Thursday, February 28, 2002

I also somehow missed this post on Jonathan Delacour’s site about weblog comments and paradigm shifts:

“Radio users are building tools, macros, Web services, and a bunch of other stuff that I’m not even aware of. Until today I believed I couldn’t contribute anything substantial to that effort — and that’s OK, my ambitions lie in storytelling (and the stories I tell, when I manage to tell them well, generate lots of appreciative feedback). But today three very smart people responded to my post and, as a result, I felt connected to Radio developers.”

Jonathan goes on to say:

“Now I discover — and I have to tell you it’s disconcerting — that I’m getting a crash education in collaborative writing. This isn’t what I signed up for and yet it’s fascinating and exhilarating and I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. But there’s an underlying complication — the “best writing” that Burningbird cites is hidden within the comment windows. How do we expose that writing?”

For the most part, I’ll let that rest where it is, but there is one point I feel the need to make. There’s almost certainly more work to be done here, but it’s important that the work be done thoughtfully, to make sure that we don’t leave our readers confused and frustrated.

They understand popup windows, even though that understanding probably comes at the expence of all of us having to tolerate the abhorrent disruption that constitutes the pop-up ad phenomenon. They also understand mailing lists, and some know about permalinks.

But if we move too quickly, and introduce too many user interface elements, we run the dual risk of confusing readers with extraneous pixels that they may not understand, and making a mistake in driving the paradigm shift, that unnecessarily limits our choices in the future.

To quote Dave quoting Al Pacino: Inch by inch…