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Wellington Street Post misses the mark as a Liblogs replacement

So some of you might have read this note from Jason Cherniak – former blogger and former administrator of Liblogs (the original Liberal blogging aggregator) – announcing that Liblogs would be no more and that it would be replaced by The Wellington Street Post, which Jason would be involved in and which would be run by Adam Miron.

Now, let me say I know most of the participants involved in this venture – all very smart people. I know Adam in particular, and I like him.  However, my first impression of Wellington Post is that it’s a nice site,  but I don’t get why you’d get rid of a distinct Liberal blog aggregator & try turning it into a competitor of National Newswatch, or perhaps into a Canadian version of The Huffington Post. I’m not even sure that’s an accurate comparison, as the Wellington Street Post is incorporating bloggers of all stripes,  as well as news blogs, and appears to be  trying to be all things to all people. Even the Huffington Post has a distinctive progressive edge/editorial slant to it.

If  Adam and company wanted to create a news site like this, that’s great, and I do think there is room for something like this, but it should have been created as a separate project from Liblogs. There was no doubt that Liblogs needed updating to its look and format and had been suffering a bit of neglect of late, but I completely disagree with trying to merge it into an aggregator that is listing all types of political blogs and news blogs. It completely loses the Liberal identification and branding as a result. If Stephen Taylor had created this type of site as a replacement/upgrade for his Blogging Tories site,  I’d be saying the same thing, as would be his blogging members, I suspect.

We’ll see how it goes, and if it brings success to Adam and company and makes them all  a buck or two in the process, good for them. In the meantime, for those Liberal bloggers who still want to be part of a true Liberal blog aggregator, there is always Liberals Online (and of course, for those of you who wish to be part of a more broad progressive affiliation, Progressive Bloggers, which is going to be having it’s own site re-design launch shortly)

UPDATE: I see I’m not the only one this AM uncomfortable with this new site supposedly being the replacement for Liblogs. We’ll see how many other Liberal bloggers think the same thing

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35 comments to Wellington Street Post misses the mark as a Liblogs replacement

  • I was just idly checking Liblogs, curious to see if there was the outrage there should be In & Out.

    I came across this fine Tribe post. I agree entirely with Tribe’s post, Steve V’s comment, and all similar comments.

    I do not see why the birth of one must mean the end of the other. Could they not be complimentary? Those looking for a range of partisan opinions have one place to go, those wishing for a Liberal specific site have another.

    I am also a member of LiberalsOnline but there is a difference between its array of bloggers and Liblogs, as a result of the reasons for the schism, which we all remember.

    I think, for all the reasons expressed by FarAndWide, Scott Tribe, and others, the extinction of Liblogs is unnecessary, misguided, unfair and counterproductive. I would ask those planning that step to rethink their plans, especially in light of all the comments by Liberal bloggers, who after all, are the parties most concerned. It almost seems a symptom of the very particular illiberal Liberalism that seems to infect some LPC members from time to time.

    For reasons of principle, I cannot contemplate returning to blogging as things stand. But if and when I should, I would very much hope Liblogs would still exist, as well as LiberalsOnline, and my posts might be found there by readers browsing around, as well as elsewhere, just as I came across this Tribe post just now by happenstance.

    Different tools for different functions. Good for WSP. But let Liblogs remain, blogging of Liberals, by Liberals, for Liberals.

  • sassy

    I had always thought that BC Blue, Christian Conservative, and Angry in the Great White North were Conservative, well at least not Liberal. And Dodo Can Spell, well that’s just got me really wondering. If I wanted to read these bloggers, I would go over the The Blogging Tories.

    Can someone explain to me how this is an improvement on Liblogs? It seems that LiberalsOnline is where to go for Liberal Bloggers.

  • Ted

    I do like the idea of what is being brought forward here. There was an all party blog aggregator I always went to – I’m totally forgetting what it was called; anyone? With columns by topic and the most popular topics rose to the top? Andrew something or other ran it? – and so I think this is a welcome addition to the blogging community that should ultimately be embraced.

    But as far as Liberal bloggers are concerned, I don’t like it as a replacement I have to say. Steve is very correct: what I like about Liblogs/Blogging Tories/Progressive Bloggers-affiliates page, is that you get a chance to be exposed to blogs you might not notice or read because they are not big, but have a chance to prove themselves. It doesn’t take long to know which ones to go to for something interesting and which ones not. And what I have found is that the best blogs are, for me, the more interesting and creative ones. I think the ones that parrot a party line tend to get the most traffic and will always rise to the top. Just think of Blogging Tories.

    Plus, there is a nice streaming timeline to the way all blog aggregators current do it. You can pick up a fresh piece of news and see how it is taking off or not. And there is always that thrill I remember of being the first to “break” a news story and seeing it stream ahead of everyone else.

    I’m not sure how much you’ll get from Blogging Tories. Stephen Taylor has done a great job of taking a blog aggregator and pushing it further with discussion boards and real discussions. It really is a community and they won’t be giving that up.

    Finally, that the endeavour is in part a business is not a problem for me, but it is also a very different focus and natually loses the volunteer partisan passion that is behind a Progressive/Liblogs/Blogging Tories community.

