FriendFeed Noise Solutions

I read a post today titled “Proposal to Clean Up the FriendFeed Clutter” by Hutch Carpenter. It clearly outlines some of the noise problems with FriendFeed.

I have seen the need for change to the FriendFeed stream for weeks now. The problem in a nutshell is that the same link appears over and over as it is submitted to multiple services by multiple users. One destination but many entries in my stream.

The stream is noisy. Some may like it noisy but I would like it to be quieter.

I first discussed the multiple link problem in conjunction with what I called ‘The FriendFeed Disjointed Comments Problem.” The same links clog the stream over and over. My point was that many different places for comments existed. Every entry that existed had the potential for comments and conversation. But comments are a different issue. For more on the comments problem see Comments Floating in the Blogosphere.

Mr. Carpenter gives 2 possibilities for how the data could be presented to eliminate noise in the stream.

  1. Person-centric: if a user has the same feed more than once, the same-link feeds are aggregated together under a common link for the user
  2. Link-centric: all same-link feeds for all friends appear under a common link

I am in favor of the Link-centric approach. This has already been coined the “techmeme way.” Some including Corvida are against it.

Bret Taylor of FriendFeed has already commented on Mr. Carpenter’s post saying:

“Great ideasā€¦ We have been thinking through these issues as well, and it is great to see such detail and mockups.”

I agree Mr. Carpenter’s article certainly gives food for thought.

My point is let the user decide. The data being presented can be displayed in several different ways. How about giving the user several different ways to customize their stream. Person-centric, Link-centric, the current approach, and many other ways could be developed.

It would be great for FriendFeed to implement several and let the user decide how they want to view their stream.

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 del.icio.us 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 Del.icio.us. 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. šŸ™‚