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Rethinking RSB comment philosophy

I may have made a serious design error in RSB, but I'm not sure I can reverse it. Let me explain what I'm tryin to do and why.

One of the basic goals of RSB is making it maintenance free. You can bookmark the New Post page, go to it when you want to write something, maybe get sent through Twitter to authenticate you, and post it. And that's it. Yes, you can go back and edit old posts if you want (well, that part isn't done yet, but it will be).

So much of the BS of other web blogging systems I've tried revolves around comments. Most of that is dealing with spam, but even without it, you've got to do something to see the new comments that come in, interact if you want, etc.

So I had my brilliant idea. Turn Twitter into my commenting system. Auto-tweeting posts was always a plan (and I've worked with the Twitter API in the past, I like it). Turns out it's ridiculously easy to have people click on a link and add a reply. I'm already reading my twitter feed so the comments will show up, Twitter deals with the worst of the spam and any jackasses will be revealing their identies and can be blocked. And it's easy for my readers too - most will see the tweet of the article, click the link to read it, and can just click the link to add a reply. If I reply to their reply, it shows up in their feed. Clean. Brilliant. Win/Win/Win! (the third Win is for Twitter who gets more interaction with their site, not that they need it.)

Except... if you use a twitter application instead of the browser, you may well not be logged in. You click the link to add a comment - and are presented with a window asking you to enter your twitter account and screen name. Yes, it looks like it's from twitter, URL has twitter, but dodgy people are clever. I hope people don't consider me dodgy, but dodgy people sometimes hide their dodginess.

So there's definitely some friction there. If there was a way I could determine if they came from a twitter client and send them back, would be great, but I don't think there is.

That said, I'm going to continue this path. The friction is bad, not happy I didn't think it through (though I use apps for twitter, Socialite on Mac and official one on iPad, I'm always logged in with the browser). But the alternatives are worse. I really don't want to add the comment BS into my nice clean system, and I don't want to give up comments.

But I'll be thinking about it. If anyone has any advice, happy to hear it.

Posted on March 5, 2015, 12:05 pm
Last updated on March 6, 2015, 6:18 am

Donald Brown

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It lives! It lives! My RSB LIVES!!! Mua ha ha ha ha (Please check it out)

This is the first real actual post from my new blogging system. I call it RSB because I'm trying to keep it a Real Simple Blog.

There are things to come - for one thing, no RSS feed (yes, it is coming, Dave!) and I want the ability to upload one/a couple images (which would then also get posted to Twitter), among others. But it's not wordpress/blogger/medium/tumbler, it won't become those, and I don't want it to become those. I want an easy way to post longform stuff in a place I control

UPDATES: RSS feed is now enabled. Also, much better integration with twitter, displaying summaries.

As you probably got here from Twitter (and I really hope you followed the link) - not only does it autotweet all entries, but I'm using Twitter as my comments/discussion system. It also is used to log into the admin area - at present, it's locked into my screenname, but one thing I am looking at adding is multi-user support.

And yeah, it needs to be prettier. That will run into my limits as a graphic artist, but again, I don't want to be Medium.

BTW, in addition to twitter, thanks to the CKEditor people, I use it for the body entry/editing.

Posted on March 3, 2015, 7:02 pm
Last updated on March 6, 2015, 5:37 am

Donald Brown

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Please don't live-tweet TV shows (rant at link)

I'm a fan of several geeky shows, including Agents of SHIELD. (No, I'm not going to bother with all the periods.)  I also live in California so see things three hours later than everyone else.

I'm not one of those "no no no don't you EVER utter a spoiler" people, people get excited and say things. It happens. But I hate it when people "live tweet". And worse, I follow not only the show's link but a few others, and THREE ACCOUNTS decided to live tweet the east coast feed.

In 99.99999% of the cases, live-tweeting a show adds NOTHING to the enjoyment of watching it, even if you're watching in the same time zone as they're tweeting. It's not even the spoils, just lots of comments like "wow that must've hurt" "Ouch, better know better than to challenge him/her" "Oh no, do you think they'll survive?"

These are the cases where live-tweeting is useful:

  • You're able to attend/view an event most people won't be able to attend. Keynotes, panels at ComiCon, press conferences, investor stock calls, etc. Cool. You're presenting information that your friends and followers won't get otherwise, at least not get it in real time. It's adding to the experience. Of course, it should be something your friends and followers would be interested in.
  • You've got some special expertise involved. You worked on the show and so can talk about technical details or even "and remember how Robert broke his arm while filming this season? It happened working on this scene." Or you've got expertise say as a photographer and can comment on the cinematography.
  • Awards shows, everyone is an expert in their own mind. Live tweeting the awards and "so well earned" or "an outrage! Jim was robbed!" is safe from my rant. Or maybe I'm picking my battles.

I'm not talking about excited utterances over twitter. If your mind was just blown when Cassandra showed up on that cloak on The Librarians and SPOILER REMOVED and you just have to comment on it, cool. Try not to be too spoilery, but even if it happens, hey, we're fans, we get excited. I'm talking about saying "I'm going to live blog this show" and you keep posting things just because you're live blogging and it's expected.

Maybe this is just me. Maybe lots of people love reading the utterly useless banal live blogs of shows they're watching (I did get a little judgmental there) and I'm sure some people find it fun to do a live blog. Do it off your normal twitter feed, please. Either use another service, or get another twitter account. Before the show, and a couple times during, go ahead and tweet "Hey, I'm love blogging this show at {link}". Those who like it will open that in a new browser tab and watch, the rest of us don't have our feeds spammed.

Thanks for listening to this rant.

Posted on March 3, 2015, 7:24 pm
Last updated on March 6, 2015, 5:28 am

Donald Brown

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I have become... californianized

I am letting down my friends in Iowa where I lived for several decades. I am letting down my family who live in Colorado. And I realize I will get zero sympathy for this.

Woke up this morning, realized I'd left a window open last night, and it was 62 degrees F. I shuddered and said "Good God it is FREEZING in here!"

I have become a Californian.

Posted on March 4, 2015, 10:39 am

Donald Brown

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This blog is powered by an experimental program called RSB for Really Simple Blog. RSB ©2015 by Donald Brown. Thanks to the people at Twitter for a really cool API and Dave Winer for inspiring me on this.