Part Two, because the editor seems to have rendering errors with large blocks of text. (Part 1 is here.)
So here’s the interesting thing to me about Ello -- most of the macro-scale choices signal that the site should be conversational. The mono-spaced font says “Writerly. Rough draft. Talk it over.” The default presence of your friends list makes conversation seem like a -- if not the -- core function. There are only two kinds of text entry -- post and comment. The email notifications are not about follows, they are about comments. The whole “No ads” vibe gives our posts a visual clearing in which to operate.
And yet most micro-scale choices say ‘Annotation.’ No threading. No reply function other than to the original post. Comment box above everything everyone else has already had to say. Reverse chron for comment display. The users can pull against this, of course -- and we do, @ replying our little hearts out. But the constraints and cues of the comment box make this a tough place to converse.
I was composing a post in my head about this, to point out to the @Ello folk this tension between macro and micro cues, when I started reading the insta-backlash bullshit about Ello, and decided instead to roll with the strangeness of this environment. Instead of trying to make the site be more conversational, I decided to try to find a way of writing that works right where Ello is, more conversational than Medium but more annotative than a mailing list.
And I’ve been thinking about this because I learned what Ello was from watching @Quinn write out loud. (And Follow Friday @Quinn or whatever we say around here for “This is someone who deserves a permanent slice of your attention…”) And so I posted two things here that have been thoughts I was noodling on, but never seemed complete enough for putting up on my blog or, latterly, on Medium. The first was on new organizational forms in the publishing industry, the second on communications in a disaster.
The response to both posts was great, really great in fact, but not a conversation, and that leaves me figuring out how to reply. The obvious thing to do is write an omnibus reply, listing each @user I am replying to in turn. And this has started to seem...un-Ello-like. The system isn't well set up for that. People post replies as top-level posts all the time, by accident. Ello seems better at supporting reactions than replies. So that's what I'm going to try to do.
So that line listed after the bread, at the top of this post? It follows @brdr’s intuition about emojis, and is my way of saying “This post is not a reply, exactly, but is partly a result of me reading you”, for all the @you s listed there. And this is how I plan to react (not reply) to those two posts. I’m hoping that this pattern of gathering reactions and reacting oneself feels more respectful -- or at least more in keeping with the affordances of Ello -- than trying to turn this into a bad version of Usenet.