Comment alley boo?

  • May. 8th, 2009 at 12:09 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
I'd planned the following as the stirring conclusion to my last entry, but -- as often happens -- then forgot about it until after I'd hit post. So if you've ever wondered why my longer posts tend to trail off....

comment say bah? )

As I said, I'm offering this as a thought experiment -- a hypothetical proposition about an alternative comment culture (or perhaps a social/technical fork of LJ's comment culture?). I'm not saying that my opt in schema is preferable, or that Dreamwidth should have gone this route, or should change course and implement this system. Frankly, I'm on the fence here myself, and you could make the case that this particular horse has long since left the barn (does that mean my stance could be called equipoise?). Maybe Dreamwidth already considered and rejected this option, for technical or philosophical or legal or business reasons ("forget the horse, that dog won't hunt"); maybe I'd agree with those reasons.

So my point -- and I do have one -- is that I do believe that people whose comments have been imported have a legitimate interest and stake here. Whether or not I personally find merit in any particular person's specific concerns or motives, and regardless of whether I share them myself, the fundamental question of how Dreamwidth balances the interests of DW users importing their journals and people (both users and non-users of DW) whose comments are being imported remains valid and, to my mind, unresolved as a cultural issue. The issue of control over one's comments is fundamental to comment ecologies. And my control over my imported comments -- even if I never choose to exercise it -- feels largely illusory, both presently for my nominal ability to individually delete and with the future "blanket screen all" planned feature. The former is too hyper-granular to be meaningful; conversely the latter sounds too all-or-nothing -- the nuclear option -- to afford more nuanced options. Surely other social and technical alternatives are possible.


Comment ecologies

  • May. 7th, 2009 at 7:30 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
Imagine a world where you can get an RSS feed of all the comments that you leave, to save for reference or repost as your comment blog. A world where you can subscribe to all the comments that another person leaves across different journals. Imagine a world where you can post a video comment as easily as a text comment. A world where you can simultaneously Tweet your comments to your Twitter account. Where other readers can rate your comments, and those ratings shape your reputation as measured in points. A world where the owner of the journal where you're commenting can change how your comment is displayed, with a note that the moderator edited the comment, but the original unedited comment is retained in your commenter profile. Where comments and reactions to your journal posts in other journals and on other services -- blogs, delicious, Twitter -- are automatically aggregated and appear as links in your posts' comments. Imagine a world where readers who don't have an account with your journal service can post comments under their Facebook account.

What is this brave new world, that has such features in it? A commenter's paradise, a nightmarish dystopia, or just another alternate universe?

It's called Disqus -- a free, third-party hosted comment system that can be plugged into other platforms like WordPress and Drupal, but not journal services built on LiveJournal code (and yes, Disqus does allow for threaded comments and email notifications).

Comment cultures -- the norms, expectations, values and practices that coalesce around commenting systems -- are driven by both social and technical factors. The tensions, conflicts, and debates thus play out differently in different cultures.

Read more... )

ETA: see also the sequel to this post.