The other day, a Disqus user and friendly developer created the Disqus2FF tool. The tool allows blogs using Disqus to synchronize comments between FriendFeed and Disqus. For the most part, it has been praised by many Disqus users as a way to consolidate some of the conversation fragmentation. ReadWriteWeb has a similar solution on their blog with a Moveable Type plugin that synchronizes each comment on their site with the posts on FriendFeed.

I have seen these in action and I have some concerns about the way they work. Louis Gray mentions a concern in his post covering the Disqus2FF tool:

Now, what the solution doesn’t do is crawl FriendFeed and find all comments on all reshares or tweets of your blog. It just gets the one main entry, which I think is good enough. It also is bound to have some disjointed entries as conversations are smashed together, but it should be a good experiment to see how the two could merge.

I have heard other comments of a similar nature regarding the fact that the comments are not threaded and most of the comments from FriendFeed are not claimed using Disqus profiles. One concern that I have is that people commenting on FriendFeed may not know that their comments are being copied to the source blog. I am not sure if this is a good thing as the expectations are different based on the different site you are on. Also, I would not be surprised if some users start complaining that their comments are being copied to a place that they did not comment on.

The other major concern I have is the effects on the conversation. I have commented on stories from ReadWriteWeb while on FriendFeed before I remembered that the comments would be copied to the site itself. This now effects the way that I comment on ReadWriteWeb stories. The reason is that if I am on FriendFeed, there is a different community than there is on ReadWriteWeb. FriendFeed is a social site that promotes commenting on their posts, and general interaction. On the other hand, ReadWriteWeb is a news and analysis blog. Obviously, there may be a more informal feel to the comments on a social site when compared to the comments on ReadWriteWeb.

The other problem with the conversations is that some of the context is lost. I am a big proponent of distributed conversations because of the different communities because they promote different opinions and perspectives. Combining the conversations on the blog with the conversations on FriendFeed change the dynamic of the conversations.

Is this really a good idea? Why are distributed conversations a bad thing?

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