If you are a blogger, a website owner, or a commenter, you may have notice how comments are fragmented since Web 1.0 and how it gets even more fragmented today – Web 2.0. Discussions about defragmenting Comments sparked up in the Comments space and the Blogosphere these past few months, especially with the growing popularity of services like Disqus, Intense Debate, and well the two most pointed-out fragmenter today – Shyftr and FriendFeed (to which I’ve said, it has been like that since Web 1.0).
We then heard about the possible collaboration talks about these services, with yours truly a supporter of these moves. I’ve said time and again that a collaboration of SezWho+DISQUS+FriendFeed will usher in Comments 2.0 – where others see it as alienating other services, I see it as a start or a beginning of something. Such collaborations doesn’t mean excluding other services like Intense Debate from the picture, but rather testing the waters and if it works, then we can welcome everybody to join in. Shey put it well by saying:
… until then, I think teaming up now with Disqus or IntenseDebate is better than the status quo.
And where Matt Shaulis from Shyftr said (quoting only the sentence that summarizes it all):
… while the notion that “something is better than nothing” is easy to say, it’s harder to live down once a limited process is entrenched.
To which, of course I agree to both. This then gave birth to the Open Comments Workgroup, started by Matt Shaulis who first gave the idea of Open Comments and Comments Portability. So far, the members of the workgroup (who introduced themselves other than me and the Shyfter guys) are Robert Diana from YackTrack and Loius Gray.
What will come out from this workgroup? In my opinion, the workgroup can come up with a specification detailing how Comments should be handled, and issues like the following can be addressed:
- Commenter Registrations
- Cross-Services recognition
- Showing of Comments to the original post regardless of platform used or where the comment was posted
- Ability to rank the commenters
- Giving comment ownership to the commenters by always having an original copy of his/her comments
- Giving moderation power to the original post owner (regardless of platform) – editing, deleting, etc. – without affecting the original copy of the commenter
- Comments living on the original post itself, thus keeping the SEO value of comments to the original post
- Comment copies living on two or more services (and possibly the original blog/site itself) – we don’t want to lose comments in case of services folding up or database literally getting stolen or IDCs being hit by trucks or getting on fire (anything can happen)
- Easy integration to a CMS/Blog
- etc. / Put your issue/question here
This is the start of something new. Not just by defragmenting and collaboration, which as Matt pointed out “harder to live down once a limited process is entrenched“, but by creating guidelines. These specification(s) will enable any services in this space and those with stakes in it to be competitive, at the same time giving us – the ordinary users, the freedom to choose the platform that we want to embrace. My hopes are high for the OCW, and I won’t be surprised to see Disqus, SezWho, Intense Debate, and FriendFeed to join in and help.
If you want to read other articles about Comments and Portability (of Comments), see the compilation of threads posted by Louis Gray on the OCW boards – Stories Discussing Comments and Portability.