The future of Scottish Roundup: suggestions required

First off, if there is going to be a roundup this Sunday we need to find an editor. So if you’re up for it, give me an email at scottishroundup@gmail.com.

Thanks to everyone who has responded to last week’s appeal for some extra help on Scottish Roundup. A few different perspectives have been put forward.

As such, this is a good time to discuss what sort of shape Scottish Roundup should take in the future. In the past year or so I have considered changing the format of this website in a number of ways, and now seems like a good point to consider changing the format again.

Before that, though there is the tricky issue of who to pass the baton to. Going by the comments on the previous post, there is a lot of backing for some kind of group-based effort, where a team of people chip in regularly.

There are a couple of things that make me reluctant about that. Firstly, there is the fact that this is exactly what we tried a couple of years ago — and it just fizzled out. There could have been any number of reasons for that, but one of the most fundamental reasons is human nature — when it’s a group effort, people are tempted to shirk.

My sense is that a group effort can work, but it still needs strong direction. We are not just talking about sharing the responsibility of editing the roundup once every few weeks. There is an email account, Twitter and Delicious accounts to keep on top of, responding to commends, arranging the rota, plus all of the other stuff that is involved in maintaining a website.

Perhaps something can be worked out whereby a small group of people look after these maintenance aspects, the email account, Twitter and so forth, and a wider group can take on responsibility for producing the roundup.

A couple of people have inquired about taking control of Scottish Roundup themselves. It would have to be the right person though. It needs to be someone who can be relied upon to represent the whole of the Scottish blogosphere with an open mind and without any particular agenda to push or axe to grind. Finding the right person would be very tricky.

I don’t know what the answer is, which is why I want your suggestions. I think there is momentum behind a group effort, but it has to work properly. Please discuss away in the comments and hopefully we can reach some sort of conclusion by next week.

As for the format of Scottish Roundup, there have been a few interesting suggestions.

I have thought in the past about taking the site into a different direction, where the focus is not as much on a weekly roundup. I have considered adding different features — perhaps focussing on new blogs, or particularly notable issues that affect Scottish bloggers. I have also considered (and experimented with) featuring fewer posts every week, but more in-depth and with more of a narrative.

One suggestion that I have received in the past week has been for Scottish Roundup to become a group blog. But rather than having a weekly roundup it could focus instead on showcasing others’ content throughout the week. The idea would be for a format more like The Browser, Kottke or Boing Boing.

I think it’s well worth having a think just now about whether this is something we might like to do. And if anyone else has any other suggestions, now is the perfect time to throw it into the mix.

So get commenting and hopefully by next week we will have found a good way to progress. And don’t forget, if you want to edit the roundup for this coming Sunday (27 June) then give me a shout. Thanks!

5 comments

  1. No doubt this has been suggested, but I thought doing it as a collaborative effort could work, but appoint people in charge of different areas of interest as sub-editors. Each sub-editor could compile info from their area of knowledge, and do a better job than someone who writes in a different field, and produce a dossier for each Roundup. With each Roundup a different sub-editor could take the reigns and be editor for that piece, relying on each sub-editors notes and giving a slightly different perspective.

  2. Thanks for the comment Chris — that’s a very interesting take! Definitely a good one to throw into the mix.

    What does everyone else think?

  3. I think something along the lines of Chris’ suggestion could work.

    A Scottish-themed group blog could have multiple editors and contributors, so a range of people could bring different things to the table. Something along the lines of boingboing.net? That way the site can be even more comprehensive in terms of reporting on a wide range of topics, and could either allow detailed comment on a piece or simply serve as a link dump for a number of posts (like at marginalrevolution.com) usually happens at the moment.

    3 or 4 folk looking to post 3-5 times a week could really serve as a showcase for all of the great Scottish blogging/writing/art/video/music on the web.