Like in email, there’s lots of conversation that happen on the web; threaded forums, distributed blog discussion, micro-blog conversations, etc…
The good thing about this over email is that it’s all in the open for you to see, but the problem is that once the conversation is over it becomes buried in the openess.
Email conversations are a little easier to piece together as they are more threaded, but then you may not have access to these…forums are similar with the difference of being more visible.
Regardless of the nature of threaded or distributed, what happens is that at the time they happen they are visible, current and of great value, but in time they become buried-the value is still there but they are more hidden from view.
A while back TalkDigger tried to distill blog conversations via bookmarking an link search URL for a given blog post (eg. imagine Technorati allowing you to bookmark the URL of a link search, and to be able to tag, and then even more conversation can happen in the comments of the bookmark).
But then this is not curated enough, for now the manual human touch is the best bet.
Even though web 2.0 content is open, conversations are rarely packaged neatly, so just like past email and forum discussions we need to distill the gems to the surface…kind of a flow and stock thing.
We do this with repeated forum questions into a FAQ, well why not do this with valuable tacit conversations…more from Nancy:
“There are often amazing threads on email lists and web based discussions. Often they get lost due to the tyranny of recency over relevancy. We remember what we last read. How many times have you heard people say “hey, we discussed that before… where IS that conversation?” Some tools make it easy to search within message, but then you have to reconstruct a thread. There may have had subject line changes, interruptions, etc. It is hard work. That’s why it is useful think about practices to pull out useful stuff so it can provide wider and easier benefit.”
And from Brad:
“Sometimes, when changing applications, the existing text-based information is archived or just deleted. The new application starts afresh as if there had been no information and no learnings that preceded it. By taking the existing information from the listserv and reusing that knowledge in the wiki, there is now the opportunity to reframe the information via the wiki format and to maintain the knowledge learnings and knowledge history.
The value of the existing information is retained and rearticulated for re-use. New discussions will emerge and radiate within the new format. The process will be ongoing and regenerating, just like in the natural world with sowing, nurturing, growing, and harvesting.”
A lot of people write these types of blog posts, just like I am doing now, right now I am reviewing/collating/distilling a discussion, but I’m doing it in my regular blog, which means my review of the conversation will just be again buried in the archives. I could use a tag/category called “discussion summary”, but even better is Joitske’s idea of using a “discussion summary blog” for just this type of content…where each blog post summarises a discussion into a neat package.
Nancy mentions a “discussion summary wiki” as a way to collect and publish these conversations from elsewhere into a page for each conversation. This wiki would be loaded with intelligent stuff, imagine a wiki index page, where each link was to a distilled conversation.
I really think there is a need for a community champion/guide/leader/moderator/gardner/facilitator/coach/information counsellor to, among all other things like sustaining and having a usable community, make sure the cream of interactions are distilled.
Here is an example of two posts that have distilled a conversation, as I mentioned earlier it’s just on their regular blog, meaning it will drop off into the archives, losing it’s glow…what we need is a blog or a wiki that only does these types of posts.
Imagine an internal blog that distilled conversations (from blogs, email, forums, etc…) on “climate change”, and another dedicated to “sustainable living”, and another on “green enterprise”, and perhaps these blogs were all listed on a wiki gateway page.