Continuing the thread of Asymmetrical Follow, Asymmetry and Privacy and Continuous Partial Asymmetry I had two brief thoughts to share. One is how very different this 2.0 stuff is and the other is what makes it actually works.
Consider a 1.0 community feature, Forums. Forums are topic-centric instead of people-centric. There isn't the notion of following people, or leveraging the social network as a filter. You have to sift through what everyone is saying regardless of who they are, which I find tremendously inefficient. This also means that if someone is truly obnoxious you can't unsubscribe from them. When people can manage their subscriptions to people, the effect is generally self correcting.
Not being subscribed to everyone is a default that leads to reply-optional norms. At first, not being subscribed to everybody makes it difficult for some people to follow the thread when they are accustomed to other conversational tools like email and Forums.
What makes these people-centric conversations work is something simple, links. If someone happens upon this post, they can see the links in the first paragraph and follow them to pick up the thread. Links, by form of URL or @reply, pull them all together.