RE: [unrev-II] Collaborative Discussion Tools

From: Garold L. Johnson (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 01:31:32 PDT

  • Next message: Grant Bowman: "Re: [unrev-II] Collaborative Discussion Tools"

    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.

    The result

    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 <>

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