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July 3rd, 2005 - Ulrich Drepper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Ulrich Drepper

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July 3rd, 2005

Comments to blogs [Jul. 3rd, 2005|07:22 pm]
Ulrich Drepper
Why doesn't livejournal provide a mechanism to permanently disable comments to blog entries? Why is it an option at all here and in other places?

I think comments are a fatal flaw in the system of blogs. Why do people use blogs and RSS enabled "story" delivery as opposed to email and email lists? For some people there certainly is the "where else" reason. But in general, and this is certainly the reason for me, the main reason is that blogs are not email. They are pull-based, not push-based. People select to get information from sources they specify since they trust them.

And then there are comments to blogs. Suddenly people are once again fed information they didn't request. This doesn't only mean spammers mechanically adding comments with unrelated messages. Equally unwanted are comments about the blog they are attached to. The trust associated with the blog is not transitively associated with the comments. It is possible for the blog author to remove comments but then there is the outcry of the "censored". And beside, who has the time to constantly monitor the comments posted to one's blog?

If somebody wants to associate a comment with a blog, let them write their own blog entry and have it reference. What is then needed is to use a blog search engine to locate blogs referencing other blogs (there are a few). But this doesn't solve all problems. There is the matter of trust. What would be needed is to instrument the search engine with a private trust matrix which is used to sort the results. This will allow people to find the comments of the people they trust first. If they are interested, people can then look at the other comments from people who they do not trust (yet). If the comments are OK the trust matrix can be extended.

I fear this is a bit beyond what is currently implemented. It shouldn't be a problem, technique-wise. This is what personalized search is all about. What is needed is a way to represent the trust matrix in a compact form. Or have the results of a general search post-processed on the local machine. This is possible today with code like Outfoxed. There is still hope to make blogs useful and (public) email lists obsolete.

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