There’s a new web commenting system in town and I must confess as a blog owner I am not too sure I like it. Pushnote allows you to install a button into your top browser bar and then when you arrive at a page you want to comment on, press the Pushnote button and type in your remarks.
When others who have Pushnote installed arrive at the site the Pushnote button changes colour to notify them that a comment has been posted and they can click on the icon to see what that comment is and leave a reply. There is also an option to post any Pushnote comments to Twitter and Facebook and link up to Twitter and Facebook friends to let them know what you have been up to on Pushnote.
So far, there’s nothing to much to worry about. But …
First of all there isn’t a way to delete any comments. Let’s say that I arrive at a site and decide to leave a comment and later find that I got completely the wrong end of the story. There is no way I can remove that comment and end up looking like a complete arse!
You might say that’s perfectly OK because if I misunderstood the original point of the site then I am an arse and deserve to be stuck with that label. Fair enough. Also, in testing Pushnote I whacked up a quick comment on this site complete with spolling mastikes – sorry, spelling mistakes – and I cannot change that. (Edited to add that this is has now been implemented through the account control panel – nice one Pushnote developers).
But it is as a blog owner I am concerned. Let’s say that, because I run an open comments philosophy that unless they fall foul of Askimet’s spam trap, all comments automatically get published. Now it could turn out that I remove some blatant junk and offend and upset the poster who decides to get some revenge on me so he Pushnotes a comment that is basically just a flame; he then gets his mates to do the same and so I end up with a stack of crap logged up against my site. And I have no recourse. All I can do is log into the comments and click the thumbs down icon to say I disapprove of them.
I am sure the good folk at Pushnote believed that they are doing everyone a favour with this tool but to not think that it would not be used in a malicious manner is at best naive. The lack of a delete function is also causing concern among Pushnote users, some of whom believe that this whole thing will end in tears.
It’s early days and, to be fair, Pushnote is in beta and it’s only by letting things fly that you find what can go wrong. Watch this space!