Alles so schön bunt hier

Wednesday, 15. Aug 2007


time for me to try this ‘blogging’ thing, I guess. I enjoy writing, actually, but I mostly do it as a reaction to other people’s utterances. Let’s see if I can be active as well as reactive. So let’s start by blogging about blogging.

One of the main things that make blogging attractive is that comments appear in a smaller font than the main article.

I see a trend going from netnews to mailing lists to web forums to blogs. Netnews and mailing lists are similar enough that for example Gnus makes them appear almost the same (the main difference being that you need to expire your mailing list articles yourself and that the mailing list archive is not accessible directly in the MUA, which makes netnews appear advantageous for the users).

The reason to prefer a mailing list is likely that they are not centrally maintained and you don’t need to ask anybody to create them. It’s quite easy to become the owner of a mailing list and excersize control over who is and isn’t allowed to submit articles. And while there are stupid discussions about whether or not to automatically add Reply-To headers or whether or not to automatically add “[XXX]” strings to the subject, I am happy using mailing lists.

But what about web forums? I guess web forums are even easier to set up than mailing lists and allow more control. They are also more shiny (but usually ugly), where you can have ugly avatar pictures in addition to your ugly user name. You can gain points and acquire gold-member status or something and everybody sees it whenever you say something. “Behold, I am a senior member with five stars of babbling, listen to what I say.”

For me, web forums are drastically less usable than netnews or email, simply because I have to use a web browser to access them. I treat them as part of the read-only web.

Blogs give even more gratification than forums, since they are not topic-centric, but ego-centric. It’s not “everything about three-wheeled motorcycles from Bulgaria”, it’s “all about me”. You can comment, but only if I allow it and then in a smaller font.

The egofication of online discussion. From chatting in a bar to outdoing your buddies with better jokes to standup comedy. I gues that’s just human.

But then there are feeds and planets. Is that the reversal of the trend? Subscribing to a blog? Subscribing to many blogs? Letting others take care of selecting blogs that cover a common topic? The blog author categorizing his blogs so that they go to selected planets? Sounds familiar. Will planets grow up to handle threads? Will browsers grow up to be editors?

That wouldn’t be bad, don’t get me wrong. Email could use some renovation, and I don’t think that using text/html instead of text/plain automatically reduces the quality of the content.

The good thing about the Internet is that everybody can do whatever they want, and if something good happens, great!

So I am happy to just watch the action, and continue writing emails for the time being, mostly because I don’t have to leave Emacs for that.