Miscellaneous Updates

No podcast this week – I was going to do a podcast today, but I opted not to do one this week so I could try something a bit different. On Monday I’ll be giving a 15-20 minute speech based on the same material I would have used for today’s podcast, so I’m going to attempt to record that speech live and then turn it into a podcast. I’ve never done this before, so if for some reason it doesn’t work out, I’ll go ahead and record a separate podcast from the same material. But I’m curious to see how well a speech translates over to a podcast. I’ll be using an omnidirectional lavalier microphone with a digital recorder, so the recording quality may not be as good, but the upside is that you should be able to hear the audience reaction. (Hopefully you’ll hear more than just crickets.)

Comments experiment – This is an experiment I’ve been needing to try for a while. It will undoubtedly upset some people, but it’s something I need to do. For a variety of complicated interconnected reasons, I’ve decided to disable comments on this blog for a few weeks. If I like how that works out, I’ll keep it that way; otherwise I’ll restore comment functionality. I’ve long known that the way I handle comments on this blog was going to be an issue that needed to be addressed at some point, and I might as well figure it out now before traffic gets any higher. My current approach to handling comments will definitely not scale as traffic continues growing.

Lately I’ve been studying how various high-traffic blogs handle comments. Some, like Robert Scoble, invite comments. Others, like Seth Godin, don’t allow comments and instead encourage others to continue the discussion on their own blogs if they so choose. For those who do allow comments, there are varying degrees of moderation as well as different levels of interactivity with the blog owner.

One of the long-term decisions I face is how interactive to make this site — how much of a community-building aspect to bring to it. I feel that blog comments are sort of a strange limbo between having no comments and having a fully interactive discussion board. I’m inclined to push the site towards one side or the other — to either treat it as a one-to-many communication medium or a many-to-many medium. I used to administrate a popular discussion forum, so I already know what that’s like. Now I want to test what it’s like to have a far less interactive site, so I can make a more informed long-term decision about this. I’ve long been a test-a-holic who favors experimenting to speculating. There are a lot of variables at play here (too many to list), but I’ve no doubt that running this experiment for a few weeks will give me far more clarity than any amount of debate will.

Existing comments will still be present with old posts — only new comments will be disabled. Plus the contact form to send me feedback will continue to be available.