I’m proud to have been drafted in to help the Convention on Modern Liberty create a new design for their – our – WordPress website.The site will be updated  tomorrow to reflect the changes.
Another site to launch recently is LabourList, a party blog that has managed to draw many senior government and party figures to contribute. It went for a “soft launch” last week, and currently carries the notice

Beta Test Site – Official Launch 12th February 2009

However, that hasn’t stopped folk like Iain Dale writing reviews of the site, run by Derek Draper, pointing out its failings as a worthy challenger to ConservativeHome and its ilk on the political right.
As a director of 59 Productions, I was (until 2007) involved in many a theatrical production, ranging from site-specific work in Scotland to high-budget productions at the National Theatre and the London Coliseum.  With all these productions, it was standard practice to have one or more preview shows, effectively public dress rehearsals, where not only were creases ironed out of the staging, but often entire scenes were cut or reworked to make it more effective.  Beta-testing for live performance.  In each case, critics understand the fact that the previews do not necessarily represent the production in the way the director envisages.  They respect the effective embargo (to borrow a term from press releases) on reporting and reviewing the performance.  They wait until opening night.
It is perhaps a sign that the act of blogging is still in its immaturity, that the concept of holding off on judgement is not applied to the launch of blogs and websites, in the same way as it is for other forms of expression.

3 Replies to “Beta-testing”

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  2. I think it’s more of a sign of the pathetic and unproductive adversarial nature of politics, and the right wing in particular, together with the conservatives’ arrogant ignorance of blogging ettiquette. Anything to score a disingenous point. Pathetic.

  3. If Draper really wants us to hold off judgement, he should’ve planned he media blitz and newsnight interviews for when it was ready.
    When the Independent switched from Typepad to Livejournal, they soft launched it, sorted out a lot of the kinks, and have done a bigger launch this week, but I don’t think they’ve done the full PR launch yet.
    There have been a number of improvements to List since it went live, including proper URLs instead o the godawful database query code they had at first launch, but Draper’s attitude to any constructive criticism (including some made on Jon Worth’s site, he’s very Labour FFS) was aggressive negativity.
    Draper wants us to give him a fair crack of the whip, he has to hold off on the aggression and the PR drive.
    And I thought that before I saw his correspondence with Tim Ireland–if you want to set up a major UK blog then you know the field. You don’t need to like him nor respect him (I do on both counts with caveats) but to blatenly not know who he is nor care is just pig ignorant.
    Complete aside: I’m finding myself with more free time than I can deal with currently, not enough clients, so if you want help coding or testing LibCon, the ModernLiberty site or similar, LMK, happy to assist if I can.

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