Latest storm in a teacup over at LiveJournal is worth a few notes.
Much of the functionality in the latest release is good or at least inoffensive (pingbacks, cross-post posts to Twitter and Facebook, add Facebook Connect alongside OpenID for non-LJ users to log in and post comments). But one item, the ability to cross-post comments to Facebook and Twitter has caused a bit of a fuss (understatement, this is LiveJournal so toys have been ejected from perambulators with great vigour).
It seems like a dumb idea, badly implemented.
Why cross-post a comment out of context from the post it is commenting on (and indeed out of context of an any comments it may be in reply to, LJ having a decent threading system for comments unlike some other blogging systems)? It seems pointless.
The fact that the choice to cross-post is entirely at the hands of the commenter and ignores the privacy settings of the original post has caused the biggest fuss and rightly so. If someone posts a friends only post to their blog, then should their friends be able to share their (out of context) comments on that post with everyone on Twitter or Facebook? Well, at least you’ll find out who your real friends aren’t…
- Poor User Interface
The positioning of the checkboxes for cross-posting between the comments field and the comments submit button is likely to lead to accidents. And considering the context and privacy issues such accidents will be at best nonsensical and at worst deeply intrusive.
I would never have gotten beyond the context issue if someone had brought this up in a brain storm with me. The sheer pointlessness of this function means it should never have been developed, and now that people have expressed almost entirely unfavourable opinions because of the privacy and UI issues, should mean that it gets removed rather than “fixed”.
I hope that the cross-posting of comments, and only the cross-posting of comments, is removed soon, as it threatens to overshadow the other features in this release which offer useful functionality that can enrich the LiveJournal experience for users who use it as a general blogging platform rather than a private, anonymous, slash-fiction, walled garden.
BTW, this post was created in the WordPress blog on my personal site; cross-posted to LiveJournal; syndicated via RSS; a notification tweeted; and Facebook notes will pick it up from the RSS in a couple of days. Your comments and replies will only appear in the place they were made however, unless you use (on purpose or by accident) this misguided feature on the LiveJournal version of this site.