[PP-main] Mainstream Realities

Joakim Ziegler joakim at simplemente.net
Fri Mar 10 23:08:24 CET 2000

On Thu, Mar 09, 2000 at 06:27:20PM +0000, Walter Ludwick wrote:

> I guess my big question at this point is:  what about all those folks
> out there who really don't want to bother building their own weblogs,
> but have healthy appetite for news & views from a very ecclectic mix of
> sources?  Can any of us realistically expect to offer that person a real
> "home"?  Let's assume they want what so many seem to want:  one account
> on a smallish site (NOT Netscape or even Userland) that will be their
> home community, that would also feed them all the content they might
> reasonably request.  Is this smallish weblog operator going to either
> (a) give the user an interface to configure own ideal mix of content
> (not just "slashdot" or "wired", but more granular) and presentation; 
> or (b) is the webmaster going to have to do this manually -- endlessly!
> -- for each user?  And, in either event, is PeerPress going to make this
> easily deliverable by us spare-time weblog meisters?  How, if
> Netscape/AOL (who invented RSS) can't even deliver?  Is this all in the
> elegance of the spec that's being developed here (independent of both
> the big fish and the standards bodies)?

> I hope this line of questioning doesn't sound impertinent;  i'm a
> latecomer to the discussion and way ill-informed, but i love what i've
> heard so far. Just wanna be clear about what sort of trip i'm signing on for.

I think these concerns are very valid, and also some of the things I spent a
lot of my time thinking about before writing the original Advogato article.

To answer this in pseudorandom order (in other words, do not use this
ordering as a source of strong randomness for crypto):

I think we might do several of these things. Letting the user directly at the
information will probably happen, including setting up your own start
page/news page thing. I don't think this is the correct role of Peer Press
directly, though, but it's a nice niche for whoever wants to set up a popular
site using Peer Press material.

As for delivering data into the weblogs, well, there are going to have to be
some work on it. At the minimum, we'll need converters from XML into the
native format of the most popular log engines, and also converters back to
XML, for sending stories (this is where it starts getting tricky to do
without user intervention).

How we can do this when Netscape couldn't? Well, I don't know for sure yet.
Personally, I have a feeling that we can do better because our motives are
better. In other words, syndicating the entire content, not just the
headlines is something we can do because profit doesn't figure into the
equation on the Peer Press level (although it might for individual member
sites). So we're basing it on a very different philosophy for what we want to
achieve (RSS is practically a tool for promoting more hits, a glorified link
exchange if you will, while this is more of a "good information that you
want, when you want it, from the site you like the most" type of thing).

As I've cockily said before, I'm not after shaking up the weblog market place
(that's too easy, and will happen anyway). I want to go after the big fish,
see if Peer Press can be a source of high-quality, unbiased information to
rival AP and other international services. I think this is a type of project
which benefits greatly from cooperation, and news gathering and filtering is
an extremely parallelizable task, so it seems this is a market where it's
possible to come in and essentially do the free software thing,
out-resourcing even the hugest corporate entities.

Am I nuts, or am I making sense? I'd love to know.

Joakim Ziegler - simplemente r&d director - joakim at simplemente.net
 FIX sysop - free software coder - FIDEL & Conglomerate developer
      http://www.avmaria.com/ - http://www.simplemente.net/

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