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Moblog is about sharing, communicating, playing with new gadgets, and above all having fun!
We love this site so much, we decided to give up some time everyday to help manage it.

Welcome to moblog news. Your community-powered site support hub.

This is one of three moderator-only moblogs, set up by the moderators for all mobloggers.

We are going to use this blog to publish all appointments, decisions and policy changes made between the moderation and site admin teams behind the scenes.

Follow this group to get updates on how the site is developing and to get an insight into what goes on to keeping the good-ship Moblog sailing!

Meet the people powering moblog at meet the mods

Meet other mobloggers in Interview52

Hooked up with any mobloggers recently? Post it in moblog meets.

Are your pictures good enough to win a competition? photography competitions.

If there is an event, appeal, point of contention or call to action which you feel is strongly relevant to the Moblog community and you would like it posted here please contact Viv or nige or any of the moderators, to broadcast your message via moblog news.

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Setting a Good Direction

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I want to say a lot more than what I'm going to end up saying in this post, but cutting a long story short, lets get together on this thread and chat.

I've now officially taken over the responsibility of running and management of Moblog. That's kinda been the case for a year now, but it's wasn't "official" so to speak. The old company has been discontinued and we've used the remaining cash to pay for hosting for Moblog for one year - which will take us into December 2014.

Putting all my cards on the table, it costs around 2200 GBP a year (roughly $3700) to keep Moblog running at it's current level. This is not a huge amount of money for a business to carry, but it's not insignificant either as an individual to carry.

After a lot of consideration, the verdict has been that my new company cannot shoulder this burden. So, if I want to keep moblog running, I have to work out how to fund it myself.

Nonetheless, this is genuinely not a worry for me because I really believe Moblog can carry it's own weight. I mean it basically already does and has survived a long time from donations from site members.

I hate to sound cheesy, but it's you guys who have kept funding the site! Some of you are still paying subscription payments to support the site. Thank you.

All that money goes into a pay pal account that doesn't pay into any personal or commercial bank account. Going forward, it makes sense to keep that running as normal and use the funds raised to pay for Moblog's hosting costs each year.

However, longevity is not a sign of direction! And that's what I really want to chat to you guys about.

It's time to set a good direction. By good direction, I mean a sustainable direction that makes sense, has focus and doesn't try to do too much or too little.

I don't mean a new direction. From one to one conversations with many of you over Skype, it's become clear to me that Moblog does not have to try and be the "new new thing." In fact, it could just stick as being the old thing and it will probably do just fine.

Nonetheless, it also cannot just remain static either. The whole site design needs a refresh and we need to trim the fat. There's a lot of features which are broken or redundant now - or not being used in the best way.

As with all tech, any update requires coding which requires volunteers or paid workers. There is absolutely tonnes of goodwill out there that we can probably crowdsource 90% of what we need to do. And if we can't, I have every confidence that we can raise the money to get what we need to do, done.

In my mind's eye, I imagine that Moblog will go beyond self funding it's own hosting to crowdfunding its own development - with stretch goals and incentives like you see on IndieGogo or Kickstarter.

But, whilst all of the above is well and good, none of it means anything if we don't know where we want to go.

So, if you're still reading this then I'm asking you - where do you want Moblog to go?

I have some ideas which I will share with you in the comments. But here's a couple to get your brains working: (in no particular order)

1. We could make Moblog a social network owned and operated by the users. Like a Co-op. This would be a long term plan and take a non trivial amount of community organization.
2. We could just refresh the design now - change the colours, get a new logo, build a new theme library. This is a short term idea that would take a non-trivial but easily doable amount of resources and planning.
3. We could editorialize all of the groups we currently have. Become a crowdsourced magazine. (Incidentally we also have as a domain)
4. We could run photography courses.
5. We could start rethinking the current tech on the site and put it to better use - for instance, there is no reason why 'tags' couldn't operate in the same way as hashtags on Twitter or Facebook.

What's the change you want to see? Where's the quickest win you think we can make? What keeps you interested? What's worth your monthly subscription?

