RE: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

From: Alex Shapiro (
Date: Thu Sep 13 2001 - 07:15:26 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "[unrev-II] More thoughts on the current situation Fwd: Re: [announce] horror"

    Hi Gil,

    At 11:58 AM 9/13/01 +0200, you wrote:

    Alex, Eric, here are some thoughts,
    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?

    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.

    Just to make this clear, a subset of a graph is not the same thing as a sub-graph.  Currently, my application doesn't even have sub-graphs.  What appear to be sub-graphs are actually foreign graphs, i.e graphs stored in other files.  There is no notion of hierarchy between the graphs and sub-graphs, there are just links to foreign graphs.

    You have a very good point about displaying sub-graphs/foreign-graphs in the same area as the original.  I have a post about that in my discussion groups (and a picture too):

    I appreciate the way your application handles graphs and sub-graphs by the way.
    >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
    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.

    Not that this is of great importance, but I still think that sharing information only means making it available to other people, which would only require a platform independent/multiplatform editor/file format (say plain text, or microsoft word).  Maybe you are right about sharing the development process, i.e. collaborative development, but I was thinking more along the lines of sharing the finished product.
    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.

    So you are agreeing with me right?  In addition to intra-document links, readers should also be able to add external links.  If the external link is to another interlinked document, then the process of adding an internal and an external link would look pretty much the same.

    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.

     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.

    Right.  But.  Scientific information, as well as philosophy, as well as math, is Supposed to be timeless.  Whereas in a process something is only true for a couple of days (i.e. the scaffolding is up around the construction site), scientific truth is proposed with the intent of never changing. (i.e falling debris with accelerate at such and such a rate in a vacume).

    So by calling scientific information timeless, I was referring more to the intent of the scientist who proposes it, rather then to the it's actual validity in the course of time.

    To me it seems that it would be easier to build tools (or more like effectively apply graphing technology to building tools) that account for the less-dynamic nature of scientific information, as opposed to the more dynamic nature of pans in execution.  But you are right, even with scientific information, change should still be taken seriously, and accounted for.

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