I am interested in hosting multiple bloggers on a WP installation. Yes, I have researched WPMU. However, since I need just some of the MU functionality, I'd like to discuss if the standard WP software will be able to do what I wish to do. I hope you have a minute to read this and give me your thoughts:
The beauty of WPMU is that it lets hundreds, thousands or more people set up blogs on their own, with no intervention by the administrator. In addition, it allows the user to customize their blog via templates and plugins. I don't need any of this.
In my particular situation, it's going to be a group blogging environment for a small city, where they blog about local (usually local political) issues. I want to "approve" bloggers before they are actually allowed to blog so I can have only good writing and good content; then I will set them up as an author and they can begin. I might have anywhere from 20 -100 bloggers if I had to guess.
On the home page I wish to show the aggregated blog entries in reverse chronological order, or perhaps instead, the one latest entry from each blogger, in chronological order. In the sidebar I'd show the author names, the categories, etc.
When the author name is clicked on the sidebar, it will show just the author's entries, as if it where his own blog. The styling will be exactly like all other author pages. A link to the author's name will show profile information for the author.
All that is part of WP. No problem. But, what else can I do to make these individual author's list of entires feel more like "their own blogs"?
1. Can I assign a blog name (i.e. "Joe's Politically Incorrect Rant") to the author (i.e. Joe Smith) that will then show up at the top of his list of posts page, and hopefully also in a list of blogs on a page or in the sidebar?
2. Can I on the home page or sidebar, list "Most Popular Blogs" (authors really), "Most Commented Blogs (again, authors really), and other such things I might not be thinking of right now.
EDIT to add: 3. Is there any ability to subscribe to individual authors?
I really hate modifications to code since it make upgrading such a pain, so I'd prefer to do all of this with standard plugins, tags and built in features.
Is it possible to pull this off?