Saturday, April 15, 2006

Scoble's Moderation and That Old Time Conspiracy Reward Challenge

Quick blog-technology-centric post for something near and dear to the Mini-Microsoft blog: comments.

I've said it. Lots of other people have said it (lots... said it so much I wonder if I should just put up one word posts some time). So it must be true: comments by the readers of this blog are what truly make it unique and perhaps even important for some moment of time.

I felt bad about moderating when I first did it. Not anymore. I only feel bad about the precious personal time I have to burn getting the comments scanned and approved and how it can slow down the conversation. But I'm really glad Blogger has comment moderation. This blog would have either died or moved onto another host long ago without it.

So now, given my personal context, I've had a Neo-ish "whoa!" to hear that Robert Scoble has started comment moderation on his Scobleizer blog. Whoa!

Moderation. So I know you have Clay Shirky talking about it and folks like me and Scoble living it, but what is the solution? It seems that blogging as a communication medium is prone to entropy the more successful a blog becomes... perhaps comments should be tiered so that there is always a secondary page one can go to for all submitted comments and elevated comments (either by the owner or readers) can make their way onto the main blog page to ascend next to the main post's text. Kind of like Slashdot, just without the one-liner noise of each filtered message.

In the meantime, while showering after another fun day weeding between rain clouds, I just contemplate the amount of vile-infused comment hatred I was gobsmacked with as of late. Well, not directed at me. At Microsoft. It's freaking irrational. You might point to past sins, but that doesn't add up. There is plenty of choice out there and this caricature that has been foisted up of Microsoft does not match the passionate, corporate company I work with. Nor each person I work with. But a whole generation seems to have bought into it, and it comes as a price of "anything but Microsoft" when indeed Microsoft would have been the best and obvious choice. Add onto that a new immergence of nationalism associated with software and more and more people are finding reasons to hate Microsoft that don't add up.

So I don't let those comments go through, but they do stick to my conscience. I'd like a solution to that, too. And a milkshake.

(and I see Bubba Murarka will be making an appearance on Scoble's blog - good luck, Bubba!)

Oh, and rather than adding a comment for this theme again:

Thus, I have concluded you are not the independent blogger you say you are but are rather a paid foil of the executives, with the mission of extracting feedback that would seldom be expressed through the sycophantic MS Poll.

Not that that's such a bad thing, of course. The comments keep things in perspective and help people let off a little anonymous steam.

Well, please step up to the mic for the next town-hall with Ballmer and ask him yourself, "Does Microsoft control or direct the Mini-Microsoft blog?" Or some other fun question like that to put the leadership on record about this recurrent topic (hey, I'm a Mulder fan, I like my conspiracies, too). Tell you what, if you do then I'll route you a nice dining giftcard to a fine Eastside restaurant for you and your sweetheart. But in the meantime: no, it's just me doing my thing when I have spare time. I work hard during the day to make money for Microsoft and our shareholders, and I steal as much spare time away from my non-work life to put up the occasional post and moderate the comments. Sometimes it's too much and I go on break. Just like me, it's all pretty simple.

My only compensation is when our leadership gets asked the hard questions or when it seems change is enacted to address the serious issues brought up within the conversation here. As for you "sleeping with the enemy" and all that... well, do you think change is needed? Looks like the call for change has received attention. Will that change happen if you silently go back to your keyboard, or will it happen if we all work together to discuss what's not working and how to arise to the occasion and do better. Well, not just better. To do the absolute best. As we know we all can.

Silence solves nothing.

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