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Monday, February 20, 2006


The problem with blogs

Okay, so now that I'm a full-fledged blogger, complete with some comments, I'm finding a problem with the blogosphere. Legitimate conversations, arguments, flame wars, and other sundry bits of communal communication are going on in the 'comments' sections of many, many blogs. But those comments sections are ancillary, tangential, and situation in a less-accessible form on each blog page that I've visited. They appear in smaller print, or in a pop-up window, and are treated as a minor footnote to the main blog entry.

Problem is, the comments are often where the action is. Any blogger can say whatever he or she wants, but if really smart people have some rejoinder, they're relegated to the bottom, in the fine print.

This is most apparent in the 50+ comment sections that often follow a posting of RenReb's, or DovBear's, or R' Harry Maryles'. And on the Canonist blog, Steven Weiss is doing nothing other than opening a comments section for hot-button issues like the Tendler affair. At last count, there were some 350 posts there, and they keep piling up as strident correspondents from both sides of the issue rant and rave.

These conversations used to be called "DISCUSSION GROUPS" before blogs became so trendy. Yahoo! Groups still has plenty of threads going on, and Google's joined that fray as well. Even the way old-school listservs haven't disappeared yet. But when a juicy discussion is going on in the comments section of a blog, it's harder to get to. It's harder to enjoy. And to be perfectly honest, it feels less prestigious than when you comment on something you *know* all the participants will read.

The alternative, of course, is to post my responses here, on my blog. But then you'd have to jump back and forth to get the context of what I'm talking about. That doesn't seem fair, either. I could also open up a Yahoo! Group, instead of a blog, and invite the world to discuss things there. But blogs are where it's at.

So what's the answer?

I got rid of haloscan for that reason. the best answer is to leave the comments in blogger so they become integral parts of the post.
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