Why are you here?

I've been really thinking a lot about Oasis the past few days, which is why there haven't been many posts here. Oasis only gets a limited chunk of my day, so thinking about Oasis has consumed a big part of that time.

Part of what prompted it was my preparing to launch an Oasis podcast. Initially, I was learning how to mix a show that would have been incredibly time-consuming, but sound like our own version of NPR. Of course, then I realized that NPR has hundreds of people involved in making it sound that good. So, I was setting the bar too high, crossfading music through interviews, and such. I came to the conclusion that my job is to just cherry-pick the best parts of the interviews, and piece them together. Stay out of the way as much as possible.

It hit me when I was listening to Kevin Smith's SModcast. I really listen to it because I want to hear Kevin Smith (director of Clerks, Chasing Amy, etc). He and his producer Scott Mosier just ramble on about random topics for udner an hour, but then the show is post-produced and, if they were talking about a barking dog or something, sound is added under them of dogs barking. And I really figured out that I listen for them, not for some great experience. I just want it raw and real.

Also, when I listened to Jian's "That's So Gay" podcast, I realized that I was most engaged when he talked about himself, his life, etc., and when it became about people writing in, and answering their questions, I wasn't as into it.

So, the Oasis podcast should just stand on the notion of the interviews and other content, not how expertly I can put them together. If all this stuff grows and grows, sure, we can get someone to pretty things up. But as I mentioned, Oasis has a chunk of my time blocked off every day, and that time is reading books to review, watching DVDs to review, setting up interviews, doing the interviews, transcribing the interviews, reading other websites, etc., etc. and I'm pretty liberal about it. It's hard to count watching a DVD I want to see anyway as some sort of work, etc. So, doing the podcast needs to take as little time as possible, to deliver as much benefit as possible. It needs to exist in a world of limited time, though, which means tweak it, edit it, post it, move on.

But, my other question is harder to figure out, and I need to keep it focused specifically on the kinds of content I am writing, can write, should write, etc. But what kind of stuff are you waiting for? What would bring you here more often and make Oasis even more of a regular stop?

To be clear, I think a lot of the stuff Adrian is (one hopes) doing will be a big part of that. But he and I have separate jobs. When he launches oasisjournals (soon?), that doesn't affect me. My content will still be taking up the front of oasis magazine.

Also, my job has many different goals. Part of what I do is to post content that reaches out to different groups and pulls in new members. For example, when I did the Gideon Glick interview for Spring Awakening, that was responsible for more than 50 percent of our referral traffic (meaning it was linked directly from other websites), which was huge. Some of them stayed.

My other job is to keep people on Oasis longer. So, once you're like, 'OK, I think I got the whole gay thing sorted out,' what will keep you here? Part of that will be led discussions, and creating some fun new resources. I think the Life Lessons series is a step in the right direction there, and that is a first step. That gives older members of the site, people not even on the site, anyone really, the chance to contribute to something that will (over a period of time) become a valuable resource to people finding us for the first time with a lot of questions and confusion.

But then there's a third audience for what I write, which is all of you who are already here. You are, at present, the biggest audience for the content. So, everything I do is a matter of trying to please those three audiences, and most things hit all three at different percentages.

So, the question is... what do you want more of? What are you surprised to find hasn't appeared here yet? What is the most helpful stuff? What is irrelevant (keeping in mind that what is possibly irrelevant for you might be targeting one of the other audiences more directly) to you?

Some upcoming stuff I'm planning, to give you some idea of the direction of things:

-- I'm trying to get an interview with a guy who wrote a book on cutting and how to treat it, since that is a huge blind spot for me on the site. What is it about, what are the treatment options, what can people do on their own to address it, etc.

-- Working on an interview with a transgender activist (just finishing up the book before I set it up) to provide some more trans-friendly stuff on the site, which along with getting more women featured here is clearly part of something I'm trying to address.

-- More interactive stuff, like Life Lessons. Could be an "Ask Jeff" column, or whatever.

-- Trying to get the book reviews launched soon. I have a few books here that I need to get out to some of the people who signed up to do reviews for the site. need to work with Adrian on getting a new member-type, so those people can see a forum about what's available to review, etc.

