Is Comment Sync From FriendFeed Bad For The Conversation?

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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7 thoughts on “Is Comment Sync From FriendFeed Bad For The Conversation?

  1. Rob I think this sort of aggregation is brilliant. FriendFeed has been highly disruptive to the value created by publishers and comments and this sort of re-aggregation of distributed social gestures back to the source blog is the future.


  2. Chris,

    I understand your point, but I wonder if this is the right way to do it. Merging conversations is awkward at best, especially if it is a scheduled poll. If we get to “real-time” distribution with something like FriendFeed’s SUP, then it may be more realistic as there would not be any real differences in the conversation on either side.


  3. I don’t mind when others do this, but I have chosen (at least for now) not to merge my FriendFeed and Disqus conversations on my various blogs. Your point about separate conversations is an important one, since the same item could launch different conversations depending upon how it is shared, and who it sharing it. The “who” is important – have Louis Gray and Loren Feldman post the same item to FriendFeed, and I can guarantee you that two different conversations will spring up.

    I acutally found this post via FriendFeed, but chose to click through to the post to comment. FriendFeed makes commenting so easy that posts sometimes get little comment love.


  4. Ontario,
    That is a very good point regarding Louis and Loren. They could have two very different groups of subscribers. Also, thanks for the comment love, even though I try to follow the conversations on friendfeed as well.


  5. Comments synchronization is a good thing. I often check out FriendFeed to know about updates from many sources, and if I can commenting on FriendFeed that automatically appended to source, it would be a great. And reading blog post on FriendFeed also helps.
    I currently still looking for commenting using Google Reader, since I often reads blog post using it.
    I do this because internet connection here too slow to open blog and its widgets. So I have to open smaller version, both using mobile version or via feed reader.
    It’s about portability and usability.


  6. Alif,
    I am spoiled as I have already forgotten the days when opening certain sites takes too long. Feed reader comments is definitely an interesting idea, but I am not sure how that would work overall except for gathering the notes. Due to the rise of the iPhone, BlackBerry Storm, Android G1 and the soon to be Palm Pre, I think the mobile versions will not be too “lite” as they can generally render normal web pages or something very close.


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