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Trackbacks – A Better Reason to Not Have Comments

Seth Godin’s been getting some heat for not allowing comments on his blog posts (despite trackbacks being turned on.

Seth’s reason is something about not having time to respond to and “curate” each an every comment. Eh. Sure. But there’s a better reason. One consistent with Seth’s position and the fact that trackbacks, as I mentioned earlier, are turned on.

Comments (blog responses hosted on the original blog) don’t allow the comment-author to take ownership and responsibility for their statements. They can start a fire and leave, sticking the blog author with the mess to clean up.

Trackbacks on the other hand have all the benefits of comments without the drive-by issue. The pre-requisite being – the commenter needs a blog themselves. Not a terribly high obstacle these days. Plus, the comment is then presented to another group of readers – in addition to the readers of the original blog (i.e. readers of Godin’s blog see this and readers of the Work Better), thereby connecting communities via conversation.

Last November, 37Signals pulled comments from their popular Signal vs Noise blog. In my response posted at MNteractive, I used Seth Godin’s use of trackbacks as an example for 37Signals to follow.

To repeat myself here:

“[Trackbacks distribute] the conversation across many blogs rather than the hoisting the entire comment burden on the original blogger. Trackbacks eliminate the risk that one anonymous commenter will control the comment thread.”

Godin has no obligation to publish anyone’s views on his blog. Not even his own.

ELSEWHERE:
27 March 2007

“This is why I have no trouble whatsoever deleting anonymous comments. Identity matters. If people don’t feel the need to be held personally accountable for their words, I don’t want to talk to them.” – Hugh MacLeod

06 Nov 2007

“…unless you let me know what was up with deleting my comments.” – Steve Borsch

Dave Winer’s never been a big fan of comments on his blog. He doesn’t believe they’re necessary for something to be defined as a blog or for a conversation to occur. Steve’s complaint on his own blog proves that.

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Postel’s Law Asks, What Are You Ignoring Today?

There are quite a few memes circling this week I’m actively ignoring. Things where this sentence is exactly the amount of energy I’m giving them. If you also follow Doc Searls, these are snowballs I don’t think deserve pushing.

This is where the attention metadata stuff gets mushy. I’m talking about the triangles in the corners of the Attention Pyramid, the delta between attention & importance, between impression and click-through, between reading and writing, between Postel’s Law. The things I deem important should be associated with my identity, not the super-set of things I’ve given some acknowledging amount of attention to.

Question is, which is more valuable to snowball pushers; people ignoring them or people in their way?

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Lawyers That Get Niche Publishing and Podcasting

Some of you may remember the 6-part series I did with Parsinen Kaplan Rosberg & Gotlieb P.A. over at the First Crack Podcast. For your convenience, I’ve consolidated all the PKR&G podcast conversations including 2 bonus conversations that didn’t make the original series.

This week PKR&G came out with their annual lifestyle magazine, “Perfectly Legal”. It includes text versions of many of the conversations and – just in time for the holidays – many other recommendations from the firm. There’s also a nice article on how podcasting builds and extends personal relationships written by yours truly.

All the articles in the 32-page issue were written by the someone with a relationship to the firm, all the photos are of people in the firm, and the magazine itself gets sent out to those again – with relationships to the firm.

This isn’t millions of people. It’s the right people. The people that trust and respect PKR&G, the people that will recommend PKR&G to their friends.

You don’t pick a lawyer by scanning a directory, why would you do the same for a podcast?

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IBM Employee Podcasting Guidelines

In an age when every employee and customer is a few mouse clicks from their own weblog and podcast and Forbes is spreading blog FUD it’s refreshing to see Big Blue is not only publishing podcasts, but encouraging their employees to do the same.

As a nearly hundred year-old company that no one ever got fired for choosing, you might anticipate a hundred page document signed off by every lawyer this side of the Mississippi. Nope. Just seven very reasonable, sensible points in the IBM podcasting guidelines.

I agree with 6.5 of them.

I only half agree with high audio quality. As you’ve heard me say before – if we as people were concerned with high audio quality, telephones wouldn’t exist. That said, higher quality audio quality is easier to listen to over the wind noise in my car. There is a different expected level of quality with the IBM-brand than say, MOMbo.org. IBM is admitting that.

Kudos to IBM for leading the charge for sane employee guidelines.

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Why Conferences Should Be Free

Earlier this week, Lori and I were talking about the crazy $500-$1,000+ ticket prices for industry conferences. Considering the you’d have to block the time off your calendar, close up the shop, and book travel, the additional admission cost seems like a good way to artificially prevent people from showing up.

At every professional-related meeting or conference I’ve attended, the best parts were between the formal, scheduled sessions. The hallway conversations, the happy hours, the lunches. The one-on-one with other attendees. Even at the local MIMA Salons, there’s a part of me that curses when the formal session begins.

With the MNteractive Information Architect Coffees and the PodcastMN Meetups, we pick a place, a time, and whoever makes it, makes it. Usually, it’s 80% the same core people and 20% new voices. Then again, there’s usually wireless – so if no one shows up – you can still get some work done.

All this is leading up to an emphatic ‘Damn Straight’ in response to Dave Winer’s Like a BloggerCon post – on the inherent costs of participation:

“Even so, there is a price of admission. To get to the BBQ, or the Homebrew Club, BMUG or BloggerCon, you had to have a ride. To get on the web you have to have a computer and a net connection.”

The best part of Winer’s post is (emphasis mine):

“My experience with these shows is that if you trust the universe, it will take good care of you.”

Elsewhere: 17 April 2007
“How much do conferences cost?” – Eric Rice

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This Email is Bloggable Signature

I’ve been thinking about when to send an email verses blog. I’ve decided on a loose guideline: if more than 3 people would find something useful, I’ll blog it. If not it’s an email (or, even better, an instant message)

Somethings, like mailing lists, don’t map well to this guideline. To cover that, I’ve followed Ross Mayfield’s cue and added a “this email is bloggable” flag to my email signature.

This message is blog-able:
[x] yes [ ] please don’t

Notice this is a simplification from Mayfield’s 3 checkbox version – to me “please ask” really means “please don’t”. While reading his Email 2.0 post, I realized the sig could be simplified further. To minimize confusion, I don’t include the bloggable flag in private or “please don’t” messages anyway. That, and “please don’t” never felt right. In addition, if I don’t explicity grant you permission to use a private or semi-private email message publicly – then well, you won’t. Cause that ain’t Web 2.0 cool.

Thus, I’ve revised my flag to read:

— Feel Free to Blog This Message —