-- The podcast. I found *so few* good podcasts for gay youth, that I think this could really be huge. But I am thinking a lot about how to do this so that it isn't my show, since I'm an old man. Want to get ya'll more involved in it, by providing content, possibly making it co-hosted with me and others over Skype, etc. Honestly, the more ya'll take things over, the better it reaches other youth. That will clearly change over time.

So, here's your chance... what do you want to see on Oasis. I'm specifically not looking for a "real job" right now because I want to dedicate myself to doing this for all of you and everyone else that will find it as a result.

But I want it to be about you.

Some of the stuff I love from the old site (polls, more of your stuff on the front page, etc., etc.) will all be resolved with the launch of oasisjournals.com. That site (maybe not on launch, but soon thereafter) will have more user-generated, interactive elements, and you can enter the site through that URL if you want that more than DVD reviews and celebrity interviews.

So, give me my marching orders. I'm here to create the content you want. The more this feels like my site, the more it fails. Give me feedback, give me input, flood me with people you want interviewed, e-mail me with suggestions, pm me about what you like and don't like, offer to host something new on the site, decide ya'll want to create a "spoken word" podcast with people reading their own poems, etc.

And the best part is I am here to make it all happen. For many things, if you have the idea, I have the time to invest and make it a reality.

I have no ego about this site. I'm totally Bryan Adams about it. Everything I do, I do it for you. I am happiest when I click submit and publish something that I think will be well-received.

So, let's open up the floor. What would make Oasis better for you today, and more helpful for kids who are just having questions and going to find the site in a few months.

Let me know...

Comments

msquared's picture

Ponder, ponder...

Well, an instant messaging system for the site would be really neato. That way, if you really want to talk someone, you don't have to play message tag for two and a half centuries, you won't have to worry about getting people's screen names and whether they use MSN, Yahoo!, or AIM, and you could also do chat room kind of dealies if you want to have more than two people in on the fun.

I think the podcast idea is snazz in a can. I'm definitely interested, but I won't have to pay long distance charges or worry about the 'rents interrogating me about mysterious calls, will I?

A page of recommended books and movies would be spiffy, too. Then you won't have to rummage through all of the reviews to pick out the gems.

This last thing is kind of vague and I don't really have a specific idea for it, but I think you could work your magic on it. The thing that I'm looking for most as a gay teen is my daily dose of gay. Gay culture, gay people, gay stories, gay characters, gay news...whatevs. I just need to see/hear/read about other gay people so I can feel like part of a community and know I'm not alone. I need to know that I'm not the only person on the planet who feels the way I do. Reading journals on here helps a little, and I think the podcast would help a lot, too, but there's still something missing. Maybe I'm just being weird, but either way, I'm sure lots of other gay youth feel the exact same way and my opinion could help you get inside our heads. (The ones on our necks! The ones on our necks! =])

“Never forget! The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

jeff's picture

Hmm...

Chat/IM is contingent on the new site rolling out, and us getting some sort of membership levels in place. That seems to be the best way to not let people just come to the site and start chatting with you. We could possibly restrict the ability of someone to IM you that they be on your "friends" list, or that they be of a certain membership level that indicates we trust they are legit and on the right mindset as far as the site being about community, support, etc. rather than anyone being able to immediately log on and asking where you live and your stats and what you're "into," etc. Everything we do has to be approached for how we can do it and it not be misused or creepy, without it also being a system that requires constant monitoring and such.

The podcast itself you will download directly from the site, listen to it in a browser window, or you can subscribe through iTunes, that's it. For contributing content/co-hosting the podcast, you can use Skype to call my Skype account and just leave your content as a voice mail, or I can use Skype to call your cell/landline. I don't think the latter traces back to my skype, btu i can check. If you dial in to my Skype account on your cell, that will show up as you dialing a 415 area code number.

Yeah, I do want to get a page where the "recommended" content will be, as far as DVDs, books, etc.

Hard to say about the "daily dose of gay," I try to do that somewhat with the "Looking Out..." thing, although the media seem to get one gay youth story (like the homelessness study that can out a while back), and it just gets written about by every media outlet, one at a time, rather than a lot of different stories happening at once. But we can sort that out over time. I am looking to profile some headline-makers that are young, and not necessarily just authors and the more publicity-driven content. We can explore this more.

