Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Questioning the Wellington St Post Decision

Though I was aware of the newest Canadian political news aggregator (among the several we already have), what I did not know was the fact that the Wellington Street Post was going to essentially replace Liblogs as our party's main blog aggregator. After thinking it over, I'm starting to question this entire decision.

One, the fact is, we never really were informed of this, as far as I know. I could have missed it, but the only notice I saw was James Bowie's reposting of Jason Cherniak's notice that Liblogs was being shut down and shunted over to WSP. I get that it's not a democracy and Jason's decision over his website is final, but no one really asked whether or not those of us who use Liblogs were really gung-ho for the idea. I think some might have second thoughts. Nevermind the fact that some might not want to be associated with WSP, and yet we're being put on it - not that I personally won't sign up (if I'm not already, which I'm not sure I am).

Two, it's kind of a step down to go from a dedicated Liberal aggregator, to one that's invariably meant to disseminate every party's viewpoints. Not to cheapen the idea of partisan harmony, but I don't see the Blogging Tories, or the New Dems Online, shutting their sites down. Why must we shut ours down as well? The site doesn't seem to have a lot of upkeep, and I'm sure the costs for the domain are fairly negligible for what it does. I really don't get why we have to shut it down and move over to this, which quite honestly may not be a successful venture in the end.

Three, I really don't like the design so far. The blog aggregator page is a jumbled mess that looks more like a giant block of TL;DR mini-paragraphs than anything coherent. I like the general idea of what they're trying to do, but its really, really, really disorganized as it currently stands. Not only that, but so far I've seen no updates to any of the posted bloggers on that page, including Bowie, Kinsella, and etc., who as of 8:30 am, all have had new articles posted on their own blogs.

Four, this paragraph from Cherniak's post confounds me:
For some time now, I have believed that, for all the good in Liblogs, it can and must be better. We need to take the next step and turn this project into an integral part of the Canadian media landscape. We need more than just political insiders reading – we need to bring the average Canadian news reader to your thoughts and aspirations.
That underlined part is what really sticks for me - who do they expect to be reading the WSP site? The exact same people who read National Newswatch, Borque, and others similar to it - political insiders. These sites are political news feeds designed for the purpose of feeding us hungry politicos. The WSP at the current moment in time is not an integral part of the Canadian media landscape to anyone except politicos. It may inspire to be the Huffington Post, but honestly, who do you think reads the Huffington Post, the average American? No - politicos!

I dunno. I applaud the initiative of the WSP and I hope it does well, so don't mistake this for ragging on the site itself. I just really question this decision that has been made for those of us in this blogging world here. It may mean nothing in the long run, but for someone like me, who enjoys blogging and enjoys Liblogs, this really is a blow to how much I've enjoyed all of it. Maybe WSP will wipe away those concerns, but for now...

8 comments:

  1. Not to mention Cherniak's site is carrying posts from the anti-semitic Dodo Can Spell.

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  2. Plus the rest of the bunch that make the Blogging Tories In Their Own Words list. xD

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  3. Hi Kyle,

    What we're going to do is redirect the liblogs domain to the Liberal only list on WSP. The result is that people looking for the Liberal view will still get the Liberal view.

    Our hope, though, is that people also start going to WSP for Tories, NDP, Greens, journalists, lobbyists and embassy bloggers. As a one-stop shop, any posts from Liberals (and non-Liberals) who make the home page should ultimately get more clicks than they used to when people had to be searching for a specific partisanship to find them.

    Jason

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  4. Kyle,

    Thanks for sharing - I appreciate your feedback.

    I'm copying over some text I posted on Scott's site a few minutes ago. Please let me know what you think.

    The decision to have Liblogs point to a dedicated Liberal Edition of
    the WSP was not a easy choice. We put much thought into it and I
    believe we carefully weighed the pros and cons.

    In the end, it makes the most sense. Think of car dealerships that
    line up to purchase property right next to each other. Why would they
    do that? Customer convenience. The psychology of it is fascinating but
    it ultimately comes down to the simply fact that brands believe they
    will shine in the face of competition. I suspect Liberal bloggers will
    feel the same.

    I am also aware of the community effect a partisan blog aggregator can
    have – this is nothing to shy away from. But given the choice of a
    Liberal or a Conservative (or any other) branded site plastered with
    partisan logos and colours or a highly efficient and sophisticated
    technological platform to produce the best result I really think most
    would choose the later. In fact, thats what we based this business on.
    We think people will come around to quality aggregation over flashy
    partisanship.

    Besides, the communities have always been about the blog posts first -
    at least that was my impression.

    I ask you, and all other bloggers, to consider the pros and cons,
    consider what we are trying to do and really give this project a fair
    chance – I truly believe it is best for the Canadian political
    blogosphere.

    Best,

    Adam Miron
    President
    WellingtonStPost.com

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  5. Robert,

    Please see our detailed Terms & Conditions at http://wellingtonstpost.com/Legal

    Should you feel any post violates any of the terms please let us know right away at guidelines@wellingtonstpost.ca

    Best,

    Adam Miron
    President
    WellingtonStPost.com

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  6. Jason,

    I understand the concept, however, I still don't quite understand why we all have to be taken over when its unknown how successful it will be. It kind of seems like putting all your eggs in one basket to me. And like I said, I understand the initiative, and I do think its great idea, but we seem to be the only ones with faith in it at the moment.

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  7. Adam,

    Thanks for the attention paid. As I said, I do think the idea is a really good one, so I'm not disputing whether or not its a worthwhile endeavour. My issue however is that Liblogs is the only group of bloggers being absorbed here, most of us without volunteering it, and losing our own site at the same time. That doesn't feel right, and no offense, if the WSP doesn't pan out to all expectations, we're kind of left up the creek, know what I mean?

    Besides, I kind of like my partisanship, and I liked the group of bloggers off of Liblogs, just the same as Blogging Tories like theirs. WSP is great for sharing those communities and ideas and whatnot, but at the end of the day, a Liberal is a Liberal, and I kind of want to poke fun at Jack Layton every once in awhile.

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  8. Also, as a side question, I'm not really sure if I've been signed up for the WSP or not. Like I said, I'm still interested in joining, or am I already blacklisted? xD

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