As mentioned below , I think the concept of group blogs on specific topics might greatly expand the audience and use of blogs, provided they met four criteria:

  1. The subject matter of the groups would need to be governed by some kind of flexible overall taxonomy, kind of like the Library of Congress index governs the card catalogue and placement of books in a library. Anyone could designate any subject for a group blog, at any level of granularity within that framework, so you might have the following evolving under Science, for example:
Science Blog A (x posts, y hits)
Blog B (x posts, y hits)
Biology Blog C (x posts, y hits)
Blog D (x posts, y hits)
Genetics Blog E (x posts, y hits)
Blog F (x posts, y hits)
Genetics – NZ

Blog G (x posts, y hits)

  1. The overall taxonomy, and postings to each blog, would have to be moderated with a very light touch.  Anyone could start up a group blog at any level of granularity they wanted (subject to the owner’s, sponsor’s or server owner’s willingness to pay for the space).  The moderator would be able to recategorize that blog under the overall taxonomy, and would be able to reject posts irrelevant to the subject (with guidance on a more appropriate place to post it), but that’s all. The taxonomy would evolve in granularity as required by the subjects chosen by those setting up the blogs, so if there’s a demand for an Auckland NZ Genetics blog and an Auckland NZ Biology blog, that would be accommodated in the taxonomy (any good taxonomist can handle this).
  2. You would need to be able to browse the taxonomy, and easily enroll (i.e. get permission for your first post from the group blog owner) even if you don’t have your own blog or website and want to post as a guest, and read and subscribe to any blog in the list. You’d be able to see how active each blog is (see above) and any blog that fell below a certain volume threshold would be delisted.
  3. Now here’s where the advantage of technology comes in. Any blog post would be simultaneously posted to a personal blog (if you have one) and to the applicable subject’s group blog(s), perhaps using something like the ‘category’ feature of Userland at a macro-level. To avoid wasting space, one of the simultaneous posts would be real (HTML sitting on a server) and all the rest would be virtual (merely a series of links). So those with pride of ownership would still have their own blog while still getting exposure for their ideas on the (usually more widely-read) group blogs.

What do you think? Right balance between anarchy (e.g. Usenet) and straitjacket? Overengineered? Just not personal enough? Not what blogging is about? Google would already do this if you could filter by date? Anyone from Userland in the audience?

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