[unrev-II] multiple hierarchies + visual newsgroups

From: Alex Shapiro (alex@touchgraph.com)
Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 18:52:10 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "Re: [unrev-II] multiple hierarchies + visual newsgroups"

    Hi, my name is Alex Shapiro, and I am very interested in the evolution of
    hypertext, and computer-based mediums of interaction in general.

    I've read the thread on Malleable Archives, and the one about Taxonomies
    and TopicMaps, and have a response that is vaguely relevant to both issues.

    (Funny, as I type this, my spell-checker tells me that the correct spelling
    for "Maleable" is "Malleable", supporting the notion that the author should
    be able to go back and alter his/her messages).


    I am developing some software (opensource), which can bee seen at
    http://touchgraph.com whose eventual goal is to be used for browsing
    multiple hierarchies, and associative networks. Currently, it is just a
    nice graph layout applet, and another for organizing links, but in a few
    months the underlying structure will be completed, and rapid development of
    features should be possible.

    The technology of easily browsable and editable associative networks will
    make possible the creation of visual newsgroups. I envision such a
    newsgroup as a network of nodes, where posting a message will consists of
    adding a node to the network. The advantage of this type of format for
    discussion, is that related messages can be placed next to each
    other. Whereas conventional newsgroups already achieve such adjacency with
    threads, they have the disadvantage that old threads get forgotten about,
    or not read by new members. In a visual newsgroup, however, one should be
    able to bring old threads back into focus by adding a link from current
    messages to the old ones. In fact, adding links rather then posting new
    messages could be another way of contributing to the discussion. Along the
    same lines, one would no longer be constrained to responding to just a
    single message. One could chose to simultaneously respond to multiple
    messages thus bringing the messages responded to closes together. Some
    experimentation with this idea using TouchGraph technology can already be
    seen at http://memes.net

    Speaking of taxonomies, I think that a type of taxonomy that has been
    largely ignored is that of hierarchies with multiple inheritance (or
    multiple hierarchies). It seems that a lot of information could benefit
    from being organized into multiple hierarchies. For instance, look at the
    leaf-most categories in the open directory project. Often we find lists of
    links containing over 200 items. Yet splitting these items into
    subcategories would be impossible without making subjective choices. The
    best solution, would be to offer the user multiple options as to how they
    want to divide the items. That way one could narrow one's search to a much
    more manageable set of 10 items or so.



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