Read Dear Bob, by Jeff JarvisJeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine)
You caused a lot of discussion in your OtM piece about comments — and that discussion itself — in the comments on WNYC’s blog, in the comments on mine, and in blogs elsewhere — is an object lesson in the value of the conversation online.

But note well, my friend, that all of these people are speaking to you with intelligence, experience, generosity, and civility. You know what’s missing? Two things: First, the sort of nasty comments your own piece decries. And second: You. 

Important!

Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 10:54AM


The comments on this piece are interesting and illuminating, particularly all these years later. 
Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 11:07AM


Why can’t there be more sites with solid commentary like this anymore? Do the existence of Twitter and Facebook mean whe can’t have nice things anymore? 
Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 11:11AM

Read Comments on Comments | On The Media (web.archive.org)
There's been a bit of a backlash recently against the angry commenter on newspaper websites. Some are calling for newspapers to stop allowing comments sections all together. But what about democracy on the web? Bob, with the help of "This American Life"'s Ira Glass, ruminates on the dark side of the comments section.

I just wrote a long, considered, friendly, and I hope helpful comment here but — sorry, I have to see the irony in this once again — your system wouldn’t let me say anything longer tahn 1,500 characters. If you want more intelligent conversations, you might want to expand past soundbite. 

In 2008, even before Twitter had become a thing at 180 characters, here’s a great reason that people should be posting their commentary on their own blogs.

This example from 2008 is particularly rich as you’ll find examples on this page of Derek Powazek and Jeff Jarvis posting comments with links to much richer content and commentary on their own websites.

We’re a decade+ on and we still haven’t managed to improve on this problem. In fact, we may have actually made it worse.

I’d love to see On the Media revisit this idea. (Of course their site doesn’t have comments at all anymore either.)
Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 10:47AM

Read - Want to Read: Design For Community: The Art Of Connecting Real People In Virtual Places by Derek PowazekDerek Powazek (New Riders)

Communities are part of all successful web sites in one way or another. It looks at the different stages that must be understood: Philosophy: Why does your site need community? What are your measures of success?Architecture: How do you set up a site to createpositive experience? How do you coax people out of their shells and get them to share their experiences online?Design: From color choice to HTML, how do you design the look of a community area?Maintenance: This section will contain stories of failed web communities, and what they could have done to stay on track, as well as general maintenance tips andtricks for keeping your community garden growing.

book cover of Design For Community: The Art Of Connecting Real People In Virtual Places

Read 10 Ways Newspapers Can Improve Comments by Derek Powazek (Derek Powazek)

The other day Bob Garfield had a good kvetch about dumb comments on newspaper websites on his show, On The Media, and I posted my two cents, but I still don’t feel better. I think that’s because Bob’s partly right: comments do suck sometimes.

So, instead of just poking him for sounding like Grandpa Simpson, I’d like to help fix the problem. Here are ten things newspapers could do, right now, to improve the quality of the comments on their sites. (There are lots more, but you know how newspaper editors can’t resist a top ten list.)

I love this list which I feel is very solid. I also think that newspapers/magazines could do this with an IndieWeb approach to give themselves even more control over aggregating and guiding their conversations.

Instead of moving in the correct direction of taking more ownership, most journalistic outlets (here’s a recent example) seem to be ceding their power and audience away to social media. Sure people will have conversations about pieces out in the world, but why not curate and encourage a better and more substantive discussion where you actually have full control? Twitter reactions may help spread their ideas and give some reach, but at best–from a commentary perspective–Twitter and others can only provide for online graffiti-like reactions for the hard work.

I particularly like the idea of having an editor of the comment desk.

 

Liked Meetable: An Open Source Events Aggregator by Aaron PareckiAaron Parecki (Aaron Parecki)
It's been a few weeks since I launched the new events site for IndieWeb events! In that time, the community has already hosted 7 events, and scheduled 15 more! I've continued to push a few minor changes to the site since the launch, primarily around discovery of events with tags. The home page now l...
This is awesome!
Read The Accidental Side Project by Drew McLellanDrew McLellan (24ways.org)
Fifteen years ago, on a bit of a whim, I decided it would be fun to have a Web Standards version of something like the Perl Advent calendar. A simple website with a new tip or trick each day leading the readers through December up until Christmas. I emailed a bunch of friends that kept web design an...
Read Lurking and Social Networks by Ton ZijlstraTon Zijlstra (Interdependent Thoughts)

