One of the points I make in Say Everything is that the reverse-chronological format that blogs use is embedded in the DNA of the Web from early high-profile uses in places like Tim Berners-Lee’s first website at info.cern and in Marc Andreessen’s NCSA What’s New page.
Today’s NY Times op-ed page features a great piece by Stephen D. Crocker that explains the history of the Request For Comment or RFC — the format the architects of the Internet used to promote the development of the open, extensible, cross-platform standards on which the Net as we know it today was built. RFCs were pragmatic and humble; the proponent of some new standard for computers to work with one another would put it out in public — at first, before the network itself provided an easier means of circulation, in snail mail — and take in critical comments and suggestions for improvements.
You could see this practice as the genetic foundation for the comments that today are a feature of nearly every kind of page published on the Web. Just as blogging’s reverse-chronological sequencing has its basis in the earliest structures of web pages, Crocker lets us see that the practice of adding a comments thread to blog posts can also be traced back to the early history of the Net.
In this sense, every blog post is, in its way, a “request for comments.”