24 Feb Site of the Week: Wildlife Direct
To kick things off, I'd like to highlight a site that has impressed me for a long time, not only in content and format, but in useage. I first saw mention of it when the owner (?) posted a short question in the support forums.
Wildlife Direct is a somewhat modfied version of WPMU that provides blogs to conservation workers in Africa and other parts of the world. Visitors to the site can choose blogs in specific areas or according to certain kinds of endangered species. It's been fascinating to read along a few of the various blogs to find out what is going on a world away from me.
I'm sitting here in the wilds of eastern Canada, five feet of snow on my lawn, yet I can find out what the Maassai are doing to help their local lion population. From reading along, I have found out that sometimes writing a blog post can take up to three hours with the slow speeds of satellite internet and getting a clear signal. I have a satellite internet connection here by the lake, so that bit I can relate to.
The main page has some aggregate content with a highlighted image from a featured posts, and a short list of some of the blogs, depending on immediate issues. Each blog is set up with the same template, custom header and a donation area in the sidebar. Visitors can donate directly to the cause of their choice, and they can see how the money is being spent, almost in real time. It cuts out the large charity organization and brings the problems directly into your feed reader, where you - the visitor - can hopefully do something to help.
To me, this is the pinnacle of goodness that the open source movement can achieve. For every dozen splog sites out there or so, somewhere there's a site owner doing good in the world and making a difference.