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Help me out here

So, there’s a lot of pro-gun activists on the Internet. I mean, there’s a ton. We’re just not all in the same place what with message boards, live journal, face book, etc, etc. If everyone actually got together, we’d be pretty influential, I would venture.

Any ideas on how to do that?

Update: Some ideas here.

Seriously, I don’t think we realize how many of us there are with,, DU’s gun board, FR’s gunnies, blogs, etc. There are a lot.

23 Responses to “Help me out here”

  1. mostlygenius Says:

    Well you could update the TLB Community a little more often.

    Seriously, I think that some sort of grand unified list/website would be fantastic. Looking at similar efforts (Nation of Riflemen, Gunopedia, Gunbloggers) without the backing of a major player it is pretty hard to build a portal that is recognized as “the” portal.

  2. Robb Allen Says:

    Three things – Boobies, beer, and Monster Trucks.

    At least, that’s what the Brady Bunch would have you believe.

  3. SayUncle Says:

    the ttlb is beyond my control. i only sign people up for it. beyond that, it’s all TTLB’s code.

  4. Sailorcurt Says:

    I’ve been trying to figure that one out for years. Once you have the solution, let me know…I’m in.

    I can tell you what I think the major challenge to getting us all on the same page is:

    We all tend to be individualists. We aren’t reliant on “society” or a group identity (not even as gun rights activists). Even those of us that are active in pro-rights organizations don’t see ourselves as primarily members of a group, but as individuals. I know that if every other activist on the face of the planet disappeared tomorrow…I’d still be doing what I do.

    Heck, I didn’t even know a lot of these other activists were out here until I started blogging a couple of years ago and started running across them. Now I have over a hundred blogs in my RSS feeds.

    I do think we need some sort of centralized “rallying point”, information booth, meeting place…whatever you want to call it, but I have no idea how to get enough people to buy into it to get it rolling.

  5. _Jon Says:

    Wellllll, look at you.. Getting the ‘organizing’ bug. Good on you!
    I’ve stopped beating that drum a while ago.

    On the serious side, start be defining what you want. Like any project, clearly defined goals makes a lot of difference. Be specific. Do you want a loose-knit online community? Do you want a PAC? What?
    Next, define how you want it to operate. Repeat for the other features.

    Personally, I’d create a group in Yahoo! and have people sign up for it. Then I’d moderate that to keep it focused upon the topics you want it to stay focused upon (see “defining”, above). The discussions would route through people’s e-mail readers which aren’t subject to as many firewall rules, and the discussions would be multi-directional (e.g. reader-to-all, reader-to-reader, etc.).

  6. Lornkanaga Says:

    DU has a gun board? Whodda thunk?

  7. mostlygenius Says:

    Some of these solutions being proposed are labor intensive and moderation heavy. You really do not want to go back to the heyday of rec.guns.

    Making yet another forum or mailing list kind of defeats the purpose, because it is a non-discoverable walled garden. We have enough of those already.

    I would hate to write what I think is a great post, only get to it zapped because the moderator doesn’t think it’s relevant enough. Moderation works for discussions, but part of the reason to have your own blog is so people can’t moderate your speech.

  8. Gregory Morris Says:

    I’ll step outside the box here for a second and disagree with your implied hypothesis that a “unified coalition” of interwebified-gunnies would be a good thing. The power of the internet lies in the network of independent nodes rather than central power. Sometimes the nodes can be harnessed to work in parallel, but they can’t and shouldn’t be synchronized. This is because the internet’s culture is define by more by trends than actual organized groups. Things come and go too quickly. Too many people have too many disparate beliefs. The power still exists, but it is distributed. In fact, I would argue that centralizing it would diminish what power currently exists within this disordered amalgamation.

  9. Nomen Nescio Says:

    DU’s gun board is actually not half bad. not worth registering a DU username for, in my eyes, but worth lurking on. there’s maybe a handful of dyed-in-the-wool ban-em-all antis on there, and it’s always the same ones; ignoring them, the rest of the board seems like one of those much-touted cross sections of america, pretty much.

  10. Rob Says:

    I tend to agree with Gregory Morris on this.

  11. Matt Says:

    I tend to agree with Greg as well. For the simple reason that if we were a unified force, some antis might use that to play off as a front for the evil gun lobby. Especially if it was backed by a major gun industry player. No better way to lose the credibility as an individual citizen in favor of gun rights that to be supported by the very same industry in some way, shape or form you claim to not be part of.

    I think our power arises from the very fact we are distributed and have differing views. When we write letters, they are individual, not some canned web form that 1000 others clicked on and can be dismissed just as easily by an overworked staffer. Same goes for our testimony when we stand before our legislatures. The words “I am Joe Citizen and I have taken a day off work to come and speak before you today…” is very powerful. Don’t discount it. I did until I did it myself and saw what could happen.

    I think we do pretty well on our own. When things matter, it doesn’t take long for the word to get out one way or the other. Network effects have power that no monolithic, central planning portal or committee can hope to match.

  12. Ace Says:

    But why not do both? Be a unified force but still retain your individuality? Much in the same way as a barbershop quartet works. Each individual voice contributes to the one total sound.

