Gaming, Technology, Social Media, and Fun
In: web2.026 Mar 2008
This is a response/feedback to Chris Pirillo’s blog post surrounding a huge idea surrounding web communities. Please read his blog post in its entirety prior to reading this one so you will understand the context. Enjoy.
Let me just say, I applaud this effort and believe you are on to something here. Here are my thoughts.
First off, I think it was a huge mistake to remove Disqus from your blog particularly for this discussion. You could have really spread the word using that mechanism. I think you’re going to need Disqus in the future for these ideas. Their developers are really open to ideas like this and could easily integrate Disqus directly into Drupal as an option. They could also include some of the features you outlined regarding comments as well.
As for Drupal itself, you’ve highlighted my #1 issue with it, it’s not “ready to go”. It may have power, but it requires too much love to get up and going like I want. I think this may also highlight your difficulty in finding a capable Drupal developer. It’s like asking a Linux kernel hacker to write a device driver for your specific hardware, not gonna happen. I’m hoping this situation improves.
While it may have potential, this non-unique idea presents a formidable challenge. What you’re describing sounds like what the OpenSocial foundation is “claming” to help enable. (I could be wrong here) Are you looking to build a competitor to that or to utilize it? There is stiff competition out there and this idea needs a compelling evangelist to convince people to abandon the Myspace, Facebook, and now FriendFeed platforms to support this one. While I understand you intend to include these frameworks in the grand scheme of things, it still will take man hours to make it happen.
Social relevance is huge and this may be why people went crazy over FriendFeed because some believed it enabled users to find others like themselves and discuss the social web. Toluu.com also has the same premise about social relevance. I suggest soliciting feedback from them.
Participation is the key to all of this. I’ve found that many of us on the web have social fatigue and are reluctant to try any new social services, whether they be networks, communities, or something like your ideas. We have to remove as many barriers to entry as we can. I think Drupal is a huge one at the moment. If it is to serve as the core of this idea (and it may not), you really need to make dead simple to get up and running AND to import archived content seamlessly. I can’t stress that enough.
Your idea about blog commenting and sharing ad revenue sort of frightens me. I can’t help but think about comment spammers. If this is going to be implemented (seriously), then spam protection HAS to be ironclad. I foresee a huge problem here. There are mechanisms to get around this of course (comment rankings, karma,etc) but spam protection has to be the #1 priority.
I’m glad you understand the massive undertaking with this. Not only with the technology, but the mindset of the community has to be considered. Something compelling has to be offered in order to dismiss claims of YASN (Yet another Social Network) If this is going to be open, we need to consider open standards: OAuth, Microformats, RSS, Atom, programming languages, etc. All of these are barriers to entry. It’s amazing how many people won’t touch this idea due to a few missing open standards. I’m pretty much in agreement with you here, I understand you have already considered this.
Again, It’s refreshing to see the enthusiasm presented with this idea, but I’m getting a sinking feeling it may be too much to take on considering the obstacles (mostly mental issues in the community, but some technological) ahead. Here are some more suggestions that I have that I didn’t see in your post. (I apologize if I missed it) You may have already considered these but not included them in your blog post:
Thanks Chris for your role in the community, and I wish you all the success with this effort!
Post written by Bwana