Over to you. Let rip. Be brutal if you need to be. "Tonight we cancel the apocalypse!" Oh wait, I'm getting carried away now :)
11th Apr 2014, 16:36  

Viv says:

Interesting image

Waiting for the text :)

11th Apr 2014, 19:12

jc1000000 says:

Done! Sorry for the wait.

11th Apr 2014, 20:00

JC (not logged in) says:

All this goes beyond strategy too - what do we want to be taking about generally? What do we want to do or represent as a community? There's loads of places to post photos yet it's the people that make moblog not the platform.

11th Apr 2014, 20:33

Viv says:

It is definitely about the people some mulling of thoughts to be done :)

11th Apr 2014, 21:42

jc1000000 says:

So I looked over the features/design/changes spreadsheet last night and actually 4 features that everyone wants are quite easily done and there are at least 10 more that are not too hard.

So, have posted here about starting a design competition to get new pages designed. Not sure on prizes yet, but it could be a way forward. I guess the prize will be that we actually implement it!

15th Apr 2014, 15:23

Viv says:


16th Apr 2014, 02:15

Jane Doe says:

Congrats on your 'new' role, JC.
To be honest, changing the look of any of the pages wouldn't make me post more at all. It's always been about the people, not the design.
One thing that was fun was the comps, but more the challenge of thinking of how to get an original/funny shot rather than snag a prize.
So maybe try running some simple challenges?
What do you want to do: lure people back or hook new ones?

16th Apr 2014, 19:31

Viv says:

I agree with JD the challenges Nige set, people responded to. eg jump
I too don't object to the basic visual simplicity but the home page is not good.
I think anyone who has looked in recently is looking for the same reasons Somehow moblog created a group of friends. It made me want to meet these people and I did quite a few of them. It attracted friends of friends and had no other initial purpose than collecting random images. Anything that caught our eye, sparked our imagination. It made a camera an essential part of life - you could share your pics with this new world and people responded to them. You had snap shots from all over and although it wasn't essentially about communication maybe because of Alfie's boundless enthusiasm this rubbed off and moblog was a welcoming social environment. I don't think that it should be overthought! It started in an organic way and collapsed because it stopped being nurtured due to people moving on and systems not working. Just by being more active people are looking in, maybe you just need the ball to start rolling and the users creative juices hopefully would dictate it's direction but evolving rather than being mapped out. As for funds I think only the people who have continued paying would really be prepared to - could be proved wrong.
I think the answer to the last question has to be both but people brought people before. Probably the best way now.
Don't know how a co-op would/could work
HL's used to cause a lot of trouble because people cared - but then getting to the top of the pile was very difficult so maybe a monthly moblogger of the month or something :)
The randomness of the HL's might cause friction but we thrived on that.
Number one priority is that it works well. Easy to access, easy to post, easy to share (more than FB)
On everything. Still need to stop the spam and capture is annoying!
That's it for now :)

17th Apr 2014, 11:20

jc1000000 says:

Weird, I never got an email that you guys had commented so I assumed that this thread was dead.

Thanks Jane - the competitions are a good point. Viv and Dhamaka have both said that to me aswell but it didn't fully sink in maybe. But I can see how that's the best area to focus on.

It's interesting that you both think a redesign isn't worth much. I get that people bring people, but I have long felt that new people don't stick around because the site doesn't look nice or work well. So, to hear different is good.

One thing you both said which chimes with something Swamprose said to me which is having more conversations would be good. And that part of the appeal of competitions is to do the original/funny shot.

Swamprose mentioned that we could come up with new concept competitions or group blogs like "what is your mayor up to today?" It's a silly example, but it's a very different idea to stuff #jump or #mirrorproject.

But at same time, I like going back to something basic and fundamental like hashtagging #jump pics and then judging the best one. Or, going back to real grass roots and doing stuff like "soundtrack to your life" competitions.