Also, if there are features and stuff you like from other sites, point me at them, and we can see how to Oasify that for ya'll.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

Andrewgirl3's picture

Oasis

Oasis is already one of the best sites out there that i have found through years of searching. I think the move to split into magazine and journal site is a great one and opens up tons of potential. Something I would like to see on Oasis is more trans stuff (which jeff did mention), because while this site has a decent amount of trans members, it doesn't have a lot of resources for them. I know something else i would be interested in is helping write things for the magazine--if you guys ever want a break of some help. But, that's about it. I come to Oasis for the powerful feeling of community it gives out and the great online friends I've made over the years. Oasis lets you look look at other people making their way through life as gltbq and lets you share your story.

jeff's picture

Cool...

Thanks for the kind words.

Right now, the way things are set-up, I don't quite know how to let people publish magazine content that doesn't also give them free reign to change everything about the site, heh. I've mainly been staying out of adrian's way about that stuff until he gets journals launched. but there is definite potential.

Within a week, I should have an interview with the author of Transparent, Cris Beam, who is lesbian, but in the course of the book that explores trans teens in L.A., she becomes the foster mother to one of the trans girls. And I already have an interview sitting in the "unpublished" area of the site waiting to hook onto that, which is our interview with the trans girl, Christina, whom she adopted.

So, yeah, definitely on my radar.

Some of the strange things that I've encountered, and read into this what ya'll want, but whenever I send e-mails asking for interviews... the people pushing the gay males respond quickly, set it up, no issues. Whereas, a lot of the publishers/people behind the trans peeps and females that have come through SF, I hear nothing... I don't quite know what to make of it. I tend to not chase after either side, but that has been pretty consistent across the board.

And, obviously, a lot of the subjects I go after are just the people who enter my field of vision. So, yeah, whatever shows I saw in NYC, I've interviewed the people involved. I'm reading books now to interview specific authors coming through town and all.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

poissonrouges's picture

Oasis took me forever to

Oasis took me forever to find, but once I did it was the end of my search for a really good GLBT forum. And it's turned out to be the perfect community for me.
One thing I'd like to see is a friending system... That just seems to be popular online right now and it would make it so much easier to sort through users' journals. I mean, skimming over the journals page is fun, but it would be nice to have a list of people you "know" just so you don't have togo around searching to see if you missed any entries/w.e. Hopefully that made sense.
Msquared already voiced the dose of gay daily thing... Oh and for the recommended book/dvd/musical/play/etc/etc list, maybe we could run it by a review system? You know how amazon has that whole star rating system? Maybe if Oasis' users could click to tell how many stars they'd rate it? And maybe there could be a page of all the book(etc) by name in alphabetical order for easier look up? And then if someone liked the sound of it or itwas highly rated they could check it out sort of thing.
OH! One thing I absolutely loved that I happened to stumble upon was your interview with Camille Paglia. She seems so amazing and I actually am reading one of her books now (thank you!!).
One other request, I'm not entirely sure how possible this is bc I dont know what type of GLBT liturature is out there, but if we could have some book reviews that deal with an older audience? I obviously don't mean anything too old / risque, b/c there are younger users etc... But I was wondering is you know of any books targeted to a slightly older audience?
Umm... I think that's about it.
Thanks though... to everyone who runs the site really... you're all doing such a great job & we all really appreciate it.

I know there's "black sheep," but what about rainbow ones?

jeff's picture

Well...

Only two people run the site. Adrian does the techie stuff, and I do the non-techie stuff. That's it.

Considering that adrian actually *wrote* the buddylist module for the software we use, that shouldn't be a difficult addition. My goal is that the site grows to a point where we have to use your friend's journals *as* your customized front page on oasisjournals, because I think we could possibly get that many users eventually, whereby that would be the only way to keep up with it all. When we launch Oasis Journals, I'm hoping to have badges and stuff ya'll can put on your various MySpace pages, etc., to try and grow the Oasis community.

I've been specifically focused on the young gay stuff at first, because that entire market happened in the time between when I stopped doing interviews and now, and they are so important to the young users joining that I really wanted to catch up with those. I actually have several "older" books here on my kitchen table, just waiting to send them out to people on the site to review. But once you get past the young adult stuff, and remove the erotica/overly sexual stuff, that's really the majority of books targeting the gay market, so we'll definitely get a lot of that. Right now, the books just trickle in and I mainly request them one at a time. In the very near future, that will change and there will be more than we can possibly handle. Once we get on all the various publishers' radar.

