Today I am going to take a moment to interrupt the generally humorous content of the Ominous Comma and try to explain my view on the role of comments on this site.
Blogging purists like to speak of blogs as conversations, where an author introduces a topic and everyone can add their opinions and experiences in an orderly fashion. One of the roles of the author/blogger then, is to moderate the comments and ensure that a clear and coherent discussion ensues.
This is a format that works well for blogs that are discussing issues or actual events.
At a site like this where I pride myself on having as little point as possible, I haven’t found much use for the “raise your hand and wait to be recognized” paradigm. Instead of one orderly discussion, the OC comment area usually resembles a group of good friends at a cocktail party, with offshooting jokes and spontaneous sub-conversations arising at irregular intervals and people sometimes dashing from one knot of revelers to to another trying not to miss anything.
I don’t see this as a bad thing. Deep conversations are good but sometimes you just need to relax.
Unfortunately visitors, and even some regulars, sometimes become alarmed at the seeming chaos of the celebration.
This is why I have switched to a nested comment system, ( Brian’s threaded comments ) to allow readers to respond directly to any previously posted comment and hopefully present a more easily decipherable comment stream.
I want to improve the overall Comma experience for everyone, while still doing my best to allow the commenting community to develop and evolve into its own unique character.
I am open to any suggestions you might offer.