Over the weekend, I noticed a post by Robert Scoble regarding comments on blog posts and where they should appear. The source of interest came from the launch of another aggregation service called Shyftr. This is an RSS aggregation service that allows comments on the content within Shyftr, not on the blog that is the source of the content. At first, I was resentful that another service was going to usurp the conversation. Then I started reading about the issue. Scoble’s interest had stemmed from a post by Louis Gray. Louis Gray does bring up an interesting point about the number of sites that are allowing comments on stories from another site. In particular, he brings up social media sites like Slashdot and Digg:
The other services that allow commenting in or out of the original service are some of the lifestreaming services like FriendFeed, SocialThing! and Iminta. I found this interesting as I thought the “comment on the tweet” feature really cool, because it went back to the original tweet. The key point in his argument is that social media is exactly what Shyftr is doing, but with RSS feeds. That is the killer point. We all love social media, and if that is OK, then why is there a problem with Shyftr?
So, now we look at the counterpoint. Tony Hung says Shyftr crosses the line. He brings up very valid points as most people want to know what the conversation is and where it is occurring. He then mentions something interesting, that kills his own argument.
However, in my mind, when a service cannot exist *without* republishing others content in its entirety, and directly profits from that republishing without the original consent of the author, there’s something that isn’t right.
The issue with this is that he essentially says social media as a whole is wrong. The “directly profits” idea is a little tenuous as most sites get ad revenue only. However, if this is his true feeling, then he can not possibly feel that social media is a good thing. That is the part of the argument that I really disagree with. Most bloggers should disagree with this. Anyone that plays with social media should disagree with this. Social media has been a traffic driver for many sites. Twitter itself is a kind of social media, though not quite as direct as the social news sites.
My point is that if social media is OK in everyone’s mind, then what is wrong with Shyfter? Nothing really. However, one thing I would like to see is that these services give trackbacks or follow links to the original source. This allows the blog owner to see where the conversation is and join in.