History Metablog

I have been discussing with Larry Cebula (of Northwest History) the idea of a large discussion forum for historians. He has written a post here
http://northwesthistory.blogspot.com/2009/07/rethinking-h-net.html suggesting that the way to go forward is for H-NET to be that vehicle. While that would be great, and some H-NET lists are huge in terms of membership, they are small in terms of regular posters – and I’m not sure that H-NET is the way to capture people for such a project. The current H-NET list system of moderation means that ‘discussions’ tend to wither on the vine with the delay (sometimes days) of posts being forwarded on by the moderators. Twitter obviously offers immediacy but the brevity of tweets means no in-depth conversations. A twitter feed that updated people on new posts on the group blog, though – that would work.

I am a participant at Frog in a Well, and this and other group blogs have shown how these arrangements can work, and work well. But the challenge is to set up a blog where

  • All participants are equal: there is not one blog owner and everyone else just adding comments at the bottom
  • People register, under their own names, so it is a discussion forum for academics, and not random spam monkeys
  • A critical mass of participants is needed to get things moving, my estimate is 50+.