Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sending a message, expecting no answer

In Smalltalk, every message has an answer. So, when I write here instead of doing so in a mailing list, how come I have come to expect no answer? How come most blog posts, in general, have no comments? What is the point of writing a blog if you have no feedback?

I am concerned that blogs have some sort of connection to isolation. And, as of late, I have started feeling they might be seen as the glorified mailing list post regarding self. You know: the presentation, the topic, the fact that comments are not immediately available in most cases, even down to the powerpoint-style one can sometimes perceive.

Enough of this. Where is the real conversation? We cannot have a proper exchange with this kind of disassistance from a computer. The fact that these emails look pretty and (for the most part) do not come with spam does not make them more interesting to read nor answer.

Hopefully Croquet will help in these matters when geographical distance makes real life interaction impossible. Yet I wonder why do we choose to have this fundamental problem that forces us to google up the world to find someone with whom to play.


Anonymous said...

I often find that some of my blog posts have lots of comments while others have none.
In your case, it doesn't help that BottomFeeder can't post comments to your blog. To enter a comment, you have to browse to the HTML page and enter the comment there. Once there, you have to emter a blogger, other or anonymous identity and get past the reverse turing machine to post a comment. While posting this comment,I found that paragraph and break tags aren't accepted and I had to edit the text again. The more barriers people have to posting a comment, the less likely they'll post one.

David Buck

Anonymous said...

I think change begins at home with this one: read more broadly and comment more regularly; write to be read rather than just to write. When you're in a room with thousands of people, it's polite to think carefully before speaking.

Andres said...

David, yes I noticed that formatting isn't very writer friendly. But I did not mean this to apply just to my blog. In general, the blog posts I read have, for the most part, zero comments. Planet Smalltalk blogs, for example, have zero comments quite more often than not. What I meant was to consider what would the mailing list equivalent of this situation. Numerous posters, and an average of 1 post / thread. No exchange. Thanks for answering though :).

Andres said...

Anonymous, I meant this in general. What is the average number of comments per blog post across a well sized population of blogs? 1? 0? No exchange, no communication! And then what does a blog become? A pedestal? I hope not! :). Personally, I'd rather see more feedback across the board. Juicy comments can make posts more interesting. But I think what I described is a symptom of our times.

Anonymous said...

Andres - I meant my comment in general as well. I occasionally post a blog entry, but have never been a regular blogger because I rarely have the time or effort to formulate a post worth discussion. However, many people seem to have no such inhibition. Depending on your political persuasion, you might enjoy the climate at TPM Cafe, where a sizable number of members seem to take the time to write thoughtfully and engage in discussion.

I don't think this is a general sign of our social times -- I don't think people exhibit more of this sort of behavior in everyday conversation. Maybe it's one aspect of the regression of the internet, where Usenet and email are giving way to inferior substitutes -- webboards and instant messaging. Even the earlier, carefully-designed Web forums (Slash, Scoop) are being beaten out by the stupid-simple unmoderated linear comment section.

When all you have is a megaphone, everything starts to look like a shouting match.


Andres said...

Sean, I am tempted to paraphrase you and (only a bit jokingly) say "when all you have is a blog, everything starts to look like a vanity match". Ah my friend, I'd rather share what I do best with people instead. Yet we seem to be isolated somehow. How did this come to be?