A Modest Blogging Proposal

I'm going to present this post somewhat out of order. Here's the proposal.

I want to think about moving this blog (or starting another?) to be a blog/wiki hybrid, and at the very least, moving forward I'd like the "discussion" or comment's link to link to a wiki page rather than a comments thread.

I've been thinking about the blog recently. I really enjoy writing posts, and there are days when I rely on writing a blog post to get me thinking and moving in the morning (or afternoon!) and kinds of projects that I don't think I would be able to work on if it weren't for having the space to write and the opportunity to have conversations with you all.

I've done some work recently to streamline and simplify the publishing process, which does a lot to make me more likely to post on the fly, but I'm not sure that the tone of this site, or the current design, or my own habits would really support a different kind of publishing schedule.

As an aside, I think the technological shift that made blogs possible were "content management systems" and website building tools that made updating a website with new content incredibly simple. While blogging has come to mean many other things and is defined by a number of different features, having the ability to publish on very short notice has a large effect on the way people write blog content.

So here's the thing about blog comments: I don't think that they're used particularly well, and there are some important flaws in so many of the options around. First, the best systems, like the one used on LiveJournal, IntenseDebate, and Disqus (which I use on this site) are all proprietary systems that are depending on an external service to function. The worse systems all have independent authentication methods, often lack proper threading (which most comm enters aren't terribly good at using anyway,) and it's very difficult to prevent all these systems from being filled with spam.

What's more, people don't really comment that much. At least for most blogs.

  • better comment systems, better discussions.
  • catering to people who want to write a lot. in comments.
  • allowing the conversation to grow from comments, in productive rather than purely discursive ways.

And once you've moved comments into a wiki, why not move the rest of the blog as well? My preferred engine, ikiwiki, has support for blog-like content so while there would be some work involved, it wouldn't be a major hassle to manage. And the worst case scenario is that the old content remains in the old system, which might not be a bad thing in the end.

Anyone out there in reader land have any thoughts on the subject? While I'll probably make some sort of revision to the way I blog/maintain tychoish.com, any such change is probably a month or two in the future.

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