Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blogs and Comments

When a comment on a blog is longer than the blog post, there's a problem. At what point does a comment on a blog become its own commentary that deserves its own blog post? There's an 'event horizon' somewhere between a short response and a lengthy response, and an event horizon between a comment that doesn't intend a dialogue and one that invites one.

I recently posted a very short comment to a blog - an anecdote that needed no response - and my comment was lost 5 screen heights down because some guy "went off" on the topic at hand with his overly lengthy comment. Comments "should" (dreadful word) be shorter text pieces with no intention of response invited. If you want to write a reflective, lengthy argument to someone else's piece, write your own blog entry via linkbacks. But then, your response is removed from the object - the first blog post. There's an objective middle space shared between the first blog post, comments that don't need a response, and comments that are blog posts of their own.

How do I comment on a comment left on my blog? Do I post a comment of my own? At that point, it looks like I'm another reader, and not the author/owner of the blog. Do we display it as threaded conversational commentary after the blog post? At what point does a blog become a forum ala Usenet? What if I want to create a private commentary conversation about a blog post? Do I then revert to email, or IM (asynchronously or synchronously?) Why do we use so many different technologies to do any of these, when all that is needed is a way to organize and visualize *one* technology - Extraverting?

Forests and (falling) trees

Journaling is an Introverted activity; blogging is an Introverted activity with the intent of Extraversion. A unread weblog remains in the 'Land of I' until read by someone - at which point it becomes shared and therefore Objective. A private blog is intimate (I) Extraversion (this blog is an example). A comment on a blog is Extraverted, while a blog post in response to another blog post falls under dialogue - a theoretically healthy mixture of I and E.

One of the basic principles of hypertext (and database) theory is that something is written once, and then referred to via linked references - the Intimate E. When we 'leave' a comment on someone else's blog, we're violating that principle, because the comment is no longer with its source - the Persona responsible for the comment. It becomes graffiti. A response to blog post also loses this principle - the original post is on that other page, and you're not seeing directly what they're referring to, unless the quote is dynamically displayed within the confines of the Response Blog.

There's a fundamental lack of structure to online conversation, and while this represents freedom, it also leads to miscommunication. One part to clearer communications is that what is said by the speaker should remain with the speaker. I envision a 'VoxBox' where the output (E) of a Persona on the Internet is collected within a boundried 'space' Another would be the ability to visualize the objectively shared space created by a conversation.

With a VoxBox modified via reputation systems and relationship measurements, I can subjectively control the volume of said Persona no matter where the Extraverted output ends up. Perhaps I want to get a better idea of the Persona responsible for the comment, so I could view the VoxBox to see everything said Persona is putting out there.

If it's my VoxBox, I can control who gets to see which 'face' of the box, or which E output. In order for me to put a Twitter badge in my blog, I had to make my Twitters completely public, even though my blog is only read by four people by permission, one of whom is my mother (hi mom!). Thus far I only use Twitter for 'work' and only four people know what work I do (which is how I like it right now). But in order for me to put a badge on a private blog, I had to go completely public on a website filled with strangers, and now I have to watch what I say via Twitter, because anyone can read it on the Twitter main page, and I don't want to give anything away.

So I'm left with IM, which is what I was trying to avoid, because it's intrusive to Introverts and gives an obligation of dialogue or a sense of 'pay attention to this *now*' to anyone receiving one.

Twitterings are already developing a sense of 'asynchronous directedness' on their own - with the @ symbol. While the Twitter may be completely public, it's intended audience is indicated with @papadavo or @critt. Wouldn't it be nice if the @ was 'hot' and directed the Twitter to *only* be read by the @tted Personas or Groups, or those within a certain level of intimacy [@Everyone, @Friends, @ProfessionalRep>=75, @DnD Clan, etc] It's like an IM (b)cc with no obligation of response or attention.
blog comments powered by Disqus