A bunch of people sent me mail, basically asking, “WTF?!”  So, what do I want?  I want an RSS feeder to also check if an engine has implemented the comments API, and if it has, grab those comments and associate them visually with the original post.  It would look a lot like Agent does, except for RSS feeds, rather that for NNTP feeds.  V.next would also look for trackbacks, and somehow associate those comments gracefully as well. 

I’m still chewing on the idea of different forms of communication, and how they should be handled.  Right now there’s an app for each one: email for push-based one-to-one or one-to-many communications (listservs and dist lists), RSS consumers for pull-based one-to-many communications, and NNTP consumers for push-based many-to-many communications.  And of course IM fits in there somewhere, along with audio and video conferencing.  Should each of these need a completely different application to support the different types/styles of communication?  Right now, I don’t think so.  I’m thinking there should be a VS-style “communications application” that really doesn’t care what it is you’re doing.  It might even look like Outlook.  I’m now thinking as I type, so I need to swallow my gum, and go ponder this some more…

No wonder we don’t listen any better that we currently do.  We get to be lazy and listen to one voice at a time, rather that a cacophony of voices.

I was thinking about which I like better for following RSS feeds – NewsGator or FeedDemon.  I like that both organize feeds very efficiently.  And both let me forward an interesting post via email.  Don’t get me wrong – I love being able to conveniently sit in the middle of a bunch of big brains, and listen in on all those conversations you’re each having with that little voice inside your head.

…and yet neither really encourages a discussion.  Why have we all congregated around the conference podium model, rather than the roundtable model?  Do most folks really just want to be able to do drive-by brain-sucks?  Every now and then, if you subscribe to way-too-many feeds, you’ll be able to put together an interesting discussion, usually involving kicking the crap out of Dave for something.  And it’s still next-to-impossible to have a real discussion.  Yeah, yeah – I remember the origins of RSS – CDF broadcasting and all that.

…and then I remembered Agent, by Forte.  Ah yes, the threaded discussion model.  And then I remembered, hey, didn’t Chris propose something similar not too long ago for RSS 2.0 feeds?  So here’s an appeal to Greg and Nick – please implement support for comments in NewsGator and FeedDemon.  …and here’s an appeal to Scott and others – please implement this in your engines.  Is this the right model – I don’t know, and it sure seems like the simplest one.  And here’s an appeal to ya’ll – please let everyone else know what you’re thinking.

[shawn's blog]