ivi writes " This is a 'third party' review of QRZ.COM's new 'Look & Feel' by somebody who likes the underlying /. conferencing technology Anybody who has visited SlashDot.org ('News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters') will recognize QRZ.COM's new look as a neat & welcome 'spin-off' of that site. While there are lots of news sites around the 'net that let readers submit articles (some based on the innovative SlashDot model), I'm glad to see that QRZ.COM has provided us one for Amateur Radio news, issues, reviews & other stories. Now, anyone who implments a SlashDot 'spin-off' can - and usually does - customize their site; e.g. we've just seen a change to QRZ.COM that (hopefully, only for the short term) precludes anonymous postings. I see the following as valuable features of each site (when enabled by the owner/operator): <ul> [*]Unlike USENET newsgroup threads, QRZ.COM's articles & the comments they attract are likely to be online in a very convenient format I.e. the article & all comments appear on ONE page or, at worst, a small number of pages, in the case of very heavily commented articles Many a SlashDot article attracts several hundred comments from as many readers I'm really looking forward to the time when - using QRZ.COM - we hams will have as many minds focussing on issues or technologies that affect us, e.g.: <ul> [*]Brainstorming creative approaches to design or regulatory issues, discussing the trade-offs of a proposed contest rule, etc. [*]Sharing workable solutions to day-to-day problems of design, repair or even recruiting new blood into our hobby [*]Sharing reviews of new modes, gear, antenna designs, etc. [*]Helping to get new projects off the ground (i.e. using the Internet to make things happen, as Linux & Open Source people do) [*]Gathering material for new books or (better) online collections of interest to hams [/list] [*]Unlike packet BBS's (which in .au, at least, require the owner/operator to monitor all traffic flowing through them), SlashDot 'spin-off' sites let users to do the moderating! I don't mean one or even a small number of users doing all the moderating, all of the time... (don't you just hate some of every umpire's calls? ;-) Here, moderator teams can & do vary... every couple of days! Each time a new team is needed, the system randomly selects some active, long-time users, who have been noticed (also automatically, by the system) to have been posting interesting articles and/or comments to the site... The randomly selected users will be invited to moderate (their choice of) just a few postings, for just a few days That is, they don't get 'absolute power' for 'way too long' If a user accepts the moderator task, s/he will be able to adjust the rating of a few comments posted earlier by others... but only if s/he hasn't yet posted comments to the same article. Any user can - at any time - adjust their 'preferences' so as to let them see only those comments with ratings at or higher than a selected rating-level By chosing a rating level, each user can effectively get QRZ.COM to filter out most 'off-topic' or impolite comments, and show him just the ones that people have found to be worth the time it takes to read. (Of course, a user can change their threshhold at any time, e.g. to see what they may be missing...) When enough users are active on QRZ.COM, this will very likely start to happen here... relieving the owner/operator of a time-demanding chore than nobody like to do ...and giving the resulting 'community' of QRZ.COM users the chance to decide for itself what is relavent and/or valuable, of the many comments that its articles will generate Think of it a bit like Peer Review that scientists & engineers (e.g. on standards committees) apply to each others' work It's not a be-all and end-all system... but it seem to do a reasonable job Of course, it works best when there are lots of users, actively involved in the process of contributing articles, comments &, at times, rating others' comments [/list] So, what's not so good about the new QRZ.COM? Fortunately, not much. But any new system will improve with fine-tuning and age... Here's what we see today: <ul> [*]The number of type-labels that we can choose from for our articles is small At the moment we can't label an article "Ask the QRZ.COM community" or the like... E.g. I'd like to post something of the form: "Ask QRZ users: How did you get started in Ham Radio?" - a very popular question when asked on packet networks [*]As with the original SlashDot site, writing articles or comments to them, requires a bit of HTML skill... if only to get white space between one's paragraphs Perhaps it would suffice - for those who don't like HTML as much as the rest of us - to use that pair of HTML commands that (when they enclose the text of an article) retain any blank lines the author has entered, as s/he wrote it... [*]We need more active users of QRZ.COM ...so, go tell somebody about it... ;-) [/list] Disclaimer: The Author has no pecuniary interest in QRZ.COM or /. PS: For details of the mother-site's moderating system, etc. c.f.: http://slashdot.org/faq/"