Russ Lipton Documents Radio ...

Talking Terms

In other words, what the heck is all this jargon all about?

(If you've come here looking for Webster's, I suggest ... Webster's).

In an ideal world, terminology would be precise. Or would it? To what degree does knowledge management include poetry as well as prose? This said, I certainly don't want to rationalize imprecision within my own writing. Documentation is not poetry though it is narrative.

Userland - not only myself - faces two significant linguistic challenges:

1. Userland is always more-or-less pioneering new ground ...

... and this stretches language as a consequence.

New concepts take form by borrowing from prior art, inventing engaging metaphors and envisioning how future function should determine the selection as well as the definition of current terms. Not easy. Understatement. Felicitous phrasing is joined by clumsy and unintentionally misleading verbiage. Alas, time not only freezes user interfaces (can anyone say Windoze?) but also our language. Sometimes, we follow W3C. More often, they follow the marketplace. Thank goodness

2. Our shared understanding of the Internet is still nascent ...

... so numerous networking, publishing and information science concepts and defining terms are not only being introduced but are contending with one another.

Put 1. and 2. together and then see how precise you can be.

Okay, enough of my excuses.

What is the meaning of 'publishing' and 'upstreaming'?

'Publishing' in Radio refers to the assembly of a user's written item (e.g., either a home page item or story) in combination with a template that defines the structure into which the text of that item will be poured.

Most typically, a written item is published by being upstreamed from a user's local copy of Radio to an external Internet server that displays that item in a readable HTML format on a public URL.

However, a weblog can be published to a writer's local hard drive storage for private use.

(Categories make it possible to implement both a private and public model within the same copy of Radio). 

To sum up, an item can be published locally without being upstreamed to an external server or it can be published-and-upstreamed to an external server .... or both.

What is the meaning of 'post'?

We can post (verb) written items as well as archive, retrieve, sort or, of course, read weblog posts (noun).

'Posting' as a verb derives from now well-established usage for Internet mailing lists and discussion forums. Writers are said to 'post' their thoughts or comments to such a list. Whether the mechanism is email or direct text entry to a list or, by extension, to a discussion forum is immaterial.

The act of writing and then publishing an item within Radio is called 'posting' that item to the weblog.

While there is a close relationship between writing a Radio weblog item on the desktop home page (commonly termed a 'news item') and writing a Radio story, the term 'post' is generally reserved for weblog items, not stories.

Put another way, posts are connected with the time-based use of the calendar mechanism. They are stored within a set of defined fields in a dedicated database within the core Radio application. They are archived together to a time-based calendar.

Since weblogging is itself closely tied conceptually to the calendaring device, the term 'post' has become shorthand for 'posting to my calendar-based weblog',

When used as a noun, the term 'post' refers to the final product that was posted - that is, the content of the weblog item itself. That item is called a weblog post.

What is the meaning of a 'story'?

Both weblog posts and stories are written using the same text entry mechanism. However, Radio indexes, stores and retrieves them differently.

By contrast with weblog posts, stories are created on a special page accessible through a 'Stories' menu item within the Radio Menu. Stories are not stored as database fields for subsequent display within a template but as fully rendered HTML text files in an external operating system folder. They are not linked to the Radio calendar.

The primary distinction between weblog posts and stories is logical and conceptual, as already described above.

Posts are considered 'occasional' (in the old-fashioned sense of immediate news fit to the occasion). While archived for permanent reference, Radio implicitly encourages readers to create posts frequently and improvisationally.

Where posts can be thought of as the 'news of the moment', stories more closely map to the traditional model of the journalistic feature article.

This said, nothing prevents a writer from creating posts that are lengthy, meditative articles nor from creating stories that are improvisational and immediate.

See also What Is The Difference Between Posts and Stories; What Is Upstreaming?

© Copyright 2002 Russ Lipton. Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.
Last update: 06/09/2002; 3:52:20 PM.