When I met with Joi the other week I proposed that in support of Emergent Democracy, blogspace polling mechanism could make opinions explicit. This could provide an open means of meritocracy for sourcing memes for the Journal of Emergent Democracy. One of Joi's main points in the paper was that direct polling breaks down the barriers between decision makers and their constituents.
Kevin Marks then had a brilliant idea of extending 'a href' tags. This would serve both the polling mechanism and the metadata could be used by search engines.
The latter is similar to the idea I had on Anti-links. Not all links are created equal. Now that real people are participating in building the web, instead of just navigating it, the demands are straining its structure. A peace-blogger wants to link to a war-blogger without giving them a "vote" by linking according to Google. And vice-versa. Doing so is actually a positive for connecting two otherwise isolated communities. Like Valdis Krebs' analysis of book purchasing data where authors from the left and the right currently do not cross-cite, the state today keeps bloggers from doing so because they fear adding legitimacy to those they disagee with.
But lets not forget the core purpose of this is polling opinions explictly. There has been a flurry of discussion on the Emergent Discussion list yesterday and overnight. Kevin floated a straw-man proposal (a ha! polling on polling):
I propose that we add an optional attribute to the <a> (link) tag in HTML. Its name is 'vote'. Its value can be "+" "0" or "-", representing agreement, abstention or indifference, and disagreement respectively.
An untagged link is deemed to have value "+".
Additional human-readable commentary can be added using the existing 'title' attribute, which most browsers show as a rollover.
Im in agreement with the exception of the name. I had suggested Social Tags because they enable social judgement on content (keep in mind this is not polling opinions of people, ad hominem is not substantive argument). But the idea is more than social.
Opinion Tags enable explicit polled opinion of memes. This is different than "Voting" where people are making decisions, has negative direct democracy connotations and lacks connection to the popular understanding of the term. This can enable a new round of innovation that centers on engaging participants to shape the web, allos new diliberative polling groups to form and presents their opinions in new ways.