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A new major rethink: let's hope we all do it right this time!

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memenode's picture
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It seems we'd need to further rethink the site overall if we are determined to attract larger participating userbase.

After a bit of thinking (not yet conclusive though) some points I encountered are that this site doesn't really have much of substance to offer for alot of people. We talk the talk, we discuss and we try to cooperate, but it is very very hard to attract a larger userbase on that alone in the topic which we cover. We have articles and feature some news, but that is not especially new to anyone. We could say we have some cool stuff, but when it comes down to it, not enough to excite even us, let along a passing curious visitor.

One of the best ways of attracting active users and attention in general is through viral marketing and yet we don't even have much at all to market. Reading a SitePoint topic on viral marketing I've come to an eye opening post featuring this gem:

Quote:

Clever viral marketing often fails when it becomes more clever and interesting than the service it is trying to sell. People remember the viral, forget the marketing.

Not only that we didn't really engage alot in viral marketing, but we don't even have anything to "sell". In that sense, regarding some true viral marketing we are at *zero*. We have nothing. Most people who come here are probably coming from search engines or some site where some of our stories are published, driven mostly by curiosity. Alot of them don't even come to forums or these articles, but stuff like Table of Equivalents in the wiki. People want something they can use right now. The table of equivalents is one example of that, but we could go further.

Maybe we need to provide a practical dimension to the site, in addition to the "theory", so to speak. In addition to articles and discussions we could offer something practical and exciting enough to spread virally, a service or even a product of some kind, and something with incentives to participation. Instead of just talking about Free Culture we could start doing Free Culture in practice right here. On Nuxified.org we are pushing a site that helps people use Free Software. On Libervis.com we could offer practical means of experiencing Free Culture.

Or maybe the Libervis.com itself should serve only as a node of other Libervis Network services, much like you Taco described it as a homepage to Libervis Labs. Libervis.com would offer support forums for these other network services and any news regarding those services.

Some people commenting on Libervis.com that I talked to literally find it too political and hence too tiring. Despite what we know about politics, majority of people percieve it badly. Besides just talking about how Free Culture politics isn't to be feared we could show them in practice what Free Culture can foster.

Maybe we should add a practical dimension to Libervis.com. Maybe that is what visitors are really looking for here: "Enough with preaching! Show me something I can use!"

But let this not be the conclusion of this topic. Let this be only a start to the hopefuly one last major "rewrite" of Libervis.com upon which everything will fall into place, from increased active userbase to financial sustainability to Libervis Labs cooperative association business.

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Abe Lincoln quote
Abe Lincoln wrote:

I have never had a policy. I have simpily tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day came.

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memenode's picture
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Weird.. that seems similar

Weird.. that seems similar to the way I am doing it, although I am probably missing something here. Smiling

By that I mean that I can act impulsively on some ideas without necessarily thinking them through, often leading to projects I can't fully achieve.

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memenode's picture
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Here are some quick notes

Here are some quick notes mostly based from a discussion in a #biz freenode IRC channel..

It is apparently still hard for a new visitor to recognize what Libervis.com is about. It wasn't until I mentioned that we are about opposint DRM/TC, proprietary software and loss of net neutrality that the guys in the channel recognized what we really were. That seems like quite a strong hint at making these terms much more visible on the site, to a point that they be obvious in the very site header making it completely obvious that this is what we are about.

Also, the name "Free Culture" which we often use here doesn't seem to be understood well enough. That we streched its meaning even farther than the Lawrence Lessig seems to have intended doesn't help us much. It might be good to find an alternative term for describing the entirety of the world opposed to nonfree software, DRM/TC and other things restricting freedom in a digital world and on the net.

And of course, the issue of developing a more practical aspect of the site in addition to discussions and all the talk still stands.

I am not yet sure that making it a homepage of the network would be the best though (as mentioned in the first post of this topic) because it might make things more confusing. If we can preserve a special role for Libervis.com that can sustain it on its own that would probably be the best.

Maybe, if we make it more obvious that we are a site about and against DRM/TC, proprietary software etc. etc. we could combine the "think tank" concept we talked about some time before, a place for fostering ideas, with being a place for generally discussing these issues. As Taco said, let them come to us to complaint. Complaint about what? About DRM, about proprietary software, about being screwed by something churned out of the whole proprietary, closed, read-only world. And then we can work together on creating remedies for such cases and turning them into ideas that can then develop into new projects or even new sites. In that sense we can be an intersection of ideas rather than projects itself, although ideas which end up creating those projects.

This whole thinking though is just a process....

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memenode's picture
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Hmm, no other

Hmm, no other opinions?