I'll check with Adrian about the rating thing, although it sounds pretty do-able. Adds a good element for people who want to check in on content, but not really write too much about it, click a specific number of stars and move on.

Sounds great, though. Thanks for your help.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

Riku's picture

I love the sound of a

I love the sound of a separate site for journals. And a friends list. Also, I want to be able to set it so only people logged into the website can read my journal. Not a friends only journal, (though that would be a nice feature too.) just so people I know can't find my journal by searching Google or something...

poissonrouges's picture

I was thinking the same

I was thinking the same thing Riku was actually... It kinda freaks me out that there are 25 guests online and then three users by name. Not sure why, but it does.

I know there's "black sheep," but what about rainbow ones?

jeff's picture

Well...

I wouldn't put much merit in those 25 guests being 25 people on the site. I think the "guests" are some people reading the site, but also every computer program crawling the Internet gathering e-mail addresses for spam lists, things like Google scanning the site so we show up in its search results, etc.

Plus, we've had a LOT of people over the years say they've finally had the courage to join Oasis after reading it for more than a year. So, I think you have nothing to fear from the guests.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

jeff's picture

Well...

We have it set now so that Google and other search engines do not index your profile page on Oasis. So, if you have a link to myspace, your AOL IM screen name, etc., on there, no one can find you on Oasis by searching for that info. Now, if you post that info in a forum, in a journal entry, etc., then you're out of luck. ONLY the profile pages don't get scanned, everything else does.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

andyouwillknowmebythesoundofmyname's picture

Oasis feels safe

What struck me about Oasis over other GLBT sites is the tone. It felt really easy to open up here because so many other people have. The journals on the site give Oasis a very personal feel. Oasis, more than many other sites, really feels like a community.
I am here because it is a safe place where I can sound off my frustrations and confusions.

I decided to take a peek in the closet.
What a suprise to find myself hiding inside!

jeff's picture

Cool...

Glad you found it. That's certainly what we're aiming for here. As it grows, I'll need everyone's help to keep us moving in that same direction.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

jojojo's picture

okay...

Okay, I am happy to give you my opinion.

Thjere is something about the new Oasismag which makes me like it less. Since we have more reviews, it seems also much more ... how do I say it... fancy/glamourous/commercial-consumerist/American/gay-sunny-boy/we're-hip. The more often I open the site and first thing I see is a 20-year old pretty boy looking flirtingly at me from a DVD cover, the less I feel that this is my place.
Partly this might seem to have to do with the male bias, which you write about. Probably it has. But that's not the main thing. I also would not feel really at home if it were the lesbian equivalent of it.
To some extent it is, I think, because the reviews seem like advertizement to me. Too much as if the message is "Buy me! Watch me! Become cool like that gay hero it features!"

Maybe you want to put positive gay role models on the site. But to me they seem like those unrealistic heros to which I can't connect. I enjoy much more to read about and from people who are not perfect and who don't pretend to be). Like some of the Oasis regulars ;-)

THere is also a point about me not being American and the site being U.S.-based and - dominated. It always was, and I did not mind so much. I mean, I would prefer to have more Europeans write on Oasismag, but I uslike to read about problems in AMerican highschools, American colleges, American politics, even American malls and proms to some extent... And I always felt a bit foreign to that all, but rarely too foreign to understand and participate in the discussions and bring up my own stories.
But since there were the Reviews, the American character - I think - has become much more blatent, and making me feel more alien to it all.

I'd prefer to have more content from other countries than the U.S.

And I also would like more contents about some more alternative stuff. I am not interested in heros of the U.S. military (nor of any other military wither...)

I also like to read about interesting opinions, like e.g. the interview with Camille Paglia (which someone before me already mentioned).

I look forward to reading about the transgender activist too. I am interested in transgender, and I'm interested in activism. I also look forward to your article about cutting.

Just don't make the site too bright and shiny, because then I am like: Come on, this is all fake. I can just as well do anything else. That's a big part of what tied me to Oasismag: that it is not fake. I like to read what the other users write and see how that forms characters of them, and I also like that you(Jeff) are present on this site, with your character and opinions. It all helps to make it less fake.

