AFP548 Site News July 25, 2004 at 9:30 pm

We don\’t need no stinking blogs!

A little clarification on what the new site is all about

Cue the music, grab another drink and let me bring out the soapbox. I’m nailing a manifesto on the wall.I was going to post this in the discussion following the poll about the new look. But I was told it might be better up front.

In the poll an anonymous reader voiced concern about the site losing focus and just becoming another lame blog. Check the poll for the whole thread.

So, I hope to clear up some misconceptions here and now.

To the anonymous poster who thinks the new blog-like look is a bad thing:

First off, thanks for replying. I appreciate the clarification and the concern.

I’m curious myself to see how the “blog” works out. If it’s just asshats that start posting comments, which sounds like what the majority of your concern is, I’ll turn comments off or ruthlessly restrict the comments to just corrections and clarifications. At which point Geeklog just becomes an easy way for me to post articles without having to mess with html too much. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

A few years ago when I started this site there was hardly a handful of people across the country doing anything with OS X Server. As such there wasn’t really any way for a community to form. Fair enough. I was happy with that. Besides, the site at that time was mostly a way for me to keep my configuration notes online.

Now, Apple is moving a lot of servers. The OS has become something that holds its own on pretty much all fronts. And, more importantly, there are a number of highly intelligent admins working with OS X Server. The future is brighter for OS X Server than it ever has been before. The Mac universe has always been good about helping each other out and I think the time is now right to extend that to OS X Server.

I do understand, though, that the community is still very young. There’s a lot of admins that didn’t really want to manage servers but have to because there is no one else in their organization to do it. Others are intimidated by the depth of knowledge that the articles here typically go into and don’t feel that they could possibly have anything to add. You’ve got to learn how to use the software before you can do to much about teaching others.

I know that. I’m honored to provide a place to support those admins and don’t ask, or certainly even expect, anything in return. However, I do know that there are some good people doing incredibly cool things with their servers. I know, because I’ve had a number of you in class. A lot of these intelligent people come up with something unique, but don’t have the time, space or desire to make a website about just one procedure or technique.

Which gets to the crux of the issue I’m trying to solve with the new site. I’m willing to wager a new Xserve and a monthly co-lo bill that there is more to the OS X Server world at large that what I’ve seen.

I’m willing to bet we have the critical mass for an OS X Server-only collective conscience.

I’d like for AFP548 to become a site where people can easily post a nugget or two of information and move on. No strings attached. No bandwidth limits or e-mail support to worry about. For that to happen the site has to be a lot more than just me. I hope that I can take the things about my personal opinion and insight that you enjoyed and expand it to a “hive-mind” that includes a handful more people.

So far I’m pretty happy about how things have gone. In the 48 hours that the new site has been up, it’s had about 17,000 page views by about 4,000 unique visitors. You can check the stats here. Which, incidentally, is about 4 times what the old site was getting.

Having said that, I completely agree with your desire for a crap-free collection of information. While I read daily, I’m not really interested in being A server-focused community won’t work the same way that an end-user community can.

To that end I’ve asked a few people that I know have knowledge and common sense to ride herd on culling through the slop and making sure that only material that is worthwhile and directly related to OS X Server makes it on the site. Soon I should have some submission guidelines posted, but for now if you can’t fit the word “Server” in a one line description of the item, you won’t find any interest here.

I hope that once I get all of the “grand re-opening” articles that I’ve been sitting on the site will settle down to 4-5 submissions a week. Of course at that rate it would be at least an order of magnitude more new content than what the site was averaging last month.

Wait, just got a last minute submission. Someone wanting me to post a link to their blog. That might be a joke, might not. Either way it’s gone. Let that be the first sacrifice.

So a couple of things that might make things more focused here.

  1. I’ve started an articles-only RSS feed. So if you are using either NetNewsWire, Safari RSS or any other RSS app, you can just get the info that you are looking for. No comments, no cheesy graphics. Nothing but hardcore all-OSXS action from hot sysadmins.

  2. Shortly I’ll have a space, probably, or some such place where it’s only the articles, just like before. The comments will go to the forums, so you won’t have to worry about those.

I hope the life of an article goes something like this.

    – Incredibly imaginative and insightful article is submitted by someone who figured something difficult out and wants to spread the love.

    – Article is viciously reviewed by the crack admin staff of the 6 people I was able to pummel into doing the job. If the article is lame, redundant, wrong, or just plain uninteresting it goes into the trash.

    – Article gets posted to the main page where comments are allowed. Comments not pertaining to the article, in specific comments and clarifications about the article, will be removed.

    – The article will get updated as needed as readers critique it. This way the author or an enslaved staff member can make sure the information is as correct as possible.

    – Finally the article gets stripped of it’s comments, which get moved to the forum. The article gets posted to a static page where a changelog gets put on the top so you can easily see when things have been updated.

So, I’m curious if this helps to assuage your fears a bit about the new format? If not, I’d like to know why and what I can do to make the site more appropriate for the community.

Sorry for going on a bit long. The flight I’m on got stuck on the ground for a while.

Alright enough with the touchy-feely crap. I’m going back into the terminal.


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