Monday, December 21, 2015

Comment-Driven Blogging

I tell you what about blogging. The crux of the matter is that I have long come to see the comment section as the most interesting and valuable part of the blog. It's the comment section where new ideas/concepts/theories are born.

For me commenting is the superior form of thinking. If I would arrange types of thinking by their hierarchy, it would go as monologue -> verbal debate -> writing articles -> writing books -> comment discussion.

Commenting is also the closest thing I know about to hi-tech brain storms. It's the part of the blog where people come together to stimulate each other intellectually in order to strike on something new.

If we talk about the internet as a facilitator of collective intelligence, a properly managed comment section is the place to do it. In the comment section, an honestly and intelligently asked question that can make people think and produce intelligent answers is as valuable as the answers themselves. As far as I am concerned, a person who knows to ask relevant questions or raise reasonable objections may well be the most valuable commenter a blog can have.

Of course by commenting I don't mean pointless moralizing/name calling/pseudo ironic mocking of other views/people and other types of verbal diarrhea collectively known as bleating. I mean technical commenting. Not that judgemental bleating in the style of our self-trained Martin-Luther-Kings and other moralistic narcissists. It's about thinking and predicting. You assess the situation and anticipate future scenarios. It's not about judging. It should be 100% technical analysis. But it should be creative.

Obviously, the type of commenting I have in mind has nothing to do with emotional intelligence, ethical self improvement and other nonsense. You don't need to. These days everybody is a self-styled Mahatma-Gandhi. There is no shortage of people volunteering ethical judgements on other people and their actions. Some people readily deny expertise on economics or the Middle East, but I am yet to meet a person who wouldn't hold himself an expert on morals and ethical issues. To judge, everybody can. There is no added value you can contribute to this one.

When I decided to give blogging another try, I was thinking about a new type of comment-based collective thinking. It's a new type of thinking which takes advantage of the new mass communication/interaction technologies the internet has to offer.

The blogging, as I see it, should at the very least two types of posts. One type can be called anchor posts. It's a thought/observation that can trigger a discussion aka comments. It's not an article. You are not here to write articles. It should be one post - one thought/observation. When you write such posts, think about encouraging comments. Sometimes the best way to write such posts is actually by posting questions to prospective commenters. A good question can perfectly make for a good post.

The second type of posts are best comments escalated to posts. It doesn't have to be your comment. You can take another person's comment if you think it's good. Just explain what caught your attention in that comment and run it as a post in its own right. The momentum we should strive to create on the blog should be comment-driven.

Finally, I think it's important to understand what is the difference between such comment-driven blogging and articles. You are not writing articles here. Blogging is more like a diary of your intellectual life. It's like comparing serials to movies. Serials are much closer to real life than movies. In the same way, blogging is much closer to real thinking than articles. Articles are static dead snapshots of conclusions a given person has reached at a given moment. Blogging, on the other hand, is a living process by following which one can see how ideas/concepts are actually born/evolve. When you write posts you can perfectly allow yourselves to be wondering, feel confused/lost etc. You should just let yourselves think and keep a diary of the process.