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Switching to Artima

19 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: Jun 29, 2006 4:28 PM by Quentin Neill

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Bruce Eckel

Posts: 875
Nickname: beckel
Registered: Jun, 2003

Switching to Artima (View in Weblogs)
Posted: May 31, 2005 7:05 PM
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Summary
I've been posting articles to the web for a number of years now, but only in the last couple of years have I been adapting to the phenomenon called "Blogging." This introduction will point to my previous posts, explain why I'm switching to Artima, and describe my hopes for the future of blogging.
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I seem to have come at this thing backwards. I started by posting entire books (Eric Raymond tells me that I am the second person to post an unpublished book on the net, he seems to have been the first), then long articles and finally caught up with people writing short posts (My book writing seems to be following this as well; at some point soon I hope to start writing small books).

The "articles" can still be found on my web site: http://www.mindview.net/WebLog, and I suspect I will still post there from time. I've had a weblog on blogger.com: http://onthethought.blogspot.com for awhile, and in general it was fine. The problem is with feedback. If you set a blogger weblog for "anyone can comment," you get blog spam. If you restrict it, people complain and/or don't comment because the hurdle is too high. And with restricted commenting, you can still get trolls, which are a bothersome time-waster.

On Artima, Bill has implemented a number of anti-trolling devices; he wants to keep the discussions civilized which is exactly what I'd like. That, and the fact that Artima focuses on the developer community, is what finally drew me here.

The articles and the blogger items will remain up in perpetuity, so you can read through those if you'd like to get more context. If I publish new articles, I will announce them here, so you can stick to a single RSS feed. I'll also announce things like seminars and travel plans on this blog, in case you have a user group where I'm traveling that you'd like me to speak to, or you need consulting, etc. This blog will continue to focus on programming and computing-related issues; my assumption is that this is what you are interested in so I will try not to wax poetic about the cat, the snow, etc.

I also send out a newsletter about once a quarter. This announces significant changes (the publication of a new book, for example), upcoming seminars, and the like. If you're interested, you can sign up for that at http://www.mindview.net/Newsletter.

Blogging improvements

For a long time, I tried to get Bill to implement a through-email weblog posting system, and that's what drew me to blogger, since they have that already. This is one of the reasons it's very important to run experiments rather than just imagining how something will work: when I finally tried it, I discovered that I didn't end up using it.

Bill and I have also talked about creating a "blogalog" where a blog is created as a conversation between one or more people. Sort of a panel discussion. I still think that's worth a try, but it would be interesting to try something experimental first to see how well it works. Bill told me that the current blogging system only took him 3 days to put together (!) so it seems like adding blogalogs, or at least a quick-and-dirty experiment, would be a feasible thing to do (of course, it's easy enough for me to say what ought to be easy for Bill to do).

As time passes, the issue of "keeping things civilized" will continue to be a problem. As more weblogs are added, having only a few designated people watching over this will not scale. I think the best solution is for comments to automatically go to the blogger as specially-tagged email. If the blogger hits the "reply" button, the comment gets posted. If they don't reply, the comment is discarded. This way the blogger controls the quality of the conversation directly, but in a very simple fashion. And uncivilized comments never get posted in the first place, so trolls will never get the satisfaction of having their comments up even briefly, so they won't waste their time.

Even better would be a system that allowed the blogger to add a reply, which would be posted next to the original comment. That is, if you simply hit "reply" in your emailer, the original comment would be posted, but if you hit "reply" and then included a reply of your own, the original comment would be posted followed by your reply.


Bill Venners

Posts: 2251
Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: Switching to Artima Posted: May 31, 2005 7:54 PM
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Welcome, Bruce!

I'm curious, why do you think you ended up not using the email-a-blog feature at Blogger.com?

Bruce Eckel

Posts: 875
Nickname: beckel
Registered: Jun, 2003

Re: Switching to Artima Posted: May 31, 2005 9:01 PM
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I started using them, but discovered there was a delay in posting (some bug or artifact at blogger). So then I would post via email, then check them to see what was going on.

But I think that in the end, the issue was really editing and formatting. That turned out not to be very convenient to do via email, and I just naturally ended up using the web interface, then checking and fixing the results. If you emailed the blog, you ended up on the web interface anyway, to fix the inevitable flubs.

This is not to say that an email interface isn't useful for some kinds of things (blogalogs, for example, might maintain their energy better via email).

Yong LIN

Posts: 1
Nickname: kukoo
Registered: Jun, 2005

Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 1, 2005 3:45 AM
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http://www.blogjava.net/kukoo/archive/2005/06/01/5416.html

But sorry, it is in Chinese.

Bill Burris

Posts: 24
Nickname: billburris
Registered: Aug, 2003

blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 1, 2005 6:55 PM
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Would your blogalog idea be similar to what John Brockman is doing at www.edge.org?

What I like about Edge is I can read comments from experts, without being swamped by comments from the masses.

How about two threads of discussion for each blog. One for the panel of experts, and one for the rest of us. That way, if the volume gets too high, I can switch to reading just what the panel of experts has to say.