The difficult bit will be finding prizes. I looked into it last year and found that getting companies to give away phones is a lot harder to do these days because of a law change around endorsements.

22nd Apr 2014, 01:46

Jane Doe says:

Thanks for your response, JC.

"The difficult bit will be finding prizes. I looked into it last year and found that getting companies to give away phones is a lot harder to do these days because of a law change around endorsements."

I get that: I don't think you need prizes! It's just a fun thing to do : )

23rd Apr 2014, 12:04

jc1000000 says:

Thanks for your responses. It's weird, but I'm not getting any email notifications for comments - is anyone else having that issue?

As usual, meant to reply earlier and now I cant believe that nearly 3 weeks have gone by with no response. Sorry about that.

Not that I haven't been thinking about your suggestions though, honest!

Will reply individually in next few comments.

13th May 2014, 01:14

jc1000000 says:

BFish, regarding an app - I hear what you are saying about an app but that is actually extremely expensive, not even necessarily to build, but maintain. We'd probably go HTML 5 before we can even go the apps route.

But in summary, your point about keeping the site up to date is the issue I;m trying to solve. We're basically running on pretty old tech now, so the question is how to migrate it to new tech. Imagine that right now we are running on leaded fuel whilst the whole country is changing to unleaded - or diesel to petrol, or petrol to electric - it's that kind of issue.

I've been contacting lots of developers for help, but the usual issue is developers hate using old code and would rather rebuild from scratch - so the challenge is finding someone who would be willing to get to grips with the old code. Anyway, long story short, I am toiling away at that and sending emails out every week approaching people who might be able to help.

13th May 2014, 01:19

jc1000000 says:

BFish, regarding an search and navigation

Totally agreed and this actually seems like the most solvable issue. Basically we could pare a lot of the functionality down, and I put some suggestions up here, in the hopes that perhaps we could do a design competition.

Any responses there about features you are happy to ditch and ones you definitely want to keep would be useful. Any feedback appreciated but particularly around stuff you think is pointless and don't use.

13th May 2014, 01:23

jc1000000 says:

BFish, regarding user roles

I would love this! We can easily create new roles for those interested!

Great idea, I'll speak to Viv about refreshing our mods list. Anyone interested, please shout in the comments!

Also, if anyone is interested, I do have an app built for Moblog now that alerts you whenever something new is posted -it's a little complicated in how it works, but I could talk you through it.

13th May 2014, 01:29

Viv says:

As to the notification sissue - yes Wilvir had that problem - it was checked on his profile - I deleted and rechecked it and now it's working! :)

So totally agree Bfish the community moblog created was a very special thing!

13th May 2014, 01:41

jc1000000 says:

Jane Doe

This was a great point you made and I'm going to focus on this!

I think it makes sense to do it via tagging rather than to group blogs which have barriers to entry.

13th May 2014, 01:42

jc1000000 says:

Viv, Jane, Bfish

Thanks for talking through this with me.

Here goes nothing! Competition started.

13th May 2014, 02:14

Hiya as always i'm trailing behind everyone else! I joined Blipfoto last year, presume many of you here know of it ? It was very similar to the dailyme thing we did 8 years ago differences being you can only make one post a day. it seemed a very friendly site and peopel rated your image by number of stars so it was a little competative but based on the community as a whole liking a photo rather than the HL option we have here. What I didnt like was that you could only post one photo a day and it wasnt that easy to navigate the site. What i'm wondering is if there was a group/featured daily post, perhaps a particular topic/theme for the day/week/month - no prizes just fun or the kudos of being peer picked so like a competition but an ongoing thing. I agree with JD people dont always need prizes, its fun.

17th May 2014, 11:59

jc1000000 says:

Like that photo of the day idea... I do have a new competition i want to run which is illustrating phrases.

31st May 2014, 22:33

Dhamaka says:

I can donate the next prize.. a lens cleaning cloth from Canadian Tourism Commission.. will shoot it and post it. It's not big but it's useful - and can be used for glasses too!

2nd Jun 2014, 21:46

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