When Will A Comment Be Treated Like A Post On Techmeme?

I’ve asked this question before and I am still hoping we’ll see someone answer it soon.

The best comments are often way better than the posts that generated them. I’ve reblogged comments on to the front page of this blog and I am hoping we’ll get new features from disqus and others soon that make that drop dead simple.

But when Scoble’s misinformed rant on David Hornik and VCs gets front page treatment and David’s reply does not, it’s not a balanced system. We need to fix that.

Scoble said today that we have a well functioning blog editing system in action. Well sort of. But the fact remains tens of thousands read Scoble’s broadside on Hornik and VCs and a small fraction of them read David’s reply, even though Scoble did link to it today. Let’s fix that.

If Techmeme is a conversation, and I think it is, then it needs to be open to great writing and ideas from people who don’t have top 500 tech blogs. It needs to be open to great writing and ideas from people who don’t even have blogs.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Douglas Karr

    It would be a great implementation of a blogging package to offer the ‘side by side’ posts on a given topic where you could either promote (or have the community promote) a great response. I’ve thought about building a prototype to actually do this with twitter as well.

  2. mjr

    Heard of Slashdot?

  3. gregorylent

    techmeme is the bulletin board at your local safeway, little 3 x 5 cards, ballpoint pen letters, lawns mowed, babysitter needed, daycare offered, lost kitten answers to max, for sale, 1983 mustang, 63,000 miles, regular oil changes…is that a conversation? yeah, between hope and despair…i clicked on the blog link in techmeme, there was david’s very mature comment, techmeme was just the signboard pointing to a conversation ….news always rewards personalities in america, and scoble is one. that mr. hornick could probably buy him would make him the lead in, say, the wall street journal. scoble would in that case be the bit player.this year ever since umair, there has been a conversation about vc’s, not a positive one in many cases … this will play out until something changes, and a new reputation will be established.what that vc role is, should be, will be, how it is being refined, could be an interesting story to read. here, maybe.thanks for your time, gregory lent

  4. Tim

    “I am hoping we’ll get new features from disqus”Yeah me too Fred. Like being able to delete your account if you want to. The only way seems to be email and they don’t respond to such requests very well either. So customer service might be another feature to implement. Then worry about the “big stuff”.

  5. Dan

    But are blogs suppose to be balanced Fred? One could argue that some of the more successful blogs like to emphasize their slant since it brings them higher traffic numbers. The “Fox News” approach to journalism.

    1. fredwilson

      Blogs aren’t balanced and that’s the way it should beBut aggregators like techmeme and hacker news should be

  6. gzino

    Would be a great Disqus feature. Think Techmeme needs to transition from conversations around the top x blogs to conversations around the “top” x blog posts.

    1. Roger Kondrat

      Techmeme is going to get its proverbial but kicked and soon along with Digg, maybe that was why Google backed off. They realised the Internet was going to change again and Digg wasn’t going to be No.1Article that relates to my opinion – http://tinyurl.com/5l6c2s

  7. CG

    Boosting the incentive to write (good) comments is really important for blogs. Improved comment systems like Disqus definitely help, but I think there are many more ways to do it. Glad to see I’m not the only one thinking about it.

  8. loupaglia

    Fred: Great post, I think there are a number of methods of tracking like Techmeme and comment management like you mentioned, Disqus. But there is still nothing, even FriendFeed, that closes the loop because the systems are still silo’d and users are not on all systems as of yet. That has to change.For me, nothing drives your point home more than this simple fact. I read Scoble’s post and found it quite provocative (and was not at the event so at some degree you have to trust the writer). If it was not for your post today, I would not have seen David Hornik’s response which was a valuable rebuttal.I think this will solve itself eventually. In the meantime, it is incumbent on the reader to track down information to ensure they have all relevant information.

  9. bijan

    well david’s comment didn’t make techmeme but it’s the top of the list on hacker news.here’s a screen shot:http://bit.ly/4gAd92

  10. Mark

    what about the great ideas/writing that comes from microblogs?!

  11. Jeremy Toeman

    While I think everyone would agree the comments often exceed the posts in regards to the points being made, quality, etc. But how does this get tracked? Who judges a “good” comment”? I think this is certainly beyond the capabilities of TechMeme.Perhaps the onus is on the blog poster themselves to call out good comments? Or maybe Disqus/Friendfeed will enable this. I don’t think it belongs on Techmeme though, just as a great op-ed never makes the front page of a newspaper.

  12. David Zotter

    ….. some people don’t want more noise. Techmeme is already becoming bloated, in my opinion. They can’t reasonably cover every single angle on the entire web.Start a blog a post your own opinion….. i think. Comments should not be weighted the same as blogs.

  13. Randy

    I know David Hornik, I worked closely with him, joined a startup because of him, sat through endless board meetings and boondoggles with him. I don’t know Scoble (and am loathe to steal a great political line), but rest assured, I can’t imagine he’s any David Hornik. The man is truly a great sage, a great investor, a good friend, and one of the very few folks on Sand Hill worthy of undiluted or unqualified trust.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ll second that praise of david. He’s one of the good guys in the VC business for sure.

  14. JoeDuck

    Yes. TechMeme does a fine job of surfacing the buzziest content and adding comments from smaller blogs but is failing to present really good stuff ahead of OK stuff from the key blogs. I like your idea of creating a way for great comments to generate some form of “guest post” at popular blogs which would make for a better conversation and encourage more comments.

