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Great Conversation About What 9rules Offers Bloggers and Readers

Written by Mike Rundle on January 16, 2006

David Peralty at Phoenixrealm.com posted an entry that originally discussed our updated blog design, but then morphed into a great outsider’s view of 9rules. Paul and I both found the post via our obsessive Technorati-ing, and both tried to answer all David’s questions regarding 9rules and the benefit it offers our members, and readers.

The conversation that ensued in the comments is probably the most that Paul and I have talked about the benefits of membership, ever, so I’d definitely suggest giving it a read if you’re interested. Warning: my comments tend to be really long-winded 🙂

“The new design takes the blog in line with the design of the rest of the site, which leads me to believe the 9rules Network is ready to take its next step.” — David Peralty

Definitely check out the whole thing at David’s blog.

Philosophy Community About to Jump Off

Written by Scrivs on January 16, 2006

When we had the idea for 9rules Communities we definitely envisioned something more than just an aggregator page with all the recent entries from the sites in that Community (although it is useful). We want to build a place where the top sites in that niche get together to collaborate in a way they wouldn’t have been able to do if they weren’t in the Network. The first project to come from this Community collaboration is the 9rules Philosophy Reading Group.

I’m setting up a 9rules Philosophy Reading Group: there’ll be a set text, to be read before the next session. Sessions will be every two weeks, on Mondays, and will involve all those who want to posting their thoughts and comments on what they’ve read. The core of this, I hope, will be sites in the 9rules Philosophy Community, like mine and Thame’s.

Benedict is definitely going to take this Community to heights we never expected and we hope that he provides an inspiration to the other community leaders as they look to lead their communities into 2006.

So if you even have a passing fascination with philosophy I suggest you participate in the reading group as it should be interesting. Don’t be surprised if you hear from me on some things.

Lunar Adventures

Written by Scrivs on January 16, 2006

The little guy. The freelancer. The one who must fight the battle against the big guns to get recognized. In a sense the 9rules Network was created to help these folks get more exposure and it’s these people that make the Network thrive. Andrew Kaufmann is the epitome of that and we are much stronger because of it.

Lunar Adventures is the little personal playground of Andrew Kaufmann. Andrew Kaufmann is a freelance guy executing a variety of tasks vaguely categorized under “communications.” By night, he is a member of the Dallas Mavericks Hoop Troop, a zany group of guys entertaining the masses at NBA games. He updates this blog inbetween, discussing whatever weighty topics are on his mind — topics such as advertising, marketing, sports, and the Internet. He likes to think of himself as a sort of younger Dave Barry, only shorter and not as funny. He is also known to have delusions of grandeur and expresses this by referring to himself in the third person.

Welcome Andrew.

Splash Panel

Written by Scrivs on January 16, 2006

Admittedly, with the addition of Communities there is a bit more pressure for us to actively go out and find quality sites to fill niches. It’s tough to call something a “community” when there is only one site in it right? When it comes to comics though I was fearful that there wasn’t going to be anyone for Joe to hold hands with, but little did I know that Khaled had started Splash Panel and was simply waiting to finish the redesign before informing of it. Well time waits for no design and so Splash Panel and it’s graphic novel goodness have been added to the Network.

There’s a void in the comic book industry today. More and more people’s reading habits (in the Anglophone world at least) is moving away from the monthly grind of the 22 page pamphlet and ‘waiting for the trade paperback’ is the buying model more fans are subscribing towards. However there doesn’t seem to be many websites dedicated to the trades or original graphic novels crowd. Splash Panel aims to fill in that void and allow people who like to read the sequential stories in large chunks of book in one sitting.

Welcome again Khaled.

Building the 9rules Network: Episode 1

Written by Colin Devroe on January 15, 2006

I’ve been asked, more than a few times, to jot down the details of how I built 9rules.com. To do this properly, I’m forced to split this series up into a few “episodes”, so bear with me over the next few weeks while I go back in time, and start at the beginning.

The quick and dirty

Only a few short days after joining the 9rules team, Paul asked how we should consider taking submissions for our first round. After a short discussion, we all figured that doing a 24-hour “open-house” submission round would not only build buzz, but would give people some time to prepare their sites for our perusal.

But where do I put all of these submissions? We thought we’d net about 50 sites, so I really didn’t want to build something from scratch for such a small response. So, I quickly installed WordPress, and using a few puffs of smoke, and a mirror or two, I created a form that actually submitted itself to the comments of a hidden post. That’s right, the first round of the 9rules Network submissions were literally comments on a blog post. The main reason I did it this way was purely time, I was able to set that up in a matter of moments, and I didn’t have to build anything from scratch for what was supposed to be a mediocre response.

As many of you know, our first round of submissions caught us totally off guard when we received around 130 sites. When your expectations are blown away by more than double, it comes as a pleasant surprise.

Handling our first round members

So, at this point the challenge was handling the sites that we wanted to allow into the Network. Should I build an entire database for handling our members? Again, WordPress came to the rescue. What I ended up doing, was using WordPress to manage our member sites as blog posts. This allows Paul and Mike to add, edit, and delete members without needing to learn a new system. It also saves my own time by saving me from building an admin just for our members.

So how do I store our members in WordPress as blog posts? Pretty easily actually. WordPress inherently is an extensible data management system. Remove your blog from the equation, and really all WordPress is doing is storing data. So, what I did was setup a category, with many sub-categories in our WordPress installation that we keep our members categorized in. Then, on our blog, I simply block that major category from appearing.

I probably totally confused you. So here is a quick run down of how we handle things, from the perspective of TheUberGeeks.net. TUG falls under a few different categories (remember this was pre-keywords and pre-communities). So, under our top level category, we have several sub-categories. TUG, at the time, fell under Personal and Technology. This allowed for categorization prior to our new keyword system.

To tell our company blog not to display the categories we were using to store our members in, I simply added this code to our main index.php file $cat='1,3,4,15';. This tells WordPress to only load posts within those categories for our company blog.

For the first few months, our entire site was running off of WordPress-only, using the categorical structure within to categorize our member’s sites. This actually worked out very well for us in the long run, and I’m still using this system down to this day, with a few modifications, which I’ll get into on the next Episode.

Next Episode: Using WordPress’ custom fields to build an empire. Episode 2 is now available.