Bill Venners

Posts: 2251
Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 1, 2005 10:39 PM
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> Would your blogalog idea be similar to what John Brockman
> is doing at www.edge.org?
>
> What I like about Edge is I can read comments from
> experts, without being swamped by comments from the
> masses.
>
One thing I've thought about offering is invitation-only discussion forums. It doesn't just have to be experts. It can be any group of people who control who gets in. I think this is a good way to get high signal to noise ratio discussion.

For example, Bruce mentioned in his previous blog his notion of letting the blogger decide on each message. That is one way to protect high signal to noise, which equates to a moderated discussion. What I've been considering is to require blogger approval of the posts of new people who have not previously been "approved" into the group. It would be fewer emails to the blogger, and over time would essentially build a group of people the blogger thinks have interesting things to say. But the blogger doesn't have to approve each message. In essence, the blogger has the option of approving the people the first time they post.

> How about two threads of discussion for each blog. One
> for the panel of experts, and one for the rest of us.
> That way, if the volume gets too high, I can switch to
> o reading just what the panel of experts has to say.

A blogalog is a weblog post that's a dialog. Bruce and I have talked about this on several occasions, but I haven't been convinced it is worth implementing. Perhaps Bruce and I should do a dialog over email, then post that in his or my weblog, and see how that goes.

One thing that is in my current plans for the new architecture is to allow multiple discussion threads, including potentially private ones, to be connected to any item of content. Not quite sure how to explain that to users, but the architecture will make it possible.

Vincent O'Sullivan

Posts: 724
Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 2, 2005 5:32 AM
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> For example, Bruce mentioned in his previous blog his
> notion of letting the blogger decide on each message. That
> is one way to protect high signal to noise, which equates
> to a moderated discussion.

Although doable, I think that that would be the wrong level of control. Having the blogger decide who can reply doesn't equate to a moderated discussion. It is actually closer to a multi-authored monologue.

The essence of a discussion is that both sides are more or less equal and that the moderator is essentially neutral.

What I like about Artima is that I have the opportunity to interact, on a fairly equal basis, with various experts, authors, gurus and mountebanks that post articles here.

One the other hand, I would have no interest in sitting at the feet of a self appointed elite who would deign to let us listen in on their doubtless erudite discussions.

Vince.

Bruce Eckel

Posts: 875
Nickname: beckel
Registered: Jun, 2003

Re: blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 2, 2005 4:30 PM
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Well, that's the thing about blogging. You get to choose. If you find a blogger who only allows comments that say how wonderful he is, you don't pay attention to that person.

I would primarily be interested in preventing blog spam and trolls, but also off-topic comments. I think this would increase the quality of the conversation.

The value of having the blogger "moderate" their own comments is that it scales.

Jordan Zimmerman

Posts: 23
Nickname: jordanz
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 2, 2005 8:16 PM
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Welcome! That's one less website for me to visit. Your old blog and Artima have been regulars for me.

Martin Bromley

Posts: 2
Nickname: bromley
Registered: May, 2003

Re: blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 3, 2005 5:55 AM
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"Well, that's the thing about blogging. You get to choose. If you find a blogger who only allows comments that say how wonderful he is, you don't pay attention to that person."

The trouble with that approach is that it wouldn't be easy for a newcomer to tell whether a blogger was worth listening to or not. A blogger would be free to post a load of rubbish, and an arrogant blogger would be free to block any critical comments. An ignorant newcomer wouldn't be able to determine that the arrogant blogger's blog was in fact rubbish.

However, I can't argue with the scalability!

Isaac Gouy

Posts: 527
Nickname: igouy
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 3, 2005 12:08 PM
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> Well, that's the thing about blogging. You get to choose.
> If you find a blogger who only allows comments that say
> how wonderful he is, you don't pay attention to that
> person.
>
> I would primarily be interested in preventing blog spam
> and trolls, but also off-topic comments. I think this
> would increase the quality of the conversation.
>
> The value of having the blogger "moderate" their own
> comments is that it scales.

iirc comments used to be shown at http://onthethought.blogspot.com/ but now it seems those old comments are no longer shown.

So much for the quality of conversation.

Bruce Eckel

Posts: 875
Nickname: beckel
Registered: Jun, 2003

Re: blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 3, 2005 3:10 PM
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That's what I was talking about in the above entry. I got both blog spam and trolls on blogger.com, and I had to shut off all the comments because of that. This is the reason I moved to Artima -- so that I could go back to having comments without worrying about blog spam or trolls.

venkata subramanian m

Posts: 3
Nickname: annacoder
Registered: Apr, 2005

Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 3, 2005 4:08 PM
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artima is slowly turning into something similar to florence of the renaissance - a collection of best minds there is

Parag Shah

Posts: 24
Nickname: parags
Registered: Mar, 2003

Re: blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 6, 2005 7:53 AM
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I was wondering if a protected wiki - one which everyone can view, but only those who have permissions can edit, be used as an effective BlogALog?

Parag

Bruce Eckel

Posts: 875
Nickname: beckel
Registered: Jun, 2003

Re: blogalog Re: Switching to Artima Posted: Jun 6, 2005 1:25 PM
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That seems like it might be a good way to experiment with the concept without investing a lot of effort.

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