September 8th, 2006

bunneh, _support

Why tracking is good

In case you haven't seen it, LiveJournal is gradually rolling out the ability to track or subscribe to or get notifications for (the terminology is inconsistent, unfortunately) various events and conversations around the site. It's paid only at the moment but it's absolutely going to be site wide soon.

I think the tracking system will make it a lot more likely for discussions to stay alive past the couple of days posts stay on friends pages. It will make it much easier for people to participate in discussions that they happen to find by surfing or links, even if the discussions are happening outside their immediate circle. The new system plugs the gaping hole in the notification system where if I comment on user_example's journal, I only get emails of replies directly to my comment, but if exampleuser replies to the person who replies to me, I don't get an email. Similarly, it makes it possible to get notifications of replies to posts in communities that I didn't post myself, and so on. Being able to manage my notification messages onsite, rather than through my email, is also a bonus in my view.

I honestly think it could transform the way LJ works. Before subscription, LJ was frankly pretty hopeless as a discussion medium. Lots of people, especially in the sort of circles I move in, are trying to use it as such anyway, and getting really frustrated because several aspects are so completely wrong for that. This change, I think, will remove a lot of the worst obstacles. Yes, it's still a kludge added to something that was intended for journalling (remember, LJ was created before blogging as we now know it became trendy). But this tool, combined with the serious efforts of lots of users to force LJ into something that can be used for extended discussions, will convert LJ from hopeless to just about usable for this purpose. Since I like discussions, and since I treat LJ very much as a blog myself, I'm delighted about this.

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So, conclusion: yay tracking. Boo whiners.
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