20 February 2006

Polstate.com Colorado RIP?

Before I started this blog, I offered Colorado political news at Polstate.com, which I left last July, after I decided that I didn't need to blog at a place for free where a guest blogger called me a terorrist or terorrist sympathizer or some such.

Well, I took a look back at the site. My Republican counterpart at the site, blogicus maximus, last posted on November 1, 2006 (election day), i.e. three and a half months ago, and is apparently focusing his efforts on his Mile High Delphi site instead, where he has posted six times on Colorado politics since then. The only other exclusively Colorado post since was the text of Bill Owens' State of the State address, posted by the site administrator (there was one post on the NFL games leading up to the Superbowl and one on the multistate Republican river pact).

The archive function is also broken there, so posts prior to October 26, 2005 in the Colorado category can't be pulled up separately. Fourteen states have no one covering them for the site. Only fourteen people have posted so far this year, and most of those posts come from just two people (although this may also be a software glitch, as the posts come from many states). Technorati states that there are 99 sites with links to the site, but this is largely the residue of past glories, I supsect.

It isn't easy to bring people on board when your first post of the year from the site administrator starts off with this:

For a start I have neglected this site to the extent that I sometimes wince to come here. There has been much chance for update but people need to be pushed and people need to see there’s traffic and feedback. 2005 was a low year in the existence of the site for all of those.

I spent more than a year filling the site with a steady stream of posts, and my predecessor, Luis, of Colorado Luis, put in a long and steady stream of posts there before me, so it is sad to see it decline so, but I'm not interested in looking back. When you make your blog a partnership, you have to have good partners.

The Lefty Blog filtered RSS feed model has been far more successful of doing what Polstate.com set out to do, largely because it has recognized that people need to "own" their own blog, and to have an agenda, to make blogging worthwhile. In contrast, Polstate's group oriented, minimally partisan and impersonal "news outlet" approach, leaves little to motivate someone to want to devote their energies for free to it. Partisanship doesn't have to be hateful, but it does express strong opinions, and someone who does analysis without forming strong opinions isn't doing good analysis. Blogs are fundamentally op-ed pages, not pure news outlets (except for a few, like How Appealing, which are basicly filtered wire feeds). If you fail to understand that, your blog will flounder.

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