Classrooms Instead of Conventions

Album Cover: The Bends

"All your insides fall to pieces; you just sit there wishing you could still make love."
Radiohead / High and Dry

Posted on May 12, 2007 1:02 PM in Blogging
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

A while back I was thinking about how difficult it is to jump-start a discussion at someone else's blog. For instance, if I wanted to hear Arcanius' thoughts on Mike Gravel, I only really have two options. I can either post a comment on an unrelated post on his blog (probably one of the most recent ones, to make sure it gets his attention), or I can send him an email.

What if I could post on his blog directly, prompting him to write about something? Sure, these posts might need to be moderated in the same way that comments are (due to spam, irrelevant or uninteresting content, etc.), but I know that if I had a feature like that here at my blog, I would have been stimulated to the point of responding more than once already (I've gotten emails and/or comments requesting more information on topics ranging from GrayModern to web development to what it's like having a photographic memory).

One might argue that web forum software like phpBB allows for this type of communication already, but does it? To me, that's more like a convention than a classroom. And what I mean by that is, at a convention everyone's walking around with free-will, maybe with a general understanding of what's relevant, but discussing or participating in whatever they think is important. At the same time, various people are trying to sell ideas or products to those people. It's basically a free-for-all. In a classroom, though, you know there's one person driving the discussion, but an open classroom environment encourages participation from all members, and will often evolve into an open two-way discussion when things are firing on all cylinders.

So why can't a blog work the same way? If you had this capability, at least, it could lead to more focused discussion on topics that are relevant to a blog or blogger, but that aren't always initiated by the blogger herself.

If I have the time, I may have to try and set up a feature like this here at my blog. I'd like to see how it would go. What do you think? Would you participate in such a feature if it existed (not necessarily here, but at other blogs where you've been inclined to join, or in this case create, a discussion)?


Zim on May 12, 2007 at 4:25 PM:

I like the idea, ... It's something I'd like to see at blogs... Communication is not well structured around blogs. Maybe we need a wiki+blog+forum thing?


Ryan (Arcanius) on May 13, 2007 at 12:39 AM:

I'd hit that (Mike Gravel)


Bernie Zimmermann on May 13, 2007 at 12:51 AM:

Hmm. It looks like all I had to do was blog here. Who knew? ;)


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