Architecture Matters: The Rebirth of Public Discussion

Ray Ozzie hits the nail on the head, detecting the architecture of the blogosphere and the benefits it confers through decentralizing the content management and enabling people to make the connections:

But blogs accomplish public discussion through a far different architectural design pattern. In the Well’s terminology, taken to its extreme, you own your own words. If someone on a blog “posts a topic”, others can respond, but generally do so in their own  blogs, hyperlinked back to the topic’s permalink. This goes on and on, back and forth. In essence, it’s the same hyperlinking mechanism as the traditional discussion design pattern, except that the topics and responses are spread out all over the Web. And the reason that it “solves” the signal:noise problem is that nobody bothers to link to the “flamers” or “spammers”, and thus they remain out of the loop, or form their own loops away from the mainstream discussion. A pure architectural solution to a nagging social
issue that crops up online.

The downside? Well, part of why people like getting together is that unintended consequences  can be quite rewarding. And there’s a danger that the self-selecting environment of a given blogging community might limit unintended outcomes. But, then again, I could argue quite the opposite: in a traditional public discussion, a good idea might get lost in the noise.