Selfish Blogger Syndrome

The Selfish Blogger. Well that could certainly be me! So I’ll stick to form and post my thoughts here rather than in Tony Bates‘s comment stream.

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)



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6 Responses to Selfish Blogger Syndrome

  1. Alan Cooper says:

    One reason for preferring to use one’s own space for comments is illustrated by the following comment I entered in reply to a comment in Tony’s stream:

    Sorry if this is a duplicate reply, but the fact that I can’t tell what happened to what I typed in this box a few minutes ago is one reason why I prefer to compose my thoughts in a context where I control what happens to them rather than risk devoting time and energy to composing a response which has a not insignificant chance of ending up lost in the ether .

    What I said a few minutes ago was:

    What’s wrong with trackbacks?
    I see that you keep them separate from other comments with relatively uninformative excerpts, but Jenny has them integrated into the comment stream with slightly more extensive excerpts. Frankly if the excerpts give a reasonable idea of what to expect, then the chore of clicking through to read the rest of a comment is not painful enough to warrant any sympathy.

    I remember a number of people reporting the experience of composing lengthy discussion postings in the PLENK Moodle forum only to have them lost due to some glitch in the system and I have no way of knowing whether my replies to Tony are similarly lost or just “awaiting moderation”.

  2. Not sure if selfish blogger is really that selfish, after reading your post. I think I share what you preferred, since the CCK08 experience. Would this also reflect what the “majority” of CCKs and MOOCkers want? Blogging provides a better space for personal reflection and thus afford more personal control – and that mean full autonomy. Besides, posting in forum or other particular forum setup requires more trackbacks and aggregation – and a lengthy post could be lost half way through if one has forgotten to log into the forum.
    Good to learn about your preference here.

  3. alan says:

    Thanks John.

    Regarding whether the “majority” shares our preference (or if not the majority what distinguishes those who do)it was interesting to read your 2010 paper (with Roy and Jenny) about your survey of the CCK08 experience. The connection of learning styles with how one feels about different ways of reading discussion threads suggests that perhaps a “one size fits all” solution cannot be found, but I do find it unfortunate that such differences might fragment the community into relatively unconnected components. So I would like to see more tools for browsing discussions that extend across multiple platforms – and perhaps for allowing customization of how things are presented so as to accommodate different preferences without requiring the user to move to a distinct and less congenial platform in order to see the whole discussion.

    But before pressing for the development of something new I would also like to see more discussion about what, if anything, is wrong with trackback/pingback as solutions to the problem of finding and following responses to a posting. I wasn’t involved in CCK08, but did see this topic come up in CCK11 (see )

  4. Pingback: Heli connecting ideas » Blog Archive » Nomad, migrant, lurker, blogger or networker?

  5. Pingback: The Selfish Blogger – A discussion :-) « Jenny Connected

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