I’ve always wanted to namecheck
that great Velvet Underground song
. I wore my teeth in my hands…So I could mess the
hair of the night. Anyway, Sébastien Paquet has
posted a suggestion
to improve the Topic Exchange – which reminded me of my own
efforts to ignite the topics community over a month ago. Here’s Seb’s post:

I believe I have finally seen the light as to how the Internet Topic Exchange (ITE) could be made simpler
to use and more viral at once, taking one cue from my colleague Stephen’s recent
ridiculously easy shibboleth
for putting together

and another from Joshua
‘s now-defunct reversible.org

1. Right now submitting a post to a channel requires people to either
fill in a form on the channel page
of their choice or send a TrackBack ping to the channel. Both are simple, but still
harder than they should. How about adding a third option: simply link to the channel in your post. To make it
easier, the top of each channel page could even provide
some standard boilerplate chunk
of the requisite HTML.

2. In order for this to work the ITE needs to watch the participating
weblogs. It already watches
for weblog updates
, so just let people register their blog or feed once and let the
ITE pick out the posts that link to it as they appear thereafter.

Note that this new option automagically generates visibility for the
channels on participating blogs with every post submitted; this is one of the key
elements that were missing for effective word-of-mouth propagation of awareness of the
Exchange. I’m kicking myself for having taken so long to find a simpler way.

Of course, along with ease of use comes more spam. I’ve been thinking about this too – more later.

My Reply

Here’s what I posted in Seb’s comments (tided up a bit):

This is pretty much what I was getting at a month or so ago, only I wanted Topic
Exchange and K-Collector to play together more. Ref: Proposed Solution for ENT
Topic-Sharing Community
and the follow-ups here and here. And this is what I ended up with
K-Collector picks up my posts via my ENT-enabled RSS feed. And my weblog automatically pings Topic
Exchange every time I post, via my use of MT categories (which match up with Topic Exchange

You propose people include the TE link in their post, which is similar to what I do – only I include the link on a reference tacked onto the end of the post (so it doesn’t
actually form part of the post itself). This way works for me, because it means I don’t
have to manually enter the link – MT does it automagically for me. The downside of my
method is that I use pre-defined categories, which does limit the topic selection
somewhat. But I balanced this by knowing that my topics/categories match now with *both*
Topic Exchange and K-Collector, which was what I wanted.

Anywho, good luck with your proposal. If it helps more people adopt TE then it’s a
good thing.