    What I’m getting from Unc is the necessity of a rallying point (as Sailorcurt noted).

    In essence, our own Bat-signal. Or “Avengers Assemble!” alert.

    As Greg put it “Sometimes the nodes can be harnessed to work in parallel.”

    I think we could use something like that. Some harnessing mechanism. Shine the signal to assemble the unified force, define the goal, and let each person do their individual job to reach that goal.

    The antis surely have a similar rallying mechanism in order to gather their “Lie-In” folks. Why can’t we have one, too?

  13. Alcibiades McZombie Says:

    I think the solution has something to do with RSS feeds…

    Perhaps an RKBA news ticker website? Blogs and websites could pull down the RSS and display it on their pages. Maybe there should be some keyword matching (like Google Ads) to display certain news pertaining to that website, and not others.

    Or maybe a “Usenet for RSS feeds”-type thing.

    Sounds like DIGG or something.

  14. Robb Allen Says:

    McZombie, you’re pushing the right buttons there….

    Hmmm… I’m a developer (so is Greg). We can easily create gadgets that could be put on blogs with alerts and whatnot. Those who are interested could subscribe in their preferred RSS readers or just read the tickers.

    How effective it would be depends on a zillion things, but that’s definitely a beginning thought.

    There might be a technological way of keeping people in the loop of things. A tool set, so to speak. It would require financial backing (servers, space, and bandwidth cost money and management would be full time) so a major player wouldn’t hurt, but you could use whatever tools you felt served you the best. Allowing individuality while harnessing the grassroots effort.

    Hmmm (insert dreamy harp sound here)

  15. Gregory Morris Says:

    Robb: I’ll help, as long as I don’t have to write anything in VB.Net.

    Anyway, my response got too long again…

  16. Rob Says:

    *raise hand* I am also a developer, and willing to help.

  17. illspirit Says:

    As per the link in the update, something like Digg or Reddit would be good. Or maybe more like Fark, where a group of moderators green light links; if only to prevent the system from being hijacked by non-gunnies?

    Spinning off from what Greg and Matt said, the monolithic, collective aspect of it might scare some people away. One thing I’ve noticed through the years of running websites is that some webmasters are hesitant to join super-community because they don’t want to lose readers/commenters to a service further upstream. Likewise, people who are comfortable at a couple of sites or forums already often don’t want to register at yet another place to post.

    In theory, one could alleviate these potential problems (and save the trouble of maintaining a ginormous database) by not having a comment section on every link. Or, in other words, the site could essentially be a a front-end link aggregator for a unified RSS feed mentioned by McZombie. And with some fancy link grouping, perhaps blog posts on similar subject could be attached to the primary link (to display either on an expandable “tree,” or on a filtered page) in place of traditional replies.

    Naturally, some sort of discussion area might be needed for, say, site feedback/help. But overall, it might be best if the main focus wasn’t on discussion. At best, trying to get all the gunnies on the net talking on a a single site would be like herding cats. At worst, it would be a huge, unmanageable spam fest. Seeing as there already tons of gun forums out there, making another would be like re-inventing the wheel anyway.

  18. Curtis Lowe Says:

    I’m in when you get it figured out. If nothing else, it would be interesting to see the actual number of all us out there…

  19. Alcibiades McZombie Says:

    I think the idea is not to bring people to a central site, but bring the information to the multitude of sites out there. A type of widget/tool could be added to websites to spread information.

    I think there are two concepts:

    1.) A “News Alert Widget” that lists posts pulled from various sources and on topics from the site-owner’s choice (via a word tagging system or something). This is more “top-down” in that someone is making the choices for what and when something should appear.

    2.) An “Ad Widget”. Like Google Text Ads, it displays stories/posts based on the page content. If an obscure, gun-related message board is having a discussion on political candidates, then stories about voting records could appear. (Results could also be weighted with tagging and whatnot.) The search algorithm would index off of voluntarily added RSS feeds.

    (It could be possible to do both. Have some “News Alert” links and some “Content-based” links. Either way, both would basically be sideline boxes with links to gun-related info. This link-box would hopefully be added to most pro-gun websites.)

    It’d still be a major pain to implement, though.

  20. words twice Says:

    I’m a total novice when it comes to blogging, but I’d be willing to participate to the extent that I can.

    I’m not sure a centralized approach is best. I have been playing around with a YouTube account; the Friends, Subscribers, Active Sharing and Bulletins functions could be used to good effect by a community of firearms enthusiasts. Or maybe it already is, but all I’ve succeeded in finding there are videos of morons setting their guns on fire.

    My two cents, for what it’s worth.

  21. Yuri Orlov Says:

    Not to toot my own horn, but my group is an attempt to bring us together for such a purpose. It’s not very active presently, though anyone is welcome to join and contribute.

  22. LibertyNews Says:

    That was one of the reasons I started the site — the TLB site was totally dead and I wanted to keep up with all my favorite gun bloggers.

  23. LibertyNews Says:

    Alcibiades McZombie – Actually, I could do that with my top posts feature. I already count links and show the 10 most popular posts at the top of the page. I should be able to create an applet that people can embed, or a simple static text file that gets updated periodically.

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