9rules Refactored

9rules Refactored

As a lot of you know, I’m a member of the 9rules Network, which in my mind is a sort of autonomous collective consisting of writer/enthusiasts honing their craft, each independent yet allied in our need to keep putting stuff on the Internet in our quest to find personal satisfaction. The triumvirate of Paul Scrivens, Mike Rundle, and Tyme White are our nominal overlords, keeping the vibe going by example. They’ve built a public space where we can all hang out and do our thing. I think it’s pretty cool, like being in an extended Scooby gang.

Today the triumvirate has unleashed a new site design, codenamed Ali. The new design moves 9rules even further toward community by creating several new context-of-use entry points into the site. I just got to see it for the first time, and here’s my quick impression of the new features:

  • 9rules Live – If you’re the type to drink directly from the stream of live articles as they’re posted, this section is just what you wanted.

  • 9rules Member Site Profile – Did you read an article that piqued your curiosity about the author? Click on the various site profile links and see what else s/he’s written.

  • Topics – At first I thought that was a new way of looking at Communities, but actually it’s a tagging system. If you visit http://9rules/topics/someterm, you’ll see related Notes and member site content. This is effectively the new 9rules search engine, and you can use it to quickly find both articles and conversation from both the community of participating readers and member sites.

  • my.9rules – This is your social networking profile. You can say a few things about yourself, link to other 9rules reader “friends”, and keep track of all your conversations. When you post a Note, your profile link is displayed right next to it, so people can check you out. I haven’t played with it, but it reminds me a bit of the community of the (old and good) Orkut combined with the selectiveness of the LinkedIn invitation system.


p>It’s all very cool and ingenious.

One thing that may be a little confusing is the difference between notes and topics. For people who just dive in and use things I don’t think it’s a problem, but the analytical / anal types (raises hands) will look for the pattern. I’d break it down as follows:

  • Member Sites generate content that is agregated through the 9rules portal.
  • Member Sites are assigned to Communities that topically reflect the content of the site, more or less.
  • Each Community lists all its member sites.
  • EAch Community also provides a place for reader commentary through the Notes system. Notes are like a message board, with the Community serving contextually as the discussion topic.
  • Anyone can read Notes, but only registered users can create them. By registering, you create your 9rules Notes Profile.
  • Your profile is also your personal home page on the 9rules site, similar to other social networking sites. You can see what you’ve posted on, who you’re friends with, and build up your online reputation through spirited online dialogue.

You can browse content (both member-generated and reader-generated) through your personal home page (My 9rules), through the live stream (9rules Live), by Topic (9rules Topics), by Site Category (9rules Communities), by specific site (9rules Member Profile), and by 9rules Notes Profiles. Each entry point serves a different style of engaging the conversation, and I’m really curious how it will change things up. Meeting people with the same interests as you, in an environment that’s guaranteed to generate a constant stream of original thoughts and ideas? Awesome!


  1. Mike Rundle 17 years ago

    Hey Dave, thanks a lot for the entry.  I know we haven’t done any in-depth writeups about the new features yet so there’s bound to be some confusion.

    Topics is indeed our new search engine.  We’ve had search functionality for a few months but because there was always the barrier of relying on people to “type something” it didn’t get used as often as we would have liked.  9rules Topics could be considered “browsable search” where we dynamically pre-load various results pages with terms that are currently popular, and then instead of having you search for what you like we hope that the most popular terms are up your ally. We wanted to provide users the ability to jump right in and start seeing content instead of having to do any type of initial work to find what they like.

    The current version of Topics is not everything that we’ve been working on, for we’re working on better more “vertical” Topics pages right now.  The goal is to produce fully customized Topics pages for dozens of popular subjects, with custom information in the sidebar related only to that topic.  A quick example of a custom page we’re working on is World of Warcraft, where we’re soon going to be adding a custom block in the sidebar linking to game hints, downloads, WoW gear, etc., with a design similar to the header we put together. I think if we had a few dozen of those pages we’d do very well in search rankings for those terms, and also would shuffle out some nice traffic to our members.  WoW, Ajax, London, NYC, it’s a long list of potentials :)

    As for separating out Notes content from member content, we tried to do it with a blue/green color scheme.  The header at Design Notes and the corresponding content is blue, whereas the Design Live page has the green header and the links are green.  This obviously isn’t enough but we think it’s a start :)


  2. Dave Seah 17 years ago

    Hey Mike!

    It’s all very exciting, and the custom page idea is a great one! I particularly liked how topics solves that “I blog about more than just my community topic” problem we’ve had. I did notice the color coding too…I like that chunky blue Notes entry form a lot, actually.

    Thanks for clearing that stuff up! Rock on! :-)