Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 02:12:47 PM EST
No, this is not about firing all the front-page team and replacing it with a new batch of people, however much some people may wish that were done. It is also not ultimately about the front page, though that is a good way to focus the debate initially. Sven Triloqvist writes:
... we should think about the content and priorities of the Front Page to better lure in journalists. And the many diaries that are in these themed lists could give a consistent 'instant' profile' that show the depth of the community on particular expert issues.
I understand the necessity also to attract new members, and the FP is important for that purpose. But the raison d'être for this community is change. We can do it one member at a time, write LTE's, goad the EU bureaucracy, or appear on soundbite TV. IMO giving new narratives to turnable journalists is a very good way of reaching a lot of people fast. Our FP is not narrative based. If these journalists do visit, they need to find a narrative or two fast. As I've said before - one has about 2 seconds to 'capture' a visitor to a website. What does our 2 seconds look like?
It seems to me that regular users refer primarily to the recommended diary list and the recent comments page, and rarely to the Front Page. I know I do, but Frank Schnittger posted a comment confirming that it is the same for newer users:
As a new user I must say I find that I never use the front page and am a bit unclear as to why there is a separate Front page and Diary section. The Open threads and European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch are the sort of more informal stuff you would expect to find in a diary section.Sven Triloqvist
then gives a useful taxonomy of visitors:
The audience concerns we have to address IMO are :
There are subsets of members, but the FP is not an issue.
- 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.
So, the question is how we can change the content and layout of the Front Page to maximize its appeal to different categories of visitors, in particular to influential visitor who we wish would come away from ET infected with our narratives.
Please go read the entire thread, which starts with the top-level comment by Sven that I started this story with. If you feel it is appropriate, you can also cross-post here a comment of yours from the other thread.