Thursday, May 12, 2005

Links added to the left

For those e-mailing asking if there will be an Indymedia spotlight tonight, yes, there will be.

As noted earlier, we were doing a link to Feministe since Jill was going over there to blog with Lauren. As Maria requested, it's right below the link for Jill's Third Wave Agenda.

Since I was going into the template anyway, I figured I'd do some links that needed to be done.

First, in case there are any visitors or newer members who are unaware, if someone is a blogger their site is decided on by a panel of members. In the first months of this site, any link that went up would lead to someone e-mailing, "Oh my God! I hate ____! How could you link to ____!"
I was steered to ____ by a member. And if I didn't think ____ had something to say, I wouldn't have linked.

But because of this feeling that came up (with nearly every link), and because we are a community, I decided to turn it over to members. Dahr Jamail may be the only blogger that has never resulted in e-mails complaining. (He's also a journalist publishing in papers but pretend he's not for this example.) Everytime someone went up (suggested by some members), the complaints would come in. Maybe they were valid, maybe they weren't?

But it seemed to me that these links needed to be membership driven. We're using Dahr Jamail for this example because everyone loves Dahr. So one method would be to post, "Would everyone like to add Darh Jamail?" That would be the most democratic method. But if we posted that and then didn't add Jamail wouldn't that be a little humilitating to him? And would we publish the results (which might be even more humilitating -- again, we're using him for an example and using him because no one has ever objected to Jamail)? If 90% of the members said no and we posted that, wouldn't that be humiliating? So would we be like the Oscars and just not note the actual vote?

Though more democratic, I didn't see that as the answer. I thought of sending out e-mails to members to allow a direct vote but not to post about it here to allow anyone who didn't get linked not to feel snubbed. But when we share our favorite songs or movies or whatever, some members want to change their selection. Sometimes after the selections are up. So I wasn't wanting to deal with a vote for, a vote against, a vote for all by the same member.

So the idea of a panel came to mind. The panel rotates around members. (The current panel is serving two months consecutively because they are working on guidelines and a proposal to be voted on by members. Normally, each panel will serve one month.) I don't serve on that panel.
This is composed of members.

When a member e-mails requesting that a blog be added to the sidebar links, I pass that on to the current panel. They then read posts and debate amongst themselves.

They will either recommend a link or not. (There is no requirement that any links go up. There is not a set number that have to go up. The panel can approve every suggestion or shoot down everyone.)

This is more "representative democracy." But it allows no one to feel publicly snubbed and it allows members to determine the links.

This wasn't a way to avoid taking the heat. I determine links for organizations and magazines and if a journalist in another format blogs, I will add them as well. But the panel decides blogs by people who are primarily bloggers.

I'll stand by any decision on an organization, magazine, etc. But I don't claim to be a blog expert. So the panel decides on that.

I hope that's clear. (Adding links tonight was a three hour nightmare with one problem after another. So if it's not clear, blame it on my frustration over the last three hours.)

A number of people have wondered where the May links are for blogs? Good question. The panel does have some decisions (which I haven't seen yet) but they are currently focusing on preparing the policy for members to vote on.

I hate going into the template and always fear a problem that will cause the whole thing to crash.
So when the May links were delayed, I used it as an excuse to delay adding any links on my own.
But when Maria's e-mail came in, I e-mailed the panel members and got the approval of over half (and approval from the others came in as well, no panel member had a problem with adding Jill's new outlet since she had been approved for Third Wave Agenda).

Here's what was added and I'll note a few word abouts each if needed.
Feministe (Lauren & Jill's site): Jill's moving on to Feministe and Rebecca has an entry on that so we'll link to that.

David Sirota: Almost a month ago, I noted the need to link to his site. Members were excited about that and have waited and waited and waited and . . . Since I was in the template, I added it today. Sorry for the delay. Most members are already familiar with Sirota and love his truth to power re: DLC so if you're a visitor or member not familiar with Sirota (whose writing often appears in The Nation and In These Times), please check it out.

Global Exchange: This is an organization that Medea Benjamin is a part of it and for most members that says everything that needs to be said. I think it does as well so we'll just say, check out that site.

The Huffington Post: This was one we should have linked to the day it went active. (Which was the plan.) But intentions often exceed time constraints on this end. It's up now, I hope you'll check it out. This is the site Arianna Huffington is running which will provide a variety of voices and hopefully members have a taste of it from highlights here and at Rebecca's site (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude).

James Wolcott: The second day of this site, Attack Poodles was noted in suggestions of books to give as gifts. It's a great book. Wolcott is a critical mind who finds a way to critique with humor.
We have a link to Vanity Fair and with that link you could find Wolcott's blog (Wolcott writes for Vanity Fair) but he has his own link now (as he should have for some time).

AlterNet Peek: Members love this. Evan is the person running this (I believe). It's a part of AlterNet and you can access AlterNet through this link. Besides Maria, Eddie, Joy and Liang, who note it almost daily in e-mails, members in England are noting it as well and feel it gives a strong look into the blog world "in the States."

Michelle in Manchester believes it gives her a better feel of what's going on in this country "than any other medium." That's good enough for me. So we've added it.

DIY Dragon: This is a blogger. Normally it would go through the panel. Why was the panel bypassed here? (The panel knows of this add and agreed they didn't need to be consulted.) Because Mooki is a community member. The site was started prior to The Common Ills; however, Mooki is a long term member of this community and was not that into blogging anymore for a period. When Mooki found inspiration (which is partially credited to this community), it seemed to me that this was the same as a member creating a site after we started up. (And Mooki has been a contributing member via topic suggestions in e-mails since just after Thanksgiving.) This isn't a policital blog. It does address politics but it addresses a wide range of topics. In addition, Mooki is an artist so if you visit, please make a point to check out the art work.

But, head's up, do not click on the link to The Common Ills from DIY Dragon -- it doesn't work.
The "url" (thanks to an e-mailer this week for teaching me that term) is wrong (it has "%20" tacked on at the end).

Consortium News: Robert Parry (among others) writes at this site. Parry is someone that we've noted here and provided links to. Rebecca thinks he's one of our best journalists (I'd agree) and since he is the editor of the site (and also behind it's creation), when Rebecca brought him up in a Third Estate Sunday roundtable, it seemed way past time to think about adding Constorium News.

Grist Magazine: Saturday, we linked to an interview in Grist Magazine with Betsy Rosenberg (host of Air America's Sunday program Eco-Talk -- which, if it's on too early for you, I'd steer you to the Air America Place archives). The reaction was positive and usually noted, "I'm so glad there was an environmental link!" We need to do more of those, no question. Since people who went to the interview and looked around Grist were happy, this seemed a good place to start.

So that's what's been added. If you're curious, please access the links. If you're not (and many of you note that you have "just enough" time to read through the entries here, so that's fine), just know that they were added.

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