Lurking, although the word seems to imply a negative connotation, has usefull aspects nonetheless. It is a way of determining rules of behaviour for new comers to a group.
The most obvious characteristic of a lurker is that he’s at the fringe of a group, listening and observing. Being at the fringe may seem like a bad place from the core, but in fact is a good position to build bridges to other groups, and be aware of other groups in the vicinity. In a face to face setting like a pub or a meeting of some kind, a lurker is visible, often shortly introduced after which the focus of attention shifts to the established group members again.
In on-line settings things are different. In some fora lurkers are encouraged to introduce themselves and then adviced to lurk, i.e. observe and learn for a while. But at all times there is no way of knowing how many lurkers are there that you are unaware of.
As lurkers are possible bridges to other groups, I as a blogger, would like to know:

  • How many lurkers I have, who read my blog but don’t comment or post.
  • Who they are
    Serverlogs can give some clues, and I keep a close watch on them. Dave Winer’s RSS-tool also brings new info to light.

network diagram with strong ties and numerous weak ties, preventing echo chambers

network diagram with strong ties and numerous weak ties, preventing echo chambers
I’ve been to a number of WordCamps over the past year, and invariably, in the registration process I’m asked for my Twitter handle and the majority of the time that Twitter handle is printed on my name tag.

Why are we doing this?! It’s not TwitterCamp. It’s a W-O-R-D-C-A-M-P!! Why can’t we ask for and put our own domain names (running WordPress, natch…) in our registration and on our name tags?! Let’s get with the program people… Twitter is nice, but obviously WordPress on a domain name we own and control is far better.

A common sticker-type name tag that is preprinted with the large text "Hello My URL is" with smaller text underneath that reads <a href="  "> and a blank space in the middle where someone has handwritten in pen "photomatt.net"
This is the sort of name tag I’d much rather support!

🎧 Radio Atlantic: How to Fix Social Media | The Atlantic

Listened to Radio Atlantic: How to Fix Social Media by Matt Thompson, Alexis Madrigal from The Atlantic

Social-media platforms once promised to connect the world. Today’s digital communities, though, often feel like forces for disunity. Anger and discord in 2018 seemed only amplified by the social-media institutions that now dictate our conversations. Executive Editor Matt Thompson sits down with the staff writer Alexis Madrigal to find out how we got to this state, and whether we can do anything to change it.

Discussion topics include: why our online problems are really offline ones, what these platforms have lost in pursuit of scale, and how Matt’s and Alexis’s experiments with solutions have fared.

Last year, Alexis removed retweets from his Twitter account (and was pessimistic about new changes bringing back the old Twitter). Matt just began an experiment turning his Twitter account into a place for conversation rather than performance by reclaiming “the ratio.” The effort reminds Alexis of another noble attempt at making your own rules online. Has it Made the Internet Great Again? Listen to find out.

Voices

Definitely a fascinating episode; potentially worth a second listen.

Of primary interest here, Matt Thompson discusses his concept of “Breaking the Ratio” (🎧 00:23:16-00:27:28a take on the idea of being ratioed on Twitter.

His concept immediately brings to mind a few broad ideas:

Micro.blog is, to some extent, a Twitter clone–loathe as I am to use the phrase as it is so much more than that–which acts in almost exactly the way that Matt and likely Alexis wish Twitter would. Manton Reece specifically designed Micro.blog to not have the idea of retweets or likes, which forces people to have more direct conversations and discussions. Instead of liking or retweeting a post, one must reply directly. Even if one just sends a heart or thumbs up emoji, it has to be an explicit reply. Generally replies are not so sparse however, and the interactions are much more like Matt describes in his personal community.

(I’ll be clear that micro.blog does have a “favorite” functionality, but it is private to the user and doesn’t send any notifications to the post on which it is given. As a result, the favorite functionality on micro.blog is really more semantically akin to a private bookmark, it just has a different name.)

The second thing, albeit tangential to the idea of breaking the ratio, is Ben Werdmüller‘s idea of people taking back agency and using their own voices to communicate.

While the retweet is a quick and useful shorthand, it decimates the personal voices and agency of the people who use it. He’s suggested that they might be better off restating the retweet in their own voice before sending it on, if they’re going to pass the information along. I wonder if he’s ultimately ended up somewhere interesting with his original thesis and research I know he has been doing.[1][2]

If one thinks about it for a moment the old blogosphere was completely about breaking the ratio as most writers wanted to communicate back and forth with others in a more direct and real manner. The fact that the blogosphere didn’t have likes, favorites, or retweets was a feature not an issue. The closest one usually got to a retweet was a blockquote of text which was usually highlighted, featured, and then either argued with or expounded upon.

