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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Blogs United: structure and openness

I've been doing a ton of work off the blogs on Blogs United. And, yes, that's cut into my blogging time. Just the truth.

Here's where Blogs United is at today:

  • We have a DFA-link site up.
  • We have a Google Group up and running.
  • We have a public Wiki with a number of cool features available for browsing...and many more to come.
  • We have a small satellite presence on the Party Builder site.

  • Wikis...as I'm learning...are a ton of work But I'm hopeful as the months progress that the Blogs United wiki will prove to be one of it's more innovative and useful features...we'll see.

    I'd like to address the Google Group here for one second. I've tried to make Blogs United as inclusive and open as possible. That means trying to: a) make sure as many people as possible know about the group and feel free to join and b) creating a public presence for the group in multiple ways (DFA-link and Party Builder networks, public Wiki, Google Group with clear portals for entry.)

    However, given the above, the Google Group for Blogs United is not publicly viewable. You might ask, how does that square with the above goals and my stated preference for "open source politics?"

    There's two major factors involved:

    1. In actually doing this group...ie. when the rubber hit the road...I realized that emails sent to and from one's email inbox deserve some umbrella of privacy.

    It's one thing to make a comment on a blog; it's another to say that your emails should be read by everyone who wants to see them. Fwiw, while the Blogs United Google Group is not publicly viewable, it's also explicity not off the record. Information offered and shared on that list serv is meant to reach many people and be useful. However, as a common courtesty I created two basic guidelines that I've emailed to all the group's participants:

    a) Ask and receive permission to quote someone's words elsewhere (ie. give emails the respect you would to any email.)
    b) If you think information you have should NOT be shared with a large group of people on an email ring: it probably shouldn't be

    2. The other factor that influenced my choice to make the Google Group not publicly readable is that we on the blogs already have ample resources for public discussion.

    We don't have a lot of resources for peer-to-peer support and information sharing. I think it's possible to have an email ring...in fact multiple email rings...that SERVE bloggers and the common good without making everyone's emails public OR having everyone involved sworn to secrecy.

    In sum, I like the fact that the Blogs United Google Group (which may break down into more than one eventually) is rooted in access portals like DFA-link and the Wiki that are viewable and visible online. That's important. Further, I think it's important that while participants can't repost someone else's words from the Google Group neither is the content of any of the discussions expected to be secret. Among other things, that's simply an unresonable expectation for any email sent to large group of people.

    As I've written before, building infrastructure is important. It's the critical task at hand for the netroots.

    One of the things I'm committed to is building and innovating structures that serve netroots communities for the long haul. Wikis, email groups, social networking sites, blogs: these are all part of the emerging netroots infrastructure.

    Blogs United FAQ here.

    Email me for more info at: kidoaklandactivism"at"comcast"dot"net


    • the only regret I have about all this is that we didn't get this organized sooner.

      By Blogger LP, at 10:59 PM  

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