There was a similar train of thought in the thread we were having with Dave Weiner, Don Park and Greg McVerry some time ago. It kind of got lost, but I had a similar webring-like idea for the Ad-Free Blog website. (Which is no longer around, as of last month, it seems.)
I’ve been wondering if they could do a similar thing with http://www.adfreeblog.org/ - a ‘general’ blog community could be established around a simple ideal like that.
Might look like this:
- A blog links to adfreeblog.org on their home page.
- Adfreeblog.org notices visitors coming from that page and checks that page for the link and the image.
- If found, it adds the blog to a directory, using the meta description and keyword tags.
The adfreeblog.org home page then becomes a directory of the community. So, kind of like a webring, but actually organized. With Twitter cards and such floating in the metadata, it is probably much easier to extrapolate a good directory entry.
As you say, the “mandatory reciprocal link” is not something you’re comfortable with—but I think it has its uses. I have no care in the world whether any of the sites I link to at href.cool ever link back to me (in fact, I’d prefer if they would just keep doing what they’re doing) but I think a directory that’s trying to provide a more census-like approach could really use this strong, two-way link.
I think it would be really cool to have an emergent directory where everyone self-categorizes. You get to be in one category—where do you put yourself? And, yeah, have a bit of moderation in there to weed out spam. It would likely be very difficult to sort through its problems—but it would be fun to try. (The Indieweb.xyz blog directory is as close as I’m going to get to that effort for the present.)