So after a conversation with Chris Heathcote earlier today, it has occured to me that I should let people know about the current status of Barbelith and remind people about some old bits of functionality that we had in the day that suddenly got popular in the background and which I completely forgot about…
For those of you who don’t know, Barbelith is an experimental discussion board that I set up a few years ago with later help from Cal. It’s a discussion board with a roughly counter-cultural / intellectualist spin, and it’s been running now for about six and a half years. It has fora on all kinds of neat stuff, from gender politics and philosophy through to chaos magick, film theory and comic books.
Unfortunately a (long) while back it came under attack by some really persistent trolls and so as a consequence we temporarily closed it to new memberships until we could do some technology fixes behind the scenes. These fixes were designed to really push the envelope of community design around some interesting principles that I’d been thinking around. Unfortunately, both the redevelopment work and the weblog I started to discuss creative online community development stuttered under the weight of work pressures and haven’t really started since. So the community hasn’t had many new members except ones that I’ve manually let in. This has been a terrible terrible shame and hasn’t helped the community develop, but the board’s members have fought manfully through this period and remain an engaged and intelligently argumentative bunch.
Recently some of the community proposed that they should come to my rescue by taking on much of the work that was supposed to be systematised and doing it by hand. It’s a tremendously cool response from them – and one that I think could work (at least for the short-term). The consequence is that now, if you want to join Barbelith as a member then there’s a better chance now than pretty much at any time over the last year. All you need to do is to read this thread here and do what it says. Fundamentally it just comes down to you persuading the members concerned that you are roughly who you say you are and that you’re not a lunatic. If they’re comfortable with that, then they’ll e-mail me your address and I’ll invite you onto the site sometime in the couple of weeks after that. It’s not the most elegant of systems, but I think it’ll work until we can sort out something better.
Alongside this I should also talk about the Barbelith RSS feeds which we launched in August 2002 (wow, nearly three years ago now). At the time I don’t know that we really expected the explosion of interest in RSS that has happened more recently, and since I always assumed that the existence of the feeds was pretty well-known, I’ve never really bothered to promote them. Anyway, there’s more information about them here: RSS Feeds and Newsreaders – including ways to hack the URL so that you can get feeds for specific parts of the board. Can I particularly recommend these following feeds as being a really good way to keep up with things that people are talking about:
- Latest threads about philosophy, science and current affairs
- Latest threads about chaos magick, religion and mysticism
- Latest threads about books, comics, music and film
- Upcoming Barbelith Events
I might try and get a little work done on these feeds over the weekend, but no promises. In the meantime, add them to your RSS reader today. Now it’s nearly 1am again and I need to go to bed.