Rhizome Renovation

Posted by Mark Tribe | Mon May 20th 2002 1 a.m.

Dear Rhizomers:

This week, we will start launching a bunch of new features and services at
Rhizome.org. It all started last year when we sent out a member survey to
figure out what you like most and least about the site and what you would
most like to see. Twelve months and a zillion keystrokes later, we're ready
to launch. The rollout will take place gradually over several weeks. We
want to warn you in advance that some features, like Rhizome Rare, will be
temporarily unavailable, and that there are sure to be lots of bugs. We
want your feedback and need your help discovering bugs, so we have set up
an email address for this purpose: feedback@rhizome.org.

Here's an outline of the changes to come:

This week:

+ Redesign: new interface, new site structure (hopefully easier to navigate
and less confusing for newcomers).

+ Post: members can post texts via the web site, respond to other posts.
Threaded discussion.

Next week:

+ Calendar: a global new media art calendar for exhibitions, performances,
panels, festivals, etc.

+ Opportunity Listings: jobs, grants, commissions, residencies, calls for
work, etc.

+ Member Directory: create your own directory page with contact info, bio,
statement, etc. Search for other members.

+ Slashdot-style filtering system: members rate content, post something
people like and you get good karma, members with good karma become
superusers, superusers decide what goes on the home page and what goes to
the Rare email lists.

Week of June 3:

+ Web Hosting: sign up as a beta tester for our new web hosting service
offered in partnership with a commercial web host. This fee-based service
will hopefully generate much-needed revenue for Rhizome.org.

Mid-July:

+ Shareware Membership System: making a gift to support Rhizome.org will
become part of the membership process. If you decide not to make a
contribution, you'll still have full access, but, like shareware, we'll ask
you again from time to time.

August:

+ Online Education: sign up for online courses on things like Java,
Information Architecture and Media Theory through a partnership with an
online university. As with web hosting, this is a fee-based service that
will help support the organization.

These last three initiatives (Web Hosting, Shareware Membership System and
Online Education) are part of our strategy to become more financially
independent. As you probably know, Rhizome.org is a New York-based
nonprofit organization. Because we are based in the US, we don't have
access to the kind of generous government funding that most European
nonprofits take for granted. The foundations and government agencies that
have funded Rhizome to date have sent us a clear message: Rhizome needs to
find a way to become more financially self-sufficient, or it will not
survive. Our goal, over the next four years, is to cover at least 50% of
our costs with community-based revenue. Rhizome.org exists to support the
global new media art community. By making a gift, signing up for a web
hosting account or taking an online course, you can help ensure Rhizome's
survival.

Yours with Warm Regards,

Mark
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