Any UK/EU mefites interested in starting a community weblog?
September 26, 2004 12:07 AM   Subscribe

Any UK/EU mefites interested in starting a community weblog?

Focus on British and Continental politics, arts, sport, science, culture, religion, current affairs, food, web, finance [I find it hard to locate stuff about the Euro & EU expansion, for example]...whatever. Stuff that somehow seems under-represented and/or drowned out here, and would be complementary to Mefi, but possibly run on a clone, or some other open source, off the peg software.
posted by dash_slot- to Computers & Internet (99 answers total)
Some months back I thought.. wouldn't it be great to start a British Gawker. Then I realised I didn't have the time and we already have The Sun. Oh well :-) Best of luck!
posted by wackybrit at 12:46 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: Well, I am assuming that it'll be small scale, and like any small blog, will need little maintenance - and what there is will be shared by maybe 5-10 contributors. I think that the breadth of input requires about that number to start with.

Policy will be less of an issue than posting language [if it was Europe wide], I'd hope, 'cos we'd maybe develop a bit of common ground on acceptable language, linking, etc. Suffice to say that The Sun was not a model of commenting I had in mind: more an amalgam of our broadsheets, if we're thinking in terms of dailies.

Have another think, and drop me a line if you change your mind!
posted by dash_slot- at 12:55 AM on September 26, 2004

I'd be in -- it'd be nifty-keen.

And I've got a domain floating around if you wanted it -- but, then again, it's not a polite domain. But the idea of not having was just impossible to consider.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:08 AM on September 26, 2004

I wouldn't mind contributing occasionally.
posted by adrianhon at 1:32 AM on September 26, 2004

Wasn't this already tried with Linklust? (not poopooing the idea just sayin)
posted by fullerine at 1:56 AM on September 26, 2004

If you want contributors in the MeFi sense, then I'll be up for it. if you mean in the more BoingBoing sense of a core of moderators that take suggestions, then I'll stand down on grounds of laziness and the fact that few people here actually know me.

Maybe this could also tie in nicely with the next question down...?
posted by twine42 at 2:03 AM on September 26, 2004

Maybe this could also tie in nicely with the next question down...?

I'd certainly consider transferring that domain name to dash_slot for such a site, if nobody else (namely mathowie or somebody associated w/the fork of the metaphilter project) wants it. I'd even help build the site.

Of course, I'd expect in return a place to stay in the unlikely event that Bush "wins" the upcoming election here.

/only semi-kidding
posted by mkdg at 2:29 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: Twine - I'm hoping that moderation will be minimal after a settling in period, so - yeah, contributions only would be good.

Fullerine - wow, Id never heard of that. Sadly, dead, and it was prior to the take-off of blogs in the UK. So - yeah, it's worth another try, methinks.

mkdg: that's avery kind offer! As i'm asking for collaborators, I can hardly say 'yes' at this early stage. Can I get back to you when we have some more time to assemble some interested parties? I really think that is a friendly gesture.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:34 AM on September 26, 2004

Seems interesting, althought we know what happens to pure european clones of americain tech thinggies... Anyone remember the short-lived Europe On Line ? Well now it's America On Line for everyone ! :)
Anyway, don't know how I could contribute, but I'm interested. I'm from France, btw...
posted by XiBe at 2:43 AM on September 26, 2004

Well, something I've wanted to do for ages is a subset of this idea -- a blog about British politics/current affairs. I'd certainly be interested in reading about/discussing the other stuff, though. So count me in. Uh, you know, if you want to.

Are you planning to use Metaphilter/Freefilter? Also, would posts be 'short form' with just a link and a tiny bit of text (mefi-style) or 'long form' with proper paragraphs (most other blogs)?
posted by reklaw at 2:53 AM on September 26, 2004

I think it's a great idea, but I wonder if there's enough of us to get it going.

These things need to achieve something of a critical mass to stay alive after the initial burst of enthusiasm. Look at all the other filters out there.

Plus of course it would likely tend towards news rather than best of the web (which often transcends geography).

