(2012-03-06) Evolution Of Blogging

A discussion on "how to WebLog-s need to evolve?" with Anil Dash, Matt Haughey, Meg Hourihan, Paul Bausch, and EvHead. It seems like some of the basic elements of the form, such as comments, have been stuck in a model that doesn't work very well to encourage quality responses and also doesn't fit the way people do things socially online these days. Oddly, a blog comment isn't even as good a social object as a photo. Some overlapping ideas...

Amusingly (?), that discussion doesn't allow comments.

Dave Winer posted his own thoughts.

  • He pushes his Transclusion support (I've rather lost interest in transclusion, though I still think being Paragraph Addressable is huge.)
  • He agrees that owning your WebLog is key, vs Twitter Company Town. Sure if you want to participate it's a bit of work, you have to set up a blog somewhere. That's okay with me. For a little bit of work you get a whole lot of Freedom. That's a good deal.

Update: Anil will be interviewing Nick Denton at SXSW about "the failure of web comments". (How about a panel on the failure of panels?)

  • the live-tweets.
  • Anil's summary and self-linkage.
    • a Denton quote: "What you can manage on a small site ... the level of discussion you can have on those is not the level you're able to have on a Newspaper site or one of our sites. Our smaller blogs have 2 million unique (visitors per month). ... It's hard to have that intimacy."
  • Apr20 update: he called the long-held idea that comments could somehow capture the intelligence of a site’s readership “a joke.” So Gawker is remaking comments from the ground up, Denton told GigaOM in an interview in his So Ho office on Wednesday — and the vision behind the changes that will be rolling out soon is nothing less than a reinvention of what the company is about, and also an attempt to literally flip the world of online content on its head... The new commenting system, which Denton has hinted about but not revealed the details of, is designed to give everyone their own platform for commentary and discussion, one in which they control who they listen to or who they dismiss... Denton hopes that handling comments in this way will encourage the subjects of stories to become involved in rebutting these reports directly on the site, instead of calling him to rant at him about them.
  • Apr26 update: the new commenting system has launched.
  • May07: This extends to "internal" discussions about pieces happening in public.

May05 related: Almost any article worth reading these days generates some version of this long tail of commentary. Depending on whether they are moderated, these comments can range from blistering flameouts to smart factual corrections to full-on challenges to the very heart of an article’s argument... By now, readers understand that the definitive “copy” of any article is no longer the one on paper but the online copy, precisely because it’s the version that’s been read and mauled and annotated by readers... We call the fallout to any article the “comments,” but since they are often filled with solid arguments, smart corrections and new facts, the thing needs a nobler name. Maybe “gloss.”... Any article, journalistic or scientific, that sparks a debate typically winds up looking more like a good manuscript 700 years ago than a magazine piece only 10 years ago. The truth is that every decent article now aspires to become the Wiki of its own headline... Some may fear that recognizing the commentary of every article will turn every subject into an endless postmodern discussion. But actually, the opposite is true. Recognizing the gloss allows us to pause in the seemingly unending back and forth of contemporary free speech and free inquiry to say, well, for now, this much is true — the ivory-bill still hasn’t been definitively seen since World War II, climate change is happening and caused by mankind, natural selection is the best description of nature’s creative force. Et cetera. Disputation Arena

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