I am learning this stuff as I go along. I have been reading a few of the top blogs and have done a little research on how they work. The Harvard law server runs a program called Manila (http://manilla.userland.com), which is considered one of the best balances between full functionality and ease-of-use. Click here to go directly to the “Manila user guide”, in html and PDF formats.
Basically, everyone who connects to our blog fits into one of four classes of users:
— The Managing Editor (me) : Most blogs are the voice of a single person, who controls all of the content on the site. I can post news articles or stories, start discussion groups, maintain the home page, and edit or delete articles by other contributors. Power corrupts.
— Contributing Editors : If ANYONE is interested in being a regular contributor to this blog, I will add them to the list of “Contributing Editors”. This means they can post news articles and stories, and edit their own contributions, but not the work of others.
— Members : by filling out the super-simple membership form, a visitor becomes a member, which means he or she can read all of the posts, articles and messages, and reply or comment on them, but not start their own discussions or post articles. Members can also request to be notified by email whenever there is a new post to the blog.
— Visitors : Anyone and everyone who visits the site becomes a visitor, and can read the articles and postings but not post messages or contribute to the discussions.
If you are a member or a visitor and want to post an article or an announcement but don’t want to become a Contributing Editor, just send me the material by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will post it for you. Putting DOWBRIGADE POST in the subject line will bring it to my immediate attention.
I am still learning a lot of the advanced stuff about Manila, like how to erase embarrassing posts, and how to link names or words without having to write out the whole URL. Plus there are features like the discussion groups, posting pictures and other media objects, and inter-linking to other blogs, which will hopefully be mastered in the near future.
I will try to post as often as possible, but I suspect that if this is going to be a real, readable blog I am going to need some serious support, both in comments and responses to my postings, and from at least a couple of collaborators willing to become contributing editors who submit postings and articles themselves. The reason I haven’t started a blog before this is that I lacked confidence in my ability to fill it up with worthwhile words. Whether my doubts were well-founded remains to be seen.