I find from Webbalert (First story, though I can’t link to it because you can’t link inside vodcasts (spit) or podcasts (double-spit) that Google News will allow people involved in a story to reply on its page, this is very interesting to me, because it’s one of the things that my previous, more Angelic, startup was doing three years ago before we crash-and-burned2.0. Here’s the argument.

Responses to an item of news come in four flavours.

  1. People I know
  2. People who’s opinions I care about
  3. People involved
  1. Every other bastard

    Frex, in a story about Johnson & Johnson suing the American Red Cross over use of their trademark of a thick scarlet plus sign, I originally heard of it, and commentary about it, from Gideon (Category 1), and since he allows comments I also saw the responses of other members of Category 1 and a couple from Category 4.

    A Technoarti search brings me 47 links back, including a Slashdot story. The 46 links, and the comments from the Slashdot story (697) fall firmly under Category 4 (The story itself doesn’t, because the writer didn’t editorialize, so that isn’t an opinion).

    Because I subscribe to 228 RSS/Atom/ESF feeds (At about 6,250 items a month, fact fans) and however many Livejournals, I generally get information from Categories 1 & 2 fed to me on a plate, and the internet has an endless supply of the opinions of Category 4, if I wanted to get Category 3 information, I have to dig a bit, I have to be interested in the story of itself. Doing so, I find press releases from Johnson & Johnson and The American Red Cross (Both of which offer XML feeds of such, march of the future fans), but both of which would normally have been drowned out almost entirely from my sight by Category 4 information. You find out that above the kneejerk “Attacking the Red Cross bad, m’kay” reaction, J&J are more responding to the ARC’s beginning to encroach on the medical supplies market, and that J&J did actually get the trademark first (even though they got it because of the work of the Red Cross and wanted to associate with it, and the trademark should never have been given). Research it for yourself, anyway. You have the tools.

    The internet, the blogosphere (spit again), “Web 2.0” have all given voices to the masses, we have been given the (questionable) impression we can actually affect our world once again but, at the end of the day, Category 3 information – which is information that is actually relevant to the story instead of preprocessed by 1 (Friends) or 2 (Pundits) – needs to float above the sea of 4 (Bastards).