Having a blog vs Articles vs Forums

by Arnaud HERVE
Thursday 11 of August, 2005
Posted to arnaudherve's Blog
The Blog feature of a CMS bears many resemblances with the Articles feature, and indeed some systems available on the web hardly make any difference.

Both deal with texts displayed by chronological order, and this post is about making the Blog really different.

In my opinion a Blog should be the personal voice of the author, whereas Articles should be objective. Just imagine Articles categories as assigned to Groups and one blog only assigned to one person.

Therefore a Blog should enhance personalization. A blog page should contain more than the list of last posts. It should be customizable by the user, with perhaps a photograph and some featured links, and then at the bottom just a list of Posts titles, i.e. without Posts text. The other way round the user should be able to add in his Userpage a list of last Blog posts titles, among other things (last Forum posts...), or just simply a link to the Blog page.

I still think Blog page and Userpage should be different, but certainly they should be linked. It is the public part of your private space. A public personal Calendar and an optional private wikibook should also belong to such a set. Perhaps navigable by tabs by default.

But if you allow other people to post in your Blog, in my opinion that's an Articles category, no longer a Blog. If you accept my definition here, it is as awkward as allowing someone else to post with your name in Forums.
Yes I admit there are cases, like when a politician is busy and wants his assistant to fill his blog for him. But in that case the Blog still has a definite name.

Now about Blog vs Forum. You may have noticed that a Blog post with several comments answering to each others begins to look like a Forum thread. Well that's not the Blog way either as I conceive it.

In a Forum you may be contradicted. How many times haven't you posted something perfectly logical on a forum, something documented and verifiable... and you found someone to tell you you were totally wrong? Frequently I assume. I think in a Blog on the contrary, the private person is so valued that contradiction should be banned.

It is not a problem of the author being wrong or not. It is the principle of granting the author total sovereignty over his private space. It is the psychological certainty of not being disturbed. Therefore I think that the default setting for Blog post comment should be to send a private message to the author. But Blogs comments, especially if they are good, seem to me like interrupting a public speaker: it just ruins the atmosphere.

I also admit that there are cases, like when the comment is so good that it enhances the value of the post. But its publishing should be the choice of the Blog's author, as a sovereign editor.

I believe that to acertain extent the development of individual intelligence needs a protection from contradiction. Of course I just say that inasmuch as the author has a Forum feature at disposal, and will decide to post there whenever he accepts, requires or wants to face replies.

As a conclusion, perhaps you will understand what I mean by a sinle glance at this Narnia skin for Wordpress. Of course the atmosphere is excessively lonely. But I believe that, if you can post in Articles and Forums, then it is not imbalanced to have a place where you can be the only one to think aloud.

Comments

Content Categorization

by Michael Erana, 13 Sep 2005 (10:34 UTC)
I concur with the general statements:

Blogs = Personal Voice (even if entries posted by someone else on the owners behalf)

Forums = Discussion

Articles = Objective/Factual

I'd add that articles should be based on factual or empiricaly provable things. (ie. How to configure Blogs in BitWeaver or "How to improve gas milage")

The issue begins when you write something in a blog and someone wants to respond to it. The intent of a comment on blogs is to provide a way to link the comment to the entry without having to navigate away from the site hosting the content (for statistical or branding reasons). But as arnaud opines; This breaks the concept of blogs as opinion conduits.

One method I'd seen is to link to a blog entry in a forum, but then this normally necessitates having to leave the forum to read the entry (to avoid re-posting the entire entry in the forum post) and then going back to post a response. Then often times hugh chunks of the post will end up getting quoted to death in the ensuing discussion anyway.

It's certainly not clean but then again very few things regarding human communications are. By trying to atleast set some basis for the features use we can define a 'protocol' that can be built upon and if applied in enough instances can create a 'standard' through ubiquity... (:wink:)

by Kozuch, 19 Jan 2007 (23:08 UTC)
Michael,

I wish it was the way you say ;)))

by Arnaud HERVE, 14 Oct 2007 (08:20 UTC)
I fear the problem arises when comments start answering to each other.

If we agree on the principle that My blog is a special place for My personal voice, then the comments should refer to My text only. Kind of : "Dear Sir, I deeply liked/disliked what you said about this and that..."

But, if comments appear like "I totally disagree with the comment below...", then it becomes not only a forum thread, but we can imagine that the discussion forgets about the blog post alltogether. In that case the comments become an agression of the blog principle, since people start talking about something else than ME on MY blog !!!

Ideally, comments should be blind to each other. While I admit this will not be recommended in many cases, maybe there should be a box to click, according to which comments would be readable by ME and the poster only.

In that case, starting a discussion between ME and the commentator would be ok. Kind of : "Thank you for your comment. You point me to a new direction for my next posts..."

This setting would not be compulsory of course, since many Blog writers will want to display a heated discussion below their Blog post.

make some money!

by bill, 18 Mar 2009 (01:40 UTC)
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