In the introduction to her essay "Losing My Illusions About Open-Source Criticism" in Volume's 2013 edition "Critical," Naomi Stead writes: "There was a time not so long ago when many of us, myself included, thought that a brave new world of architectural commentary and criticism was about to open, by virtue of the democratizing capacities of web 2.0." She goes on to describe her former hope that a diverse and networked discussion would overthrow "the tyranny of the cultural gatekeepers" in the same way that Rotten Tomatoes or TripAdvisor revolutionized reviews of film or travel destinations, respectively. But she concludes: "By and large the blogs didn't eventuate, the comments didn't come, or if they did, they were likely to be in the form of a flippant one-liner or a nasty unfounded attack."
Since I read Stead's piece, this attitude has concerned me. Are we really ready to dig the grave of collective criticism? What steps, if any, have been taken to remedy this situation? At ArchDaily, we believe there is still hope for the comments section, and I've written about the importance that our readers play in shaping architectural culture before - we even consider this collective criticism an important part of our editorial strategy, as implied by my introduction to Mark Hogan's article about shipping container housing. That's why in the discussion in the comments of Hogan's article, Hisham's suggestion that it would "be interesting to 'post-post' a second comment article... so that your readers get hinted to the broader public discussion" caught my eye. It's an idea that we've had before, but the timing was never right... until now.