Blogonomics: True/Slant fails the interactivity test

By Felix Salmon
April 13, 2009

Matt Taibbi is blogging over at True/Slant, the new website which managed to get itself a fully-fledged Mossberg review last week. Taibbi’s blog is fantastic, and the site looks great. But a few of the site’s early decisions make me bearish on its future.

First, the site’s RSS feeds are truncated — which is simply idiotic. Second, the list of executives (five of them, four with the word “chief” in their name) gives no contact information for any of them: they’re closing themselves off from their readers.

Third, you can’t comment without first registering — another way of the site closing itself off from its readers. (I tried to register, and am supposed to click on a link in an email they were supposed to send me, but I never got the email.) In general, I never fail to be astonished at the number of new blogs which by default, at launch, assume that their readers are so unruly and untrustworthy that all manner of registration or comment-moderation firewalls need to be put up before they can interact with the site.

It’s true that when sites become extremely popular, comment trolls can become a problem. And I’m sure that True/Slant has every intention of becoming extremely popular. But it’s not there yet. So it’s depressing to see how difficult they’ve made it to (a) comment in the first place, and (b) read other people’s comments, if those comments haven’t been “called out”. It makes readers feel like third-class citizens, rather than people interacting with the bloggers as peers. And it’s the kind of thing which should only be implemented when things get so bad that you have no choice.

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