So in theory, yes, and I'd like to be involved, but I think it might take a bit of work to keep it going.
posted by devon at 3:06 AM on September 26, 2004

Count me in as a 'would contribute when time is available' - I'd certainly be far more happy and ready to contribute to something UK-centred rather than US-centred politics-wise, considering my knowledge of US politics is teeny tiny.
posted by humuhumu at 3:33 AM on September 26, 2004

Remember how metafilter started? it was just a few friends and web-friends posting links for each other. The reason it snowballed so effectively was that they were the cream of the blogsphere at the time (I know "A-list" and all that, but it's true).

So don't be discouraged by a slow start, if you build it, they will spam. Just make sure there's more comments thatn posts at the beginning, most new 'filters fall into the trap of having 20 posts a day with 2 comments each.

There's some serious european talent on this site, and much as I fear it may detract from Metafilter, it would be nice to be able to discuss European issues, without having to explain everything to the septics ;)

the last bit was a joke btw
posted by fullerine at 3:38 AM on September 26, 2004

I'd be happy to writing experience apart from music reviews for a UK DJ'ing magazine...looking for a new project to get involved in....

My wife is french and can do translation if we want to capture the languages as well...

Also have some hosting space if needed...

Nice idea... dash_slot
posted by mattr at 3:38 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: OK - just a bit more to clarify:
I would like the site to be collaborative from the getgo, so these issues raised are things I have ideas & opinions on, but so, I'm sure, do other folk that have [to my pleasure] posted that they are interested. Let's have a heated debate!

So howsabout this:
post here your ideas for:
- where to host it [free/cheapest ideas to begin with, I guess];
- what policies we should implement;
- which clone or other software we could use;
- what your ideas for a name would be [anything less lame than EuroFilter I would like!],
- what would your main interests be in site posting? [ie, do we have a plep style museum lover here? or a y2karl style muso? or a fast food junkie like jonmc?]

I'll declare straight off that newsfilter is ok in my book, and that personal attacks, being so prevalent and derailing on mefi & meta, are something I want to avoid like the plague. But that's just me.

I'll also say that I'd want to assess progress after a 6 or 12 month period, to guage whether post-launch enthusiasm has remained [yes, the fate of most *filters has been lamentable, but it does not put me off in the least. Fools rush in, an' that...] and therefore not feel that everyone has an open-ended commitment.

Also, i would like the members - to begin with at least - to have a connection with the European continent, Ireland or the UK, just to give the site focus: but content, like mefi, can be linked from the global internet. Please pass on this link - - to anyone that you think may be intersested in contributing, becoming a founding member, or posting.

In the next few days, if you still feel like you want to be a member of yet another internet site, send me an email to:
- dash.slot [at] gmail [dot] com, preferably titled Weblog or similar, and we'll take it from there.

BTW - that invite extends to lurkers and browsers with no Mefi account, as much as mefites proper, as long as you feel you have something to contribute [lord knows, I do not want to do this on my own].

Mattr- you're on! 2 frenchies already, and a hosting lead! Great - let's pass this on to our pals in the eurowebbything!
posted by dash_slot- at 3:45 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: reklaw - hope you got the email!
would posts be 'short form' with just a link and a tiny bit of text (mefi-style) or 'long form' with proper paragraphs (most other blogs)?
Posting style is up to the founding members to work out - my preference is that members post in their preferred style, as long as it doesnt abuse the front page. My stance is usually 'scroll, baby, scroll', if a post offends [exceptions about personal attacks, obscenity, and egregiously offensive stuff].

BTW, I imagine that any community site will have to enforce standards - there ain't gonna be a sole proprietor who takes a decision to ban someone. That would have to be done by some form of consensus, though I would take responsibility if ncessary in the early days. Fear not, my standards are about as lax as can be: I would only ban one word, and that is the grossly overused and vague 'troll'.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:54 AM on September 26, 2004

Souns like a good idea. I did the same myself with a few friends when we saw that all coffee sites were N-America-based/centred, and it's coming along nicely. I can definitely see a market for it.
posted by NekulturnY at 4:19 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: Well, NekulturnY, you have two choices: let us know what your site is [so we can join...], or you can join us! We need ya buddy!

