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Web Revival & Te Ara Paerangi Community

You probably have noticed the pattern of decreasing quality of online platforms. Cory Doctorow calls this phenomenon enshittification. There are many high profile examples of this. Just think about X (the site formerly known as Twitter). One of the reasons we started this site was to avoid having our community mired in platforms with high switching / exit costs. A core principle is that our site users and community members are not a product to be commercialised. While we have been using X and now Bluesky to reach a broad swath of potential community members, this site is where we are building the community.

‍The MetaFilter post below speaks about the Web Revival - an approach that centers the needs of the users. This is very much what we are aiming to do here. Since the re-launch in July, we have seen increasing numbers of unique visitors (over 800 last month - which is a minimum as we use privacy respecting analytics software so many are not counted). Our news posts have been particularly popular as have events. We are seeing that the site is well indexed by search engines. For example many people are finding the Molecular Ecology Conference event page that way.

Our aim is to provide a place where researchers and users of research in any discipline from across Aotearoa can connect with one another. A place where they can collaborate on research projects, advocacy and building capability. Taking scholarly societies as an example, when I attended the Royal Society Constituent member meeting last year, a key problem they were facing was decreased membership and abilities to connect with researchers. At the same time, I have struggled to find what scholarly societies exist in Aotearoa. There is no 'list' and no one that I have spoken with has had a way of tracking them down. It seems like making it easy to find them would be a good contribution to the research community broadly. Let's do that.

It is conference season. Many of you will be attending domain specific society conferences and AGMs. You can help by telling your friends we exist and that they could:

  1. Create and organisation account with details about the society and links to their other online platforms (e.g. web site or social media accounts).
  2. From the organisation account they can create event listings on this site. As mentioned we are well indexed and people are finding event listings here.
  3. Syndicate content. I've been exploring how to do this using RSS technology. For example, if you have a site or blog for your society that supports RSS (e.g. wordpress) then the posts from there can be automatically made here under the organisation account. Syndication can go the other way as well.
  4. If the society does not have a web site / blog / etc. they can use this site to keep people informed about what they do.

We have not utilised all the possibilities of the UNA.io technology that underpins this site. At the moment, the interface to the site is the web browser. There are native android and ios apps that we can customise for our community, which is something we will do if sufficient resources are donated. Direct, embedded video chat is also possible, again resource permitting.

Thanks for reading this and for using Te Ara Paerangi Community. Help us make it more useful by telling your mates and your colleagues. Please add your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.

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