This isn't a fully formed thought yet, but I was wondering what the status of discussion and commenting is on the web these days. Clearly microblogging like Twitter and produces a powerful platform for conversations and I think what's coming with xmpp (innovative interfaces for group chats, etc.) furthers the potential for conversation online. At the same time, I'm wondering what the status of conversations are "older" media like blog comments...

Are people still commenting on blogs? A few of you comment here now and then, and websites like making light have vibrant comments threads (that I don't have the attention span for or time to read), and the big sites (slashdot, digg, etc.) have active comments as well, but a lot of sites (including those with moderate readership) don't get many comments, and my sense is that a significant percentage of comments these days are in the "me too" vein, rather than productive themselves (because threads are difficult to read). Here are a few questions:

  • Do features (threading? email notification? persistent identities?) make commenting "work better" or flow more productively?
  • Are conversations about content moving away from comments into more centralized media like twitter, email lists, and discussion forums?
  • Are we more likely to respond to a blog post we read in our own blog, rather than in a comments thread? Has the blogging community reached a saturation point?
  • Dose a vibrant community of comment-posers indicate a marker of blog-success, these days? Did it ever? What might replace comments?

I'm pretty convinced that comments are dying, but I'd love to get your feedback. I'm not terribly mournful about this but I'm very interested in thinking about how we (as a community will replace this niche.)