Makes me want to just go with the execution of whatever I believe is best. My current thinking can be summarized as making the site balance between political/philosophical discussions and practical services offered on top of it. Discussions may include propositions and discussions of new ideas for new services and sites.

Essentially, it would remain a discussion and a "think tank" site with some news and occassional articles, but with a completely new practical dimension on top of it, such might be music.libervis.com and maybe in the future videos.libervis.com - directories of freely licensed cultural works.

Libre Culture discussions + ideas "think tank" + featured news and articles + practical libre culture service (e.g. music.libervis.com) = Libervis.com

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Daniel Memenode signature

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other opinions?

First, I'd like to thank Daniel/Libervisco for the great work he does here. Second, I hope I helped a bit by having my blog on /. and ZDNET...

More seriously, I believe that Nuxified (tell me what the stats are) is more frequented than Libervis precisely because it has that practical theory you're mentionning. Yet I don't know how to solve the problem for Libervis.com.

How about trying to connect directly with the Creative Commons web site?

Best,
Charles.

memenode's picture
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No need to thank me. It is

No need to thank me. It is something I've made my job to do, and I can't say I'm doing the best I possibly could, hence all the revisions. Eye

For one, I missed that your blog was slashdotted and that now comes as quite a (positive) surprise to me. I didn't feel the site slowdown or anything. I did notice you were getting quite a bit of comments on your OOoCON 2006 entry, but I didn't suspect slashdot (you'd guess I am not such an avid slashdot reader). In any case that indeed does help, if nothing than for awareness about the existance of the thing called "Libervis Network" and it can greatly and positively affect overall link popularity, so yeah that's essentially a very nice boost. Great work! Smiling

You're right about Nuxified. Though it too struggles we are far from the point of needing a big revision. We simply need some incremental improvements there and things will continue to get better. As for Libervis.com more seems to be needed and yes I think adding a practical dimension could be a way.

As for connecting directly to Creative Commons website I think we'd have to have something significant to offer to warrant a link back from there as they don't have mere link exchanges. Maybe a music.libervis.com idea described in this topic would be enough of a reason though. If there is no other CC music directory out there that lists music available throughout the whole web, then we are the first and we are indeed worthy a link from CC. All the more reason for considering the idea. As you'll see in the last post on that topic I'm still toying with it. Smiling

Thank you for your reply Charles! Smiling

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memenode's picture
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Sidenote: Btw, Charles,

Sidenote: Btw, Charles, since your blog seems to be getting popular, if you'd like I can offer you a redesign for it to make it appear more unique. We could base it off of an existing theme you're using. This way we'd make it more attractive for your readers. Smiling

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I'm just going to make a

I'm just going to make a quick, not that well thought out, sugestion, I'm sure it can be worked on.

You talk about (I'm not sure here, but you have on your blog), of wanting the site to have participation, so that things don't stay static, and thus people return.

I'm not sure what you mean be particpation, but I think you sugest people who visit the site commenting on forum topics and news and articles. As is evedent from the fact newer participation on the forums etc. is lacking, with most topics etc. started/commented upon by the 'core' Libervis users.

I've been reading WorldChanging recently, and I've come to think that their system of participation etc. is quite good. It follows an idea stated in ESR's Cathedral and the Bazaar, release early & release often. That is have quite a lot of new, and more importantly *origanal* content on the site, and if anyone wants to comment, they can. If they don't then at least they still read the stuff and with regular new content they will return. The writers will be the active ingredient, not the visitors.

I hope this makes some kind of sense.
What do you think?

dylunio

memenode's picture
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I agree with that. It is

I agree with that. It is perfectly logical that if we have more frequent original content we would have more readers and commentators. However this requires a team of active dedicated editors, something which WorldChanging has, as a website sponsored by TED. I don't have the money to pay full time editors and volonteers can only do so much with the time available to them. And as things stand Libervis.com is not the only site I maintain so I can't write this frequently either (not to mention that sometimes I'm just not in the right mindset).

This also leaves forums on the side.

In any case I don't intend on stopping the articles/news section so some original content may indeed be published as we used to here and there, possibly with increased frequency, but not sure if we'd be able to write as frequently as WorldChanging does (they actually have quite a few articles *per day*).

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dylunio's picture
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The interesting thing about

The interesting thing about WorldChanging articles is that they are not that long, and are usually some kind of take on current affairs/news, much like your recent article on the GPLv3.

I think it would be a cool idea if we experimented with some kind of daily article scheame and see how it goes. (as for writers, we could see what we can get out of the regulars Eye)

dylunio

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