RE: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

From: Gil Regev (
Date: Thu Sep 13 2001 - 02:58:13 PDT

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] Semantic Technology for Complexity"

    Alex, Eric, here are some thoughts,
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Alex Shapiro []
      Sent: jeudi, 13. septembre 2001 05:30
      Subject: Re: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

    >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
      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
      small window into the data. There are much better ways. Have you checked
      out this paper by the
      way? What to you think?

      The problem with displaying sub-graphs is that they are not disconnected
    from the rest of the graph. These ralationships between sub-graphs should be
    visible. In my concept mapping applet I attempted to display sub-graphs in
    the same display area so that interconnections can be made and shown. It
    works but it creates a usablity problem because of all these sub-graphs open
    within the same area. There must be something that can be done visually to
    solve this but I haven't had the time to address it correctly.

    >(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.


    >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
      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

      I don't think sharable is easy. Sending something is easy but that's not
    sharing. Sharing means you need to address issues of multiple personal
    views, comments, awareness, same time editing. It's a whole research
    program. Sending documents (or graphs or whatever) back and forth for
    changes and comments does not work well in practice.

      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.

      The author can only anticipate some stuff but the actual value will come
    from what the readers find in the document which the author could anticipate
    nor perceive. This will usually be a result of links made to other documents
    which the readers know and the author doesn't.

      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
      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
      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.

       I'm not sure what truth is so let's not get into this. However, timeless
    information is hard to find. "scientific truth" is continually changing as
    our instruments to probe the world keep changing. I don't know of plans that
    are not changed by the process of implementing them. So any tool we build
    must take the notion of change extremely seriously.

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