Catching up

· Editorial

First of all, I think I will turn on comments by default after all, since there’s no reason not to use that system for followups in the future
Re Liza’s questions (Blogistan Editorial: When it rains it pours):

1. When I make new sites I always start anew with logos. It just sets the tone, let’s me focus on the new. I just assumed that you were going to overhaul everything but if you want the keep it, that’s fine.

Actually, I haven’t decided anything. Part of what I’m trying to do is both learn how to collaborate better and how to be a better leader. I think RFB as it stands is close to the best I can do all by myself, so I’m open to input and suggestions and talent from the team. I’m counting on that to help build something bigger than I could do alone.
I’m trying to learn not to think of everything as my own prerogrative, but I’m also keeping some kind of veto or final say, I guess, as long as I’m hosting the blog and since I founded it, etc.
I’d love to see ideas for a new logo. One reason I discussed the whys of the old one is to help in thinking about themes if we are going to update it.

THEN AGAIN, you can use the logo change as an excuse to involve readers and make it into a contest. Oops! The that’s the marketing gal speaking.

That could be fun, if there is enough involvement. Then again, I like a coherent design. The small-committee sized group we have now could bea good way to float and winnow down possibilities before throwing it open to a readership vote or contest.

2. Are we sticking to just about blogging? I had to scale down on my typing and work only on one site due to carpal tunnel syndrome. So I thought, given I write about alternative life and social practices, why not write some about this one. I’m sure there are a few RFBlogistanis out there suffering as well.

I’d like to hear opinions about this. I think it helps to have a “beat” we’re covering but I’d also construe it liberally. If carpal tunnel is preventing your from blogging, isn’t that enough of a hook? It’s like in USENET we used to add “obligatory” references to the topic at hand, such as obDead: Jerry is cool! in the gdead newsgroup.
I’d say go for it, and if there’s no category for ergonomics or human factors or the physical aspects of writing on the web, then maybe we should come up with one and name it.

3. I have also been thinking design thoughts and been trolling for CSS ideas and some notes on my trials and tribulations with boxes. So I’ll tackle some of that too.

Great, I am self-taught. Today I did a sort of IA inventory of the home page I’d been meaning to do for a long time. I’ll post it to this blog in a moment, but it also spurred me to make some of the organization, template, and stylesheet improvements I had wanted in the short run.
I’m thinking I’d like a three-column (TypePad-y) layout, with a nav/internal sidebar on the left and a further-reading/external sidebar on the right. I’ve now roughly sorted the elements this way.
Since I’ve itemized them, after I post that list we can discuss various elements, keeping them, dropping them, adding new ones.
Later, we can tackle the site’s overall structure and nav if we like.

4. I’ll start working on the templates this week. What I normally do is create templates called NEW* so that I can test them with the content.

Sounds good. I’m glad you’re taking the initiative on this. I think we should involve everbody in critique and feedback, if you don’t mind. (By everybody, I mean us!)

a. Are you keeping the color scheme?

Not necessarily

b. Each writer has a page or do we put us all in one? Pixs included?

There should be a masthead page that lists everyone and acknowledges stuff, but I think each author gets a page. This could conceivably be an index or archive template driven page.

c. Do you want to keep the blog look or do departments?

I’m leaning toward keepnig it looking like a blog for now (vs. sorting the categories and coming up with a port or morningnews-y look) but what doe everyone think?

d. I recommend putting the comments and trackbacks on the same page as the articles for these reasons. How do you feel about that?

I agree, just never got around to it. The individual archive templates need work in general. I’m not sure about using SimpleComments though since it interacts weirdly with some other plug-ins, like MT-blacklist.

5. How do we do related articles? With trackbacks? I’ve been working on an essay on the failure of Rhizome.org as a true rhizome and why trackbacks are the thing for that.

Yes, generally, do the easier thing. Linking back to the earlier article in the body of new entry will generate a trackback automatically, which is kewler than manually making a “related” list. We could get the Technorati plug-in the pulls in related external links too.