[Any ideas on names, folks? A symbol, image or word that conveys something - anything - which could mean...'EuroWebLog'][but not 'EuroWebLog']
posted by dash_slot- at 4:36 AM on September 26, 2004

"Europa", would be beautiful but all the domains are taken. "Continental Drift"? I'll keep thinking...

For hosting (if "free" doesn't fly), I love ICDSoft.
posted by taz at 4:58 AM on September 26, 2004

I love the idea dash_slot. Eurowebbything!
posted by ginz at 5:23 AM on September 26, 2004

I'd definitely like to play... Part of me thinks it'd be cool to have a site at, but I guess we'd be marginalising ourselves..
posted by ascullion at 5:25 AM on September 26, 2004

Well, seems to be available...
posted by casarkos at 6:05 AM on September 26, 2004

I think distance from Metafilter might be terms of content, style and 'culture'....

As for hosting...I have a 5 domain account at Xcalibre...I'm only using three - and they are very low traffic (because I'm very lazy) if we can decide on a name, I'd be happy to put it there...unless anyone has something better.

I have little web design all the coders out there would be needed...

I like spins on the Europa theme as well...
posted by mattr at 6:07 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: The Ancient Celts, apparently, "spread, ... from the Pyrenees east skirting northern Italy and northern Greece to present day Bulgaria", maybe even as far as the Ukraine & Turkey - and were prominent in Ireland, Britain & Spain too. So maybe a name or symbol could be found there. Admittedly pagan, not that there's anything wrong with that, but that may be a disincentive for some potential members.

Any prefs for a .org, .net, .coop maybe, or even .com? Who's the specialist in TLD's or whatever they're called?

Just thinking out loud here...
posted by dash_slot- at 6:11 AM on September 26, 2004

thanks dash, i've updated my email in my profile. i'm interested, but i'm not sure how active i would be, but keep me informed
posted by quarsan at 6:20 AM on September 26, 2004 domains are evidently free, but I don't really understand it... This is the page, I think, that gives the info for something like
posted by taz at 6:21 AM on September 26, 2004

I'm happy to help out with any web design stuff you need doing, too. Designing something around a Europe theme would be great fun. As for domains, something like 'europa[b]log' would be nice, but I'm not much on names.

On preview: do you think we might be able to get something like That'd be cool.
posted by reklaw at 6:28 AM on September 26, 2004

way cool.
posted by taz at 6:40 AM on September 26, 2004

EULOG.ORG - £19.95
EU-LOG.ORG - £19.95

Three ideas I can see available now...
posted by mattr at 6:42 AM on September 26, 2004

This is a wonderful idea. The only thing that gives me pause is that a somewhat similar site, Living in Europe, hasn't really taken off, despite having a wide range of members/bloggers from across the EU. For these things to work, I think there needs to be a small core of very devoted contributors. (Which is pretty much the engine behind Fistful of Euros -- so far Europe's best collaborative blog, IMHO, although strictly newsfilter.)

In short, I think it will be extremely difficult to get such a thing right. But if it works, it will be absolutely wonderful.
posted by Ljubljana at 6:46 AM on September 26, 2004 still available
posted by leotrotsky at 6:46 AM on September 26, 2004

aw crud, what mattr said
posted by leotrotsky at 6:46 AM on September 26, 2004

I'm a bad decision maker....especially on someone hit me up with instructions....I'm in #mefi....or on MSN using my email address....
posted by mattr at 6:49 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: I love the design over at fistfulofeuros - which is also a great name for a blog, well away from *filter, which may soon seem a little, well, patronised/lame/pale imitation [nods at MattR]. Few posts get discussions in the thread at the moment, but I didn't delve too deeply into the archives. seems to be punchier, with shorter snippets of posts. That's good - but is it me, or is that a really cheesy design?

In terms of domain names, I kinda like the simplicity of the, it's standard, easy to tell & remember, and almost attractive aesthetically. Shame .eu isn't top level - seems it has to be, or Makes it a 4-part url... but that's probably an irrational prejudice!

mattr: hold up a sec: lets get some more input.