By the way: when I started to real your (Jeff's) post, I did not understand lots of it. It could be because I am not AMerican, or it could be because I am not so much participating in media (/youth) culture
. I know, I am kind of a special case... but anyway, I wanted to tell you my wishes and not what I believe to be everyone else's whiches. So for me, I don't know NPR and Kevin SMith and all those movies (?) he directed, neither have I much of an idea what a podcast is.
So the more you write about those, the less likely I am to read and especially come back soon.

What makes me come back are the people on this site.

By the way: I like the gay news summaries. I don't always read them, but sometimes.

So much for now.

I think my most important wish would be: Have more alternative content to (what seems to me like) the promotion of American mainstream consumer society - gay version.

I hope you take no offense in anything I wrote.

We have all been injured, profoundly. (Donna Haraway)
I Am Out, Therefore I Am. (Okay, mostly.)

jeff's picture

Well...

I never take offense at stuff, no worries there.

Like I've said before, though, the relaunch of oasismag is not complete. It was conceived as a companion site to oasisjournals.com, which is still not launched. Technically, you could bookmark http://www.oasismag.com/journal and then you would get a sense of what oasisjournals.com will be, without some of the fancy menu graphics changing, different sidebar content and navigation, etc.

If you like the old oasismag, that is technically becoming oasisjournals. So, it's not really accurate to say you like old better than new, since they are going to be entirely different things by design. Lifestyle magazines are by their nature commercial. And, a big part of that is when I'm just getting started, companies send me a big package of DVDs to review, and not just the stuff that comes out from this point on (I just got 6 DVDs from Wolfe Video yesterday, for example). But that stuff is out there so that people who Google looking for reviews of gay stuff find Oasis (attract new members) and so that people who are on the site and get used to the kinds of content we offer have a reason to stick around because they like offering their opinion on what I review, seeing what's going on, etc. (retain older members). So, a lot of that is the percentage game I spoke about. It may only be 5% relevant to you, but other stuff i write will be 85%, but it's less likely to attract new members.

As for the U.S. bias, that is hard to overcome. For example, I love Mika, whose album just dropped in the UK and hit number one. So, I chat with his US publicist saying I want to interview him, but they say he's in the UK now, which is irrelevant, I can call him on Skype from here. When he's in the US, I will hit roadblocks because I am technically not US media, because it's a global site, and if he only has so many interview slots in San Francisco, they might get filled by San Francisco press. So, it's a huge game. The other hurdle is that it's impossible for me to know the hot gay stuff going on in France right now. So, it has to find its way onto my radar somehow. That can happen through other publications and blogs, the traditional gay media, or users on this site tipping me off.

Another issue is I only interview openly gay people (with few exceptions), so if a straight actress is playing lesbian on The L Word, I'm not interested, and why we talked to the openly gay director of Wedding Wars instead of John Stamos. Most other sites online don't follow that path, but I feel there is a role model element to it all.

Part of why things might seem to say "Buy me!" is that I am adding "Buy now" stuff from Amazon at the bottom of reviews. Eventually, as more people find the site, that could earn me money in doing the site, just like the advertising on the site will eventually. No way around that, since I have rent. But, you know, consumer culture is part of life. And, if no one ends up clicking ads, buying stuff, etc., in a year or so, I may have to decide I need to do something that brings in money for me, and do less stuff on Oasis.

There is no content that pleases everyone, though. So, everyone will hit stuff that they want to tune out, which is fine.

The site doesn't do any outreach at present, and as such, I have no control of the geographic origin of the content. We have users all over the world, so if it picks up more over time, great. But people have always said they want content that is more female, male, trans, bi, older, younger, etc. But the good part is, since anyone can join, the site sorts itself out. When I used to have trans people write me, saying they thought I should have more people on here that spoke to their issues, I would always turn it aorund and tell them (back in the day), "Sounds great, our deadline's on the 15th. I can't wait to see what you'll write." So, that's always been my take on it. Want more guys, tell more guys about it and see if they post. Anyone can link to this site from their myspace, their gay.co.uk, or wherever, and affect the demographics of it all.

Not sure about the "fake" stuff. We're advocacy journalism, though, not 60 Minutes. When I do an interview, it's never a slam job. And my intention is to only interview people who are contributing positively to the world, so add all that up, and there's not going to be too much friction there. Negativity and snide content would get me more traffic, though.

