After Huffington Post moved its comment platform to Facebook, many HP bloggers felt lost and homeless. For a number of us, that is no longer so.
In the last two weeks a group of former HP posters called upon their knowledge of various blogging sites to create the following cluster of recommendations for the consideration of those who were searching for another place to blog as good as the old HP.
1) Daily Kos, is a city sized-site with a huge number of members, posts and options. It is an independent Progressive site that provides some of its own reporting, is very supportive of its bloggers and also encourages and integrates the opportunity for community activism.
2) PlanetPOV, is a neighborhood sized site founded by ex-HP bloggers with a tighly knit but open and welcoming community. It is an independent, Progressive site that has precisely refined features and options and allows members to post articles on their front page
We also suggested using McClathchy, Al Jazeera and Huffington Post as info bases.
Where did the criteria lead us? No blog met all of the criteria completely but we think our selections came close to what we wanted.
How did we make these selections?
By using these criteria to guide our search. The sites we were looking for need to be, have or contain....
a) A number of levels of interaction open to its members from just reading along, to commenting, to writing one's own articles, to setting up special interest groups, to sending messages to members in an internal e mail system.
b) Highly reliable, dependably functional, logically structured with an established and positive track record
c) Transparent in its operations allowing new members to find their way around with easy to access guidance/help and a bit of practice.
d) Having a sufficient number of members to provide a large enough base for frequent engagement and enough diversity in the membership so that one is both supported and challenged.
e) A community environment where interaction is encouraged and facilitated.
f) As close to being free of the kind of corporate decision making that makes the blog’s primary purpose money making or that sets the blogs political and social agenda to favor a particular ideology, party etc. The preference is for a blog largely run by trusted fellow bloggers on an independent platform.
g) Without the limitations imposed by pre-publication standards that many label censorship. In other words the blog must stand by the principles and practice of free and open expression.
h) Protecting anonymity. No automatic links to any social media. No requirement that one have a verified social media outlet. Screen names and images of ones own choosing.
THE SITES WE IDENTIFIED:
1) Daily Kos http://www.dailykos.com/
The site is enormous, diverse but still easily navigated with a bit of guidance and some practice. Daily Kos is an independent Progressive site that provides some of its own staff reporting, is very supportive of its bloggers and also encourages and integrates the opportunity for activism into its site and community.
At DK one can post articles -short, intermediate, long- that invite others to comment using a publishing tool that is very easy to use and creates very professional looking products.
There is NO pre-publication moderation of articles or comments.
The site is effective in dealing with trolling and abusive behavior. By and large its members are well informed and they challenge nonsense in ways that seem to negate trollish culture.
Several former HP posters created a Group there for us on June 7, 2014. PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community It is serving as a place to orient new users, answer questions, provide guidance and encourage interaction. It will also serve as place to gather and make contact with ease.
2) Planet POV http://planetpov.com/
The Planet has a medium sized community founded by former HP bloggers several years ago with a tightly knit but open and welcoming community. Planet POV is an independent, Progressive site that has precisely refined features and options. It allows members to post articles on their front page.
The site has less traffic than Daily Kos but it is of high quality focusing on several unique features. There is a lively front page where member articles are in the spotlight. A open discussion page – Time Out for Off Topic invites ad hoc conversations. Other features worth noting: Friday evening Live Chat- Vox Populi, special event Live Chats, the Saturday Music Thread, the Sunday Funnies.
It is easy to navigate. The publication tool is similar to the one at Daily Kos and produces professional looking articles. Articles are submitted to administration before publication but just for technical review and publication scheduling. There are NO mysterious failures to publish or unexplained deletions.
Its commenting tool offers more options than the one at Daily Kos, including the ability to edit one's own published comments. Comments publish immediately.
A sample post: http://planetpov.com/...
Both The Daily Kos and PlanetPOV are comfortable with cross-posting of articles. Their format allows one to do this with little effort. SO one can write a piece and publish it twice increasing exposure and inviting more commentary.
Neither of these sites require links to Social Media like Facebook or identity verification procedures.
We also suggested McClathchy DC http://www.mcclatchydc.com/ And Al Jazeera English http://america.aljazeera.com/ to serve as reliable news sources focusing on the U.S but with global outreach and balance.
To serve as a News and Feature Magazine with a national and international flare we suggested The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ Yeah, we were surprised too! The fact is that the site is a comprehensive news/features aggregator with a large number of departments and features. And yes, it I also tabloid-like, but lots of people like that, a lot.