Consider this a call for nominations, guys: what do we want to call this ship?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:14 AM on September 26, 2004

dash_slot :- I too would be up for contributing from time to time.
posted by plep at 7:19 AM on September 26, 2004

£19.95!? That's a lot, at least for a domain. I can get .orgs for like $10.

As for names, I quite like Short, memorable, available. Although I do still think it'd be neat to have something under (which is free, remember).
posted by reklaw at 7:20 AM on September 26, 2004

cool....shan't do anything until someone says....cheaper is good....someone would also need to check out that my hosting is the right type of hosting...i have no technical knowledge apart from static webpages...

Am happy to put a fiver in the pot (dropcash anyone?) if someone has a more technically suitable alternative...
posted by mattr at 7:30 AM on September 26, 2004

Best answer: I thought acrossthepond would be a good name, but it seems it's taken

I'd really like to get involved in this. I have a webhosting account that's massively under utilised. I'd be happy to setup the domain and take care of everything from the backend. I also have a test server I can use for web development.

My background is in IT support not web design, so I put myself in the enthusiastic amateur class however I think I could get this show on the road within a couple of weeks. Using one of the pre-existing freely available mefi-a-likes would be the best start I feel. It's a format everyone likes and is comfortable with - if they don't currently offer features required they should be easily codable.

I'd like to offer my services as a poster, but my track record is fairly woeful. If there's space for a moderator I'd be very happy to oblige.

If any of this is useful then please e-mail me.
posted by dodgygeezer at 7:44 AM on September 26, 2004

Tell a lie - is available.

BTW, I'm happy to stump up for the domain name too.
posted by dodgygeezer at 7:45 AM on September 26, 2004

> is good.
> I have doubts that the site would take off. MonkeyFilter's doing OK though, so it's possible. It's definitely worth trying.
> The "philter" concept would appear to do what you need, but there are more complex CMS's that may be more up your street. The notoriously hackable phpNuke comes to mind.
> If you need a few months "try and see" hosting, I have a spare 500Mb of web space you're welcome to use. I'll even set up the domain for you, and install a CMS.
>Don't know if I'd join in personally. My heart is with the Metafilter, and if I spend any more time on the internet, they're going to take me away.
posted by seanyboy at 8:00 AM on September 26, 2004

another idea... "eurocite"... kind of a play on "site" and "excite", and the fact that we are "citing" European sites and info? Only and available (of domains I think we would be interested in).

Europalog (Europa Log) is available all the way around.
posted by taz at 8:05 AM on September 26, 2004

Best answer: Discussion channel on IRC: - #euro

Same place as #mefi
posted by mattr at 8:09 AM on September 26, 2004

clickable irc link thingy
posted by reklaw at 8:11 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: irc is not a registered protocol.....aaaaaaaaaargh!

Anyway, if you wanna join reklaw, mattr and me on MSN [the most sophisticared technology i am currently able to use...groan], please send me an email, we'll invite you in. otherwise, i'll still try to get irc working - it used to be seamless in Moz. 1,5
posted by dash_slot- at 8:18 AM on September 26, 2004

eurographica? All doms available. Also is available.

reklaw, I'm getting an unknown host error on that in chatzilla, but maybe it's me...
posted by taz at 8:19 AM on September 26, 2004

I like Europa Log (or EuropaLog)*. And I wouldn't mind donating a few euros for the good cause.

* Eurowebbything or EWT still my favourite of course.
posted by ginz at 8:21 AM on September 26, 2004

I think it depends what kind of format we're looking at. If it's something along the lines of Metafilter with brief link followed by discussion, that's OK. But I think it would be more interesting if it was genuinely a weblog, something along the lines of Boing Boing which includes longer entries mixed in with bits and bobs accompanied by discussions. Also is it going to be a general free for all or will we be sticking with a select few and people joining on invite if we like their stuff?

