I’ve just cloned the Birmingham Hyperlocal blog wire and created a version for Stoke on Trent. Clare White suggested the sources from this list and this delicious tag. Pulling the sources together reiterated to me that for this to work well the source list has to be maintained by someone with a good deal of knowledge of the local area and blogging scenes — you need to find them — and also it helps to have this experience make the decision of which blogs are merely local (based in the area) and those that are hyperlocal (in this sense about the area).
The Stoke blogs gave a chance to try out a couple more of the “tag adding” inputs (Stoke having a couple of art blogs and one that focuses on music):
(Remember these add contextual information to all of the posts from particular feeds.)
A new thing was to take a blog that uses good metadata (in this case D’log) and use that to filter before adding to the pipe. D’log has a “Stoke on Trent” category and as it’s using WordPress it’s possible to get an RSS feed just for this. Consistent metadata (categories or tagging) is unfortunately quite rare, but if a site uses it and runs on a decent platform then you can filter at this level.
Unfortunately D’log doesn’t allow Yahoo Pipes to fetch information from it — this may be because it was creating heavy traffic in the past — using it produces a (408 User-agent timeout (select)) error. To solve this you can route the feed through Feedburner – which will handle the requests.
This time I also experimented with adding a forum feed to the pipe — it may produce too much noise so we will need to add a filter to that, we’ll have to see.