Why Opera Blogs Should Keep News Links and Commentary Seperate

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I don't know when exactly the Opera Blogs interface will be revamped - but I get the feeling that a revamp is inevitable, and probably under way as we speak. I've expressed any number of opinions about how things should evolve, which I'm assuming have already been discussed and presented to the extent they should be.

What I haven't been clear about is that I think Opera Blogs needs to streamline the way it handles "news". It's to the credit of the Opera fan base, that so many people want to post news about Opera on their sites - however, it can tend to clutter up the Opera Blogs interface with many redundant links to the same story. My personal feeling is that the Blogs interface needs, above all, to be "useful". We need it to be a place that people who want to monitor Opera news/commentary can come and have an effortless experience in terms of reading about Opera, especially from the point of view of Opera users.

This is particularly important for people who will eventually write about Opera, the people who write about tech - for whom we need to make this place useful. At the same time, we should be a place for newer users, and future users, or people with "Opera-Envy", to find out more about the community and our favorite browser.

If you have a news story that no one else has written about, of course you should post it. But if your post isn't going to be more than a sentence or two about a page long article (perhaps quoting an extract), it should be filed under news rather than commentary. That gives more play for people who are more familiar with the intricacies of the situation to express more detailed opinions. Of course there is a benefit to post stories on Opera in as many sites as are willing to do so, so the redundancy is not necessarily a bad thing - just that in the Opera Blogs interface, this repetition should be kept to a minimum.

One of the features of the social bookmarks site del.icio.us, is that they show you who else is linking to the sites you link to. If Opera could do that for the news stories people post/comment on, it would go a long way towards presenting a convenient way of viewing different opinions on a given story. These would be ranked by the number of clicks a given post gets, a built in way of ensuring that the best commentary is ranked at the top, but also rewarding the people who "break" the story, perhaps using a bookmark feed like OperaWatch does. So the aggregator would have to parse for links, and rank the linking posts by the number of clicks they get - presenting a short summary/extract of the post etc.

So I imagine a threaded interface, much like Google News, where the most popular headline has the extract, but links to the other blogs that have the same link below. Not easy, but perhaps worth the effort.

Of course this would be voluntary - the aggregator could parse for the words "Opera News:" as the first letters of the headline/post, just as it does now for relevant posts using the word "Opera".

Posts that did not come under "Opera News", would go to another aggregator that can deal with people generally writing about Opera, BUT STILL PARSED FOR LINKS etc. That way, expanded commentary will appear twice - once on the non-News site, and again as part of the aggregated news links. That's where people can, besides presenting expanded commentary, express general opinions, ideas, tips/tricks, testimonials etc. Obviously, a post like this one would fall under the "non-News" category. Though obviously things posted under non-News might end up in news, in more ways than one, because other people link to it. Especially when important tutorials etc. come up.

So the feed for non-news would be pretty straightforward, but the news feed would send you to the page with the various story extracts ala Google News, or the linked story directly. You'd then monitor the commentary feed for expanded commentary - though on the news page the commentary would eventually show up. A rough idea, I'm sure people can easily come up with something better. The idea would be to be notified of a story only once, unless expanded commentary appears on the other feed. There could obviously also be a combined feed, though marked appropriately as news: or commentary:.

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This page contains a single entry by subtitles published on July 29, 2005 6:17 PM.

Press Bias Like A Hole In The Head was the previous entry in this blog.

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