Monday, June 23, 2008

Opinion : Comments "Speak Up!"

Remember in school when the teacher told you, "There are no stupid questions"? Now, we all know there ARE stupid questions. From the questions with painfully obvious answers to those that are just plain dumb, you should always ask the question to yourself before you speak up. But I believe teachers told us this because they wanted to encourage discussion. Discussion is a tricky thing. Some times it comes easy, most times it takes some effort.

The Web 2.0 movement is all about the community. Sites like Reddit, Digg, and various personal blogs depend on the user to stay alive. Without the user, there would be no content. So forms like comments are really important, and always (almost) encouraged. However, along my journey into the Web 2.0 community at large, I've found that not all sites truly encourage holistic participation. For example, the Gawker blog empire. You actually have to audition to comment. They say they don't want "spammers", which is a legitimate concern. However, there are always those freaky "I'm Not A Robot" pictures and other means to ensure you're getting a real commenter. So why do they have the audition process? They do it because they want to shape the content of their site, even the community created content, just like big brother. I like to compare their process to reality television. There are a select few who get commenting "privileges" (the cast) and then the producers (Gawker's editors) guide them through the show. I don't like it. If they are worried about boring or stupid comments, they've already failed. I've seen plenty of absolutely ridiculous, sometimes offensive stuff.

I guess my argument really is null though, it's their site and they can do whatever they want with it. All I'm saying, though, is not allowing the free flow of comments hurts their product. I will admit, I'm no "star commenter", but sometimes I actually have something useful to say (shock I know) and it really chaps my ass to have to try to "Apply to Comment" and then never see my comment on the board. I've stopped trying.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree. honest participation should always be encouraged.