Marc's Voice » Blog Archive » Blogging away the Midnight Oil

Re Toyota: One area that the internets are bad at right now is supporting small groups of people talking about niche subjects. The Few-To-Few communication paradigm. We used to use usenet, then mailing lists (yahoogroups) but these are currently broken with spam, Outlook users and a general loss of netiquette. For real time comms in these groups we used to use IRC and now Skype Public Chat but it's hard keeping these going. On the web we used BBS systems like phpBB but they don't go far enough and the UI for all these discussion forums is clunky. Blogs have enabled an outpouring of verbiage but it's One-To-Many publishing not Few-To-Few discussion. Even with blog search tools its almost impossible to follow a 10 person discussion conducted via blog postings. Blog comments are fundamentally broken as well for this as the discussion is taking place in multiple places and troubled by spam.

And as you point out, supporting a niche group is more than just the comms. There's feedback, marketplaces, meetings, subscription management and many other functions needed t do it well.

I reckon in 2007 somebody's going to do "Discussion Groups 2.0" directly aimed at supporting millions of 150 person groups. It's an area ripe for re-invention and for a player to knock Yahoogroups off it's perch.

Back to Toyota. Who's going to do the job of moderating? it's a horrible, painful task where everyone hates the moderator. But for a corporate forum it's absolutely vital. No corporate is going accept flame wars, teen-stalking or porn spam. There's a business there outsourcing moderation for corporates.

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[ 11-Jan-07 10:34am ] [ ]