HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Ken Doctor: The New York Times’ financials show the transition to digital accelerating
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 15, 2011, 3:30 p.m.

Take that, Craigslist! n0tice, The Guardian’s community message board, makes its public debut

The service wants to be a user-friendly place for community members to come together.

Today brings the public launch of n0tice, The Guardian’s new tool that brings a digital sensibility to the age-old practice of community messaging. (Think Craigslist, with SoLoMo sensibilities.) The service allows community members to create customized noticeboards (the So part) that are tailored to a particular geographic area (LoMo).

So far, says Matt McAlister, the Guardian’s director of digital strategy, “there have been loads of noticeboards created,” and “people are starting to be a little bit more creative about it” (using, say, customized logos and snazzy backgrounds for their sites).

The posts — and noticeboards are free both to create and to use — have ranged so far from the urgent (“Police have released an image of a man wanted in connection with a sexual assault on the Wilmslow Road“) to the less so (“Tonight is baking night at the superb Sofi’s bar in Leith“). And the service, via buttons, allows users to comment on the posts themselves, flagging: Does it matter? Will people care? Is it true?

But the real test of n0tice’s capabilities, of course, will be whether its noticeboards can penetrate their intended communities. “What we haven’t seen yet — and this is what today is about — is people promoting their noticeboards out to their communities,” McAlister notes. Today, public beta and all, is the first day that the community messages can actually live within communities. And much of the work that McAlister and his team have been doing since n0tice launched in private beta has involved optimizing its infrastructure, he says, “to make sure that it could support a lot more activity.” (For more on the back-end workings of n0tice, check out this nice explanatory post.)

What’s especially noteworthy, though, Craigslist analogies aside, is actually how post-Craisglisty n0tice is in its efforts to empower its users. Rather than offer a one-size-fits-all design, n0tice gives users tons of flexibility in terms of the customization of their community spaces: Not only will noticeboard administrators (whom the service, tellingly, refers to as “owners”) get to select and promote their own domains, but they’ll also be able to customize the aesthetics of their sites. And, most intriguingly, they can track the performance of their messages using n0tice’s social analytics tools (provided, in this case, by both Chartbeat and Google Analytics). With those tools, McAlister points out, “you can see how people are actually using your site.” They give every noticeboard creator the power normally enjoyed only by domain owners: to track, and understand, the behavior of sites’ users.

In addition, n0tice allows site owners to moderate community activity on their sites — allowing you, the user, to “try and encourage people to behave the way you want them to behave on your noticeboard.” Which makes a lot of sense — the whole point of the noticeboards is that they’re optimized for usage by a whole range of communities, with a whole range of behavioral standards — and will also be an interesting experiment to follow, from the perspective of community-driven moderation. As will, in fact, n0tice overall: a service that also serves as a great example of a newspaper thinking — and acting — more like a platform than a simple content provider.

POSTED     Nov. 15, 2011, 3:30 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Ken Doctor: The New York Times’ financials show the transition to digital accelerating
The numbers may look flat, but they contain a continuing set of ups and downs. Up next: executing on a year’s worth of launches.
Before the “teaching hospital model” of journalism education: 5 questions to ask
It’ll take a new generation of academic leadership — willing to incur the wrath of faculty, the greater university, alumni, industry, and analysts — to break through the old ways we train journalists.
Controlled chaos: As journalism and documentary film converge in digital, what lessons can they share?
Old and new media types from journalism, documentary, and technology backgrounds gathered at MIT to share practices and discuss mutual concerns.
What to read next
1020
tweets
The newsonomics of the millennial moment
The new wave of news startups is aiming at a younger audience. But do legacy media companies have a chance at earning their attention?
803A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
The two apps were part of the paper’s plan to increase digital subscribers through smaller, targeted offerings. Now, with staff cutbacks on the way, one app is being shuttered and the other is being adjusted.
413The new Vox daily email, explained
The company’s newsletter, Vox Sentences, enters an increasingly crowded inbox. Can concise writing and smart aggregation on the day’s news help expand their audience?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Conde Nast
El Faro
San Francisco Chronicle
O Globo
Dallas Morning News
Kickstarter
AOL
New West
The Washington Post
Center for Investigative Reporting
The New Yorker
The Bay Citizen