Scripting News for 1/21/2008

Out on the UGC limb 

About the business with Jason Calacanis last summer.

Let’s be clear about what happened there, because it happens so often.

He’s a vendor with a product.

I reviewed the product unfavorably.

His response was not about the product, it was about me personally. At the time I said “I’ve never seen an entrepreneur with a product he’s supposedly proud of try so desperately to change the subject away from the product.”

I still feel now, as I did then, that Mahalo is a bad product, and that its stated premise is a lie. It’s not a search engine, it doesn’t compete with Google, and his claims that Google is clogged with spam are a smokescreen, because his actual target is Wikipedia. It’s obvious to anyone who gives it a moment’s thought, but it’s not said publicly on the blogs of people in Silicon Valley. Why? Because criticizing Jason is a messy business. It’s easier to say nothing.

It happens so often in discourse on the net, there are so many subjects that are taboo, people you can’t talk about without provoking personal attacks. The net is just as good at distributing personal attacks as it is at distributing accurate information. I guess it’s not a big surprise, given the course of every other medium, that as the blogging world matures, there are more attacks and less accurate information.

But when we don’t say anything we give up a bit of our future. And when you factor in that there are many products, people and companies who are poison in this way, what you end up with is another bubble, created out of the things we don’t want to talk about.

I think it’s better to take the hits in little increments than continue to build flawed businesses, built on incorrect premises.

Consider this a preamble for more to come, because I think we’ve gone way too far out on the UGC limb, we could and should be cutting more fair deals with the people who create the value on the net, and we’re not doing it. That Mahalo continues to be unchallenged with its nonsense plan is just an indication of how bad discourse is in this medium that was supposed to clean up these kinds of messes. Instead, it perpetuates them.

And, by the way, I’ve said nothing here that deserves a personal attack. But my guess is that they’ll come anyway.

NYT: For Old Rhythm-and-Blues, Respect and Reparations.

XMPP as the basis for interop in TwitterLand? 

Matt Terenzio: “Why we wouldn’t use XMPP as the basis for a decentralized microblogging platform?”

Good question. I’d like to play with some simple systems on XMPP. I tried to get started with some scripts connecting to Google’s Jabber server over the weekend but wasn’t able to get a conversation going. I’ll try again soon.

Update: Joe Beda from Google on GTalk & Twitter interop.

Tracking FlickrFan updates 

A long-standing loose-end.

A feed that tracks changes to FlickrFan.

If you’re running the software you’ll get the updates automatically, this feed is for the documentation of the changes.

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