I would agree though that we should distance the thing from Metafilter. It should have its own vibe so that we can attract people who aren't familiar with around here. One way of doing that would be to make it bi-lingual and local perhaps with the ability to filter out the languages and countries your not interested in. I'd expect that to reflect itself at the bottom of a post as something like

posted in French about Germany


posted in French about France

That way subcultures would develop of people who are using the system to post in their own language about their own country but also about others. But in the same way if I was to be posting about the underground cinema in Paris it would appear as

posted in English about France

so anyone French who can speak English could see what I'm writing about them. If any of that makes sense. I could see this an excellent way of learing languages. I couldn't help but be curious about reading something that said

posted in French about England

But just from an aesthetic point of view, the unfiltered page, being a patchwork of languages would be extra-ordinary to look at, especially if people also mix in photo feeds from flickr for example to create colour. A real cosmopolitan mix o f cultures.

I would be interesting in contributing something for it anyway, but mostly writing and linking. I'm not much of a coder.
posted by feelinglistless at 8:24 AM on September 26, 2004

For some reason annoys me.

But is available ...
posted by feelinglistless at 8:35 AM on September 26, 2004

Best answer: viewropa.tdd is available everywhere, it seems
posted by XiBe at 8:40 AM on September 26, 2004

viewropa is my favourite by far! Nice one.

Seems you can get an domain now, and .eu is going to be available mid-2005.
posted by ascullion at 8:47 AM on September 26, 2004

I've booked

Come on guys - you know it's the best one so far!
posted by dodgygeezer at 8:50 AM on September 26, 2004

+1 for viewropa, 'cos that's my only idea (with thanks to taz for the inspiration) :)
posted by XiBe at 8:54 AM on September 26, 2004

feelinglistless: I like your ideas, but there are a lot of languages in Europe. I don't have time to learn them all.
posted by ginz at 8:54 AM on September 26, 2004

I've been using b2 evo on a bunch of sites for software. Multiple logins, pretty easy to set up. All the usual options, etc etc...

Email on its way to you sometime later, dash_slot.
posted by humuhumu at 9:33 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: humuhumu: do you know if it has a limit on registration numbers for memberships?

Going there now.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:47 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: I don't think we want a limit on users, so a clone of some sort like freefilter or such will be good.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:54 AM on September 26, 2004

Will us heathens be allowed in too?
posted by amberglow at 10:10 AM on September 26, 2004

Can't recall a user limit... Have never used it for more than five or so. Not sure if there's a way to limit posting as in the famous MeFi 'one per day' restriction. I do quite like that.

It needs php and mysql, but most hosting a/c have that. are fast and speedy and cheap (about £60 a year...? US-based but that doesn't matter).
posted by humuhumu at 10:11 AM on September 26, 2004

I'd tend to favour a Euro version of MeFi myself. Call it Eurofilter and I'd be interested!
posted by tomcosgrave at 10:16 AM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: amberglow:
it is being setup with a euro focus for FPPs, which will be membership-required. To start with - altho nothing has yet been settled - it looks like members will be euro only. Comments may be open, or not - it's not decided. All to play for: gimme something o argue with!

looks like dodgygeezer hads taken on the job of researching php powered cms - could you maybe drop him a line & see if you are on the same wave length? I suspect we may have a free deal from

looks like it'll be called viewropa!
whatever we may think of that, it was achieved by consensus, just today, here and in #mefi. Sorry if that sounds like a fait accompli, but things got very busy very quickly! I am in fact quite overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception this has got - now we just have to translate that into a reality.

My fingers are crossed!
posted by dash_slot- at 10:33 AM on September 26, 2004

I am very interested in the idea - my free time varies according to work commitments, but I would definitely contribute and should be able to find time to take on limited management / moderation / whatever.

It would be great if we could develop a place where we could discuss issues without the usual recourse to party political lines. I have a number of friends who I could persuade to join such a community.

The only problem I can foresee is how to be distinct from metafilter, so that I would know that certain things would be for viewropa and others would be metafilter - if I was interested in seeing a mixed european / non-european view on something then surely I would post it to metafilter ?!?
posted by daveg at 11:18 AM on September 26, 2004

it looks like members will be euro only. Comments may be open, or not - it's not decided.

I'm assuming you'd say that to try and keep it focused, but it seems a little harsh, and is probably unenforcable (what's a European?).

I would expect that the content would lead to most members being primarily eu-based by default.

