Trackback is dead. Are Comments dead too?. It’s funny – I read this the other day and largely agreed with Tom – I turned trackbacks off long ago. At the same time, I know of at least one implementation of trackback – YULBlog, by Patrick Tanguay, that is very useful and easy to use. But then I read a post that Patrick wrote (the day before Tom’s post, incidentally) about problems that have crept in to that implementation as well – which led someone (who wasn’t really clear on the whole concept of tb) to “leave” YULBlog.
The problem with trackback, though, is also its strength. I can think of wonderful implementations of the trackback concept that take things like a blogroll, contacts/friends from Flickr, and other such data as a sort of whitelist that would indicate to a publishing system that a particular trackback ping does in fact come from a qualified individual. But trackbacks from people that a blogger already reads – and has to some extent publicly announced that he/she reads or knows – is a pretty thin concept. I get a much bigger kick out of knowing that someone I don’t already know has enjoyed a post enough to link to it. So it’s a seemingly insurmountable problem – trackback could be workable within a smaller, self-identified community – but that’s also the kind of environment in which it’s less useful, and in fact could serve to heighten the “echo-chamber” effect that does seem to affect the weblog space to some extent.