  15. GabeRivera

    Yeah, it would be nice to have some comments, including David’s, appear on Techmeme somehow. But given the limited expected payoff (examples like the one you describe are rare) and the difficulty involve (people link to comments much less than to posts), supporting that might not move high enough up my priority list to happen as soon as you’d like.Apologies to David Hornik…

    1. vincentvw

      What about comments that have been rated way up there, in a Disqus, Digg, or Slashdot kind of way? That shouldn’t be that uncommon.

      1. Ken Kennedy

        Agreed. It’s still early days for cross-domain comment reputations (versus the mature ones like Slashdot’s internal moderation and meta-moderation system). But the fact that Disqus / Intense Debate, etc. have the beginnings of a system is something. As of now, it appears that ratings (at least at Disqus) apply more to the user than the individual comment…which doesn’t help as much for this particular issue (read: useful, but not sufficient). But I expect (hope?) that things will evolve.It should certainly be possible to push high-quality comments up towards higher visibility in such a way that they join the larger conversation. Whether that’s attention by Techmeme and Digg, or something more interesting, remains to be seen.

    2. Svetlana Gladkova

      I support your point here Gabe – I can not imagine how Techmeme could possibly handle all the comments – after all, the comments are relevant to the posts they are submitted to and and thus they should all appear in the Discussion section. I can imagine how cluttered it will become!By the way, I have created a small poll at http://www.profy.com/2008/0… to see what our readers think about Techmeme sources as we have seen to many suggestions already. I believe you may be interested in the answers (though the poll has been live for a few moments only so you won’t see anything interesting there as of yet).

    3. fredwilson

      i don’t think techmeme should solve this problem. i think the comment systems should by allowing blog (and comment) authors to reblog the comments as full blown posts. then the best comments will be seen by techmeme as posts

      1. GabeRivera

        Fred: that sounds great. I missed your point about Disqus because I read your post too fast.Svetlana: I’ll take a look. Even if less than 10% are good suggestions in my view, it will be worth the read!Dave Winer: can I blurbify that excellent quote?

  16. dave

    Fred TechMeme is the anti-blog, it takes what’s good about blogging and sucks all the life out of it.Once again something that’s wonderfu because it’s decentralized is pulled back from the brink greatness by centralization.Stop caring what TM thinks is important. It’s a piece of software. We’re the sentient beings.

    1. fredwilson

      i care what techmeme and hacker news think is important because tens of thousand, probably hundreds of thousands, of exactly the people I care about most consider them imporant sources for them

  17. Dan Weinreb

    I did read David Hornik’s reply, and I’m very glad I did, but I had to go through a lot of other (interesting, but long) stuff to reach it. So I think you’re right; there needs to be a way to make this easier. It’s interesting that Scoble’s reply to Hornik was, essentially, “Isn’t it great that with the web, it’s possible for you to make this kind of rebuttal?”, rather than actually making a counter-rebuttal (at least, that’s the impression I got). It’s true that it’s great but, as you point out, it could be better.

  18. kidmercury

    techmeme + a human editor is the future IMO, and will solve problems like what fred noted in his post…..sort of like the idea mahalo has in terms of starting where the search engines leave off, a human editor can start where techmeme left off

  19. Jeff Jarvis

    I think there’s something bigger, architecturally, going on here that involves highlighting and alerting/updating. I’ve written about this in the context of corrections:If (well, when) I write something wrong, I want to (a) correct it openly and visibly on the top layer of the blog — not just in the comments when it is and important correction — and (b) it would be wonderful if I could alert all those who linked to and even read my post to the fact that there has been a correction.We could do the same thing with substantive responses to a post, especially by parties to it — the Hornik example.Some of this is necessarily qualitative; we don’t want every comment brought to the front; we don’t want a feed of every correction someone makes. So this needs to be a judgment probably by the post’s original author who responsibly says, ‘I need to update my linkers and readers to this.’This isn’t true just of blogs but also of news stories. And it becomes all the more important as news is viewed less as a product and more as a process.

    1. fredwilson

      RightReblogging comments is going to be important

    2. isayusay

      If they were hyperlinks, users will always see the latest.

  20. Alex Hammer

    THE CONVERSATION WILL OVERRIDE THE CONVERSANT. In other works, the participating audience will rise in importance relative to the broadcast. This is the phenomenon of participation (e.g. participatory journalism), crowdsourcing, etc.Wikipedia is an (already) classic example. The content is the aggregate (always changing) of the (participating) audience. Twitter and Friendfeed and Facebook and other services have elements of this as well.Prediction models (including for investing) tapping into “the wisdom of crowds” will gain prominence. As another prominent example, the joint computering sharing worldwide looking for extraterrestrial life built a supercomputer in scale that dwarfed the two largest existing computers in existence in the world, one from the US and one from Japan.

  21. ericola

    greetings from germany/saarbr├╝ckenhttp://www.sportreporter24.de

  22. joshviney

    Maybe the best posts act as catalysts for great comments. It is true that most publishing platforms are poor at bubbling up the conversation. All blogging platforms are horrendous at providing user access to content that is not timely, so the good stuff ultimately gets lost. Some folks have tried to promote the conversation by allowing comments and suggestions to become full blown posts – see PublicSquarehq.com. Still it’s just 1 publishing platform, and the conversation happens everywhere.My idea I just made up:Combine publishing platform API’s with an application like Disqus, decentralized identity like OpenID and syndication. Link everything together no matter the source and publish into conversation-style timelines and let reputations of and relationships between real people filter the noise. Ha. Or just ask Disqus to add a button where readers can request the author or publisher to re-post the comment as a full post.