Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
There is a certain amount of thought required even to make a draft suggestion. I can't do it today. And I hope that everyone will have a chance to comment before action is taken.

The audience concerns we have to address IMO are :

  • Visiting media. These will be hit-and-run journalists who have seen ET mentioned in some form elsewhere and come to check it out. They need to get an instant FP feel for the key themes, and the depth, quality and richness of the content if they stay to explore. But they need to find the main narratives very fast. The visual 'imprinting' has take place in 2 seconds. They are uninterested in community. But we are very interested in them.

  • Visiting experts. They come because of a particular interest (eg Wind Energy) via a link or a story elsewhere. They need to find links to their subject quite fast. They are also not interested in community because they probably have a specialist community of their own. We also need to link expert communities together for finer grain resourcing, so making contact is important.

  • Visiting bloggers. These visitors know how blogs work. They will sample content and if they like it they might stay. Our increasing use of visuals is IMO a good way of increasing visits. The number of members/page views is not important in the short run, but does build the reputation of ET. However the number and richness of comments is important on a daily basis. The New User Guide is important for them.

  • Lurkers. I believe most long term lurkers remain because of the content. But ET can be a forbidding place in its intellectual intensity, and make it hard for some to join in. I doubt if we can do anything about that. Changing the look and feel of the site is not going to influence them.

  • Members. Some are occasional, some regular, some go off on sabbaticals ;-) The uniting factor is the desire for change in the RW and some pride in belonging to a community that promotes change.

There are subsets of members, but the FP is not an issue. Different tools could be improved though, and we must thank eg Someone for showing us that there is still life in Scoop

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 08:48:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm wondering about the concept of identifying a "best of" ET, that would be narrower that the indices ; it would be useful for the first two categories, and possibly interesting for Lurkers and Members, who haven't been here for such a long time, and may be interested in discovering older stuff they may have missed . It already exists in the wiki, but that one seems to have fallen out of use (Is it the right tool for the job ? Is it too hard to access ?).

Would there be interest in identifying such a list ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 09:05:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a good base to work on. And I understand that your goal is to find a way to make the front page more friendly to the first two categories, and to "hook" them convincingly. and i support that goal, obviously.

One idea I'm throwing here would be to have a box (maybe called "resources") with a small number of items, which would link to specific pages - either a diary if a comprehensive one already exists (like the one on the French economy written with afew), or a series of selected diaries, ideally with a short summary there. I can think of the following headline topics (in bold a shorter selection)

  • on European energy
  • on relations with Russia
  • on Iran
  • on NATO and Atlanticism
  • on the Anglo Disease
  • on "reform"
  • on bubbles Greenspan
  • on Peak Oil
  • on energy technology
  • on inequality
  • on unions
  • on object blogging (train, clock, bridge, wind farms)
  • on the European Union
  • on the media
  • on election coverage
  • on sustainability

(not a preferred list, or a complete one, just things that come to my mind and presumably reflect my interests rather than that of the whole community for now, so to be updated)

A separate box could be the one suggested by linca above, with the same for topics of more interest to the community (photoblogging, etc...)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 10:25:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's a good idea. I would add: "on GDP and other economic figures" and "on Unemployment". I also think we should adapt some titles: for example, "Anglo-Disease" makes sense to those who have followed the series, but doesn't speak to newcomers. "on the Financial Crisis" would be better.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 10:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Along with this could be a Kos-like tag system, wherein new diaries are tagged according to the appropriate topic.  Then, in addition to the short selection of top diaries, there could be a link to current diaries with the current tag, or something to that effect.
by Zwackus on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 11:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. It is really about bringing the wiki element ('accumulated knowledge') to the fore for those two categories - but also as reference for members. (We do after all revisit a lot of subjects and there is much essential past writing)

My guess is that we have room to give prominence to only half a dozen items. We can argue which would be the key items. 'European Union' might be too broad, 'Greenspan' too narrow - but whichever are finally chosen they should be aimed at visitors, and thus framed in the terms that they would recognize.

The summaries (which I think important) should be positional statements that reflect the ET consensus. I realise that might be difficult, and therefore I suggest that the summaries are 'signed' by an individual, appearing as diaries under the FP links. The 'diaries' would be the summary, plus the list of links. And basically not for commenting - only updated with new links.

I also believe that faces are important to make an instant connection. I would have explain why in more detail, but it has certainly been an effective tool that I have used with corporate communications. I.E. in this case, face + nick + brief outline of skills and experience (without revealing too much RW detail). Maybe this is not a first concern ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 11:41:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A face attached to communication lends creditability to the communication.


No idea.  Just 'tis.  (Actually I do have an idea but it can't be stated simply and I've bored everybody enough, already.)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 01:57:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It used to be a classic of TV ads that the ideal testimonial size on the screen should be the same perspective size as someone sitting across from your kitchen table. That was fine in the days when screens were more uniform in size and the viewing distance similar.

Don't work anymore. Nor testimonials for that matter ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 02:02:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That intimates the size of a YouTube type visual needs to be significantly larger than the dinky little screens now used.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 02:23:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously we don't want to make the whole thing too complicated, but another idea would be to allow members to tag themselves (under user info or settings) under a number of headings - e.g. EU, Politics, Energy, Sociology, Management.  This would create special interest groups of members interested in - e.g. EU - who would could have their own discussion area/debate area/ collaborative writing space, and who would be notified if a diary/story with that tag is published.

I find that there is a lot of stuff going through ET (and other sites) and to avoid info overload you have to be selective in what you look at. Titles are sometimes misleading and you can miss stuff you would really have been interested in.  Obviously your tags wouldn't preclude you from having access to other stuff as well - it would just be a way of selectively channeling content your way and building specialist sub-communities - important as the user base gets bigger.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 02:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Response moved to new location.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 02:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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