Re: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

From: Alex Shapiro (
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 20:30:12 PDT

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] Re: [PORT-L] Semiotics of terrorism (was Re: [PORT-L] CommentsOn Terrorist Attacks)"

    >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

    Oh, I didn't mention I had white board size LCDs? To me, it seems that the
    problem is not limited display area, but the high degree of
    interconnectedness of information. A large screen would not help, because
    closely related items would end up far apart, stretched between other
    relevant items.

    The solution to this problem, is to only show a subset of the graph at a
    time. So far, the only tool to do so is theBrain, and it only shows a very
    small window into the data. There are much better ways. Have you checked
    out this paper by the
    way? What to you think?

    >(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.


    > >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.

    I don't understand what you mean here. Structures with no typing at all?

    >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

    Sharable is easy, you just publish it (zip it, post it, whatever, it's a
    joke anyway). Searchable is harder. My view of searching is that a lot of
    work has been done on searching after-the fact. You write something, and
    then you use a machine to go back and find what you (or someone else) has

    However, a non-linear document would allow for searching to be build in to
    the document. The author can anticipate what the readers will search for,
    and provide the links right there. Also, readers can add links if they
    think two pieces of information are relevant.

    >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.

    It's what? Later on when? What kind of process is going on here?

    >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.

    I was thinking more of ratings based on relevance to a particular
    subject. Or truth. Say non-obvious interesting facts would be highly
    rated, while obvious or uninteresting statements would get a low
    rating. The 'who' that the facts are interesting to, would be the
    participants in the forum, with the goal being to come up with a single,
    objective (within the group) opinion.

    Of course, ratings could be made relative to some context. This would not
    be hard. The same facts could be reused in different discussion
    groups/contexts, and given different ratings in each.


    Eric, I think that we are talking about representing two different types of
    information. You seem to be talking about time-dependent information, and
    also description of processes. In my mind this is a hard problem.

    To me, something easier, is to build tools for discussing timeless
    information like scientific truth, or philosophical arguments. Maybe
    forming a plan of what should be done for a particular project can also
    fall into this category. But my vision of this, was that the plan would be
    formed, and then followed, not altered in the process. Maybe altering the
    plan would be a whole other process with stable versions in the
    middle. Still, I think it would be hard to come up with something that
    gives you 10 tasks today, and 8 tomorrow.


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