Discussions Using Del.icio.us

After having posted my Super-Fast Delicious Bookmarklet yesterday, it became quite a hit on del.icio.us. As I watched the links come in I noticed one recurring trend: A lot of users were tagging their links with the cryptic ‘%s‘. I thought for a minute and realized that these users were adding the bookmarklet to their toolbar – then clicking it (which is not the right thing to do).

Anyway, why I was digging through these links I came across one user who had posed a question in his extended description:

I don’t quite get this but sense it could be good – question: can the config change be adapted jus to close tab + not window?

There was an easy answer to this – so I visited his del.icio.us page looking for a way to contact him (email, web site, etc.) – but one did not exist. So this posed a quandry: How does one respond to a question on del.icio.us?

The only way that you can ‘contact’ someone in del.icio.us is to tag a link using the for: prepend – and that’s exactly what I did.

But this brings up a couple questions:

  • What should the URL for the site be?
  • If your contact is browsing through lots of links – and you want him to see yours, what can you do to attract his eye to it?
  • How do you make it apparent, to users who read your links but aren’t that person, what it is that you’re replying to?

I feel as if I was able to tackle the first two problems fairly well, but the last one posed some definite issues.

I solved the first problem by using the original URL for the link, but tacking a #for:peacay at the end. This makes the URL unique – but still provides some context for the discussion.

I solved the second problem by making use of HTML character entities, specifically the arrows. Delicious does not allow you to embed entities directly, but it does support unicode – so I simply copied the visual representation of the arrows that I wanted, pasted them into the ‘description’ field, and was well on my way. You can see the final result here:

The final problem is the hardest one – and I’m still not sure how to solve it. The idea of having permanent links to a bookmark on delicious has been discussed many times before. If a permanent link existed for this guy’s bookmark, I could tag that URL directly – creating a sort of pseudo-threading and giving context to everyone reading it.

Being able to create a usable threading/discussion situation for del.icio.us would definitely be cool – but I’m just not sure that we’re entirely there yet.

Posted: August 8th, 2005

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