Re: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 19:01:46 PDT

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] Semiotics of terrorism Evolving Solutions"

    Alex Shapiro wrote:

    > ...With time, older nodes fade (or become more
    > remote in some other way) and eventually disappear. Nodes can be kept
    > visible, or if invisible then returned to visibility, by linking to
    > them.

    Quite reasonable. That's a different kind of prioritizing -- a "fading
    to oblivion",
    but it seems quite useful.

    > > a) In any series of sibling nodes, the highest-rated comes first.
    > My vision of this one, is that only the most relevant points are
    > actually
    > shown as part of the graph.

    I'm still of the opinion that a graphic display mechanism only works for
    small demos,
    because the complexity quickly grows too great with respect to the
    available display
    area. Given whiteboard-sized LCDs, I *may* be persuaded to change my
    (I'll have to see, to be sure it works.) But I'm pretty darn certain
    that graphic displays
    of complex, interrelated information, simply will not fly with today's
    display devices.

    > > b) Summary-attempts *replace* the threads they summarize in
    > > the hierarchy. The previous material is subsumed under the
    > > summary. That summary may be amended directly, or a
    > > counter-summary may be offered. In that scenario, a summary
    > > is always an "alternative" or "idea" that permits other items
    > > to live in parallel.
    > Yup. Summaries are very important. A summary can be another type of
    > post
    > that is encouraged by users, and that references all the nodes that it
    > summarizes. Another way to display summaries, is like hints (the way
    > the
    > TG LinkBrowser does it). Basically, users can either be explicitly
    > forced
    > to summarize, or an option could exist for others to summarize for
    > them.
    > > c) Some sort of voting activity takes place, either within the
    > system
    > > or outside of it, and an alternative (aka idea) is promoted to
    > > the level of "answer". At that point, it goes way up to the
    > top.
    > > ALL of the questions it answers (since it may well be a
    > solution
    > > to more than one problem, move UNDER that item, under the
    > > heading "Why".
    > >
    > > Under each of those questions, in turn, come all of the
    > >alternatives
    > > that were considered, as well as the reasoning surrounding the
    > > eventual selection.
    > I haven't thought about the question-answer structure here, but voting
    > is
    > definitely important. To be honest, I would explore the possibilities
    > of a
    > less structured discussion then one where nodes are labeled as
    > questions/answers. Then again, the question/answer division might be
    > very
    > natural and easy to implement.

    From another post, I argue that it is important to allow structures with
    no typing
    at all -- the classical outline structure. But it should also be
    possible to add those
    types in proactively or retroactively.

    > The ultimate goal as I see it is the creation of a "Collaborative
    > Rewritable Document Editor".
    > We've got code reuse, but not text reuse. So much time is wasted by
    > scientists and journalists all over the place on simply rewriting what
    > has
    > been said before them. Wouldn't it be nice if people were able to
    > settle
    > on an accepted description of a certain issue, and then refer back to
    > it,
    > rather then rewriting the material. This would create symbolism on a
    > higher lever then just words. Paragraphs would come to be reusable
    > tokens. If someone thinks that they could say it better, then they
    > could
    > try, and then people could vote on which version they like. Ok, I
    > have
    > more to say on this issue, but I need time to gather my thoughts.
    > Maybe if
    > someone disagrees, it would help me to form a response.

    I think that is close to a good definition of the target. But it needs
    to carry
    connotations of "conversation" and "document aggregation", as well. My
    "HowTo" folders contain dozens of messages with little factoids I've
    on various subjects. That knowledge base needs to be sharable and

    Interestingly, its contents probably need to be sortable by people using
    rating scales. As a beginner, the "10 things I need to know to get
    started" would
    be the most important. Later on, the "8 things I keep forgetting how to
    do" would
    be the critical information. At an an advanced stage, the "6 things that
    only experts
    know about" would want to be sorted at the top. As I progress between
    stages, the items I consider valuable would be organically changing,
    with new and
    interesting items at the top.

    Such ratings are context-dependent. My rating of a particular thing
    depends on
    my use for it. There are also "intrinsic ratings", but I'm not sure how
    to represent
    both in the same system. To clarify the difference:
      a) The hammer is bad (relative to some ideal hammer standard)
          --An intrinsic rating for a hammer build with a 5lb sledge-head
    and a
             pencil-thin handle. It simply ain't gonna work. It's going to
    break, and
             be useless, so don't waste your money on it.
      b) The hammer is bad (relative to the task of cutting a board in two).

          --You can use the hammer, but you'll get lots of splinters and
             edges. A saw is much better for the purpose you have in mind.

    Thinking as I write (as usual), it seems clear that a rating is always
    to *something*, and the concept of a rating should probably include a
    referent that identifies the nature of the rating.

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