I checked the Alexa traffic ranking for this site last week, and it’s down 60% in the last three months… I will be emerging properly from hibernation in a couple of weeks, and livening things up around here.
In the meantime, does anyone know what happened (or is happening) to Napster’s Narchive (this link doesn’t work for me at the moment, but it used to be the Narchive’s address and I can’t find one that does)? I mentioned it when it was launched six months ago, as “the people’s music archive”. I added some comments to one or two entries shortly thereafter, and I noticed the level of activity was low. For a month or more, now, I haven’t been able to reach it at all. Have Napster quietly killed it?
Part of the reason I ask is because, I’ve just come across the Wiki Music Guide, which is in beta (isn’t everyone?), and seems to be aiming to occupy a similar space, albeit with a format that’s much closer to Wikipedia and also uses MediaWiki software. I added a brief profile of Philip Jeays. Right now, there are fewer than 250 artists on the guide, and those that are there vary between stubs and puff pieces that wouldn’t qualify under Wikipedia’s neutral-point-of-view criteria.
I guess Wikipedia must have looked like this once. The question Why do we need this? could perfectly reasonably be answered with Why not? I believe strongly in the unregulated ethos of the net that says, if someone wants to do something that appears to duplicate effort elsewhere, no one should be able to stop them. (Bureaucrats and funding regimes abhor the ‘waste’ in such duplication — most things they abhor are OK with me.)
However, I I’m not sure I’m going to be investing much more or my time and words in Wiki Music Guide for a while. My thinking goes like this. Firstly, what happens if this goes the way that Napster Narchive may have gone? Presumably my work is lost. Secondly, since Wikipedia and Last.fm have many artist profiles, would I not be better off writing a profile for Philip Jeays on one of those sites, where it stands a better chance not just of still being there in a year’s time, but of being read and improved by others?
In fact, I’ve just taken my own advice and cannibalised my text on the Wiki Music Guide to add it to a Philip Jeays bio on Last.fm.
The economics of effort and scale in wikis seem to lead to a concentration in a few large, well-maintained and very successful (at least for some purposes) resources. Blogs are the opposite.