Friday, September 15, 2006

I'm the Blogger Here

A cousin to the confusion of blog entries with blogs is the confusion of blog comments with blog entries. On the political blogs, you'll occasionally see a blogger on one side accuse a blogger on the other side of making a particularly extreme statement, and then you'll see the accused blogger indignantly point out that said statement was not in a blog entry but rather in a comment from a particularly rabid reader. In the mainstream media, you'll see readers who post comments (some of them particularly rabid) referred to as "bloggers" when in fact they do not have blogs of their own. The distinction gets confusing with blogs that have more than one authorized poster and with those that are basically free-for-all forums.


jf said...

I've noticed a similar bit of confusion, with both blog entries and comments on those entries being indiscriminately referred to as "posts" (because both are "posted" by the writer, I suppose).


Bill said...

Ah, good point on "post." And that's probably the best word to use for entries on a free-for-all blog.

Misnomer said...

I wonder, at what point does the line between "free-for-all blog" and "message board" become blurred? Does it simply come down to format instead of content?

Linda said...

I'd say so, yes. Generally, I think a few things separate "boards" and "forums" from blogs with comments:

1. To begin with the purely cosmetic, most, but not all, message boards look like a table, and threads appear in a list, from which you choose one. Most, but not all, blogs display actual content, rather than just a title, as the teaser (if not the entirety) of the entry on the main page.

2. Most, but not all, blogs with comments are posts by registered/approved users, who are generally a smaller group than the group authorized to comment. (There are exceptions, like Metafilter, but they are indeed exceptions.)

3. Generally, blogs with comments allow entries to gradually drop off the bottom of the page as they're replaced with new content, while most message boards allow threads to remain at the top (and thus accessible) as long as they're active, because the sorting is by most recent post. In other words, blogs encourage users to move to the new content, while message boards make it perfectly easy to continue posting in a thread that's years old, as is routinely done at busy forums like some of the ones I moderate.

4. I think most blogs, with again the exception of some outliers like Metafilter, try to apply an editorial voice to posts that doesn't apply to comments. Even most collaborative blogs (consider something like BoingBoing) have a list of contributors who are perceived to have not necessarily a common viewpoint, but probably a common mission. Not generally true with conversation-starters at message boards.

Just my two cents, from the perspective of a message-board veteran.