*update* I originally stating in the second paragraph that I heard about The Blog Index from Podcasting 2.0 Episode #146, this was incorrect, that show was where I heard about a different subject also related to value 4 value. The paragraph has been updated to show that it was Linux Unplugged where I heard about The Blog Index.
I run this blog on WordPress, the largest platform blogging on the internet at the time of writing. If you scroll to the bottom of my posts you’ll see that I don’t allow comments, that is because comment spam is a major issue. Even when I employ plugins to fight comment spam I still end up doing a daily clean up of the comments. So out of frustration I gave up and removed the ability to leave comments.
Last week I was listening to Linux Unplugged Episode #527 and heard a discussion about a new project called The Blog Index being developed by The Bearded Tek and The Golden Dragon. Rather than butcher the goals laid out in the post I’ll just copy from the post announcing The Blog Index.
- Allow Bloggers to register their site
- API allows for webhooks to add new blog posts
- Make new content easy to find for internet users
- Allow users to rate posts, sites, and authors
- A halfway decent, community built and supported comment system not rife with trackers, ads, etc.
- Introduce Value 4 Value to the greater blogging community
- Allow users to send value to bloggers
- Value includes:
- Time and or Talent: Add Value to the blog by sharing it, linking, sharing or even offering content back
- Treasure: donations via Fiat and Lightning payments
- Value includes:
In the post prior to the announcement (Boosts for Blogs) of The Blog index The Bearded Tek wrote what he envisioned for The Blog index. In this post The Bearded Tek lists some preliminary goals for what the Index would offer, not only a payment system but also a rating system for blogs in the following categories:
- Tooling and Widgets
- Open Infrastructure
- Overall Score
Having read through both these posts, twice, I can see how some of the ideas I’ve had in the past can align with the vision The Bearded Tek has laid out. Originally I envisioned a reddit style blog focused centralized website with comments linked to blog comments. After having read both the posts and letting ideas roll around in my head for a little while I think I have a basic idea of how the two ideas could mesh.
Now I would like to preface this by saying I can not code, I have tried to learn on several occasions and every time my brain melts. Computer language is just something I can not grasp. That being said, if these ideas do not align with The Breaded Tek and The Golden Dragon then I will not be able to pull a Bender and say “I’ll make my own Index…..”. If these ideas are rejected as not inline with the vision then like Rick and Morty “ok, that was always allowed”.
Also, I understand that this should be cross platform, but the only CMS I’m familiar with is WordPress, so I will discuss my vision in terms of WordPress. Rather than spend days reading up on all the other CMS platforms and then getting things mixed up and confusing everyone I feel this is the best option.
The grand vision
What I envision is a federated style reddit for blogs. Each blog that installs the blog index plugin would have a page created that would host its own subreddit as a page of the blog. All these subreddits would be indexed by The Blog Index. When you visit theblogindex.org it would look like a classic reddit front page, and users would see a list of the newest blog posts that they are subscribed to. Every user, content creator and reader, would have a profile just like reddit, and creators would have their blogs listed in their profile. Subscriptions would be private by default but the option to make them public should be there.
On each blog’s subreddit the blog posts would be listed in chronological order, and on the right side would be the blog profile with its ratings listed directly below the avatar and blog name. Below the ratings would be payment options, mainnet bitcoin, lightening, fiat. Below the payment options would be sections for some text and social links.
Readers could upvote or downvote each blog post, and each blog. Not only could readers vote on each individual post but they could self-regulate entire blogs. So if an obvious spammer is posting, readers could downvote it and warn other readers to avoid it. In the spirit of openness NSFW content should be allowed but if a blog is focused on NSFW content the entire blog would be flagged as such, all posts made by the blog would automatically be flagged NSFW when this flag is applied to a blog. In the case of non-NSFW blogs individual posts could be flagged as NSFW on a case by case basis.
Bloggers would install the plugin and it would create the subreddit, install the comment section, and offer payment options.
The first thing the plugin would do is create the subreddit, once the page has been created the user would be prompted with a list of available users to make the administer and the blog name would be confirmed with the option to edit if so desired. Next the user would select the blog avatar, connect payment options, add some descriptive text for the blog if desired, and link to any social media if desired. The user would then be prompted to publish the page and add it to the blogs navigation section. Once published the subreddit would be listed on The Blog Index and metrics for the ratings system would begin to be gathered and displayed on the blogs subreddit.
When bloggers publish new posts on their blog a new post on the subreddit will be created automatically with the featured image, title, and summary.
The comment section
Once the subreddit has been created the comment section will be installed and take over as the comment section for all posts going forward. If possible the option to import previous comment should be included. The comment section of each post will link to the subreddit post and all comments will be visible in both locations. Users must be logged in with their Blog Index account to comment. Bloggers can decide if they wish to allow all users to comment freely or if a micropayment is required.
At the same time as the subreddit and comment section are being created the payment options will be installed. Users will be able to offer floating buttons, and landing pages. The payment options would be pulled from the subreddit settings and then would be editable within the payment section. Users could then choose the options they want:
- Does the floating button bring up a payment window or take the reader to a landing page?
- Will the floating button be on every page or just blog posts and specific pages?
- Only use a landing page for payment options.
If users only wish to use the plugin for payment options and not for the subreddit and linking to The Blog Index that should be allowed as well. In this case the user would select “do not create subreddit” when prompted to do so. This option should always be reversible later. If a user created the subreddit after setting up the payment options payment details should be pulled from that section and imported to the subreddit for approval during creation.
The rating system
To address The Blog Index rating system on the main page, if you go to classic reddit at the top there is “best, hot, new, rising, controversial, top, wiki”. These would be replaced on The Blog Index with “New, Tooling & Widgets, Compatibility, Infrastructure, Security, Overall Score” with each headed presenting a dropdown for the subsections to filter by. So it would go something like this:
Tooling & Widgets
- Ease of use
- Quality of documentation
- OS support
- Browser Compatibility
- Lightning Compatibility
- Alternate Payment Availability
And so on. The only section that wouldn’t have a dropdown besides “New” would be the Overall Score option. When a user clicks the Overall Score option they would be taken to the ratings list for all blogs with an option to limit the rating to only blogs they are subscribed to.
The term subreddit
So obviously the index could not call the subreddits, subreddits. So a different name would have to be chosen. Maybe “subindex” or “subscript” if you’re nasty. Since the subreddits would be built using blog’s pages I would suggest “subpage” but 1) that doesn’t mesh with the index name, and 2) subpages are already a thing on websites and might cause confusion. I leave it open to discussion.
But for now let’s just assume it’s “subindex” and look at how things would work. The index would be at www.theblogindex.org and would serve as the frontpage.
Subindex’s would look like this:
User profiles would look like this:
To quote The Bearded Tek “So the idea is out there”. As I stated earlier I’m not a coder and can’t make any of this happen, but I do understand it’s a monumental task to build what I’ve laid out. Maybe it doesn’t align with the others’ vision, and again that’s fine. But maybe something I’ve written here will spark an idea that will help the index become successful.
Also I’d like to apologize if this whole post comes off as scatterbrained, I’m just writing free-hand here, just letting the ideas flow with minimal editing. This blog is less whitepaper and more blunderbuss for my ideas. My goal with this blog is to get things out quickly and not worry as much about tweaking details as I have to do when writing in my professional life.
(channel your inner spongebob) *7 hours later* That last paragraph inspired a rewrite of my homepage, I really liked the mental blunderbuss joke as it’s sadly very accurate, and decided to use it. I’m leaving it in this post, but that is why it may seem redundant if you’ve already read my homepage. This post had it first, I just stole my own content.