Wednesday 1 August 2007

Naijalive: Apology accepted but ...

NBA down again?

As one writes this, the Nigerian Bloggers Aggregator (NBA) brings more grist to the mill of the Naijalive Project which goes by the name of The Nigerian Super Blog (TNSB), such is life in the cut and thrust of Internet businesses or services.

A click on the NBA link from my blog presents this error

Failed to execute the SQL query

update item set unread = unread & 30

Error 1194: Table 'item' is marked as crashed and should be repaired

It makes you wonder what is going on in the Web 2.0 world of NBA that in less than a month we have had two major failures that are taking days to clear up.

Given that the proprietors are busy, this has become a service that cannot be managed with levity anymore, it is a non-profit thing and it is time that the owner got other people involved in some voluntary and community service role to ensure the service continues to function lest these operational lapses contribute to ruining the reputation of otherwise resourceful minds.

Apology accepted

After my last blog on the Naijalive comments , I received another message from the Project Co-ordinator of Naijalive, which summarily was an apology along with an explanation as to why the quality of exchanges had developed into a kind of confrontation.

I accept the apology wholeheartedly, I also reserve the right to use my forum to address the concerns I still have with the Naijalive Project, I might yet ask to be registered in that service sometime in the future, but for now, I have serious concerns.

Cached material or stale material

First, I do not fully understand how their system of aggregation works because it is either caching or saving separately blogs published by others - inconclusive, but the permanent link does not return to source.

We are all aware of how the Web 2.0 phenomenon has exposed people to unfortunate circumstances like universities trawling the web to find ill-disciplined students, employers sanctioning staff for sailing close to the wind with their opinions and so on.

On the 23rd of July 2007, Chxta posted an article on his blog titled Some UK varsities in critical condition? [Post now removed on TNSB but a link to the captured graphic appears below]. After a few comments, he decided to take it down with a notice Post Goes Down, we, his readers remonstrated strongly about this action and left it at that.

It would appear whilst the post is already down, at least not available for public viewing on Chxta's World , it is quite available on the TNSB but only without the comments that lead to Chxta taking down the blog in the first place, this really bothers me.

Relinquishing control

This presents serious issues of control and informs my concerns on the quality of aggregation, if an item disappears from public viewing at a source, should it not reflect at the aggregator after a refresh of feeds?

Now, I would not know if Chxta moved that post into a draft repository which hopefully is not set to publish feeds or deleted it entirely.

Google does have a feature for caching websites such that the data is viewable long after the source has completely disappeared, but that is a service that should be inherent in sophisticated search engines not aggregators.

Serious legal implications

The more serious implication of this observation is where a legal requirement arises for a post to be taken down completely from a blog site and the litigant still finds traces of the grievance matter linked to the source even though the originator has no control over that "duplicated" material.

Now, I am not sure of full technical scenario of this observation, but it means Chxta either has to do something about it or TNSB needs to introduce some sophisticated code to rid their site of material that has been archived when the source has withdrawn an article.

Now, archiving is another matter but it is important the originators retain control of their material, if we must publish, so be it, but definitely not be damned by the actions of others.

Addendum: Added after Naijalive comment

Naijalive have commented on this matter and this is what they say.

Chxta's post is still showing up because feeds imported into the SuperBlog are automatically cached and archived and unless we remove them manually, they remain there.

They are working on ensuring that posts removed at source are automatically removed on TNSB, I commend them for looking seriously into this, but would having symbolic links to the source not be better than the additional management of cached and archived material?

I worry, I really do worry, but would patiently wait for their solution, I suppose I would be addressing the interface, navigation and user-friendliness when i next touch the topic of Naijalive. They are learning and improving.


I love this website

The truncated part of the Chxta's article as it appeared on TNSB - Captured from viewing TNSB as evidence supporting my observation.

Chxta's Cached article

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