I was really happy to read the news about Jonathon Schwartz (President and COO of Sun Microsystems) starting his weblog. The thought of getting semi-filtered thoughts from a high-level executive in an more open way is refreshing.

But then I actually read his first post and tried to evaluate his weblog based on what he said:

What's a blog? It's basically an on-line journal - a whitespace - that updates from the top (most recent posts appear first) into which I can offer perspectives, opinions, and insights, and I can link to others and their views, etc. Others can link to me and send me feedback, creating a massively connected community and open dialog.

Weird. I expected him to write "post feedback" instead of "send me feeback" but now I see why. There's no commenting allowed on his weblog. What, we're all supposed to mail privately? How is that "massively connected" and "open"?

Third, to get unfiltered feedback from the community. If you want to reach me, I'm "jonathan.i.schwartz at sun.com". I promise to read it all, but please don't count on responses (I'm a bit deluged already).

Yup, that's right. Just email him. He gets the unfiltered feedback, but we don't.

Okay, so maybe I can write something on my weblog (like this post) and you'll see the Trackback link on his post?


No trackbacks either.

Mr. Schwartz, please don't treat your weblog like Java. In a truly open community, we comment on each other's posts, cross-link, and honor Trackback requests.

Blogging is a two way street. What you have feels like half a weblog. Please, go all the way.

I guess I should post this and then e-mail him a note to say "read this post" or something. Grr.

See Also:

Posted by jzawodn at July 01, 2004 05:49 PM

Reader Comments
# Steve Rubel said:

The New York Times reported this week that he is hoping to use his blog to reach an "unfiltered audience" by skirting the press. Guess it's only a one way street.

on July 1, 2004 06:17 PM
# James Cox said:

... but don't expect a reply, Jeremy. :)

on July 1, 2004 06:42 PM
# keivn said:

in sorrows not dejected and in joys
not overjoyed dwelling outside the
stress of passion fear and anger

on July 1, 2004 07:08 PM
# Rick said:

Are comments a requirement for a real weblog? I can think of some prominent blogs that don't have comments or trackbacks, like Scripting News and A Whole Lotta Nothing. I'm not saying those things wouldn't be nice, though.

on July 1, 2004 08:00 PM
# Matt said:

Ah... it's one of these terms that needs clarification:

"Free" as in "beer".

"Open" as in "spam".

on July 1, 2004 08:20 PM
# jr said:

I kinda-sorta like what boingboing has started doing. They don't do comments or trackbacks either, but the do make your life a bit easier by including links to Technorati so you can find other blogs commenting on a given post.

Granted, one would presume that someone who ran a software company, and presumably came up with his own blogging software, would come up with some auto-filtering bit of joy to handle spammy blog comments (or at the very least get a dang intern) but those are not our decisions to make.

on July 1, 2004 08:48 PM
# david said:

I think he must be scared of the probable publicity that he might get- be it bad or good, or be slandered by anti-sun people in comments/trackbacks. You never know. He is probably under the microscope of his PR people..

on July 1, 2004 10:01 PM
# Kyle Brantley said:

In case you didn't notice, there's a tad bit of hipocracy in there. Don't know if that's a good word for it, but he suggests that other people speak their minds responsibly.

If I may point out the second bold header.

Oh, but wait, this isn't /., guess I need to start thinking again, huh?

on July 1, 2004 11:10 PM
# Philip said:

Then there's Danese Cooper, Sun's Opensource Diva, who's blog has always supported comments, but receives very few.

on July 2, 2004 01:33 AM
# Jez said:

Jeremy - I was trying to post a comment the other day about gmail as a backup system, but got told 'no comments allowed for this item'... what's the score?

on July 2, 2004 02:20 AM
# Mojo said:

Jez, I thought the same thing at first when reading this. The comment filtering here is for the purpose of preventing spam type abuses rather than filtering out valid comments.

on July 2, 2004 05:17 AM
# anonymous coward said:

saw the schwartz blog. without the comments and trackbacks he might as well no even bother. He'd be better off doing a regular official webpage (like Lindows "Michael's Minutes" kind of this).

Pretending to blog just doesnt cut it.

on July 3, 2004 02:01 AM
# Jez said:

Ok Mojo, just wasn't exactly sure of the criteria for blocking the comment, the err message was along the lines of 'no comments allowed for this entry' when there were already over 20 comments... maybe there were just too many comments already I don't know a lot about MT :P

on July 3, 2004 06:19 PM
# Scott Johnson said:

Mr. Schwartz, please don't treat your weblog like Java. In a truly open community, we comment on each other's posts, cross-link, and honor Trackback requests.

Blogging is a two way street. What you have feels like half a weblog. Please, go all the way.
Couldn't have said it better myself. When I checked out the new blog I was extremely disappointed. I'd love to see more execs blogging, but they need to be open. Trackbacks are a minimum. Comments are icing.

on July 4, 2004 03:50 AM
# Simon Phipps said:

Actually, I think some of these comments are a bit harsh, considering firstly the risks Schwartz is taking and secondly the fact that comments/trackbacks are a matter of debate and far from universally used (is Tim Bray's blog not a blog? Dave Winer's? Doc Searls'?)Jonathan's actually writing all his own stuff, watching his referrer log and easing himself in to the tension which is inherent in a COO blogging. I personally agree with the decision not to have comments enabled at present, as it encourages conversations to happen on people's blogs rather than pseudonymously or anonymously in comments areas (which get spammed too when you have high traffic). One thing that might be helpful though is Technorati or Feedster bubbles so folk can look for the rest of the conversation.S.

on July 4, 2004 09:30 PM
# Tim Bray said:

Jonathan is quite technically competent and has recently learned how to use Technorati and Pubsub; I'm quite sure he'll notice when people point to him.

on July 4, 2004 10:14 PM
# TIm Conrad said:

I dunno. I still find it a bit weird that the COO of Sun used to date my best friend's ex-wife. (Maybe it's HIS fault she became a lesbian)

But, really, I think it's a blatant attempt by Sun, over the years to say 'There IS no Open Source Movement' - now they're saying 'We're screwed without the Open Source Movement'. Swartz as COO exemplifies this in so many ways.

Sun makes amazing high-end hardware. If I needed 4+ processors, I'd have a hard time choosing an x86 platform. Irregardless of Operating System. Unfortunatly, the people that need those high-end systems are dwindling, especially as the people that have specifically leanred to work around those types of systems (i.e. beowulf systems) gains in their systems abilities, it's a big loss for Sun.

on July 5, 2004 09:19 PM
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