I have suggested something like this before, but I didn’t get any feedback
as to why the idea isn’t feasible or wasn’t desirable.
It is possible to improve on an email list as a collaborative discussion
tool by appropriate processing of incoming messages and some special means
of handling feature such as transclusion that HTML doesn’t normally provide.
Nature of an egroup
An egroup such as this is managed by an email list server that accepts
incoming messages, places them into an archive with a message number, and
then sends the message to each member of the list.
The Purple and Plink processors form the basis of a reference system for
relatively static documents. By the nature of an egroup, each message is a
static document – it cannot be edited directly within the context of the
Process each message as it arrives
If each incoming message were assigned a message number and run through
Plink to have Ids assigned before it was place into the archives and was
sent to the group, each message would arrive with the links to all of its
sections already built in for quoting and reference.
Provide reference and transclusion
By adding a means within an incoming message to refer to other parts of
other messages, which would get transformed into workable links by the Plink
processor, we could achieve both reference and transclusion, at least better
than we have.
For example, if we allowed something like <ref msg=”3977” sid=”25” /> to
generate a reference to an SID within a message and <quote msg=”3977” sid=”
25-29” /> to generate a quote of the SID range with a reference link at the
beginning, we could have both references and transclusion within the context
of an email list. The transclusion tag could supply a list of ranges as in
sid=”25-29,35,37-40” or anything else we dreamed up as useful. Perhaps we
would want to use a delimiter other than angle brackets just to minimize the
hassle of looking for the entities rather than characters in incoming
This would require running a listserver over which we had code control and
making the revised Plink processor smart enough to find and create the
references and quotes and to perform the transclusion.
Since Plink exists and there are several listservers that are freely
available, this seems as though it might be achievable with a reasonable
amount of effort.
Some of this is dependent on whether we have enough control over the web
server for the bootstrap site to allow us to run a custom listserver.
This would result in a discussion group that approached electronic
journaling as used in AUGMENT.
It would certainly be a substantial improvement on what we have now and
would provide a tool with which we could experiment.
Garold (Gary) L. Johnson
DYNAMIC Alternatives <http://www.dynalt.com/>
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Apr 16 2001 - 01:45:58 PDT