I gotta say, I’m a bit nervous posting this, but if I was Stephen I’d want to hear it if someone disagreed with me, and I’d do my best to set the cocky little upstart straight (in the nicest possible way).

Last week I was listening to Stephen’s latest, and very interesting audio recordings from the Grand Yellowhead Seminar. In Part 3 he talks a bit about spam as the reason why educational organisations need to take control of content management. Best you listen to the audio, because my summary sentence doesn’t seem quite right.

I pretty strongly disagree with Stephen on what he says about spam management though. Stephen suggests that educational organisations need to think about spam and consider hosting and serving their own content management systems to combat it. Stephen hosts and manages his own blogging and wiki software, where as I use free web based services. Stephen suggests that using free web based services leaves you open to spam and other sorded attacks on content, but I think hosting and managing your own software leaves you open.

I use Gmail, for example. I almost never get spam. Actually, I get a sh!t load, but Google’s filter is working very well. When I worked for an educational organisation they expected me to use their email system, and I got a lot their too, but their filters weren’t so good and most of it got through!

I use Blogger, and while it started off pure and beautiful, soon enough comment spam was creating quite a problem. Within a week or 2, Blogger offered not one but 4 ways to control unwanted comments.

Wikispaces was hit by spam once. And it was not light either. I think they learned from that. I haven’t seen another hit since.

Basically what I’m saying is that schools and other educational organisations by themselves, even their State departments, have a very limited capacity to keep up to date with effective content controls as well as running the systems they have in place. From my experience, having used their systems, and now the free web based ones, it seems to me the free web based ones offer a whole heap more peace of mind compared to getting, hosting and managing your own server and apps.

But who know, maybe all these free web apps are part, or soon to become part, of the evil media empire and all the information I have posted along the way will leave me open to a much more effective form of spam advertising. But then, if that is a conspiracy going on at the moment, I really doubt the IT support section of my local school is on top of it either.

So it seems to me that the use of free web based applications offer simplicity of use and an ease of management that is hard to beat when compared to the systems in place within schools and colleges at the moment.

If I was an IT support dude, I’d be finding ways to work into these web app projects. Finding the open source versions and working with them to better service educational needs and keeping the bastards honest while they host the service and manage the content for you.


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