I consider everything I read online to be educational. So, I actually like when people don't filter their writing to be more generic. If I'm on a UK site, or listening to a Ricky Gervais podcast, and they start talking about Pancake Tuesday, my immediate impulse (since I've no clue what they're talking abou) is to stop reading/listening and type in Pancake Tuesday on Wikipedia. Of course, I also think that knowing Kevin Smith is irrelevant to what I wrote, the basis of which was, he does a show that is just talking, and even them adding some effects and music in post-production doesn't do much for me. Just keep it simple and honest and real. So, read it like I read a Jane Austen novel, if I don't know a term, but the sentiment makes sense without it, keep on moving. If they keep mentioning it, though, I give in and look it up.

But, on that note, I want the non-US people on Oasis to go out of their way to include their culture, their references I don't understand, how they think their daily life is different, how they are raised differently, how they see the world differently, what local bands they are hot for, what celebrity I've never heard of just came out, what TV show is causing a ruckus because of a character coming out, etc. Consider yourselves ambassadors to where you live.

Today alone, there were posts referencing St. David's Day, which was a real thing that I found interesting, and someone else said they had a happy Canadian day, but when I hit that on Wikipedia, I found out it is on July 1, but figured that person was just having a happy day in Canada. It's all good, though.

Another issue, my being 20 years older than people on the site will automatically mean it is hard to know when my references make any sense to the majority of people on Oasis. But, I just push through, and know that the meaning of what I say it always clear.

But it seems the overwhelming issue of your post is what I've written about previously, that it seems I've hijacked a community site and made it a magazine. Which would seem the case, if you didn't know that we are spinning the community site off to be its own thing, so this is phase one of the relaunch. As for the timing for phase two, that's all up to Adrian and his schedule.

Just click journals on the top nav, or come in on the URL I listed above, though, and it's all community, all the time.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

the mouse that roared's picture

Maybe

Aside from just media, we could have history and references. Like, these gay historicial figures and this history of gay rights in America... the UK... Spain... The Netherlands... the developing world... We could have opinion essays and arguments for and against marriage rights, and good stuff like that. A debate page? We need to know our history. I wrote a paper last year on tyranny of the majority in relation to gay rights, and I'm sure there's more professional stuff out there. Check out http://www.glbtq.com/, a queer encyclopedia.

A books and music page could be really cool, because people are always asking about good books to read, and there's a lot of old threads scattered around the site. Also, a links page to queer-themed webcomics or excellent sites would be nice. We have these in the threads but it would be nice to have easier access.

Maybe a diversity corner of the site, where people can discuss differences/exchange culture at a higher rate than goes on at most of the site. FAQs for trans, bi, gay... maybe an ask a __ person section.

Sexual health is really important. Links or explanations could save some kids.

Also, I know I would enjoy an Oasis litmag. Like, a monthly play, poem, and short story or something that's picked up from surrounding writers. People could submit and then there would be features and themes and such. That would be amazing.

I agree about the IM and chat (general chat times/rap sessions?), as well as the diversity of interviews. jojpjo makes sense, and I do hope that oasisjournals does not become too compartmentalized or advertising-focused. I'm not so sure I'm in love with the friending idea. But special-interest groups might be a good idea... I don't know.

I would be interested in hearing different approaches to everyday heterosexism. I'm trying to figure out how to deal with it myself, and that could be a really cool section.

Check out afterellen.com for lesbian- and bi-themed media news, (and afterelton.com for gay and bi guys). mogenic sometimes has interesting articles you could link to. youthpride, pflag, youth group listings all could be helpful. It would be cool to have a best articles in the web section that people could skim through. This doesn't all have to be generated by you; we can volunteer stuff.

Personally, it would be nice to know about other practical issues like gay travel or good gay cities around the world, or who has what rights where. There could be fun pages like how to say g/l/b/t/q/i in x language, or quotes, or did-you-know-alexander-the-great-was-gay types of pages, or...

I'll write back when I have more ideas.

I come to Oasis because of the supportive community. I learned so much about gay issues and it was a huge support when I was coming out to myself. Now, I'm getting less out of it, but I still check in every now and then. I think part of it is after a while it just gets really lonely only talking to people online, and people's actual social contact starts to take the place. I would stay embedded here if there were more, organized roles and jobs for veterans of the site.

