Sunday, April 14, 2013

Curitoria - an idea

I have a vague notion of a web tool that I hope this post can capture before it gets completely lost from my mind. There are tons of ways to write something, and put it on the web, most of which have been captured into walled gardens.

There are fewer ways to read things, but lots of platforms to do it on. You have browsers on everything from  Desktops all the way to smart phones. A simple HTML page can be seen on more than a billion devices. The mechanisms we have to checking multiple pages, and keeping track of them are far fewer. One of the big ones (for me at least), Google Reader, is about to hit the end of it's shelf life.

This means I have to either work with something only available on my one machine, and hope it never breaks, or go to another walled garden sort of thing, and hope for a longer shelf life. Subject to the whims of whoever controls the reader.

--- I also have a different complaint, one semi-related... in that it's become obvious that any message system which has ranking eventually results in a community of consensus which seems quite intolerant of outside views, to the point that it's a self sustaining thought bubble, which actively pushes out reality it doesn't want to address.

Ranking in these systems is always along a single dimension, which results in a popularity contest. The encourage results are those that are emotional (usually funny or sarcastic), with the occasional nod to actual insight or wisdom. In depth thought is discouraged, as the first written responses are read and rewarded far more than those requiring time.

--- There is also the complaint that the walled garden has essentially captured our souls. We used to have lots of ways to do things, blogs, web sites, etc... these seem to have all been subsumed by facebook, twitter, etc... for each style of conversation, there is a walled garden for that.

So..... here's my idea to try to weave a solution to all of these in one fell swoop.

We have a locally run server on each users PC (or a cloud server, if the user so chooses), to keep their view of things consistent and persistent. What are they viewing?  All of the comments about things they ever want to keep up on. Think of RSS but with millions of feeds. A web of comments, threaded together by the users comments and curation.

You would have your own collections of things, with each item having at least a URL to find the source, along with the timestamp of it's curation. There would also be rankings (on an unlimited number of dimensions... i.e.   wisdom, humor, insight, novelty, evil).

So each person would curate, and share their rankings of things in an RSS style feed, if they so chose. A group of people would then be able to converse and share content gathered from anywhere, without having to put it all into a walled garden.

--- Another way of viewing this is to say I'm deconstructing the message board, and re-creating it as a distributed decentralized federated replacement that nobody would own, and anyone could improve.

The key is to figure out how to do RSS on a much larger scale, with as little overhead as possible. There could be millions of items, which may only be updated one in a lifetime, or every minute. Some form of expectation has to be factored in, so we're only polling those frequently changing things frequently.

Some form of aggregation of output would be good as well. If I could specify that I'm going to publish all my comments at a given URL, then it makes it much easier to follow everything I do, in one spot, instead of checking all the gardens that might be affected.

---- To recap... I want to be able to comment on posts from anywhere, and have other people do the same, and be able to share those comments, rakings, curation, etc... without having to put them everywhere.