As another attempt to post without writing whole articles, here is a Late Night Kottu, covering all the happenings of the week. There were a host of new sites launched or introduced recently, and hopefully they’ll grow. Launching a new site is one thing, but getting participation is very difficult. Time will tell which ones survive, but I wish them all well. I try not to predict things cause I thought Moju would fail and it’s now one of the most vibrant, albeit troll infested, sites out there. Do register if you’re marginally interested. Besides new meta sites, there are a few new(ish) blogs added to Kottu, including one in Sinhala, one covering corruption, and one covering sports. Also my mythical dad (read carefully) has been having some success online, notably 156 comments for an entirely empty post.
Colombo Critic: This could theoretically replace the fawning press releases that pass for reviews in the Sri Lankan press with honest reviews. I am guilty of selling out as well. For an example check out this Creative Zen Review where all the honest parts have been crossed out. But I digress. Colombo Critic has all the infrastructure but no posts, so hopefully it will pick up. One thing I’ve learned is that design is always secondary to content. I call this the Pilawoos Principle. It doesn’t matter how crap your site is if the content is good and timely.
lkHot: For non-geeks Digg may be an anomaly, but it is a huge success content wise. The system works by having users submit interesting stories and other users vote on them. NSharp is using Pligg to implement a local version. One thing missing from Kottu is a voting system to separate wheat from chaff, and this could serve a similar function. My only grouse is that I am don’t like signing up for stuff and you have to login to vote.
LataPata: After a long hiatus, Sri Lanka’s linkblog is back with its own Pligg implementation. That is, links with voting. There are some intelligent writers and readers there, so it’s good for an occasional time spend at work.
Sricolama isn’t exactly new, but it’s worth checking out. To my mother’s eternal shame I cannot read Sinhala, but Sricoloma is a functioning and updated Sinhala blog. The first I know of. It looks humorous, but you’d have to tell me.
Sri Lankan Sports’ (in the generic sense) interest the country more than anything, and this blog is devoted to them. I couldn’t tell Kumar Sangakarra from a computer salesman, but the country is cricket crazy, and I’m sure there’s a market for sports. This site doesn’t interest me personally, but I’m sure there’s a market for it if the writing is good.
The Anti-Corruption Blog is a funded (USAID) entry into the sphere, which is all good. According to the 2005 Transparency International Index Sri Lanka has actually gotten more corrupt, ranking below a bunch of African and Middle Eastern countries. Still beating Bangladesh and India though. Woot. Anyways, if they keep the content up could be interesting.
LaneTop is one recently added individual blog which is refreshingly apolitical. The posts are mostly entry level geek but they cover music and KFC and whatnot.
Oldies But Goodies
Chandare is, IMHO, one of the oldest and sanest bloggers and he’s updated for the first time in forever. That post covers Sangakarra’s very well written CricInfo column and the issue of critical thinking that he brings up. Sri Lanka has lots of jealousy and plain old hating, but precious little constructive criticism.
I find LankaWatch a bit hysterical and xenophobic most of the time. The post about NGO ‘Orgy Parties’ (which I can’t find now) was just hilarious in its puritanical zeal. I still can’t get the phrase ‘Orgy Party’ out of my head. However, some of the later posts are more reasonable (though I still don’t really agree with them) and they’re starting to produce more original content rather than copy/pasting news.
Ravana – who is, incidentally, a meatspace friend of mine – has done some interesting posts lately, ranging from Sri Lankan Sex to bits of YouTubing. More than me he actually participates in his comment threads and the discussion there has become very vibrant and (in a superficial sense) large. He’s getting 100 comments semi-regularly, which means his traffic must be high and – more importantly – the content. The funniest is his Military Solution post where he messed up, lost the entire post and accidently posted only the title. To repeat, it was an entirely blank post. It received 156 comments.
Finally, Java Jones brings some needed literary talent to Kottu. However, the Java Jones character irritates me and I actually can’t read the posts. I can read the normal human voice, but I find the Jones character so cliched and cringe-worthy that I usually skip the whole thing. That said, it’s a new form and undoubtably intelligent. Seeing ‘the’ spelled ‘da’ makes me twitchy, but that may just be me.
Anyways, this is one week in Kottu. I’m not writing this in any administrative capacity. The Kottu policy is pretty clear in that there is no editorial policy beyond covering Sri Lanka and having a working feed. These are just my personal impressions of the week.