This past winter, I had a little falling out with Metblogs. I’d been writing for them for a while, when BOOM! Metblogs central decided to relaunch the site with a plethora of technical issues. As a technologist, I found that annoying.
But what really got to me (and a bunch of other writers) was the new registration requirement for comments. A couple of us were summarily “fired” by Metblogs honcho Sean Bonner (I subsequently had my account re-enabled) for complaining about this, and a bunch of others quit in disgust.
Ugly words were exchanged between the rump of the Portland Metblogs crew and those publicly critical of the changes. Talk immediately began of starting up something to replace Portland Metblogs, with total local autonomy, to replace what was once a lively discussion forum.
As I suspected it would, Portland Metblogs has been dying a long, slow public death ever since. New posts are rare. Comments even rarer. Portland Metblogs has long since faded into irrelevance in the Portland blogosphere.
I made one attempt to spark things up, and proposed positioning the site as one of public journalism. Though respondents to my poll overwhelmingly supported the idea of public journalism, the idea went over like a lead balloon with a couple MB stalwarts. They clearly didn’t understand the idea of public journalism vs. social networking, and certainly didn’t appreciate me rocking their little boat.
It was pretty much at that point that I decided I wasn’t doing myself any favors by continuing to contribute to the site. And it’s only gone downhill since then.
Now, just over three months later, it looks like a group of former Portland Metblogs contributors (including “captains” Betsy Richter and dieselboi) have started their own site. With open comments.
There could still be hope for Metblogs. My suggestions of public journalism, open comments and revenue sharing to attract quality writers were met with hostility when I floated them before. Metblogs could be a voice in the Portland digital media milieu. But most likely it will quietly fade further into irrelevance.