As some of you are probably aware, Sean Rees and I are both co-founders of Energy Soapbox, a web site dedicated to promoting sustainability and environmental awareness. This blog features posts that focus on diverse issues from the meaning of sustainability to sheepwalking (though I have slowly become the sole contributor as late).
With Dennis McDonald’s post on creating blog-based microcommunities, I actually wonder if we might have approached the Energy Soapbox project the wrong way. In a nutshell, McDonald has been working with another blogger to have a shared conversation posted on both their blogs. They then combine their RSS feeds on the topic and present them as a single page (with each blogger having his own copy of that page on their web site). Would this have been a better approach for Sean and I to use – establish a common tag or category that would synthesize all of our posts together? That’s not to say we couldn’t also use the Energy Soapbox domain for its current purpose of displaying a running record of the conversation, but the sort of split McDonald describes would denote the ownership of the ideas better and empathize that Energy Soapbox is merely an additional platform (or – ahem – an additional soapbox).
That said, there is still an important question here – when is it better to “spin off” these sorts of projects into their own space, rather than attempting to combine disparate resources to represent a conversation? There aren’t any real criteria that answer this question, and that may well be for the best, but this still seems like an important conversation to have overall.