We never have an open thread here on RFB. I shy away from generic-titled link-remaindering and so I’ve never liked the way “Open Thread” looks in my RSS reader. I realize that this has to do with the weak integration of blog and discussion board ways as discussed recently, but not in an easy way to abstract in the comment thread depending from Why are all blog commenting tools braindead?
I know the difference between a message board and a blog and I use both, but I wonder whether ANY of the people who create blogging tools have any knowledge of or use for the affordances of message board conversations that enable many people to discuss many topics with many other people over many days, weeks, and months. On all blogs I know of, the comments scroll off into invisibility after the posts they are attached to are replaced by new ones. Sure, if you are fanatic about a particular post, you can add a comment much later — but who else is going to participate? This is what I want. Somebody please build a plug-in or add it to the next revision of your blogging tools. (I tried to nag Ben and Mena about this, but they were too busy.)
I want to be able to SUBSCRIBE to each comment thread that interests me, SEE my list of subscribed threads when I want to, no matter how old they are, READ the new comments that have been added to my subscribed threads since the last time I read, and ADD a comment at any time. If you think in message board terms, each category is a forum (conference, folder, newsgroup) and each thread (string of comments) is a topic (item, thread).
To me, the open thread convention on some of the political weblogs is an inelegant kluge. It doesn’t archive well. But now that I think about it, I’ve never stood on ceremony before, and it obviously works as a stopgap, as a way of giving the readers a platform for suggesting topics or for asking questions or for seeking help and alliances among the rest of the readership. I’m no Derek Powazek when it comes to community-building. I still to tend to think in terms of publishing and authorship, auctor, auteur.
So, ignore my inchoate ramblings. Post whatever you want in the comments. It’s an open thread. All ye, all ye, outs in free.