I was a bit concerned when I saw some of the discussions occurring in Jordan Planet when I checked it this evening, and although this post started out as a comment, I decided to turn it into a post to share with everyone.
Jordan Planet is a community of 27 Jordanian bloggers residing all over the world. A community, by definition, is “an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) with a common interest or in a certain location”. The Jordan Planet community is diverse enough to have females, males, Muslims, Christians, scientists, artists, and several different age groups. We all agreed, by agreeing to belong to Jordan Planet, to celebrate our differences and unite under the flag of Jordan.
As far as I am concerned, “interacting” includes awareness of what goes on in Jordan Planet by staying updated with the posts, the news, and the changes, and by attending the scant Blogger meet-ups for those we reside in Jordan, and for those visiting Jordan when the meet-ups are held. We have had two official meet-ups since December, and I was disappointed at how it is always the same people attending the meet-ups, that’s saying Nader, Ammar, Isam, myself and Natasha. The meet-ups are always preannounced and planned. “Busy” is an excuse that has been attributed, and that is fine of course, but it is unfair to go against a decision made by the people who bothered to clear up their time for a community meeting, because as this is a community, we cannot tailor plan the meet-ups for everyone(Natasha was migrating the next day and Lina had a test, and they both still came although they stayed for a little while).
The last meet-up was held for a particular reason- complaints have been received about the quality of some of the bloggers in the Planet, and Isam, being the democratic man he is, decided to hold a Jordan Planet meet-up so as to run this issue with the Planeteers and come to a decision together as a group. And so it was, for 3 hours, we sat and pondered the meaning of “Jordan Planet blogger”, the definition of a “good blog”, and the purpose of “Jordan Planet”.
We had several problems with these discussions, as it was literally impossible to define a “Jordan Planet Blogger”, to define “quality”, and to decide how to filter the bad blogs out of Jordan Planet without causing problems(a democratic vote by the public, we worried, would turn out to be a failure like the Jordan part of the BABAs(cheating), and a democratic vote by the private would turn out into allies of those who are friends and those who are not). In the end, we decided that the purpose of Jordan Planet is to simply provide an uncensored, personal window into our country, the meaning of a “good Jordan Planet blogger” is someone who provides a Jordan-centric, interesting, well-documented view into the life, times, and brains of being a Jordanian residing in any area of the world, and we agreed that Iyas, Lina, and Natasha were good examples of good bloggers. As for the filtering, although that was the hardest decision to come up with, we decided to be democratic and allow all the Planeteers to vote hoping that they will do it honestly without bias and personal issues, but rather, by thinking about what’s the best for the Planet.
I personally believe in first impressions. If the posts appearing on the Jordan Planet homepage are forwards and impersonal news clippings, then the visitor will expect the rest of Jordan Planet to host the same quality, and that it quite unfair to the Planet, to Jordan, and to the bloggers. I also think its unfair if personal issues were included in the voting process, and I hope they will not.
I already know how I will vote, and I assure you that although there are some people I do not necessarily like, I will vote for their blogs to stay because I know that other people could be interested in what they have to say. There are also other people that I like, but who I won’t vote for because I don’t believe that their blogs are of quality.
This is the first Jordan Planet voting process, and it is precisely what will define that status of Jordan Planet in the coming years. I hope from all my heart that it will be successful, because if it is, Jordan Planet will always be a democracy, and there will be many more votes to come, and maybe even eventually, the vote will be open to the public. If this voting is a failure, Jordan Planet will become a one-man show, and I will personally support that if that is the case.
I ask you, my fellow Planeteers, to think out your votes before you press “Submit”, and to vote with your brain, and not with your heart, in order to ensure the success of Jordan Planet.
One last note unrelated, the “second Jordan Planet” meet-up was neither a Jordan Planet meet-up nor a secret party. I was personally contacted by Eddie Taylor to gather a “couple” of bloggers for a chat, and I asked Isam, Nader, and Ammar as they are the only bloggers in Jordan that I know personally to be the other “couple” of bloggers. And then, being the feminist that I am, I felt that a ratio of 3:1 is unfair to the mighty female population of Jordan Planet, so I asked Mira and Hind to come as well, and that was that.