I like the name though
posted by devon at 11:22 AM on September 26, 2004

I'm very interested in contributing to this. I may also be able to provide free hosting, but I'll need to confirm that. Let me know if that's desired and required...
posted by nthdegx at 11:55 AM on September 26, 2004

eurocite is interesting, due to the meaning of cité in French.
posted by wackybrit at 12:40 PM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: Well, thanks again everyone - this seems like it's gonna get off the ground, tho no schedule yet - its early days yet.

However, we now have a wiki where we can pull all this together, and I've started to try and get the basics assembled there in a more coherent form than this thread allows. Please, if you want to contribute, go there and add your tuppence worth. Don't delete anything yet, just add: we'll have a bit of chaos and confusion before it settles into something with shape, but only after we've all had our say.

Even if you haven't joined in this thread yet - you are requested to join in now. We want your contribution to this new project.

There are still tasks to allocate, so go with a generous heart!
Also, lets try to assemble in IRC (see here for assistance if you never went into an IRC before) to thrash out a few more details.

See you there about 9 or 9.15
posted by dash_slot- at 12:41 PM on September 26, 2004


Got your email. Sounds interesting. I'm up for mucking in. I'll be on the IRC a bit later.
posted by davehat at 12:48 PM on September 26, 2004

ginz: but the point is, you don't have to. You can filter out the languages you can't speak.
posted by feelinglistless at 12:59 PM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: wiki here, btw.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:23 PM on September 26, 2004

Feelinglistless: Ok, but will all of us post in two languages? Or do we miss the posts in languages we don't speak? My Polish is very rusty. (Well it isn't to be honest, rusty I mean. Just isn't as in non existent)
posted by ginz at 1:27 PM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: ginz: come & join us on the IRC - irc:// we're discussing stuff like that now
posted by dash_slot- at 1:39 PM on September 26, 2004

About the membership. Is that Euro only as in European members only?
Because I would really like this to be a European "thing", but open for everyone to post or comment.
posted by ginz at 1:40 PM on September 26, 2004

I am too dumb for IRC at the minute. sorry
posted by devon at 2:09 PM on September 26, 2004

ming: You'd filter out the posts in languages you don't speak but also feel free to post bilingually if you wanted to. You might for example want to write something particularly local in French but something for a wider community in English. Or we could have members who don't speak English so would post exclusively in French (or choose to).
posted by feelinglistless at 3:31 PM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: devon: next time we'll walk through it on MSN first (like reklaw & dodgygeezer did for me...)

ginz: please ensure that you make your views known, and not overlooked - maybe post that to the wiki? I am tending that way too, but it's likely to be losti if more folk don't argue it.

yes, i think that's how we should go, too.

Next IRC session: Wednesday, 9.30pm. - irc://

Thanks all.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:44 PM on September 26, 2004

Can't be on IRC then, but count me in.
posted by bonaldi at 4:11 PM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: Great - chip in whatever and when ever, bonaldi. Glad you're interested.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:15 PM on September 26, 2004

Fear not: I'm really in Brooklyn...

Goodluck to ya!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:51 PM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks PP!
posted by dash_slot- at 8:54 PM on September 26, 2004

To make membership European only seems a bit narrow - there are people who are interested in Europe who don't happen to have been born there. Some of us even study Europe professionally.

You'll find that your membership will be more international than mefi no matter what, simply by being open to new members - monkeyfilter has certainly found that (though because it is still anglophone, many of them are Commonwealth). You just need to be clear about the purpose of the filter - to have an explicit focus on discussion of European politics, news, etc - throw in multiple languages, and Europeans will definately dominate the discussion.

But in any case, good luck!
posted by jb at 10:02 PM on September 26, 2004

I agree, jb. I would be very surprised to see it actually come down that way. I think the focus should really be the content, not the precise geographic location of the poster.
posted by taz at 11:07 PM on September 26, 2004

This sounds like a great idea, and I'd be interested to contribute.

I'll put a reminder to myself to get to the irc on wednesday, however is that UK, GMT or CET time?
posted by sebas at 1:13 AM on September 27, 2004

I'm in!

