Tuesday 3 July 2007

NaijaLive - PS. Aggregation not poor duplication

Amateurs aping professionals
Thinking aloud - I received an email/blog comment yesterday from someone who had decided to exploit an opportunity - the absence of the Nigerian Bloggers Aggregator (NBA).
It would appear NBA is quite dead that the managers of the service would not be inclined to resolve the issues and bring it back up.
This is an unfortunate development because it reflects badly on the service-centred acumen that pioneers and entrepreneurs are supposed to have, I have seen too much self-aggrandisement from Nigerian webmasters who think running a website is a fiefdom in which they can exercise unreasonableness as power-trips.
With NBA some people already had problems with the professionalism of the managers where a "take it or leave it" attitude prevailed in some experiences - I was just happy to use the service because it was a microcosm of Nigerian blog thought.
Allowing something as benign as running out of space on the server to happen is rank unprofessionalism of the highest order and really beneath contempt, you really cannot do business with people like these and it is a shame - just because it was free does not mean it could be run with such levity.
Requires more than dabbling
So, I read this email and this young man had been dabbling with the dynamics of blog publication and aggregation. Now, I am no technology expert in this field, and I welcome competition that forces other services to improve on their fare.
In this case, there is no competition but a pretender replacement for once established NBA service.
Back to the email, it contained a request that I adjust my RSS feed to display the whole blog rather than my summaries because everyone has offered their blogs in that format.
I at first reacted positively to that request from a complete stranger offering a service similar to the one I was missing without really checking out what he was offering. However, I am disappointed that this replacement service is very much like re-inventing the wheel and it is in no way improving on the standard and quality of the service that went on before.
I have been blogging for over 3 and a half years, why should I suddenly change the way I offer my feeds to an untried, untested and fledgling service, considering there are other aggregators that use the same feeds without complaints? My blog has reverted to summaries.
Keep my stuff my way
Then I visited the site only to find that all my formatting and structure has been subsumed into a bland interface with no backlinks to the original.
Comments were left on that blog and those did not reflect back at the source - I am sorry, it is not my intention to have a backup of my blog on another site without agreeing on the quality and state of publication - the key should be aggregation and not sub-standard duplication.
Like more knowledgeable people have opined, there are better aggregators than the one implemented, another indicated it looked like an illegal scrapping of contents. In fact, I expect that any publication of my material in sites I do not exercise control over should include citations and acknowledgements.
Besides, I know full well how I want my blogs and material to be displayed, they are displayed as you can find on my blog, any aesthetic changes to the layout or formatting should and must only be done with my expressly granted permission. More so, it is really better to publish the headers and probably the summary, just like NBA did.
Confer with the experts
My candid advice is for the mover of NaijaLive to confer with the owners of AfricanLoft (now defunct) and AltNigeria (now non-existent), probably an email to a techie like Chxta would come in handy too - they all seem to know a good deal about the technology and the implementation, they are also developing the blogging environment into vibrant communities - then the mover can come up with a decent product; this well-intentioned but amateurish attempt just would not wash. No, not at all.
If I get proscribed from this new aggregator, that would be par for the course, but I hope I would be doing a sub-par round on this matter - I was thinking aloud about the new NaijaLive SuperBlog site.

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