Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Who "owns" the conversation?

[Crossposting to my own journal and the aljcommpanel08 community -- we may as well make some use of that, since it exists and is on the topic.]

So here's a sticky and interesting question that came up during the "LiveJournal and the Nature of Community" panel last weekend. I don't have a clear answer, so I'm curious to get peoples' thoughts.

One point that came up in the panel was the problem of people deleting posts. If I make a post, I "own" that post, and can do more or less what I want to it. If you think of LJ as a blogging system, that makes some sense: they're my posts, so I can delete or edit them if I want.

But what if you don't think of it as a blogging system? If you think of the post as the head of a conversation instead, ownership becomes much stickier. Do I have the right to delete everybody else's comments? This can become a pretty fraught question (which is why it came up in the panel) -- if others are saying significant but uncomfortable things, do I have the right to delete them?

This question is even sharper for CommYou, because I'm quite clear that this is *not* a blogging system. The differences between LJ and CommYou are going to be subtle, but the primary difference is that CommYou is specifically about conversations, *not* posts: I'm emphasizing the community more deliberately than LJ does. I currently have a concept of ownership written into the stories that is similar to LJ's, including stories allowing me to delete individual responses and entire conversations, but it's far from clear that that is the best solution.

So I'd love to get folks' thoughts on this. I have some ideas of possible middle-ground solutions -- for example, allowing someone to tear a subthread off and take ownership of that, even if the owner removes it from the original conversation -- but nothing definite yet. So insights and ideas would be welcomed.

There are other, related issues -- for example, whether one should be able to retroactively change the top-post silently, which is a fine mechanism for subtle abuse of the conversation. Thoughts on any of these ownership-related points are also invited...
Tags: commyou

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