Stumble Upon Conversation

There is a lot of conversation happening on the Write.as/WriteFreely ecosystem. All happening on the level of the blog post. Someone mentions an idea from a post, maybe block quoting a passage, and she links back to it in her post.

How does the original poster know he was quoted? Well, he reads other blogs within the Write.as/WriteFreely ecosystem using the reader feed or following blogs via ActivityPub. Soon enough he finds the post.

And that brings up a question – is there a need for notifications? Shouldn't we know whether we are quoted on a post? Wouldn't that facilitate more conversation? It might.

But I wonder whether this organic process is something to be cherished rather than abandoned. The first time I saw myself quoted in another Write.as post was serendipitous – I stumbled across the post in the read Write.as feed. It started the chain of future conversations through blogging.

Ian McDonald beautifully speaks to this in “Ariadne's Thread” (source):

To travel freely through cyberspace—letting yourself get lost, stumbling upon some undiscovered gem, finding something with no connection to your initial subject which may cause you to think about it in a new way—is a beautiful and memorable online experience, but it is seldom you find yourself in this situation, even if you expressly seek it out.

Rather than expelling energy taking steps to ensure our site visitors always know how to get back to point A, let’s remember that the browser itself equips them with the ball of thread needed to escape the maze in the form of the Back button—and the browser History.