The hardest thing to answer when you’re trying to start an institutional blogging community is what the legal ramifications of it are.
It’s not only hard to answer — it’s impossible. It’s a legal question. You’re not supposed to answer it.
The problem is that it’s hard with this sort of thing to start from a default position of strength. Without other institutions doing it, you’re forever the person that has to prove the negative: that there are not legal issues large enough to forgo the venture.
And unless you have a web-savvy lawyer on your side, you’re kind of stuck.
Until now. Because while I follow the good practice of never giving legal advice, I also follow the practice of pointing to the behavior of people smarter than me. So I plan to send this link around a lot:
That’s right. Harvard Law has a blogging area that’s almost an exact policy match to the UMW/KeeneWeb model.
And if the suits down at Harvard are listening to Weinberger (or whoever is at Berkman now), I’m feeling pretty good about our little venture.
Definitely check out Harvard’s Weblogs: not only is it a key bookmark that you are going to want to mail around, it’s a great example of a motley weblog community in action: you can read an analysis of contingency fees, a defense of Britney Spears, admissions talking about their favorite moments from admissions phone calls, and a discussion of Samuel Johnson-themed beer labels.
So… are there any further questions?