I’ll note that I most typically use Twitter in a read-only mode almost exactly like Alexis indicates (🎧 00:29:56) that he uses it: plugged into Nuzzel to surface some of the best articles and ideas along with the ability to see the public commentary from the Tweets of the people I’m following and care about. To me this method filters out a lot of the crap and noise and tends to surface a lot more interesting content for me. I’ve created several dozen Twitter lists of various people and plugged them into Nuzzel, so invariably almost everything I come across while using it is useful and interesting to me.

Finally, I’d invite both Matt and Alexis, as fans of the old-school blogosphere, to take a look at what is happening within the IndieWeb community and the newer functionalities that have been built into it to extend what the old blogosphere is now capable of doing. My experience in having gone into it “whole hog” over the past several years has given me a lot of the experiences that Matt describes and which Alexis wishes he had (without all the additional work). I’m happy to chat with either of them or others who are looking for alternate solutions for community and conversation without a lot of the problems that come along as part and parcel with social media services.

👓 India’s Tighter E-Commerce Rules Frustrate Amazon and Walmart Plans | WSJ

Read India’s Tighter E-Commerce Rules Frustrate Amazon and Walmart Plans by Newley Purnell and Corinne Abrams

Foreign companies will no longer be allowed to sell products from their own affiliated companies in India

NEW DELHI—India is tightening restrictions on foreign e-commerce companies operating in the country, a new challenge to Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. as they bet billions on the nascent market.

Current rules forbid non-Indian online sellers from holding their own inventory and shipping it out to consumers, as is typically done in other countries. Instead, they have found a work-around by operating as online marketplaces and selling what are effectively their own products held by their affiliated local companies.

They will no longer be allowed to sell such goods, a division of India’s Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement Wednesday, an apparent attempt to close that loophole.

The new rules, which take effect Feb. 1, also bar foreign companies from entering into exclusive agreements with sellers. Amazon, for example, has in the past been the exclusive third-party online retailer to sell smartphones from the popular Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus.

Abneesh Roy, an analyst at Edelweiss Securities, noted that ahead of elections set for early next year, the government could be moving to appease owners of smaller shops that have been hit as customers buy more goods online.
“Shopkeepers have been unhappy,” he said. “In an election year, the government will definitely listen more to voters.”  

It’s nice to see foreign countries looking at what has happened to coutries like America with the rise of things like e-commerce, actually thinking about them and the longer term implications, and making rules to effect the potential outcomes.

Now the bigger follow up question is: is this a good thing? Perhaps there won’t be the community interruption we’ve seen in the US, but what do the overall effects look like decades hence? From a community perspective, from a competitive perspective?

December 27, 2018 at 12:26PM

👓 How do we replace Flickr? #Indieweb #Yesvember | Kevin Marks

Read How do we replace Flickr? #Yesvember by Kevin MarksKevin Marks (Kevin Marks's Known site)
Flickr, like all successful social software, is different things to different people. When something is done well, we internalize the communities that we interact with on it as part of the character of the place. Just two average guys, minding their own business, walking down the street in SF. The u...

👓 Why we’re changing Flickr free accounts | Flickr

Read Why we’re changing Flickr free accounts (Flickr Blog)
Today, we’re announcing updates to our Free and Pro accounts that mark a new step forward for Flickr. To be candid, we’re driving toward the future of Flickr with one eye on the rearview mirror; we…
Nice to see that they’ve looked at the data to come up with what will hopefully be a reasonable dividing line.

Having a worthwhile community there would be the only thing to make me want to syndicate my photos to it, particularly with backfeed coming from Brid.gy. I haven’t gotten much, if any, interaction from Flickr in quite a long time.

I suspect that having a curated community there will actually dovetail with helping out the IndieWeb in the long run. What they’d like to have sounds a lot more like what micro.blog has become for me in the past year. It also sounds a lot more like how SoundCloud works to some extent.

🔖 Approaching E-Learning 3.0 | Stephen Downes

Bookmarked Approaching E-Learning 3.0 by Stephen DownesStephen Downes (downes.ca)

The course is titled 'E-Learning 3.0' and could be subtitled 'Distributed Learning Technology'. This is a course about the next generation of learning technology. It's a broad and challenging domain that I've broken down into the following topics: data, cloud, graph, community, identity, resources, recognition, experience, agency.

I'm designing the course so that each week is one of these self-contained topics. This topic can then be approached from different directions, at different levels. The content is a starting point. I will provide a series of reflections. But I will be learning about each of these topics along with everyone else.

An online course I should take part in…

Reply to WordCamp: Publishers

Replied to a tweet by WordCamp: PublishersWordCamp: Publishers (Twitter)
Leo [@postphotos] are you thinking what I’m thinking?
#Route66 #FromChicagotoLA