Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Okay, Here's My Cunning Plan....

Over the past 36 hours, I've seen most of my favorite AOL Journals taken private with no readers, or filled with angry postings. Some of you have already started an alternative blog or journal on BlogSpot or elsewhere. There are two major drawbacks to doing this:

1. Frankly, the Blogger templates have columns that are too narrow to do photos well. For the last year and a half I've been trying to tweak Messages from Mâvarin so that the main column is wider, and I've ended up with something that looks fine in Netscape but horrible in IE (and I don't know how it looks in Firefox or Safari). Steven, Becky, anyone: can you help me with this?

Help me!

2. More important: in some cases we've spent years building a readership with comments and Weekend Assignments, Monday Photo Shoots and Round Robin Challenges, Saturday Six, Blog Explosion and plain old hard work. When we move to BlogSpot, we are back to square one. For example, here are my Technorati stats for Musings and Outpost, as of Wednesday at 7:22 PM MST:

Musings from Mâvarin

Rank: 26,175 (414 links from 68 sites)

Now, I know for a fact that there are at least two links to Outpost, but the point remains. We're starting over.

For this reason, I'm extremely reluctant to abandon Musings forever. I expect some of you feel the same way. You don't want to leave yet, in case something good happens, in case it blows over, in case it turns out that staying is the best alternative.

Allow me to suggest something we can do in the meantime: a multi-user blog! We could call it J-Land in Exile or something like that. One person would start it, and other people would be signed up as members. All members would be able to post on the blog. It would give people a forum while waiting for a resolution to the current mess, and help to keep the community together, and provide for more readers than a new solo effort. Then as people hang out their own shingles, the group blog (I think it's called a mob blog) would help to build a readership for those, too.

Now, if I were the one to start the thing, I would impose a few rules, a sort of watered down version of TOS: no personal attacks, no overt bigotry, no explicit sex. This would be for the protection of the blog members, and to keep things reasonably pleasant. (And of course, you can always start your own blog without such strictures, subject to the provider's terms and conditions.)

Who could get in as members and start posting? Why, anyone who asks, of course! Again, if I'm the one to start it, I'll reserve the right to lock out anyone who gets to egregious in the personal attacks and such. However, unlike AOL, I wouldn't do it capriciously, without investigation, or without contacting the people involved first.

Add a member!

Well? Whaddaya think? Hello?

[Insert sound of crickets here.]



Madmanadhd said...

I like it... I like it. Right now I'm seeped in dissertatin stuff and have no time to figure out a whole new system. But I'm not at all comfortable supporting AOL's advertising and still paying full price.

Anywho... more details eh? By the way I still haven't figured out how to get alerts form posts in this place. Ideas for a thick headed Italian?
Be well... play hard... laugh often


Shelly said...

Karen, you can widen your Blogger blog. You just have to make sure you adjust all the measurements. You need to widen the body width to cover the widening of both content and sidebar. How to do this varies by template. I'm most familiar with Minima, but experimentation should help.

Of course, how things will look will depend on one's browswer and monitor size. Some AOL journals have things that are too wide in the sidebar and look atrocious in Firefox, for ex.

You know you can always ask me Blogger questions and I'll try to help.

V said...

Hi Karen!

Good idea!!


Julie Barrett said...

I have linked to you, but I'm not signed up with Technorati.

Oh, I'll do it, but I decided to wait until I've finished the next version of my blog. Yeah, I roll my own.

Katrina said...

Though I did not have a lot of people check out my photography blog, I do miss reading my favorite journals, especially DUST BUNNY CLUB OF NORTH AMERICA.

I think it is awfull that AOL has done this to their loyal paying customers.

You cannot blame John for the things AOL has done. At least he was honest with us.If it was up to John he woould not have done this to us.

Your suggestion is a good one, and if I had the time I would be the one to start it. But since it is the height of the NHL season I just don't have the time to start a new journal.