like doing most - building this place up with good stuff and good people - but at present im desperately trying to finish the redesign just so i can devote the weekends i spend doing that to thinking about putting some monetary things into action...

It's an uphill battle but though i curse it more often than not, it's actually a lot of fun heh..

>>preview

I will look into it - there is an option, but im pretty sure it means you get the preview button only, then you have to post - which is DIRE, DIRE i tell you! heh..

Claus

Read your comments with interest.

1. The format we have seems to mean that most of us (well, me anyway) now tend just to "Blog-it" rather than using the "Submit Thread" format

That may, of course, be because most of the things started are not based on threads out there, but news items or personal crusades (vendettas!).

2. I agree with you on the preview button point - from memory this has been raised before, and I think the answer is that its not in the software, unless you are starting a thead.

As you say, one is always having to correct the typos with the present system

3. "but we've done away with user ranks, post counts, avatars and signitures " Another really nice feature

4. Monetisation - if you search the index for about Nov you will see some of the thought Nick has had. He seems too busy at the moment to make the fortune that is awaiting him.

Usability

>>It's easy even for newbies to figure things out

I know more than a few people that would disagree with you there claus :)

In fact, it's the primary theme behind the ongoing redesign that should be finished soon. Among the many changes:

  • Only one type of post - specify a primary source of reference or not - better than the 2 form system we have now
  • Better links in strategic places like a link to the recent posts list at the bottom of threads for example
  • Monetization - members can turn this off!
  • Member websites shown on posts that make the homepage - profile's will be robots.txt'd

The thing i wanted to do, and i think have managed, albeit incompletely so far, is to have the best of both worlds. A marrige of blog and forum taking the best of each.

So from blogs you have trackback, and the whole linking out is good! thing - im also somewhat ruthless with quality and repetition, if you see posts go missing, they generally turn up again as a comment on an existing discussion :)

From forums, the recent posts list is central to TW and is where it all happens, as with forums - but we've done away with user ranks, post counts, avatars and signitures - you're as good as your last post, the idea being that avoiding elitism, among a few other things i think is bad about the forum format is good for the budding community we have here...

I could go on all day, but i'd prolly bore you to tears, and im not even dressed yet heh...

Usability matters

... pun intended. I'm all for usability, it's a good part of what i do, even so much that people tend to confuse me with a white-hatter. Not that i really care about labels anyway.

(edit: removed something here - this might become a good post later on)

>> Only one type of post

Actually this was the thing i found most confusing initially, so i'm glad you'll be clearing that up.

>> a link to the recent posts list

... and this is another that's a bit confusing because of the three different types, and also one that took me time to locate as it's placed away from the primary navigation.

>> Monetization

What a coincidence - right this moment my snailmail arrived with an AdSense check *lol*

I think you would probably be able to justify a small fee in order to get in the black and have more development done if that's a problem. Nowadays you don't see many ad free sites - imho it's really a relief to see one, and it's worth paying for as well (of course the content must be there, but if you are an active user already, then no problem).

>> the whole linking out is good! thing

I actually looked for some kind of linking policy but i couldn't find one?

>> A marrige of blog and forum taking the best of each.

Again, that's exactly what i've been looking for for a long time, and i think it really works out well here.

I just found out that i could install Drupal in a heartbeat as my new hosting account has the Fantastico cPanel plugin. I just moved the account in the start of Update Allegra so i haven't been all around the panel yet. Now i've got all kinds of ideas for stuff i really should do - and with the Yahoo API just out, a major project launching soon and three minor projects just started up, there's just too little time right now :)

>> Among the many changes

May i suggest a preview button when answering a post? I know i'll be editing typos in this one in a moment :)

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Added: Actually, formatting was more needed than typo-checking, so i'll just leave any typos where they are. Hence, another suggestion would be a little more vertical space between paragraphs.