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Slightly OT: Comments, ideas, or suggestions for improving websites

Hey all,

Currently I am the lead admin/webmaster of DebCentral.org. I really would like to take a few minutes out of your life to gather some inputs on an idea I have.

I know the general advice from this list and other Debian-* lists has generally consistent through the years I have followed them. The advice to those wanting to start a new Debian-centric website has been to support and work with an existing one. Well, in the recent weeks/months there seems to have been a significant increase in third-party web sites and communities springing up around the globe; ours included. This very subject was the basis of an article written by a colleague of mine, Christian, webmaster of Debian-News [1].

After that article, he and I began discussing ways we could cooperate between our two sites. Since then we have discussed this potential cooperation with several other website owners/administrators, with mixed results thus far. I'm hopeful that we can convince others to join us in trying to increase the quality of these sites, and possibly thereby also decreasing the quantity.

There seem to be two main issues to making this happen. First is getting the cooperative spirit going; many people are unwilling to totally put aside their own creations to begin working on a group effort, or want the group effort to somehow benefit not only the new project/group but to also benefit back to the existing websites. The second issue is a lack of ideas or suggestions as to what actual project(s) can and should be undertaken so as to allow each website to be treated fairly and equally, while focusing on the maximum benefit to the community. Basically, we're stumped as to what and how to make this come about. [2]

I'm looking to the community to maybe help us figure out the best way to handle this. Any ideas or suggestions for what we all could do to better work with and for the Debian community would be greatly appreciated. I'm open for any suggestions, and am hoping some of you can provide a fresh perspective on this and some fresh ideas on what to do and how to implement some form of cooperation.

One idea I had was to concentrate our efforts into one mega-site. This would allow everyone involved to focus their time and effort into the areas that best fit their talent and skills. It would be a totally new endeavor, and dedicated solely to providing a service to the community at large without regard for what may be best for an existing site. However, I think my vision in this may be a bit overreaching in light of the realities from the above paragraph. Or it just plain may be a silly and bad idea. The poll [2] on DebCentral hopefully will provide some further insight to this idea of cooperative web sites. If you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions, please share them with us. I know we'd love to have some inputs from everyone on this.

Also, if you are a member or administrator of a Debian focused (or close derivate distro focused) website or community and would be interested in this idea, please reply on here or off-list to my email or josh AT DebCentral.org.org If you're not affiliated with any current website or would just like to help out and get involved with any future works and/or existing sites, again please contact me so we can get you involved and up to speed on things as they sit at that moment. Thanks and I look forward to hearing your comments, even if you think the whole idea just plain sucks.

1. http://debian-news.net/modules/news/article.php?storyid=354
2. http://debcentral.org/modules/news/article.php?storyid=141



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