Regular readers will know that I’ve started a project (Arduity) which is aimed at helping non-academic readers to get to grips with difficult poetry. The support that I’ve received thus far together with promises of contributions has been very heartening but I’m at one of those crossroad moments where I don’t know how to proceed. This is unusual for me because my usual tendency is to carry on in all directions in the hope that something will eventually become clear.
This particular problem relates to having too many choices and being aware that whichever choice I make now will remain fixed for the life of the project. I know this to be the case because the choices which we made (and regretted) in my last business project remained fixed and unalterable for ten years.
I think the aim of this thing is relatively straightforward, it’s about removing some of the barriers that currently surround difficult verse and encouraging readers to provide their own responses to poets and/or their work. To this end I have begun work on a web site and have put a few pages on a wiki and also there is some of the material on this blog that can be re-used.
The advantages of using a wiki are two-fold, site users can create and display content without any mediation and those who wish to comment or add content can also do the same. The problem with this is that anyone can put non-relevant or abusive material on the wiki because there is no mediation. I’m also concerned about spam, this blog has received over 800 spam postings compared with 165 legitimate comments over the last 18 months.
The advantages of an old-fashioned site are retaining two kinds of control, I can control the content and the stats package gives me the ability to configure pages and content in order to increase the number of page views. This blog gives me the same level of control but I don’t get access to a full set of stats.
So, I’m currently thinking of a blend of all three-
- The wiki would be used for contributions/responses to poems and poets
- The web site would be used to provide baseline information
- the blog would be used to develop ideas and for me to think out loud
This all made sense for most of last week when I started to dither which isn’t good because I’ve got more content and I need to put it somewhere. The other options are to just run with one or two of the above. I’m painfully aware that I know next to nothing about information architecture and even less about getting the balance between ‘fixed’ and user created content right so if anyone has any useful suggestions then I’d be very grateful