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February 03, 2005

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Denham

Tom,

Not sure things are as B&W as you state.

Blogs do not support a level conversational playing field IMO. Comments are at best 'second rate posts', the primary author hogs the display space, has the power to delete / edit comments, there is no way (as far I'm aware) to upload anything when replying in a comment, no control over tags or categories.

In the land of blogs, comments are second rate citizenz, however they can still have spam power!

Tom Collins

Hi Denham,

Great hearing from you again!

I agree things are not B&W regarding blogs as business tools, but never claimed they were. I merely wanted to provide aome contrast to the plainly inaccurate "definition" of blogs used by Chris. (It's a bit odd/amusing that you've responded, but Chris has not. I guess he's not connected to the blogosphere and that raises further doubt about his qualifications to write as a "Trend tracker" on blogging.)

Comparing your comment to his article, I'm curious how comments in a blog are any more "second class" than the responding messages to a particular thread in the discussion boards that are claimed by Chris to "allow for a greater degree of interaction" than blogs.

That claim is sheer nonsense -- I think -- to anyone who has spent any time blogging.

When you posted your comment here, I got an e-mail from TypePad, allowing me to check your comment and then, since I was busy yesterday, wait until today to respond. I'm guessing you learned of my post in the first place via your RSS reader. That's as interactive as any discussion board I've ever heard about.

More importantly, comments are only one small part of the interactive, network-building power of blogs.

Regarding the problem of enriching the discussion with visuals and file uploads, if we were using a TypePad blog as a workspace, I could passcode protect it and then simply authorize you as an author on the blog and you'd be able to post away, insert images, upload files, and be a first-class citizen.

In all likelihood, though, behind the firewall we'd have Moveable Type resident on our own server. Then the range of communication and archiving tools we could customize to serve our project needs is pretty close to unlimited.

Even without those security-minded measures, you could easily have engaged in this discussion by posting a complete, graphic-laden response on your own blog with a TrackBack to mine. I'd have gotten an e-mail from TypePad and had the choice of responding with a further post here, or a comment on yours.

Either way, the discussion would be wide open and fully supportive of the individual participants' communication styles. That's why behind the firewall blogs have such enormous potential for finally delivering on the promise of KM communities within organizations.

Blogs can provide a blend of the social learning environment and individual knowledge sharing tools that I understood you to be seeking in our previous discussions.

Your worry about the primary author having the power to edit/delete comments seems illusory in the blogosphere. If you made a comment and I deleted it, you'd be quite capable of calling me on it on your own blog. If your comment deserved to be heard, the "marketplace of ideas" would penalize me. If it deserved to be deleted, you'd get penalized for perpetuating it.

Among the observations we heard at the New Communications forum from people like Neville Hobson (NevOn - http://nevon.typepad.com) and Andy Lark - http://andylark.blogs.com) were that blogs are "little First Amendment machines" and "a fully self-correcting medium."

Another: "The 'Net does not forget."

So I wouldn't spend much time worrying about censorship in the blogosphere.

Denham

Your blog and my blog

Tom,

Thanks for the detailed reply.

There is a penalty for retreating to your own blog to reply - the record becomes distributed and fragmented - difficult to follow.

So in a way I agree with Chris, there is an advantage to (re)acting in a shared space (web forum) vs. a multitude of places in the blogoshere.

Subscribing someone as a co-author (at least in Typepad) does not give authority to edit / delete comments attached to another authors posts as far I have experienced.

My argument is not around censorship, but about lack of structural and access equality in blogs vs. forums. In forums we would have equal access / edit / rights to our posts and an equal share of the display - in some / most? blogs you have to do an extra click to access comments - subordinate content?

BTW are you aware any blogs that allow uploading in their comments?

Yvonne DiVita

A little feedback from an outsider-- I hate forums. I hate discussion boards and I'm still undecided about wikis. Too much chatter and noise going on. Too much content in one place. Give me time to read what I want to read, at the pace I want to read it. Forums are too in your face. You are all talking about focus. IMHO, blogs provide focus better than any other tool. The blogger does NOT hold control...indeed, by the very act of blogging, one GIVES OVER control to others in the blogosphere, or anywhere on the NET. The responders hold the control. Obviously, you have not been part of a truly interactive, extensive blog conversation. Take a gander at Tom Peter's site...www.tompeters.com and see how his readers really control what gets said and talked about in his blog. As for the ability to add other features to comments, all Tom needs do is turn on the HTML feature, and his responders could cite URL's and add any other web element, if they know how. It happens. Blogs just work, plain and simple. They connect people on a level playing field--not having to fight spam in my email box--but having the ability to converse not only with the blogger who posts, but with others who comment. The spam in comments issue is so not worth worrying about! At least...in Typepad. They delete spam almost before you know it's there. What spam they don't catch is easily deleted by the blogger--- and banned from showing up again.

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