Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Collaborative Blogging

Sounds like we have enough interested parties to potentially make a go at this idea.

Since I'm going to be out of the country for the next week and a half, if progress is waiting on me then nothing's going to come of it anytime soon.

Having said that, I think there are still some decisions to be made and maybe we could get them out of the way in the next little while and consider that to be progress. To wit:

1) Suggestions were made to broaden the scope beyond simply movies (and certainly beyond just newly-released movies), and I think movies and TV fit well enough together that I'd personally be happy with that being the purview. But how do others feel? Or, to put it another way: just what is our vision statement for this blog, anyway? ;-)

2) What sort of filtering/labelling will we use, under the assumption that eventually our cozy little blog will have so much content that someone might want to limit the posts by some means? From other sites I've seen, one popular criteria is poster, such that if Visitor X just wants to see Tammy's posts, for example, he can easily do that.

Another obvious choice would be some sort of genre-based criteria, so that if Visitor Y prefers to just read what the group's been saying about Horror Movies, she'd have no problem making that a reality. (That of course raises the question of categorization, always a thorny topic.) What do people think about this?

3) Not to sound like too much of a stuck-up ass, but where do we draw the line between "style" and "competency"? In other words, I personally don't care what any of the rest of you might say (I'm not concerned about Political Correctness, nor worried about whether I agree with what you say in the least) but by my association with you, I guess I care somewhat how you say it. Sentences that aren't. Rampant typos. General lack of proof reading before posting. Where's the bar? Do we even have a bar or does anything go?

4) We need a really good name for the blog, and ideally something that we'd all be happy to have our names (or aliases) associated with. Suggestions?

And I'm sure there are other logistical details that I'm forgetting.

Also, PeterJ, please feel free to begin setting wheels in motion on the software side, if you're so inclined.


cjg said...

1) Vision: "Real people. Real reviews. Real squishy." Honestly, I can't come up with a better motto. As for vision, it is too late for me to think coherently on that. To wit: I wrote "tool ate" and didn't see the problem for a little while there...

2) The easy answer for labeling is "more". I think the poster could add as many tags as are obvious (poster name, genre, director, bacon-distance etc). Slashdot is using an open-tagging method for labeling were everyone can add tags. That may work in this case as well - all authorized posters could add additional tags as they see fit. Also, tags should be as short as possible. Look at youtube: they make every word in a title a tag automatically. So I would prefer Horror to Horror Movies.

3) I'd say that standards are a group decision, but Kimota, as the "founder" can choose the initial members. By picking members with an approved "standard", you'd limit the possibilities to something that is automatically the lowest common denominator for that group. More plainly: If you find all member's writing style acceptable before they are added, then proposing that style should be a simple consensus.

Of course, this has generated another agile-related idea that i have to write up before I finish this post - hang on. All right - I'm back. (here is the product of this segue).

4) I'm sure I'll have to revisit this point as well, but here goes:
Digested Audio-Video
Reflections of a Moving Canvas
Popculturalists Handbook <-- think "horticulturalist"
Colossal Blunder
Invisible Robotic Cat and the Moving Pictures

The absurd has met the asleep. And so it ends.

Peter J. said...

The software is a go; I'm using a fairly generic template and name for the moment, since it's still early stages. Anyone who wants to be a part of it, send me a note at ({your name} at {my domain}) with a link to your blog and the category/categories/tags you wish to be re-fed. (Ferinstance, I've added Kimota94 using the fairly obvious "Movies" tag.) In return, I'll send the link to the alpha site for comments and feedback.

Kimota94 aka Matt said...

cjg: Keep trying (on the name thing) as nothing has really clicked yet. I'll add some candidates myself, shortly.

PeterJ: Clearly I misinterpreted your earlier description, since it sounds like you're proposing a purely-aggregator approach where we simply post Movie/TV entries to our own blogs, and software collects them on the central one. If I've now grasped what you're proposing (admittedly a big IF) then what do people do who don't have blogs (Tim, for example; Vicki, if she ever got the urge)?

Also, how do comments work? I'm assuming they could be made on the central blog, or on the original blog that the post came from... do they get cross-posted between the two (central ones come to my blog, and ones added to the post on my blog automatically go to the central one)? I'm considering the age-old problem of data being in 2 places and therefore getting out of synch between the 2. We wouldn't want the scenario where you don't ever have the complete picture - including comments - in either place. Similarly, if I post an entry on my blog, and it goes to the central blog, and then I edit/update my entry, does that get reflected on the central one? Again, worried about drift between the 2 versions.

