Blogs and Forums

May 27, 2003

in Conversational Blogging, Social Software, Wikis

Tom Coates article “Discussion and Citation in the Blogsphere” is a must read for anyone thinking about the impact of blogging on threaded discusssions.  Great diagrams and analysis. 

What made this post particularly relevant for me it I’m trapped between a set of forums and an online blog discussion.  Not to mention e-mail, IM and Wiki’s.  I’ve been on a mission, both personal and with colleagues to create a more collaborative roadmap for ourselves, while innovatively using many of the lightweight tools that are emerging.  None of us are programmers — our use and roles is helping to define and prototype how we use them and move future forward while overcoming distance and lack of resources. 

As a group trying to come together to form a new proposition I’m sure we are not alone.  It’s an iterative conversational process. However, few would be experimenting concurrently with so many tools.  When conversations get split between e-mails, blogs, forums, IM, wiki’s it becomes apparent that improved methods to thread them all together is required. 

For the brainstorming and general freeflowing conversations we’ve been using a private blog.  We’ve been stumbling when it comes to forums.  The discussion seems to be whether blog are up to the challenge (note there are differing degrees of forum / blog / other experience in this group):

  • Beat the Forum’s structure from the home page though the 4-level nested hieracthy – category, forum, topic, reply (each of which can be referenced with its own URL).   and…
  • Quick Representation – whether there’s topic with new content since last visit, the number of topics and posts, date and author of the last post.  and 
  • Access Rights by forums and groups of users

I tend to find forums very hierarchial in their structure and format.  How does one rewrite a business development proposition in a forum?  It’s not easy.  In a wiki I’d make additions and the diff key would highlight the amendments for others. Paste is simplified.  Notations are made directly.  With two people problems of version control are easily handled.  When three or more become involved then it becomes more difficult. 

Perhaps that why I’m trying out some of the WikiBlog tools that are emerging.  If someone has one for me I’d be happy to use it and report!  Need a collective set of testers?

After blogging for sometime being able the reach a piece of my personal content that also links to others is a valuable “connectivity” tool easily shared and for both parties creates an intermingling that couldn’t have happened otherwise.  On the collective level I’m wondering if the reverse is not true.  If blogs were feeding a wiki and vice versa then the collective repository would become much more valuable overtime.  Similarly, edits and revisions could contain quite a history.  

Of course this post could have been a category 4 summary if Tom and I both both had Purple Numbers .  I could provide a summary linking to each diagram without pasting them in and knowing relevance was retained.  (Now would that create a mess for Google?).  Similarly my comments could be more descrete. Instead go and read it for yourself.   

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