    As I said, that doesn’t mean there is a good place for a Wellington Street Post. A few suggestions though, Adam, if you are still coming back to read:
    – add a blog list
    – consider, if possible, a dual listing like at Progressive Bloggers where you have a streaming but then you also have on the front page the most popular (by vote)
    – try to clean up the pages in clearer columns. It’s currently hard to get oriented because there is so much on the page and it seems scattered all over the place
    – by naming it Wellington St Post is it meant to be federal politics only?

    Anyway, good start and good luck. Sad for the Liberal community and the Liberal blog community, but a good addition to the overall blogging community.

  • SteveV

    Again, did you even read what I wrote Jason? Why would anyone go to Liblogs now? In a few days, weeks, it will be a dead link, people will simply bypass, so this re-direction rationalization is mute.

    Overall, the site might generate more traffic, but you tell me why I would go to the Liberal portion, when I can see the top 5 or 6 “draws” on the frontpage? Can we think one move ahead please, because this is obvious.

    Anyways, I have a beautiful beach to return to and a colder than shit Corona! Egalitarian or bust.

  • Again, Steve, the liblogs.ca link will go to the Liberal only page. You would have to choose to ignore that and go to the front page to not see the main Liberal page. Anybody who does that probably wasn’t clicking through from Liblogs in the first place.

    BTW, if it turns out you’re right and bloggers aren’t getting as much traffic as they used to, obviously that isn’t good for WSP. I don’t think it will happen, but if it does then something will be done to fix it.

    The whole theory behind this the exact opposite of what you fear. We won’t know who’s right until it’s been tried, but I think it’s a huge overreaction to assume the worst on day 1.

  • SteveV

    In three weeks, NOBODY we go to Liblogs, they will go directly to the site, which means if you aren’t on the frontpage, expect about 10% of the former traffic you got from Liblogs. Again, great for the well established blogs, but for the others, this format will stifle you, it will be a hinderance to adding new bloggers, it will create a two tier Liberal blogger aggregator. This is the death of sorts and people need to think beyond their own self interest, put the egalitarian nature of the medium first, because this is a REGRESSIVE move.

    Adam is a great guy, a very smart and forward thinking person. I wish him luck on his venture, but from a purely Liberal blogger standpoint, I am deeply concerned with this move.

    You relax Jason, if this was just about ME, I’d be on board. It isn’t and I’d rather be a pariah than a sellout!

  • Thanks Zorpheous,

    Please feel free to email me any suggestions on the presentation to [email protected] I’d be happy to hear from you

    Best,
    Adam Miron
    President

  • meh, I signed up become a WSP feed member. Maybe I can annoy more Harperbots that way, although I was no longer a member of Liblogs, am still listed on the sidebar. We’ll see how the new WSP does, it still needs work in the presentation department.

  • Saskboy,

    If you ever feel like any post violates our Terms and Conditions email us immediately at [email protected]. We take all claims seriously.

    Thanks for your feedback on the colour coding idea. As I mentioned we have a great team of people working on this project and feedback like this only helps us do our job.

    You can easily navigate back to the homepage by clicking on the large Wellington Street Post masthead at the top of the page. Perhaps we should have an old-school home button too?

    Thanks again,

    Adam Miron
    President
    WellingtonStPost.com

  • Also, Scott, I can’t get Click to Edit to work in Firefox consistently, often it’s just a black faded screen with no input anywhere.

    And the layout of WSP homepage leaves me confused what is associated with which party-stripe of blogger. It’d help me filter out BT trash for instance, before clicking on a header at the top. Colour code perhaps? The Twitter feed is unlabeled too. How does someone see the homepage after diving into a Liberal subpage?

    • That would be because the recent upgrade of WordPress to 3.1 “broke” the version of the plugin I have for that (Ajax Edit Comment). I’ve found out to get it upgraded.. I’d have to pay for it. I’m mulling that over. I may have to if I cant find a replacement plugin and I want to use it.

      Addendum: I bit the bullet and paid for the upgrade. It looks as if the problem of the Editing a post after posting should be fixed.

  • I am a little concerned about the unmoderated Blogging Tory content, and those like Robert M. who are concerned about feed “theft”.

  • It looks worse then the Quibber.

  • Relax, Steve. This is the first day and we have every intention of doing our best to give everybody their due advertisement. If it involves some tweaking, then so be it.

    Not sure what you mean by your second comment.

  • Steve,

    I’m very sorry you feel betrayed. I’d like to work with you to see if we can find something that works for both of us.

    Are you concerned that it will become an elite list because the amount of blogs showcased in the Liberal edition is reduced? What if we expanded the page, re-jigged the layout, and added room for more posts?

    Importantly, please note liblogs.ca will go directly to wellingtonstpost.com/Liberal not to the homepage. We are already taking in some of the good ideas presented here and other places today to further brand the Liberal Edition. I am set on making it just as much a home to all Liberal bloggers as Liblogs.ca was.

    I’m happy to continue, what I hope to be a truly helpful conversation, either here for everyone to read or over email – which ever you prefer.

