Has Libervis Network gone too static?
Remember last year? What about 2005? We were in a constant state of flux, revision after revision. A feeling that something is missing or simply that a lot could yet be achieved was constantly driving calls for changes, re-thinking and subsequent revisions of this site.
But around the end of last and beginning of this year things just settled in. I did feel that we have found a formula that works sufficiently well and made peace with the success that we already achieved so far, not looking for something much more because it may not be what this kind of site can or should do (for example, forums which are buzzing with activity in terms of hundred posts a day might not be something *any* site of this nature would usually achieve, and hence I lowered my expectations a bit closer to this reality).
The formula ended up being quite simple, and all it takes is maintain it. Occasional interesting article on a modern topic, featured news with brief commentary, discussions in forums and comments and additional "features" to enrich the site such as the link blog, newswire and the wiki. Articles were bringing in some readership and traffic boosts, and even controversy as well as sometimes new valuable members who just discovered the site and decided to engage in forums too. Featured news kept the site updated sufficiently frequently to warrant checking out for at least a couple of times a week for the least active genuine readers (my assumption). It works alright. There are ups and downs, as always, and we seem to be in a bit of an activity down on forums right now, but we could in general keep this up, right?
However, if that was the only question I wanted to ask with this post it wouldn't make a lot of sense. When one would look at the Libervis Network today and try to guess its purpose, I think it wouldn't end up being anything more than "participating in the dialog for the cause of Free Software, Free Culture and digital freedom in general". The keyword is "participating", not driving it. Taco said long ago that we should be the news, not talk about the news. It's a concept which is very easy to agree with, but hard to put to action. I think that the closest that we've got to making the real news was perhaps through some articles which were interesting enough for some people to willingly link to them and discuss them, articles which, though, we alone submit to few starting sites anyway, like LXer.com.
It's hard to conclude anything else. We are merely participating and among the participators I doubt we are even among the bigger and more influential players. And who would that be? Well look at LXer.com, the Tux500 project, even our friends at GetGNULinux.org and PolishLinux.org. Compared to them Libervis Network is mostly just support that goes around fueling the talk, but not much more than that.
Now I'm not saying this is all that bad. There is only so much space for the big works. The rest simply have to be the ones doing the talk, discussing, supporting, advertising, just carrying over the voices, but the inevitable question must creep in: can we do more? Can we become one of the movers and shakers?
There have been a certain amount of ideas on both Libervis.com and Nuxified.org, our current flagship sites, of which most were left as nothing more than ideas. Why does that happen is probably a topic for a whole new thread. It can be anything from simple lack of genuine interest and enthusiasm for realizing them to lack of means for realization, but it's not that simple.
I have to admit that the staticism that infected Libervis Network very much did coincide and was partly caused by a certain stage I personally went through, when I was a bit more easily annoyed, disillusioned and distracted. I feel I am exiting that stage now though, or am largely out of it. I think I can re-charge and finally kick in some major gears around this network. I believe, though, that the biggest enthusiasm pumper is yet to come when I go to iCommons in just three weeks!
Anyway, I have created and attached a mind map which presents the way I currently see Libervis Network. It is roughly a complete picture of which each detail can be discussed specifically. The reason why I'm sharing all this is no different than before (back in the time when I was constantly ranting about reforms of the site). If I lay my thoughts down someone might have something insightful to say about it, which I can learn from. As community oriented projects, this all very much depends on how well tuned I am with the community here after all.