Tag Archives: Blogging

Dave Winer, comments, and blogging: some thoughts

Dave Winer has turned off comments on his blog, and I have just started reading him again after a hiatus of a couple of years.

I do not think that these things are unconnected.

These days, I don’t get that many comments here. That’s not surprising: I’ve gone from being a fairly prolific blogger who would happily churn out half a dozen posts a day to maybe writing a post a week. But my experience back when I had to deal with lots and lots of comments was that it soaked up a lot of your mental energy. More than that, it actually made you write in a completely different way, often more confrontational.

To put it another way, comments tended to make you more irritable. Comments often turned into silly little fights between people who completely ignored your original post, or had obviously barely read it. More often than not, those people also chose to hide under throwaway or anonymous names, too, which only made matters worse. If you don’t use a recognisable name (it doesn’t need to be a real one) you’re depersonlising yourself, encouraging others to treat you as a little less of a human being, a little more of an avatar they can have an argument with.

The best way to comment on anything – and the way I’d encourage anyone to comment on anything I write – is to write something on your own blog. Not on Twitter, where, unless you’re a brilliantly-pithy epigram writer, you’re likely just to indicate agreement or disagreement. Not – god help you – on Facebook or Google Plus, where you don’t own the space and it’s as much about engaging your community of friends as it is you.

(As an aside, one extreme example of this is MG Siegler’s Google+ stream. It’s pretty clear that MG doesn’t even read it: he simply “+1′s” stuff on this own site, which feeds it through to Google+. Every post is a cesspit of vitriol, a bunch of people screaming into the wind. A pointless waste of bits.)

Do it on your own blog, where you have time and space to write as much or as little as you want, to explore your own thoughts in depth, without having to be concerned about “your community” or anyone else. If you’re worried that the person you’re writing a response to won’t see it, email them or Tweet at them. Almost every writer who’s actually worth reading will engage with, and respond to, people who write interesting stuff. For major bloggers, this is much more likely to get their attention than any comment. On big sites, they may not even have the time to read comments anyway.

Looking through his posts, it feels to me like there’s a little bit of a tonal difference between Dave’s posts pre-comment turn-off, and after. He feels a little bit more relaxed, a bit more varied, more like the Dave Winer that I used to read and enjoy, even thought I often (maybe usually) didn’t agree with him. It sounds like he’s having more fun.

As for comments on here, I’ll keep them on for the moment, but probably turn them off at some point. It’s not that I find comments here arduous, or that people who comment fall into the category of “bad commentors” (often, far from it). But I’d like to do a little bit to encourage people to write for themselves, on their own blogs, and in a thoughtful way rather than just drive-by commenting.

And if you write something, email me, or tweet at me. It’ll be fun.

Unhappy with social network real name policies? Do it yourself

Hugh MacLeod:

And as I’ve said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else’s resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly.i.e. not waiting for the green light. In the blogosphere, the only light IS the green light.

This is something the people complaining about “real names” policies need to remember. If you’re posting content on someone else’s site, you’re playing by someone else’s rules. If you’re not happy about that, don’t keep asking permission – pleading with the king for a “fair” approach won’t get you far. Do it yourself.

Goodbye, JKOnTheRun

Warner Crocker on the demise of JKOnTheRun:

jkOnTheRun was one of the first mobile tech blogs I followed and JK was one of the guys who I always turned to hear or read his opinion. I still do. Whether it was reading posts on the blog or listening to the podcasts with James and the late, and still dearly missed Marc Orchant, it was always a blast. I always looked forward to those podcasts as I did the Mobile Tech Roundup podcasts with JK, Kevin Tofel, and later Matt Miller. I learned a lot from all of that reading and listening and the beauty of it is I was always entertained while doing so. MOTR still is in my podcast queue though James isn’t a part of that anymore.

I agree. I loved the On The Run with Tablet PC podcasts that James and Marc used to do. Blogs have moved a long way past the enthusiast stage, and I miss it. That’s not to say that what Kevin and the guys are doing about mobile at GigaOm isn’t great (it is) but it’s very much a different blogging world out there.

Another advantage to writing posts, rather than commenting

def dayCoder(self):: Blog Comments:

“The first post on this blog linking to an external source linked to Daring Fireball. That’s no coincidence. Had there been comments, I’d have left one alongside dozens of others that would be ignored and forgotten.

So thanks, John and Ian for indirectly and directly getting me to post stuff here that at least I’ll be able to read again sometime.”

I have posts on here dating back to 2002, and it probably would be much longer if I hadn’t initially used a weird dead end of a blogging platform. Comments? I have no idea how many are still in existence.

If you write blog posts, you own your own words. If you comment on other people’s posts, they get to decide if your words live or die.

And if you spend your time pouring your heart and sole into comments written on platforms like Google Buzz or FriendFeed… well you might as well type them out on paper, make them into paper planes, and throw them out of the window.

Dave Winer’s sub-text

Dave Winer’s been experimenting with a feature he calls “Sub-text”, which lets you get more depth from a story while still being able to skim-read it. The idea is simple: You can embed a piece of sub-text underneath a paragraph, which you can expand or contract at will.

The basic idea is that you should be able to skim the post without reading the sub-text, but that the sub-text provides additional depth to the paragraph it’s attached to. It’s one of Dave’s responses to the fact that people tend to skim-read online rather than actually reading things fully.

I think it’s actually a pretty neat idea, and one that I’d like to incorporate into this blog. At the moment, there’s some rough edges – most notably, RSS doesn’t support it which means you have to read the site in order to get the “full” text. But it still looks promising as a method for adding depth without linking off to other pages.

Joanne McNeil on Boing Boing’s “erasure” of Violet Blue

Link: Tomorrow Museum » Archive » William Gibson Completely Deleted from BoingBoing Archives.

"This is sexism. It’s also bad journalism. And it goes against the free interactive spirit of blogging"

As far as I can see, Joanne made absolutely no attempt to contact anyone at Boing Boing to find why Violet has been deleted from the archives.

Accusing someone of “bad journalism” while failing to do any additional
research over and above reading a Valleywag story is pretty bold, don’t
you think?

UPDATE: From the BoingBoingers.