After exploring the world of available chat software I've come to a surprising conclusion: a moderated chat room is really expensive. I know. I don't know how this is the case either. Our main options are…
Cover It Live
Status quo on software. Price: suddenly massive. The 61,000 "clicks" registered by CIL last November would run us 840 dollars. If the site really needs it I guess that's something we can afford, but that money would be better spent on a dozen other things instead of moderated chat software.
Different software that may or may not work as well but probably works just fine because it's moderated chat software. Pricing: slightly less massive but asking for a year commitment, which makes it still eye-blinkingly expensive. Like, the amount of money the companies want here is on the order of running the server for a year.
So… this would be slightly hacky but I'm intrigued at the idea of creating an mgotwitter that acts as the user moderation system. You tweet at it, it retweets you if you're the one of the first couple to go "WOOOOO" or "AAARRGH" or says something funny or smart. We bundle those into a twitter list and embed it on the site:
[ED: hmmm. hopefully in a fashion that, you know, works.]
[ED: This is the same stuff that's on the list on twitter itself so I assume it'll work itself out once the thing is older than a few minutes.]
This has the attractive feature of not costing multiple thousands of dollars a year for moderated chat, but does require anyone who wants to participate to have a twitter account.
On the other hand, that could actually be a benefit. People who aren't sitting at their computers could participate by following the list and we could take tweets from the stands (when they get out). We probably add the list to the mobile app as part of an as-yet fuzzy initiative to have a "live" tab on those apps. And it would be nice to have people's avatars and usernames connected to something instead of being essentially anonymous. We can keep the content of the liveblog in a permanent fashion by using Storify, and we could even add in some images/videos to help provide context for the WOOS and ARGHS. Those could be provided by the readers as well—twitter would allow the contributions on the site to be more than just text.
So… what I'm asking is if this sounds cool to the people who were Cover It Live regulars last year. It'll be a different window you type into, but I think it'll be pretty much the same otherwise.
- potential downsides
- cool ideas not yet thought of
- gibbering rage at the very idea?
Hit the comments.