We are trying an experiment.
Some time ago, Cadell of http://theadvancedapes.com asked us whether or not it would be possible to see the comments on his Hubski posts on The Advanced Apes blog. It wasn't something that we had previously considered, and I told him it was something that we would have to think about.
Over the past few months, we've come to the conclusion that it's something worth exploring.
Why are we trying this? Here's my rationale:
The goal of Hubski is to promote thoughtful conversation. One aspect of this involves people linking to other sites, and discussing the content on Hubski. Currently, we provide buttons that people can put on their site that read: "Follow me on Hubski" or "Submit to Hubski". On Hubski, users can either follow or ignore another user. Therefore, unlike other aggregators, we have no qualms about users to submitting their own content. If it is quality, it makes Hubski better. If it's not, we ignore it.
I have seen numerous examples of bloggers appending articles with links that say "discussed on Reddit" or "read the discussion on Hacker News".
People submit their own content to Hubski so that hubskiers will read and discuss their content. We provide buttons so that people on these sites might join us on Hubski. Therefore we thought we could experiment with replacing the buttons and the link with the actual Hubski discussion.
However, I will stress that we have no interest in simply creating a commenting widget. This is not Disqus, Intense Debate, or Facebook Comments, and we aren't going to approach this like it is. Here are some specifics:
1. We don't intend to make this an open platform. I can imagine that one day in the future that this could potentially be something worth considering. However, in this stage of Hubski's growth, I can see it becoming problematic. We don't want Hubski discussion mirrored on a large number of low quality blogs. On the contrary, if only select sites mirror Hubski discussions, we can potentially influence Hubski's growth in a positive way, attracting the type of users that read them.
2. There shouldn't be any difference in moderation tools between any Hubski users. If we allow theadvancedapes to moderate his posts in a specific way, all Hubski users should share that functionality.
3. We will be transparent about this. We haven't yet, but we are going to add an icon or similar indication to show that a specific Hubski thread is mirrored. I can imagine that users might not want their comments to appear alongside some content, and they should know if it will. Duplicate posts will always be allowed so that alternate discussions are always an option. Currently, only theadvancedapes.com has mirrored threads. It will be clear if another site is added.
4. We are not sharing data with people that mirror Hubski threads, and we host the threads, which are in an embedded iframe.
5. Our loyalty and interest is to Hubski and its goals. We are ok if this experiment fails. I personally think it is something unique and compelling, and worth a try. However, if we come to the conclusion that it isn't a positive step for Hubski, we'll pull the plug on it.
Finally, I have to thank Cadell and The Advanced Apes for taking a chance with us, as we take a chance with them. They have been with us and providing good reads for a long time, and I think The Advanced Apes is the perfect site for testing this out.
As always, feedback is much appreciated.