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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

R' Gil Student/Hirhurim Moves to Reshimu

Now THIS is interesting... R' Gil Student of Hirhurim, whose blog has collected almost 2 million hits since its inception in March 2004, will be moving to a metablog called Reshimu, which is being run by Ben Atlas (formerly of mentalblog.com, as Tzemach Atlas). From Gil's post:
Reshimu is a new site full of Jewish content that is the next generation of the online Jewish conversation. It is the next stage in the evolution of the web, beyond blogs. Hirhurim will be featured on Reshimu, similar to the way a column is run in a newspaper although with one significant difference that I will explain shortly.

The goal of a content-aggregating website like Reshimu is to create a community and cross-pollinate ideas from people with different backgrounds and perspectives. In that vein, the line-up of bloggers is reflective of different kinds of people who live and breath the highs and lows of the Jewish people. Therefore, you can expect a wider variety of perspectives commenting on future posts and I am sure that many Hirhurim readers will be adding their unique perspectives to other conversations. Additionally, all commenters will have to register with the website and maintain a certain level of consistency and responsibility in their words. But there will also be more powerful commenting features (including spell check) so that you, the reader, will be more effective in contributing to the discussion.
You can check the comments over there for yourself, but most of the concerns are similar to the ones I would have about such a move, chief among them being the association with Luke Ford, who will also be writing for Reshimu. I'm surprised that there has been little discussion so far about the need to register to comment - I think that what has killed most similar attempts (though granted never with the 'big names' this one has) has been the need to register to comment... particularly for a blog like Gil's which generally has a lot of comments flying back and forth.

I'm also not sure I agree with the "next stage in the evolution of the web" bit. In the secular set, metablogs that have quality writers haven't flopped per se, but I don't get the impression that they're incredibly successful, either. A simple way of comparing it would be to say that they're larger than any one of their individual writers, but less than the sum of all its parts. I wonder if this will even be able to reach that level of success, catering to a much smaller audience to begin with.

I wish R' Gil the best of luck in this endeavor, whatever my own concerns may be; and I hope that Reshimu lives up to what it hopes to be and does not get dragged down by its worst elements. B'hatzlacha.

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