How do we provide a common location where trusted writers can find an audience, and readers can find a source of trustworthy writers? Aggregation.
Specifically, moderated aggregation. There clearly needs to be editorial control, otherwise the screeching howler monkeys just hurl their faeces down the aggregated feed instead of in their nasty little forums. But aggregation steps the role down from commissioning to moderation, and with a suitable definition of the feed the traffic should remain fairly low. Sure, from a critical point of view it’s not as good as a rigorous editorial process, but it has the benefit that it might actually maintain a flow of content.
And you know what? This might actually work. Lea suggests using the RSS format and moderated aggregation, so basically an editor can build a web page out of reviews submitted to him.
There are alternatives. People who pay careful attention to the look of this blog might have noticed that I’m testing the Movable Type 3.0 beta right now. If seen some interesting uses of Trackback at work during the testing, where blogs have been built out of the Trackback pings from other blogs. Here’s how it works: blogger a writes a post, and then sends a Trackback ping to a set Trackback address. Blogger b gets e-mail notification of the ping, reads the post and then goes onto the MT interface to approve or deny the ping. If it’s approved, it becomes part of the visible reviews blog.
This might even be worth a try.