Home > Computers and Internet > Blog technology should default to creating an online conversation

Blog technology should default to creating an online conversation

It’s not hard at all to view a blog (like this one) or a news website where online readers can post comments. The way they are nearly all setup though is that the comment is in response to the blog post/news article. The problem with that is that many of them aren’t. If an article as more than 10 comments you’re very likely to start seeing comments which start with @someOtherAlias, where a commenter was responding to a previous comment. Once in a while a conversation will happen between the two. For this to happen though it requires each individual to spend the day with a monkey on their back constantly checking the blog to see if the other has responded.

Given how common this is I think that all of the blog technology platforms out there should always have the ability to reply to specific comments. Three examples I can think of are news.cnet.com slashdot.org and newsvine. For articles that are probably going to generate a hundred or less comments, cnet does it right. Show every comment and response, allow the community to flag inappropriate comments/spam, and show like buttons. For stories that will most likely have more than a hundred comments, slashdot does it right. A community of moderators add tags and points to comments, and by default only highly rated comments/responses are shown.

The other way where slashdot shines is when you go to their home page there’s a box in the right hand corner showing you responses to your comments. Personally, in addition to the differnet blogs having a box like this, they should have a Web Slice. I know that Web Slices haven’t taken off like the IE team was hoping that they would, but they work really well in this situation. Something that I would like is an email to every response which could happen to any comment I add to a website. That would be a flood of useless emails. But with a Web Slice, it’ll turn bold when there’s a change and I can check it at my leasure. Also, having a web slice like box on the home page of the blog I can see responses whenever I’m interested in visiting the blog, if I don’t think that the blog is worth taking up space on my browsers favorites bar.

I hope that having online conversations start becoming the norm. The current system of “the last guy who checked the article gets the last laugh” is not ideal.


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