Two Slash sites may have the same theme, post the same Stories, and target the same audience. If both succeed, they will grow in different directions. One site may see little public discussion as its users treat it as a source, preferring other channels of communication. The other site might spawn hundreds of threads on semi-related tangents. The difference is the tone of the site, an unquantifiable quality that can only be identified experientially.
While users add an element of the unknown, administrators have the biggest influence on the site. Authorship bestows the ability to publish (and to modify!) words on the homepage, words read by hundreds or thousands of people. These editorial decisions set the stage for subsequent discussions and future Stories.
Your site’s biggest initial draw will be the published Stories. A sports site dedicated to American football, baseball, and basketball will attract few visitors if the latest Stories discuss the Super Bowl (late January) during the NBA playoffs (June). Likewise, a sudden barrage of links to curling and jai alai tournaments will likely confuse the dedicated readers. Some sites have very flexible Topics, with freewheeling discussions, while others follow a clearly defined, if narrow, path. Your site will evolve with new users and new Stories, finding its own niche. Be aware of these changes in direction and communicate them clearly. Use words, if necessary.
Before deciding which stories ...