Comments on comments
: Blogger Tom Mangan has been influencing other blogs via their comments. Mangen positively inspired Jay Rosen to unleash his pent-up, still-jelling views on FoxNews (Jay told me about it over lunch yesterday and, voila, there was his post a few hours later). Mangen inspired Tim Porter to take an idea a step further on the Californian election.
And that’s just one example of the gems buried in the comments of so many blogs (those with the courage to open them up).
: I love my comments. They are a cafe, a community, a klatsch. People bring wonderful ideas, links, and punchlines there (just check out the string of interactive DNA on mascot names here). They are, in a sense, a whole host of blogs within the blog.
I try not to involve myself in the comments too much since I have my say here. I’ve killed only a handful of posts over the years (bad words, off-topic, personal attacks). I sometimes join in a conversation (sometimes to defend myself, sometimes to parry). But usually, I just like to listen.
Still, comments and interactivity of all forms do take care and feeding. At my day job, we have people who repond to alerts from the users and kill bad posts (they were quite busy after the Yankees/Sox brawl the other night). But when you look at the whole, the bad apples are few. It’s well worth having comments and forums, for this medium is a conversation.
: I’m saying all this because I just saw that blogger Tom Coates of PlasticBag is starting a blog about managing community. It seems a bit abstract and talky (“…children and teenagers are using the affordances and limitations of social software and community spaces as mechanisms to help them assert their dominance (often through bullying) in schools’ social shark tanks…”), and controlling. It’s about moderating discussion. I believe that most discussions don’t need moderation; they need content and value to draw the cafe customers; they need janitors to sweep up the trolls; they need an occasional reminder to behave from a higher authority. But, in general, what’s so wonderful about this great online conversation is that it moderates itself. The joy is in the listening.