Having a blog vs Articles vs Forums
posted by Arnaud HERVE on 11 Aug 2005 (14:05 UTC)
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.

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