Let a thousand Ecosystems bloom

I’ve been thinking about the next phase of where I’d like to take the Ecosystem, and have concluded that it may be time to invite other folks to join the party.
Here’s the vision: I’d like to see other Ecosystems created, each focusing on their own particular community within the weblog world. Perhaps there could be an Ecosystem for U.S. military bloggers; an Ecosystem for political conservatives (or liberals); an Ecosystem for bloggers writing in Portuguese. Wherever a community of interest exits in the Blogosphere, there might be an Ecosystem for it.
Some might argue that this would contribute to a fragmenting effect in the Blogosphere; isolating communities so that they only communicate internally among themselves. But I think the effect would be the opposite. By providing a focus and nexus for blog communities, I think such Ecosystems would make it easier for outsiders to understand them and sample the work of their bloggers. I know that I’d personally be more likely to genuinely spend time browsing through the blogs of the kinds of communities I note above if there was an easier way to find the most well-regarded bloggers working within them.
To be clear: there are certainly other valuable contributions being made to this type of effort. The Carnvial of the Capitalists; the Blog Mela; Hoder’s new iranFilter: these are only a few examples of the many different efforts being made in this area, and I applaud them all.
This idea, perhaps, is the contribution I can make. But it would be foolish of me to try to take on this kind of expansion by myself. There’s no way I could subdivide the Ecosystem to truly give each subcommunity the attention it deserves: I wouldn’t even know where to start, or which communities truly exist as such and are worth following.
So, I am considering turning the Ecosystem code base into an open source effort, and inviting other bloggers to take up the mantle of running their own, individual versions of the Ecosystem, tailored to focus on the needs of their own communities. Each Ecosystem would be completely self-contained and independent, but they would all rely upon the same open-source code base, to which I will continue contributing — and others would be encouraged to enhance and modify as well. And each Ecosystem could also use the peripheral features I’ve implemented over time, such as the New Weblog Showcase, to further highlight the work within their own communities. Looking into the longer term, perhaps methods could be developed to share data between Ecosystems — the most obvious application of which might be to create a mega-Ecosystem that rolls up data from all of them.
But as I say, I can’t do this alone. So here’s the questions I would ask you:
– As a blog reader, what communities would you be interested in seeing Ecosystems created to track?
– Are you interested in contributing to the actual coding work on the Ecosystem? At present time, it is a rather badly hacked-together bunch of PHP scripts running against a MySQL database. But it could evolve to use any platform or tool, so anyone with any web design / coding experience could make a contribution.
– And the big question: is there anyone out there who would be interested in running their own community Ecosystem? And if so, what isyour vision for that community?
I’m still debating whether to go forward with this, and of course the level of response I get here with have a lot to do with my final decision. So let me know your thoughts, suggestions, and if you’d be willing to help out.
Thanks to all…