A number of anthropology blogs get together to discuss particular questions, forming an alternative model to the centralized SWJ approach Rex warns us away from. In one of these series, the group discusses peer review and archiving in ways that I think highlight useful issues for us to consider as we shape a wargamer COP.
Riffing off of the thoughts of the anthropologists, I’d like to suggest that whatever form this online community take, there are a few things that will be required to create a meaningful hub for the community, rather than another blog among the (many) good gaming blogs that are out there.
- A greater focus on aggregation- I think that a part of this space should be devoted to cross posting the best of other blogs, pointing out new sources, posting event transcripts and generally trying to serve as a clearing house for the best of what the community produces. The standard here should be not whether I as an individual find a piece good, but whether I can see it being useful to members of the community (however that is defined).
- A great emphasis on archiving (if not on formal publishing)- Even on blogs I read very regularly, tagging is often not enough to find a particular post, much less for a newcomer to get an effective sense of what is worth reading on a particular topic. This is something that I’m not even sure the SWJ model gets right, and I’d love for us to spend some time thinking about how to make materials on here more research-able. Great post here on various digital archiving services and here on digital anthologies may offer some new options to chew on as alternatives to a blog only format, but I’m not sure they get us all the way there.
- A greater focus on creating conversational/networking spaces- Perhaps the most compelling element of SWJ’s site is the interaction between people on the forum over a particular topic. I do wonder to what extent this should be a place where real names and affiliations are worn on our sleeves (the better to network my dear) versus a more typical comment section of a blog, in which you have to develop a reputation overtime based on comments (peer review in its own way).