I do agree that anyone interested in European things should be encouraged to join. My experience on eGullet, a gastronomy forum and, er, MetaFilter, is that non-Europeans (mostly Americans) are often the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Also, being genuinely cosmopolitan (since they transcend their own culture and embrace the world), they are able to make cross-national comparisons and connections which tend to elude those of us who are more embedded in our own cultures.

Although I appreciate that most members will be from the UK, isn't it time to abandon once and for all the old "British/Continental" and "UK/EU" divides? The UK is in the EU and the European Continent is - how shall I put it? - quite big when compared to the total British landmass.

In my view, it should be "about Europe", including the whole of geographical Europe (i.e. how European could it be without, say, Russia or Turkey, as well as the enormous quantity of other very interesting cultures and nations?), with no mention of the EU.

Even this is a little limiting as many European countries are intimately tied to other non-European countries. Portugal, for instance, is incomprehensible without Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cabo Verde etc. Britain makes little sense without its interest in a lot of countries which were recently (very temporarily, of course) considered colonies. India or the so-called West Indies alone... Same for France, Holland etc.

Perhaps a typically wishy-washy European definition could be used, like the old-fashioned "European outlook" to mean something like "Stuff that interests people who are interested in Europe", rather than just living there. Why shouldn't all the fascinating intersections of European cultures with non-European cultures (which are still crucial in Europe's self-definition) be shut out? The most popular British dish is an indigenously-created concotion which, although not typical, owes much to the cuisines of India, as is the very word "curry".

It would be a great shame to shut out Asians, Africans and any others who are genuinely as interested in European cultures as many Europeans are in theirs.

Congratulations on a great idea, dashie! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:17 AM on September 27, 2004

What the Portugese guy said.
posted by ginz at 2:38 AM on September 27, 2004

Response by poster: Y'all need to get involved - these definitions are up for grabs before the site is loaded. There is no set definition as yet of European, and there is nowhere a divide between the EU and the UK - whatever gave you that idea, my good man?

See the wiki, add to it, come to IRC: it's the only way to contribute effectively! You'll see that we are not finished debating, so I hope you can chip in, Miggy (glad to see the old email *does* work!)

See you there - and you, ginz!
posted by dash_slot- at 3:16 AM on September 27, 2004

Damn no, the old e-mail *does not* work, dashie! I lucked on this thread (which should really be posted to MetaTalk as a legitimate "Mefi gatherings" post, in order to gather more suggestions and willing partners) whilst browsing through AskMe. I've had this complaint from other fellow members. It seems like I'm being spam-filtered into oblivion. I must open a normal, unfiltered, cask-strength e-mail account shortly. Sorry for not responding!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:22 AM on September 27, 2004

And how to handle expats? A German living in the US or, conversely, a Yank living in Denmark.

Do you allow either of them to become a member?
posted by Dagobert at 4:05 AM on September 27, 2004

Just tell me when you guys launch, mkay? This irc thing is not my thing.
posted by NekulturnY at 4:11 AM on September 27, 2004

The feeling is that contributions from anyone will be most welcome, regardless of their location - so long as the content of the post is appropriate. Speaking of which, Miguel said:

Perhaps a typically wishy-washy European definition could be used, like the old-fashioned "European outlook" to mean something like "Stuff that interests people who are interested in Europe", rather than just living there. Why shouldn't all the fascinating intersections of European cultures with non-European cultures (which are still crucial in Europe's self-definition) be shut out?

I think this comes dangerously close to saying posts about *anything* are acceptable. I'm European and I'm fascinated by the outcome of the US Presidential election. America was a British colony. So by your argument it should be reasonable to post about domestic American election campaign news. I'd emphatically argue against this. Now if Bush or Kerry made a speech which centred on foreign policy with Europe, or a trade agreement with France, I might be more inclined to post it. I think all content should be *about* Europe, though.

So, if we are to post about a(n ex-)Europen colony, it should somehow tie in with a European event or perspective. It should not merely be news about that colony. If we are to post about the influence of India on British cuisine - fine, but the post shouldn't be about Indian cuisine.

My reason for thinking this is that good weblogs and websites stick to their subject matter. Readerships are built this way. The idea is to have a weblog about Europe - so let's have a weblog about Europe.
posted by nthdegx at 4:34 AM on September 27, 2004

So, if we are to post about a(n ex-)European colony, it should somehow tie in with a European event or perspective. It should not merely be news about that colony. If we are to post about the influence of India on British cuisine - fine, but the post shouldn't be about Indian cuisine.

