Centralization in blogging tools. First, I’d like to thank Burning Bird for elevating the level of discussion about centralization in weblog tools. As I wrote on Scripting News this morning, we can cover the tools ourselves, as long as we do it scientifically, and with an appreciation for diversity. This is a product category that’s just waking up. There’s a dearth of real comparative data. It’s not about good-vs-bad, it’s time to learn and advance the art of weblogging software.
Anyway, I’ve been weblogging for quite a few years, and I’ve tried out a lot of the ideas Shelley talks about. I had a discussion group, I’ve not done comments. I’m watching other people run comment-based sites, and participating where the rules allow it. (Shelley posted a rule a few weeks ago that excludes me from participating in her comments, and of course that’s her right, and I am respecting that by commenting here on my Radio weblog.)
I of course think community features are great. I love reading referers lists, for my sites, and others. It helps me ponder the flow of this thing we call the Web. I like knowing what are the most popular RSS feeds. The inter-relation of sites is a never-ending fascination for me. It’s the stuff that Jon Udell is writing about. And Josh Allen, the WebMonkey reviewer who organized our little industry so well, is writing about that too.
The community is an important aspect to blogging, imho. We’re trying out a new method of Internet-based discourse that’s different from the ones that came before. In “blogspace” respect is possible. The weblog is the proxy for a person. We choose the level at which we want to invite others into the space. I like distance, always have — it helps people be respectful, and that means we can learn new stuff. This discussion of centralization in weblog tools is a perfect example of that. Had we been doing this on a newsgroup or a mail list or discussion group, the Stop Energy would likely overwhelm the intelligent discussion.
So anyway, here’s a question for Shelley. When I see your site update on Weblogs.Com, I usually go for a visit to see what the bird is burning about now. I think of that as a community feature. Do you think it’s valuable? If not, why do you participate?