Why the rota? The idea is that we all work on various parts of the site, commissioning, writing and editing. But bringing the front page together everyday requires thinking about all sorts of trade-offs and about the contribution of each part to the whole. There is no better way of making each part aware of the constraints of the whole by having many people take the reins for a period.
When I explained to a mathematician friend the basic constraints ofpublishing on oD - what capacity we have for articles on the front page; how many readers per day we have; how the various parts of the site develop their own readership, and I further explained that I thought everyone should have responsibility for a part of the whole - heclaimed that sharing in space and sharing in time should come to exactly the same thing. It would be as good to divide the front page into some number of zones, with each person with responsibility over "theirs" as to divide up the year into slots where each person would have responsibility. Clearly, he had taken the level to a level of abstraction too high - splitting in time still imposes the task of creating a unified whole, from quote to lead to which block goes where to pacing ... which a split in space of the front page would never have offered. Anyway, we're experimenting with the sharing through time rather than space.
I'm working hard with Julian to make the publishing process -- everything from picture research to sub-editing to creating shortened versions for syndication and preparing the emails for dispatch -- so standardised that we can start to expand the distributed network of helpers and volunteers.
Between the rota and the volunteer-based publishing network, we're moving towards the goal of having a mechanism that will wikify the production of agenda-driven analysis....