Comments Floating in the Blogosphere

Comments here,
Comments there,
Comments posted everywhere.

Comments here,
Comments there,
Comments floating in the blogosphere.

The blogosphere is a buzz. The conversation is about comments. I wrote the other day about “the FriendFeed disjointed comments problem.” My post was pointing out how FriendFeed could help move the conversation back to the original blog.

Conversation is taking place outside of the originating blog and the problem is far bigger than just FriendFeed. The buzz began over the weekend when Louis Gray’s post “Should Fractured Feed Reader Comments Raise Blog Owners’ Ire?hit Techmeme.

I watched as Louis Gray’s post hit and the problem was clearly demonstrated. Conversation took place on the blog post, on plaxo, and on friendfeed. Certainly that was not all of the stir. I am sure other conversation took place on many other sites as people on commented as they bookmarked it, commented on the digg submission, etc.

The FriendFeed conversation was certainly spirited. The whole issue revolved around Shyftr and whether they should allow commenting with full text RSS. Some compared it to simple content scraping. It led one user to state, “they (Shyftr) can expect to get hit with a DMCA take-down notice” if his content was used.

My take on the whole issue. Shyftr is great to allow comments. Almost every Google Reader user would love the ability to comment in the app. However let’s create a system to allow posting back to the original post.

I posted the following on the FriendFeed conversation:

I wonder if or OpenComments.Org are available? A system must be devised to send the comments back to the blogs. An open standard will come out of this. I can see Disqus being one of the early players. As for the offenders they are too numerous to name. Disqus, Digg,, Plaxo, FriendFeed, Shyftr, Mixx, etc. Anywhere you post a link and comment not on the original blog would be included. I think this applies to linkers as much as the sites that pull the full text RSS.

The issue is protecting content creators. I have seen numerous posts lately about the changing landscape of the blogosphere and the lack of original content. Content creators simply feel threatened by someone else getting the page views and never even knowing about it.

So I was kidding about CommentsPortability and OpenComments but we simply need a system to let the Shyftrs, the FriendFeeds, or wherever else the conversation is taking place send comments back to the original post.

As my comment stated I do think Disqus could be a major early player in this.

Dave Winer says that RSS has elements in place that can be used. Can’t we allow just get along?

Beta Feedback should be much easier

Feedback in the form of BETA bug reporting and feature requesting should be EASY on all BETA sites. Everything is BETA and a work in progress when it is first released. One thing I continually notice as I register and try site after site is the lack of continuity in methods to give feedback.

It should be easy to fill out a bug report or feature request. Lately I have found it simply difficult to find any help or documentation. Ok granted if it is in private beta sometimes the web app is just beyond proof of concept. However if the application wishes to ever move beyond its current state feedback from its user base is a must.

For example, on FriendFeed the other day I found a problem with the feed updating correctly. I looked around on the FriendFeed site and could NOT easily find a place for feedback. (There is a link in an older post on the FriendFeed blog.) I opened a second tab and googled “FriendFeed Feedback” and quickly found the google Discussion group.

The point is that was too hard. Way to hard. If I have to search for the place to give feedback I probably will not give any. Unless I just love the app I will not go that far. In this case I blog posted “Are feeds broken on FriendFeed?” and Louis Gray quickly responded to my post and eventually found the answer.

But I am not picking on FriendFeed. It seems that in the haste to bring out a web app that is the next big thing startups forget the basics. Contact information and Feedback should be no brainers and mandatory.

Toluu another favorite new app of mine is just the same. No clear feedback point.

The point is any new web app public beta, private beta, or even alpha should make feedback quick and easy. I suggest a link at the bottom of each page. At the very least a prominently placed permanent link on the App’s blog to the feedback system.

This may seem like a small detail but should be demanded by users.

Well this user demands it.

Who does this well? Who doesn’t?

Are Updates Broken on FriendFeed?

Are Updates Broken on FriendFeed? I saved a link on Sunday night and noticed that in had not shown up in my FriendFeed.

I noticed this last week when Louis Gray linked to my post “The FriendFeed Disjointed Comments Problem.” I noticed then that it was not in his friendfeed.

Stay tuned for updates I will try to find out what is going on…

UPDATE: Louis Gray has pointed out that if you delete and re-add it on your FriendFeed it will work.


The FriendFeed Disjointed Comments Problem

FriendFeed is great. I like the service but let me describe the Disjointed Comments problem. The aggregation needs to group based upon link. For example, Louis Gray wrote a nice post titled “TechMeme Leaderboard’s Top Ten: Six Months In.” On his FriendFeed alone there are 3 seperate entries to this post. Three places to like or hide and three places to comment. An entry directly submitted to FriendFeed, an entry to Google Reader sharing his post feed, and the post feed itself.

The key to me to satisfy the blogosphere is easily displays all of this activity (liking and commenting) back on the original post. I have already seen an early wordpress plugin displaying inline the FriendFeed comments of the post.

The next step for FriendFeed is to combine/group entries that link to the destination URL. Positioned in the FriendFeed by the last reference. So in other words if Louis bookmarked his post a fourth time on then the whole group would bubble to the top of his FriendFeed.

So once they are grouped together the convesation at least on the Louis Gray FriendFeed is not disjointed.

However, the next problem is me. I liked the post. So Louis had it shared in 3 or 4 places. What if I share it / link it in a couple of places. Google Reader and What if people comment on my FriendFeed?

This is conversation Louis might want to know about. So now FriendFeed groups my conversations with Louis’s FriendFeed. This is probably not a big deal if just I share it. But what about when it is shared 500 times?

Ok So FriendFeed does all of that. Great, Huh? Well now the bloggers want more. That wordpress plugin now needs to embed the conversation on the original post. Then maybe just maybe the blogosphere is happy. Well probably not. It doesn’t happen very often. 🙂

FriendFeed is Awesome but….

FriendFeed is all the rage. I am trying it of course. I am not so interested in Lifestreaming as having many sites information all in one place. It is an aggregator. Aggregation is a time saver. Really that is what Google Reader is all about. A feed reader is just aggregating content. The inline commenting in FriendFeed is very cool. The new conversation aspect is cool. The post back to twitter is cool too. FriendFeed is a cool site and must for now. I like FriendFeed.

But everyday I read another article about how to deal with information glut. Today I read an article about the lack of new content. Scoble mentioned how blogging had changed since last year. The point is that new content is hard to find.

What’s next? I dunno but it will be called by some catch phrase buzz word. Not sure what it will be called and I know it does not matter. What’s next for feed reading and for information processing? Not sure who has the answer. One would think it would be Google. Not a bunch of former Googlers. In any case I am tired of the baby steps but such is life.

I am confident that 5 years from now progress will win out and we will read and disseminate what is important to us and leave the rest.

This directly has to do with what I call 10 minute time. I have a half written post about 10 minute time saved as a draft. In a nutshell I want to spend 10 minutes and read what is important and interesting to me. I only want to spend 10 minutes. My life is not the web. The web is great and I hope the future will hold the answer to this information overload.

By the way this post is not new content either just an observation to be recorded on this day.