Planned Obsolescence Updates

There’ve been a few updates on Planned Obsolescence in the last couple of days, most notably that the text is now running in CommentPress 3.1, just released by the Institute for the Future of the Book.

The basic functions of CommentPress 3.1 are much the same as in the early-release version in which Planned Obsolescence was originally posted: readers can comment paragraph-by-paragraph, or page-by-page, discussing a lengthy text in some detail with one another. The site also provides a community blog on which registered users of the site can post and discuss in a more free-form fashion. But the 3.1 software release adds a number of nifty features:

— All readers, registered or unregistered, can now also leave comments on the text in its entirety, via the “general comments” page.
— Comments can now be explored in themselves, not only as comments-by-page, but also as comments-by-author, and each comment read this way links back to the comment in its context within the original text.
— The toolbar has also been significantly streamlined, and it now provides drop-down table-of-contents access at any point in the text.

CommentPress 3.1 is a WordPress plugin that can be used with your own WordPress theme, or with the included CommentPress theme.

So far, my experiments with CommentPress as a review tool have been quite positive; though many of the folks I’d like to get feedback on Planned Obsolescence from have been (I assume) too busy this fall to get to it, those readers who have commented have left me great advice that will be extremely helpful in my upcoming revisions.

But I’m still seeking more feedback, of course. And I’m looking forward to some upcoming new MediaCommons Press publications.

Planned Obsolescence Community Blog

(cross-posted, with some edits for clarity, from the other Planned Obsolescence)

So I left a post on the blog associated with the book project the other day, driven by the fact that I’d woken up in the middle of the night thinking, gee, where will readers of Planned Obsolescence do the kind of summary, synthetic commenting that attempts to make connections across the book? Not knowing how else to manage it, I figured I’d start an open thread, and let anybody who wanted to leave non-site-specific comments do so there.

As it turns out, however, the CommentPress installation that the book is published in runs in this nifty software package called multi-user WordPress — you may have heard of it! — which allows blogs to have as many authors as the blog’s owner (that would be me) would like. And those authors can create posts themselves, can organize discussion themselves, can tag their ideas themselves, and so on.

Boy, it’s amazing what these blogs can do!


So… the short of it is that the developers have woken me the rest of the way up and shown me how to provide a much more free-form space for open discussion of the book. All you have to do is register for an account over there by clicking “Log In” in the toolbar, and then clicking “Register” under the login form. Those of you who’ve already created accounts have been made authors, so you now have full posting privileges; I’ll add those privileges for other registered users as they appear.

I hope you’ll use that blog however you would like, to have any discussions around the book that you’d like. I’ll be interested to follow along!