I have not been following #Change11 except through the blogs of people I found interesting in previoous MOOCs like #CCK11 and #PLENK2010, so without Jenny’s (selfish?) post I would never have read Tony’s piece or the presentation it refers to. And part of what I took as takeaway from the CCK experience is that what Tony describes as selfish is in fact the best way for all of us to be sharing. One thing I did not like in PLENK was the difficulty of recovering my own thoughts from the Moodle comment stream and I liked the CCK11 emphasis on facilitating communication and connection between individual blogs.
Tony is concerned about not being able to see and follow the comments on his work but I think we now have the technology to address that without forcing everyone to give up ownership of their own contributions. It is true that once, in the absence of appropriate technology, it was always necessary for people to meet in person to exchange ideas. Then we invented writing, and all that was needed was a common location for all the written material. Then we invented telecommunication and computers, and the libraries and discussion threads became accessible remotely. And now we have trackback…
It seems to me that whatever the limitations of trackback, the issue is one of technology and the answer to Tony’s complaint is not to force everyone back into the domains of recognized “leaders” as in a prehistoric centralized community, but rather to appropriately extend and use the technology of networking to allow each voice its own home while collecting whatever is relevant to any particular individual’s interest in a particular chain of discussion for easy access as needed.
What seems to me to be needed is to integrate trackbacks and pingbacks into the comment stream (rather than listing them separately as an afterthought) and displaying a more useful excerpt so that they actually do contribute tot he conversation. (This might require some slight extra work from the responder when posting so as to identify an appropriate “teaser”, and ideally the technology should be extended so that eg replies to me in Tony’s comment stream would appear also here as comments and vice versa)