    Adam Miron
    [email protected]

  • SteveV

    As an aside, where is Scott’s post on Liblogs, or the one he updated with, for that matter????

  • SteveV

    I´m away, but saw this email about the change. I’m actually very upset that this has happened. It will not help bloggers, what it will do is create an elite set of Liberal bloggers and the rest will sit in the backpage that nobody is going to read. I look today, I see all the usual bloggers on the frontpage, now tell me WHY I would go look at the rest on another page??? Nope, this will just reinforce the top bloggers, because you will see them every day and relegate new or less proficient blogs to languish in the back. This is VERY disappointing. This type of format will hurt blogging, not encourage it. Unbelievable. The only people that will possibly benefit are the well known, do it everyday, established bloggers. I believe my blog fits in this category, so take this criticism as beyond simple self interest. This is NOT egalitarian, this NOT a home for Liberal bloggers. I feel this is a complete and utter sellout, I really, really do. As a matter of fact I feel betrayed.

    Two cents.

  • Roll Tide

    I like it Jason. One stop shopping!

  • Robert, the partisan lists involved application, review and approval for a number of reasons. In Liblogs, it was because I didn’t have time to find the bloggers myself and I wanted to make sure I was only getting Liberals.

    By your logic, Google is “stealing” content from others because it’s only product is to link you to other web sites. The difference between Google and WSP is that Google links to everything and allows users to search, while WSP only links to political blog posts of interest to Canadian readers.

    As to original content, that’s still up in the air. However, anything “original” will likely be grabbed from the author’s RSS feed. For example, if I started to write the occassional post again it wouldn’t be directly on the site. I would write on a blog and have it show up on the site just like anybody else.

  • “We do not host the post on our site, all of the traffic is always sent directly to the blogger’s page. I fail to see how directing online traffic is stealing.”

    You’re using other people’s work without their permission to draw traffic to your site. That is stealing. Why else do you think the other aggregators typically required people to give their permission by signing up.

    Regardless of that though, you didn’t answer my question. Will the WSP be producing any of its own content?

  • @CWTF, point taken re the blogroll. We will be adding it before redirecting Liblogs. A similar roll will exist on all partisan editions.

    Also, the “editing” is based on stats such as page views and time of post. There is no one person picking and choosing their favourite posts. In many ways, the readers decide what the headline will be.

  • CWTF,

    Is directing traffic to blogs not help to them? One of our three guiding principles is ‘Bloggers deserve a platform to give them the largest audience possible.’ We believe this because of the quality and dedications of their blogs and the roll they play in the democratic process.

    We do not host the post on our site, all of the traffic is always sent directly to the blogger’s page. I fail to see how directing online traffic is stealing.

    Best,
    Adam Miron
    President
    WellingtonStPost.com

  • Redrum,

    Thanks for the heads up we have a solid team of developers and will look into that asap.

    Thanks again.

    Adam Miron
    President
    WellingtonStPost.com

  • CWTF

    At the moment, there is no blog roll on WellingtonStPost.com, I can hardly see how this will help Liberal bloggers. And, of course, there are editorial decisions as to who will be featured on the various pages.
    As Robert wrote, this seems like another “content stealer”.

  • Redrum

    Adam & Jason — have you tested its look on different browsers? I’m using the Firefox 4 beta, and the text is all mushed together & unreadable in the middle of the page.

    Scott — maybe this is just my browser, too, but since yesterday, the ‘Reply’ to comments doesn’t work, here, and it’s not showing the Recent Comments menu on the left anymore, either.

  • Robert,

    You will be happy to know that we have a detailed Terms & Conditions ( http://wellingtonstpost.com/Legal) that stipulate the rights of the content. This was based on Heritage Canada’s Fair Dealing in Canada http://www.pch.gc.ca/pc-ch/org/sectr/ac-ca/pda-cpb/publctn/cch-2007/102-eng.cfm

    Should you feel that you do not want to be aggregated simply send us an email at [email protected] and we will promptly remove you.

    Best,
    Adam Miron
    President
    WellingtonStPost.com

  • Question for you Adam. Will the Wellington Post produce its own content or will it simply remain yet another content stealer?

  • Scott,

    As always I welcome and respect your insight.

    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

  • Hi Scott,

    On the main page, there is still a link to a partisan list of Liberals. The old Liblogs.ca domain will automatically go to the Liberal only page, so people looking for Liberal views will find Liberal views.

    The overall theory here is that instead of competing partisan lists, you will have one list that includes everybody, with an option to focus on the partisans if you really want to. In the longer run, I think that should result in more readership for everybody.

    Jason

  • CWTF

    I perused http://www.wellingtonstpost.com/HomePage – all it seems to be is basically is gathering the first-paragraph-of-blogs-aggregator-wanna-be Huffington Post… only made up of bloggers and really poorly laid-out… This just seems like another second-class idea from the mental midget…

  • I don’t think Cherniak thought this one through. His new site is republishing the work of the anti-semitic Dodo Can Spell.

  • Dan F

    Y’all need to merge (without the right wing blogger), and then you might be like a HuffPo…

  • Volkov

    Agreed, heartily.

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