m.rexblog.com

m.rexblog.com: Staci Kramer says it’s not that big a deal when mobile versions of websites are announced unless it’s, say, the NY Times (mobile.nytimes.com). However, she points out they could have made it easier on thumb typists if they’d used the nyt.com domain they own. (I still prefer NYTimesriver.com myself.)

Okay, Staci. I couldn’t control myself. This news about mobile.nytimes.com got me so excited, I decided to use the occasion to launch a mobile version of the rexblog at the shortest address I could figure out: m.rexblog.com. No ads. No special features. But it does have full posts and tiny photos and a cute little version of the rexblog lard can. Enjoy.

(Credits: I would like to thank director of rexblog hackery Patrick Ragsdale who used MagpieRSS to create the page in what seemed about five minutes.)

Update: For Staci: mobile.rexblog.com

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Watching a wiki-article written is like watching sausage being made

Watching an article being written wiki-style is like watching sausage being made: I was going to post a long, rambing observation written over the course of several days about this story on Wired.com that was written by volunteers using a wiki. I was going to say that wikis are great for lots of things, but writing a news article is not one of them.

However, I’ve decided instead to point to Ryan Singel, the reporter who quarterbacked the project. He says what I had been trying to find a polite way to say.:

“Is it a better story than the one that would have emerged after a Wired News editor worked with it? I think not. The edits over the week lack some of the narrative flow that a Wired News piece usually contains. The transitions seem a bit choppy, there are too many mentions of companies, and too much dry explication of how wikis work. It feels more like a primer than a story to me. That doesn’t make the experiment a failure, and we clearly tapped into a community that wants to make news stories better (which, for some, means links to their site). Hopefully, we’ll continue to experiment to find ways to involve that community more. But I think the experiment shows that, in storytelling, there’s still a place for a mediator who knows when to subsume a detail for the sake of the story, and is accustomed to balancing the competing claims and interests of companies and people represented in a story.”

Again, I’m more than a fan of wikis. I even tend one. But I think there are much better ways to integrate wikis into news writing than to invite a crowd to group-write a single article. Writing needs a point-of-view and voice and what’s that word — talent. I think it was Plato or Aesop or me who once said, “A camel is a horse created by folks using a wiki.” A camel is good for many things, but winning the Kentucky Derby is not one of them.

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