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.--Dorothy Day

jeff's picture

Well...

I've always said that Oasis is a framework, and everyone here is free to hang anything they want on it. It would probably be easy for us to strike a deal with the GLBTQ people, and post an article here every day on a different topic, linking it back to them and attributing it, etc. Who knows.

On some level, I like to focus on things that Oasis can do really well. So, focus on what we can really bring value to, and then link to anything else we want. So, if there is a site about gay webcomics, etc., we'll let them do the heavy lifting and just link to them, etc.

But there's no issue here with doing anything. If you want to run a debate forum, have at it. If it grows, we can deal with that as we need to. I can link to it off the front page, whatever.

I am all for led dicussions, since otherwise, they peter out. So, on some level, my goal is to not plan Oasis too far in advance, but just keep morphing the site to address what people positively respond to. The stuff I'm doing on the site now are things I feel have legs, and I know I can generate content on them for a while. For a lot of other things, it's wait and see and, when something organically happens, we'll react to it and run with it.

I think the friending thing is crucial, when done in connection with the launch of oasisjournals and the user sites (http://www.oasisjournals.com/themousethatroared/, for example). It gives the site longevity, because right now, you have to keep coming back and catching up, hunting down the people you want to read, make sure you didn't miss any of their stuff. If you have the people you track linked off of your profile page, that issue goes away. I also think there is the potential down the line so that the front page of oasisjournals would be the most-recent posts by the people on your friends list (but the most recent journals are still down the side, so you'd still find them easily, too).

I can guarantee that I wouldn't be able to do the litmag, since I have too much fiction to read for Oasis, too much to read for my own development, and writing my own novel. No more room. But anyone else can start it. If it was a podcast, though, and all of the elements were sent to me as MP3s, I could easily assemble it all together, if that was a technical hurdle.

I don't really like most of the afterellen/elton stuff, because it seems like a lot of show recaps, interviews with non-gay people, pictures of celebrities, made-up lists, etc. It's just not my thing to follow the Grey's Anatomy "scandal," whether a character on Heroes was supposed to come out as gay, etc. Not to mention, I don't want to reinvent the wheel. If you want pop culture and a queer angle, all the time, they do it well. I'm trying to come from a place of how do we take what Oasis is, and grow it in ways that make them natural extensions of what the community here is about.

A lot of the stuff you mentioned are specific types of content, to which I say, you don't need me to bring up any of those topics. If you want them featured in a way other than just a forum topic, etc., we can figure that out.

As for organized roles, we're a little further out on that, since a lot of that requires technical stuff, which is Adrian's domain. I'm just about trying to get some led discussions, content created, etc.

Unless anyone wants to take on a specific function. If you think the site needs something, appoint yourself. Run a book club. Write an essay to spark a discussion. I probably won't be on this site every day into my 50s, so at some point, we have to create a site that runs without me, without adrian, etc.

I don't think that will be a problem. We're just at a turning point for all of that now.

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"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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Rainbow_Al's picture

before i found oasis, i used

before i found oasis, i used to visit mogenic. the thing i really liked about it what that users actually wrote articles and reviews that were funny, witty and at times cynical. it makes it seem that the users own the site. maybe we could have a forum like that? it would also move towarss the aim of having a site that runs on its own after you're gone jeff?
just an idea =]

There are a few things in life worth dying for; but there are a million things worth living for!

jeff's picture

Yeah...

That is clearly the direction. Just need to get the major points of the relaunch finished before adding more to the mix.

Right now, I'm requesting most gay books I have in order to interview the author, etc., so we just need to get to the point where we are flooded with review books, and such.

I'd eventually love for the front of oasismag to have multiple authors, but that needs some technical discussion between me and adrian, and I'm trying not to flood him with anything else until journals and sites are live, etc.

I would like to steer us away from being another cynical gay site, though. there's enough of that already. Way too much, IMHO.

Actually, I went to my local vegan grill for lunch today, and the bottled iced tea they serve (Honest Tea) has a quote on the underside of the lid. I kept mine today. It reads:

"Optimism can make you look stupid, but cynicism always makes you look cynical." -- Calum Fisher

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"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!