Scott, thanks for clarifying re: conversation. I think my comparison to theatre and to voting hinged too much on your example “‘Don’t do it!’ and she doesn’t” - a choose-your-own-adventure binary choice, and one that might or might not be planned out ahead of time. I may also have narrowed the discussion unnecessarily to how the next blog installment is written, rather than considering the entire production - do you mean that it is conversational because individual responses in comment threads are part of the work as a whole?
I’m still prefer the metaphor of a theatrical performeer incorporating ongoing audience feedback, even in a rich way (Comedy Sports?), to the metaphor of a conversation - it seems to me that the many-to-one quality of performance is more present than the one-to-one quality of conversation. But perhaps that only comes down to whether I’m imagine the commenters as part of a madding crowd or each coming up and approaching the artist individually.
“Both discretionary and non-mechanical” sounds right to me, and is where I was going at the end when I mentioned role-playing - a kind of conversation / theatre-in-the-round(table) - although there the actor / audience distinction is lost….]]>
I’m a bit surprised — and slightly embarassed — by the attention that post still gets. Yes, it certainly is a bit of a screed. Maybe someday I’ll write a more serious treatment without all the dumb jokes and cynicism. But enough apologetics.
I disagree that my notion of “good interaction” is like theatre. I’d say it’s more like conversation, which is what I was trying to get at with the Alexa example. I didn’t see her reaction to comments as being like a survey or a mechanical averaging of suggestions, and certainly not like shouting in the dark. She responds as a human to the input of other humans. So much so, in fact, that she’s since disabled comments on her blog because of rampant disrespect and insulting behavior.
If I were to write that post again, I’d emphasise the conversational metaphor instead of the performance metaphor. The imporant thing, from my perspective, is that it be both discretionary and non-mechanical. I don’t know (or care, really) if this is a theory for “blog fiction” or just an idiosyncracy of taste. What really interests me is how fiction writers can take advantage of the new medium of blogs in a way which is interestingly different from other media.
Anyways, thanks for the intelligent and considered response, and the curative IF links. I’ll check those out.]]>