Feb 12, 2006
posted at 16:39 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid
But what I failed to understand is that the fee basically caused Rhizome to cease to exist. As the founders and current directors of Rhizome know well, to exist on the network you need to be linked. I am hyper-referenced therefor I am. Rhizome’s membership fee effectively shuts down links to articles and artwork on Rhizome’s web site.
I know, it’s free on friday. But if I want to link to a Rhizome post or artwork, am I to attach a disclaimer? “This link only functions on Fridays.”
I know, first time’s free. But what if I have visitors to my site who follow the links to Rhizome regularly? They get shut out.
Why should Rhizome care? Since I can’t trust links will resolve to the article or the artwork they point too, I simply don’t link to Rhizome. I didn’t mean this to happen, it just started happening. I can’t help but think that other people must feel the same way.
These days newer on-line publishing technologies like weblogs, (RSS, RDF, Atom) feeds, and link aggregators (like del.icio.us) are connecting people to information in very exciting ways but I have a feeling that Rhizome is being left out and left behind. How many blogs link to Rhizome articles and artworks? Probably not many, blog authors know the value of freely linking across the web; Rhizome stops them at the door.
Being locked up behind the membership fee leads to a degradation in the content on Rhizome. We could argue whether it’s happening or not — I’m not sure it’s happening myself — but I’m sure it’s going to happen and I’ll tell you why. Folks don’t want to post to closed forums. If they want their articles read or their artwork looked at they want to be linked far and wide. Sure they might drop a post on Rhizome (if they’re a member) and a few other places. If the other places are free, guess where the links will go? Not to Rhizome. So at best you’ll get duplicate content on Rhizome which is harder to find. Since not as many people are finding Rhizome, membership might start to drop. Since membership is dropping even fewer articles are posted; a very bad downward cycle could start.
Rhizome needs to drop the fee, find new ways to connect with new audiences — an XML feed of the Rhiz list posts would be a good start — and then work on ways to get these new audiences to donate voluntarily.
Perhaps it was an emergency at the time the fee curtain came down. I hope it’s over and Rhizome finds a way to free their content.
I really want to link Rhizome. permanent link to this post