Good point, nthdegx. You're right. I agree that this would be a fruitful (yet entirely acceptable) limitation, well phrased. I spoke of intersections but was far too general. I recognize the danger of being too broad and, in fact, becoming a MetaFilter with less purely American stuff.

As long as participation isn't limited and your generous definition of subject matter is generously accepted - though I envisage intense discussions about what somehow ties in with a European event or perspective - I now see I was far too lax.

Though I must say that the definition of "European" - whatever it is - still makes me fear of musty, self-serving and exclusivist interpretations. I'd hate, for instance, that we'd replicate the sour "This is an American web site" mantra which sometimes pops up on MetaFilter with its worse-sounding, even slightly fascist-sounding and sinister counterpart: "This is a European web site."

Not that this would be a danger at all, given the quality of the people involved. But say someone posted something interesting about Indian cuisine, with no attempt to dress it up as somehow relevant to European gastronomy. Wouldn't it be up to those commenting to throw light on possible intersections? Doesn't what happens in Indian cuisine filter through (eventually) to Europe? For instance, the question of more or less authentic Indian restaurants in Europe?

It's all down to the way it works in practice. And, in this sense, I heartily recommend your definition as being usefully definitional - identifying a definite character - whilst not putting off potential members from outside Europe.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:05 AM on September 27, 2004

Response by poster: Good points.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:42 AM on September 27, 2004

Response by poster: Miggy, I do want to say this: it will be a european website.

That is it's raison d'etre. I don't want to turn this into a cause celebre, for fear of generating any schadenfreude in the cogniscenti, should these entrepreneurs of l'entente cordiale fail.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:15 AM on September 27, 2004

I know what you mean, Miguel and I may say I share your concerns. There are lots of potential issues that could arise but I think many people think it's better to plough on and tackle these things as, when and if they become a problem rather than get bogged down too early on.
posted by nthdegx at 7:39 AM on September 27, 2004

That is it's raison d'etre. I don't want to turn this into a cause celebre, for fear of generating any schadenfreude in the cogniscenti, should these entrepreneurs of l'entente cordiale fail.

Touché! ;)
posted by XiBe at 1:34 AM on September 28, 2004

Thanks dash_slot.

On the whole I agree that although the focus should be European the membership shouldn't be excluded by geographical boundaries.

Insidentally, love the name Viewropa.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:45 PM on September 28, 2004

... which reminds me -- will the site have a spellchecker?
posted by feelinglistless at 3:46 PM on September 28, 2004

Just checked the Wiki. Looking at the mock-ups, it looks like we're going for a Metafilter style system, which is fine. I'm assuming that if someone is posting a longer article on a subject, they would offer a title and synopsis on the main page with a kind of [more inside] mechanism. It would be nice though to have this kind of functionality added from the off -- for example a posting page which could deal with both a short or long post -- I'm thinking the link on the long article would go directly into the thread rather than to an external link.
posted by feelinglistless at 4:04 PM on September 28, 2004

Best answer: count me in! and could we perhaps have a little photoblog in a sidebar that we can send interesting pics too?
posted by dabitch at 10:02 AM on September 29, 2004

Response by poster: Love that idea, dabitch!

Listen, tonight may get a bit unwieldy, with lots of commenters. Maybe we can set up another room in IRC to split off the different issues: tech/language/modding. Mind you, some - like you - have an interest in more than one area. We could have segments of the chat - to get the agenda completed.

To all:
Please all be patient, and make as many positive comments as you can. The issues of multiple posting languages and 'moderation by group' are particularly difficult and sensitive. Remember, this is a fairly untried concept: problem solving and ability to work together in a leaderful way are crucial to success.

Oh, and this just in: I've just updated in thast week from Win98SE, to XP, to [today] XP - sp2. Expect me to have connection problems.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:50 AM on September 29, 2004

Response by poster: I've just updated in the last week
posted by dash_slot- at 11:15 AM on September 29, 2004

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