Conversation Category

Dave has an interesting idea this morning.  A reader suggested in my Right Roles for Standards Body post that Tim and I have a public debate on Atom vs. RSS.  Using the suggestion, Dave formulated a new type of debate that takes place on the blogosphere over a much longer period than traditional face to face debates.

Very cool.  Dave's blog-based debates can be implemented using a new type of blog category: Conversation Category.  The idea is for a small number of people to share a single blog category and converse over a long period of time through their blogs.

A conversation aggregator subscribes to the category feed of all the participants and merge them into a single feed and publishes a mini-website dedicated to the conversation.  The 'referree' of the debate or the conversation moderator gets editorial rights over the merged feed and the mini-website.  Hmm.  This stuff is very close to what I am currently working on so I think I'll slip this feature in while I am at it.

This idea reflects what is going on in each of our blogs.  Note that I often mention Dave Winer and Tim Bray by their first names.  That's because there is a persistent context that reduces ambiguity and an ongoing history to refer back to.  This context is not just limited to my blog but includes blogs of everyone I frequently mention in my blog (i.e. everyone on my blogroll).  A conversation category formalizes that context and gives it a more refined shape.

Frankly, this is the kind of innovation we need to be thinking about instead of reinventing what is already in wide use.