I know I’ve been kind of a one-shtick pony on the whole blogs and comment meme, but when I spot an opportunity to flog a dead horse I just can’t pass it up. In this case, it’s the recent post by Doc Searls in which he laments the fact that he is a “gatekeeper” in the new media universe. Why would he think that? Because Seth Finkelstein, a Web 2.0 sociologist of sorts, told him so.
Doc says he doesn’t want to be a mean old gatekeeper, since he got pushed around a lot when he was younger, and so he says that he’s happy to help subvert whatever “A-lister” hierarchy has grown up in the blogosphere:
It pains me to think I’m being cruel without knowing it to a blogger who’s trying just as hard as I am Ã¢â‚¬â€ or maybe harder Ã¢â‚¬â€ to make sense of things. So, if that’s what I did with that post, my apologies to Tristan, Scott, Seth and anybody else who took offense. I’ll just add that, if ya’ll want to subvert some hierarchies, including the one you see me in now, I’d like to help.
Here’s a suggestion, Doc: How about allowing comments on your blog? Yes, it’s a pain in the ass, and yes there are going to be a lot that piss you off or get in your face. That’s part of opening yourself up Ã¢â‚¬â€ and I would submit that not having them is one of the signs that you think of yourself as an A-list gatekeeper who is above the sturm und drang of the hoi polloi (to mangle metaphors in two different languages). Even Dave Winer has decided to open his blogging up to comments, although in typical Winer-esque fashion he’s only doing it in a limited way and is grumbling about it the whole time.
Adam Green of Darwinian Web has a nice thought too, Doc: Let at least one new blogger through the gate every day. I would second that Ã¢â‚¬â€ but I also think having public comments (rather than the forums you have to sign up for that you currently have) would send a message of inclusiveness as well. Obviously, you don’t have to do this. As I tried to point out before, I’m not saying everyone has to have comments Ã¢â‚¬â€ but I do think it makes a difference. Maybe you’re like Russell Beattie and you don’t care. But given your recent post, I have a hunch that you do.
P.S. Shelley over at Burningbird has some thoughts too, about how the A-listers could do a bit more to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. As she puts it:
I have no respect for the linking/attention games played and those who play them, and neither should you. When you see this bullshit, call it bullshit. This will do more to Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtear down the gatesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ then begging an A lister, even a nice one like Doc, for a link.