And on a more trivial level: are there formatting restrictions that we need to worry about? I assume I'm using HTML markup in my posts (via Blogger) although I've never confirmed that. Do all the various blog editors conform to the same standard, and therefore anything posted on one is automatically readable on all others?

I'm not saying I don't like this approach.. merely that I don't understand all of the implications just yet. More info, please (and if your fingers are hovering over the keyboard, and your mind is pondering, "Should I dumb it down just that little bit more?", the correct answer is always, Hell yes!)

Kimota94 aka Matt said...

Oops, and I forgot Boneman in my list of the blogless. He's indicated that he'd like to participate.

Kimota94 aka Matt said...

Other possibilities for names:

1) "The Studio Has Some Notes" or "The Studio Has A Few Notes", both of which play off the dreaded scenario in which studio weasels start interfering with the creative vision of the director/screen writer. An advantage to either name is that we'd fairly quickly begin referring to the collaborative blog as "the studio" I suspect... which is kind of cool.

2) "Actors Are Cattle" - the old Alfred Hitchcock quote.

3) "Rosebud Was The Sled?" - obviously, a tip of the hat to Citizen Kane

4) "Ready Whenever You Are, C.B." - probably too obscure, but a great punchline from a classic movie-making story

More if I think of them...

Kimota94 aka Matt said...

I also should mention: do we want some sort of rating for stuff that's covered on this blog? Common examples are stars (4, or 5), thumb up/down, score out of 10 or 100, # of old ladies you'd run over with your car in order to see this thing...

And if so, how does that work with the aggregator approach?

mikem said...

Re aggregator approach... I'm not a huge fan of going that way - I'm a keep-it-simple kind of guy. Could there be a single TITLE.blogspot.com account that multiple users could post to? This is probably preferable to stealing someone's bandwidth for hosting this, too.

Re #3, having a gimmick of some kind might not be bad, either. For example, there are a zillion "tech blog" sites like engadget/slashdot/etc... but one that I like following is geekologie, as their commentary is sometimes, how you say, inappropriate/politically incorrect ;)

cjg said...

I know this probably isn't a George Burns quote, but "Notes from the Hideous Bitch Goddess".

More as they come.

Plus, I think that we should have a dedicated site for this, or at least allow comments to be added where all the posts are collected.

Tim said...

Any way that hosting of files could also be incorporated? Mp3 'o week type of thing is what I'm thinking - but having a direct link rather than a link to a link like Sendspace.

I guess i could just start using the space that Rogers' includes with ISP charges.

Tim said...


'Aggragated Tags'

'Combined meta'


'Our home in name only'

'London Ontario - technological backward with poor cultural taste'

Tim said...

'Tag, you're it'

tammy said...

Are we just doing reviews?

Ratings, and a consistent format for such, are a must in my opinion. If we go with stars it's out of 4, not 5 (!!! I'm very adament about this !!!).

I think the more concise the labelling the better. If we did a pop culture thing, then the type of medium is an obvious tag. I like doing it by writer, too.

Possible Titles (movie quotes edition):
- frankly my dear
- of all the gin joints
- the usual suspects
- ready for my close-up
- nobody's perfect (from the end of Some Like It Hot)
- not in kansas
- no place like home
- what she's having

But most of all, I like Matt's Studio idea. thestudio.blogspot.com is already taken but acceptable alternatives are available.

As for "acceptable styles" we could put into place some kind of editing system ... but that's really a whole new can of worms. But maybe a simple system where if you notice any grammar/style errors you can make a comment on the post and when the author sees it he can make the changes and delete your comment. Just a thought.

Also, as lovely as Peter's website is - I think we should just use a new blogspot site.

tammy said...

Update: Since Matt is away I can set everything up. But first we need to decide on a title! Maybe we'll try and set up some kind of poll ...

Peter J. said...

Too many comments...

Re aggregator approach, it lowers the bar to "anyone with a blog" (i.e. anyone) and doesn't tie anyone in to using or staying with a particular blogging platform. There's no way I'm going to limit my (admittedly rare) discussion of movies to only this common blog, and I'm not particularly interested in manually posting entries in multiple places for exactly the sync reason you mention.

No restrictions on formatting---in fact, it's easier to make things more consistent with the aggregator approach.

Comments could be an issue, depending on the source platform. It's pretty simple to grab all of the comments on a particular category's posts in WordPress, but that doesn't appear to be possible in Blogger.

Re KISS: what's simpler than doing what you already do, wherever you choose to do it?

All that said, it looks like the blogger answer is preferred by most, and I'm not invested in the project enough to put up any more arguments for or against. The movie planet has now gone the way of Alderaan.