An idea

I have an idea: Why not create a multi-author English-language Maghreb/Sahel blog? There are enough general MENA/Arab Middle East blogs in this vain, but stupendously few blogs that bring together English-speaking bloggers, academics and political scientists specifically about North [west] Africa. I want to start one: Multiple perspectives, more easily facilitated debates,  and the consolidation of North Africa info into one place for those seeking it. I’d envision it dealing with area geopolitics, culture, comparative politics, and human rights. Anybody in?

Readers’ thoughts on this idea are welcome. Readers interested in participating are even more welcome.


23 thoughts on “An idea

  1. Great idea. Very helpful if standards of Moor Next Door maintained. Would be a one destination click of the mouse for me and certainly for others.

  2. I am in if you want me (although I am no North Africa specialist, I still have a personal interest and academic credentials in international relations and geopolitics). By the way, there is a serious possibility that I would be based in Morocco next quarter.

  3. sounds interesting. I may be able to one or two academics interested. In case I come up with a idea for an article I’d definitely contribute. Usually I’m more interested in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  4. Only an amateur follower of events in the region, so not able to make any contribution beyond the odd comment. TMND and some of the other blogs you’ve recommended have taught me a huge amount about the region, relative to my almost non-existant prior knowledge, in just a few months reading. I’d be an enthusiastic consumer of a broader metablog of the type you suggest.


    Actually, and this is only a passing thought, while I couldn’t contribute any knowledge, I could perhaps contribute come ignorance. That is, if your plan included some sort of newcomers’ guide to the region, and your expert contributors were to point me in the direction of the resources needed, I’d be happy to help compile, reference and edit them together in a way that those who share my ignorance could benefit from.

  5. I would be interested. For a while I have been thinking about launching a blog in English about Algeria (where I’m from) but never got around to doing it. This would be a good way to go.

  6. add me to that list! different to the guy above!

    economics student with interests in music..obviously economics and politics of the region.

    background in oil and gas too. .

    think its a great idea!

  7. An excellent idea mate, although as we learned at Aqoul, site design plays a role in hosting. I would offer to actually have Aqoul host such (indeed as I am Maghreb centered since the past few years and for the foreseeable future it would be a natural), but until our Blog Mistress gets around to solving some “technical issues” (that entirely escape me, or rather strikes me as not worth me while), let me indicate I would be interested for the Economic and Business ends of the Maghreb.

  8. Added thought, mate. Some practical lessons from Aqoul, which ran strong from 2005-2007, but we dropped the ball in 2008.

    (i) For a multi author blog, one needs a good design to accommodate different “streams” -and probably “short” versus “long” entry columns to allow for both kinds of inputs;
    (ii) Invite authors often suffer from burnout. Those who do not, may need a side blog (for non journo types);
    (iii) A site manager to deal with the inevitable admin tediousness is useful, even better having a backup;
    (iv) Getting the front page mix is key, my key lesson from the Aqoul experience is that there are “slow” kinds of blogging (reviews, essays, in depth rants [not quite essays, but]) and fast (more typical) blogging, short entries. Both are valid, but in the present ‘Aqoul layout there is/was a tension between the two. One solution is to have just one damn long page. Another is to have maybe a long form column, and a quickie post column;
    (v) Multi Author does require some editorial intervention. Aqoul has been by invite only, and that reduced invite
    (vi) Related to (iii), the site technical manger or host should be stable. I believe we found at Aqoul that hosting costs could be covered fairly easy [I hope my site mistress will correct me on this] on ads, but there was a ramp up period before that happened;
    (vii) Policy, everybody has to be on board, else unpleasantness. Maximum liberalism of course is easiest.

    Sorry for the bloody long note mate, but it is a damned good suggestion and if my site has gone sleepy, well, at least some lessons can be taken.

  9. Ah bollocks, I missed an item.

    Author confidentiallity. The Site Admin should be trusted to protect the same. Aqoul has several authors with ‘sensitive’ backgrounds, this is walled off with a site Admin who is ‘outside’ ….

  10. For advertising, one should try using all free mediums, such as networking/link sites, and political forums.

    I guess i can volunteer to as a editor, did a minor in English. With law school possibly coming up during the fall, not how much time i can spend helping put, but offering my services would give me reason to frequent and here and read more articles.

  11. A wonderful idea. I’ve been trying for some time to put together a blog in English and Arabic that looks mostly at freedom of the press and press issues in the Arab world, and think it would be very helpful to have a map of bloggers based on issues and regions and in both languages. If I can help in any way, please let me know.

  12. wonder if anyone got the irony in my sloppy post. Anyway, i was serious about becoming a part time/guest editor. I’d also be willing to do research, and post reviews on recent sociological and issues and recent quantitative data–such as western Maghrebi migrants in the west, in contrast to other eastern immigrants (Arabian, African, South Asian), as well as and biological tidbits that mite intrigue readers, such as findings in population genetics on the region, which both coincide or clash with historical accounts of human migration in the Maghreb and Sahel. It would be fun to intepret generally accepted evolutionary phynlogenies to help enrich the quality and broaden the content of the blog.


  13. Hussein,

    Je devrais laisser a Kal le soin de repondre puisque c’est son blog, mais je ne peux m’empecher de dire la chose suivante: Il existe deja de nombreux sites en francais consacres a la region en question (Maghreb/Sahel) et trop peu de sites en anglais. Vu l’importance de l’anglais comme lingua franca je pense qu’il serait plus judicieux d’essayer de developper un site en anglais pour pouvoir informer un plus grand nombre de lecteurs.

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