Mark Bernstein blamed the confusion and flamefest that occured in a particular weblog community on comment and trackback usage. He suggested turning off both and relying on weblog front pages for communication. I disagree.
Flamefests, whether in user comments or on weblog front pages, are not in the best interests of one on one communication. There is a tremendous threat to the person being communicated to of being defined by it. Weblog postings get cached, linked to, and syndicated by thousands, making one on one communication, which is already hard enough in person, to have the additional weight of thousands of on lookers and potential band waggoners.
The more personal the contact, the less likely the violence. The more remote the exchange, the easier it is and more likely, for spears to be thrown.
I prefer e-mail or voice to weblog postings for one on one communication and find those that attempt to criticize/help another person from their weblogs without attempting at least e-mail first to be suspect. If you mean to have true one on one discussion, then you got to go to the most intimate means of communication.
It’s not the tools fault. It’s the people who refuse to come a little closer to talk. Just like so many other problems in this world.