Bil Browning

We need some input

Filed By Bil Browning | August 01, 2006 2:35 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: site news

A few of you might have noticed that there weren't any posts on Sunday. We upgraded our blogging software and it's given us a few new options. In fact, there are a few new changes to the site that have already been implemented and some others that I'd like to get your feedback on.

To start with, we've been bombarded lately with SPAM comments and trackbacks. For the time being, all comments will be moderated - they will have to be approved before they will post to the site. I know, it sucks, but when you get over 100 ads for Viagra in one day, what do you do? We're going to go to a system where you register with the site and then your comments are unmoderated, but we just don't have it all set up quite yet.

Now to the "major moves." When I announced that a few bilerico contributors were dropping off of the blog a couple days ago, I mentioned that we would be announcing new contributors shortly. I also said that anyone who was interested in joining should send me an email. Wow. I had no idea so many of you wanted to come hang out at the cool kids' table. *grins* One thing that took me by surprise though was that we had a couple of out-of-state bloggers who wanted to come on board.

We've always been pretty much a "local" blog - focused on Indiana LGBT organizing. The origin of the blog was the idea of giving the various leaders of the LGBT community in Indiana a more human face. Wouldn't it be great to know what the Stonewall Democrats president read? Or what the INTRAA representative listened to? What was shaping their world views? What made them tick? What we learned quickly is that not all the leaders had time to blog - after all, they had groups to volunteer for, work to accomplish and a life to live. Some were technophobic and a little scared of the premise - others just thought the idea was bad. But several participated in the grand scheme and it has succeeded beyond our wildest imagination. We average around 150,000 hits a month now. When we started, we celebrated when we got more than 100 hits a month.

But as all things grow and expand, changes have to be made. Some original contributors have dropped off and some new members aren't leaders of any organizations. And as we expanded from that base of contributors we also made a few other changes... As one current contributor pointed out, we have categories now that don't relate to LGBT organizing at all. "Wal-Mart Sucks" or "Animal Friendly" anyone? And we cover a lot of political topics that aren't Indiana specific - they're national. We do "Songs for Sunday," "Quote of the Day," and other fun things like the occasional joke or silliness. And these are some of our most popular posts!

So I'd like to pose a few questions to the readers of the blog. After all, it's you that we're here for. Please take a moment to leave a comment and let us know your thoughts so we can keep them in mind as we shape the improved bilerico. It only takes a moment - and we'll thank you for it.

1) Is there such a thing as too many bloggers? Does it matter to you how many contributors there are?

2) Is it a draw to you that all of the contributors have Hoosier roots? Would it change your perspective of bilerico to have out-of-state contributors posting regularly?

3) What brings you to bilerico? What "type" of blog do you perceive it to be? Political? Personal? Entertainment? We'll still be keeping our focus on LGBT issues - it will be the sun all other topics rotate around so please don't just say we're a "gay" blog.

4) What's your favorite part of bilerico? Songs for Sunday? Linkalicious? A particular contributor or category? Personal posts or article excerpts?

5) If you could make sure that other topics were covered on bilerico, what would it be? Entertainment? Gossip? Women's issues? Community activities? Interviews?

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to do this. We'll keep it all in mind as we reshape bilerico. Be on the lookout this week for the addition of new contributors!


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Chris Douglas | August 1, 2006 5:11 PM

I think Bilerico is the single best way to convey a message or perspective to the gay community, substituting for gayindy.org's listserv. There are times when communication is critical, and times when it is less so.

I think it is also important that some in the straight community in Indiana may touch base from time to time on bilerico to obtain a glbt perspective on events.

A weakness is that we must be careful not to be an echo chamber... At this point, our views are more important when expressed to other Hoosiers than when expressed among ourselves. Bilerico is good environment in which to exchange views, but for activists, it is well to remember that the primary mission is not persuading each other. People who consult bilerico can be helpful, but it is people who don't consult bilerico that we must be reaching.

I think this all depends on what course you want bilerico to take. The one thing I like bilerico for is to see what is going on in the Indy GLBT world. I feel I can get pretty up-to-date information and where we are headed. I personally don't read the entertainment postings very much. I favor the political posts. I also like to read people's insights. I think interviews would be fantastic. Since we are activists, I think women's issues and other related topics would be fine. However, I agree - I think it should mainly be related to GLBT concerns. I don't think you should spread yourself too thin.

I think keeping the commentators to a limited number is important to the feel of this blog. Having 30+ bloggers, for example, might be a bit overwhelming. I would describe Bilerico as having a "think-tank" quality...

I love the personal posts and the political ones, as well. Both have been instrumental in bettering my knowledge of LGBT issues.

Having input on other types of oppressive structures and movements that may pertain either directly or indirectly to LGBT issues is of interest to me. We should always seek to expand our horizons without forgetting our roots.

Bruce Parker | August 2, 2006 12:47 AM

I agree pretty much totally with Carrie and Annette. Smart ladies that they are.