Monthly Archives: December 2010

Crowdsourcing request: Help us create a list of blogs for v. 2.0

Update: Thanks to everyone for your help! We’ve finished updating the database. Look here for news on our launch on Saturday, January 15.

In just under three weeks, we’ll be unveiling the beta version of the next generation of this site.

The new site will work very differently from this one; it is a custom-created database that collects information from hundreds—and ultimately thousands of blogs. Users will easily be able to select just the topics they want, instead of seeing posts based on what network they are on. We want the beta site to be usable from day one, but to do that, we need some help.

I’ve created a Google Docs Spreadsheet for this purpose. Anyone can access the spreadsheet and make modifications. What we need are the name, URL, RSS address, and topic of each blog. What we have, in most cases, is just the URL. If everyone pitches in and visits 10 to 20 blogs, then we should be able to generate this information in a matter of days, if not hours.

Most of the blogs are listed on the Master Blog List (the first tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet). To start helping, just fill in the information in the space provided. If you figure out an automated way of doing this, you can reserve a block of blogs by typing your name in the designated column; then no one will duplicate your efforts.

The reason we need humans to do this is that we want the blogs to be classified by topic. We’ve generated a list of topics (on the last tab in the spreadsheet). When you visit a blog, figure out what topic from our list best describes the blog, and enter it in the space provided (most web browsers will display a drop-down menu to make this easy for you).

The other tabs are for blog networks that are a little more difficult to suss out; either there was no easy way for us to find a list of blogs, or there are non-science blogs mixed in with science blogs. So, we’ve given specific directions for what to do in each case.

FAQs

  • My Blog Isn’t Listed!
    Don’t worry! Either we’ve already got all the info we need (in the case of some blog networks) or you’re an independent blogger and you’ll be able to register your blog when the site launches. If you don’t think you’re in either of those camps, let us know in the comments below
  • None of the official topics apply to this blog
    Just pick the closest match. You can get more specific in the secondary topic
  • I don’t agree with your list of topics
    We had to start somewhere. The list will be easily modifiable in the future.
  • One of the listed blogs is not scientific
    Explain your objection in the Notes section on the spreadsheet
  • Someone has reserved a block of blogs for hours
    You can use File –> See revision history to see how recently an update was made. If it’s been more than an hour, feel free to delete their name, substitute yours, and work on that entry
  • There’s no drop-down menu of topics
    Try using a different browser. I’ve tested it on Safari and Firefox, but I can confirm it doesn’t work on Chrome for Mac.
  • What’s in it for me?
    Our eternal gratitude? Plus, if we see you at a conference, we’ll buy you a beer

Thanks again. Let us know if you have any other questions in the comments.

Here’s another link to the Google Docs Spreadsheet