Well, it had to happen. I've been musing about implementing something in
the Nexist theme that tries to learn as much as possible from my
experiences playing with Lucid Fried Eggs at http://www.memes.net
What follows is perhaps longish (sorry), perhaps nonlinear (not sorry), and
nonetheless the result of a flash of insight.
What's fun with Lucid:
1- The personal portal-like feel and user (my) experience
2- The reminders of what's been recently touched -- much like a neural network
3- The statistics showing what's most active
4- The BLOG-like interface
5- The Wiki-like interface
What's missing with Lucid (my opinions only):
1- The ability to generate varying views (explained below)
2- The ability to construct threads (in a manner about which I am thinking)
Why do I care about what's missing?
1- Because I'd like to snap a topic map views (which is partially available
by way of TouchGraph) on threads (see 2)
2- Because I'd like to be able to have IBIS-like discussions going on all
over the Lucid network, without, say, having some particular IBIS-like home
page at the a portal such as memes.net.
How might I go about implementing what's missing?
I am completely convinced that Lucid could be enhanced in the manner I am
thinking. I would be glad to discuss such enhancements, but, I am also
convinced that I am not a PHP programmer; I'm inclined to roam about
looking for various components already existing in Java and patching them
together. For instance, there exist a couple of open source Java Wiki
implementations that are, at once, simple and elegant, and capable of
mutating (excuse me: evolving under facilitation) in the desired direction.
Each entry (as made by a user typing into the input text box) in a given
page (Node) is, itself, an individual cell which can/should take on
properties not presently visible in Lucid. Consider the ability to include
contextual links within each cell. A contextual link can be thought of as
actually a cluster of links each associated with some context. Here is
what I am thinking. I have often thought that the real meaning of data,
any data, lies in that which we make of that data. It would be nice to
have a tiny cell associated with some chunk of data (another cell) that, in
effect, is labeled "Kilroy was here" and which, when opened, has some
comments by Kilroy related to Kilroy's experiences with that data. Now,
the cell created by Kilroy is actually another cell somewhere else in the
Lucid network. That cell would, of course, hyperlink to the cell for which
it lends meaning.
Now, suppose that Kilroy was actually lending a pro or con argument with
respect to the particular cell. And, the particular cell was, itself,
lending an idea, question, or argument to some other cell (to which it
would hyperlink). Now, all over a Lucid network, we have the basis of a
How might such a network be organized? An easy way to imagine this is that
Kilroy has his own Node, which, itself, is a container for as many of these
cells as he wishes to contribute. With that arrangement, I now have the
ability to rapidly gain a view of Kilroy's contributions. Of course, I
don't have to organize an entire network that way. I can just let the
topic map engine (that, of course, is a part of the new system) pop me a
view of Kilroy. By way of that very same topic map engine, perhaps using
TouchGraph as a visual presentation system, I can pop a view of the Mapped
Dialog or any part of it as well.
Why do all this?
Simply because I am looking for the fastest way to prototype a DKR with
parts of a HyperScope included. This one seems easy. The entire network
maintained by Lucid now is a great start at a DKR. My inclinations are to
render it navigable in a variety of ways. I still like the "most recent"
and "most talked about" views, and I would like the threaded views I am
suggesting as well. With those, Lucid grows into a powerful Dialog Mapping
tool while still maintaining its character as a public white board for
musings, news, and so forth. Given that, you have a much more powerful way
to allow for spontaneous eruption of argument, and a way to focus and
control that argument as it progresses. Much more powerful, that is, than
are the slashCode-like interfaces that just allow for random, though
potentially hierarchical organization of comments, made without regard to
any rules of engagement.
Dialog Mapping, by the way, is envisioned to be implemented in two
different fashions: there's always the spontaneous discussions, now made
cleaner by the linking facilities, and there's also envisioned a moderated
(facilitated) system where someone can "own" a discussion and perform some
amount of facilitating (censoring, classifying, etc) of contributions.
And, as you might guess, I'd like to experiment with a text mining engine
on all that information that allows for the potential discovery of links
not noticed by the humans in the loop.
Where might one go next?
This, for me, is the fun part. Imagine a Knowledge Portal that also serves
as my own BLOG, as my own (private) email system, and as my favorite place
to satisfy my need to argue with Eric about all sorts of things. Lucid is
close. Now, I can imagine dropping all these email lists because they will
all be easily available to me such that I can subscribe to headlines to be
presented at my own "homepage" at the portal, where I would otherwise deal
with my email, and respond to the headlines (including entering mapped
In the system I am envisioning here, I can imagine a strong authentication
system that allows me to deal with my own email privately from anywhere in
the world where web browsing is available, a personal WebLog (BLOG) in
which I can do the sort of musing I am presently doing, but available to
everyone, not just those who chance to search the bootstrap.org web site,
and which allows for automatic linkage with the BLOGs of all the other
participants at this portal, regardless of their focus of interest. Notice
how many times some of us forward interesting posts from other email lists
to this list (and vice versa). You may not agree with me now, but I tend
to think that email lists balkanize human experience. Recent events show,
if as never before, that balkanized human experience means big trouble.
The architecture I am proposing draws heavily from some truly creative
work, including Lucid Fried Eggs, the many Wiki implementations, email as
we presently use it, and the many comments by Douglas Engelbart that have
argued for the "many views" HyperScope coupled to a DKR.
For me, this one seems easy to prototype. I arrive with this intuition by
way of playing with memes.net, which, in my opinion, is strongly suggestive
that an OHS mantra should be to "implement early, revise often." I don't
think it's nearly as easy to flash ideas like this in the absence of
personal experience with well-made tools.
There are, to be sure, many other architectures available for consideration
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Sun Sep 23 2001 - 23:05:10 PDT