Seb's Open Research
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and social software, collected by Sébastien Paquet

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Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Ridiculously Easy Thought Sharing

Alf Eaton: "Thinkbot is an easy way to find other people who are thinking about the same things as you. I call it Ridiculously Easy Thought Sharing. I hope it works."

If I'm not mistaken, this is "The modified Reed's Law meets Jabber". Here are precursor and follow-up posts on this new ridiculously easy service.

What do you think? []  links to this post    2:18:52 AM  

I've just noticed an enjoyable new science-oriented blog by Ian Wehrman.
What do you think? []  links to this post    2:18:31 AM  
Come together

A few sparks fly between two folks who ought to have discovered one another a long time ago. One, two, and three.

I hope social software will induce more of that kind of encounter, even if it means mixing pleasure and pain at times. The wheel has been reinvented often enough already - let's find the others and talk.

What do you think? []  links to this post    2:08:38 AM  
Radio usability

Dave Pollard has collected great input from Salon bloggers on the usability of the Radio Userland blog tool. A lot of the concerns reported in there should inform the design of any blog tool. Question 1 is full of ideas on publicizing your blog.
What do you think? []  links to this post    1:57:49 AM  
Edu-bloggers directory

George has built a partial list of edu-bloggers, along with affiliations. This kind of thing should really go into a wiki or something of the sort...
What do you think? []  links to this post    1:49:13 AM  
The Internet Topic Exchange now supports Easy News Topics

Phil Pearson:

A minor (but very handy) change to the Internet Topic Exchange today: it now supports ENT (spec), which means suitably equipped aggregators will be able to pull topic information straight out of the RSS feeds.

Making this actually useful is a new RSS feed:
all posts on the site. If you want to keep track of everything, subscribe to that one (traffic on the Exchange is still not awfully high, so you won't find yourself overwhelmed). An aggregator which understands topics will be able to just pull down this one RSS feed instead of heaps of individual topic channel feeds.

The most interesting bit is yet to come: I've been contacted by
Scott Johnston and Greg Gershman, who both seem interested in using Topic Exchange information to do some sort of classification of search results. Sort of like the way Google uses dmoz to give you links to relevant categories when you search. This functionality is yet to come, but the hooks are there in the Topic Exchange, so any developers are welcome to start using them from now on!

For people who are interested in using this, I've written a page to explain
how to handle the data. Enjoy!

Speaking of the ENT standard, David Sifry has a review up. I should get around to looking more closely at this interesting new development sometime.

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:43:48 AM  
Open Education launches

It's a big week for group-forming. Something about the spring?

Writes George Siemens:

Several weeks ago, I posted several articles relating to open source...and the need for a model that encourages sharing of educational content: Part 1 and Part 2.

Since then, a small (but committed!) group of bloggers/thinkers/educators have joined forces to create Open Education...and the Open Education Mailing list. I strongly encourage you to join both. We are still in the process of organizing...but are making rapid progress. This is an exciting project that has potential to make a real impact in how knowledge is shared at an educational level. Join in and let your voice be heard. Much, much more to come!

If you blog, we'd appreciate links/awareness to the site and the mailing list!

I'm in. These folks really look committed.

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:25:38 AM  
blaxm! improves

The blaxm! reviews exchange now lets you look up reviews by author and by item. For instance, here are reviews of "The Invisible Computer". Moreover, blaxm! uses RSS to publish headlines from blogs in the right-hand column when you look at a single blogger's reviews. blaxm! will help you post your reviews to your weblog as well as on the site itself.
What do you think? []  links to this post    1:21:45 AM  
Call for discussion: Social Software Alliance

Like that name. From Peter Kaminski's blog:


We propose a trade group of social software developers and other interested parties who work together to create and promote open standards for the social software community. Social software blends tools and modes for richer online social environments and experiences. Some examples of social software are weblogs, wikis, forums, chat environments, or instant messaging, and related tools and data structures for identity, integration, interchange and analysis.

Social software is a dynamic and constantly evolving environment, rich with possibilities to create better connections between people. With a growing number of active developers, we need a central nexus to help drive the process of coordination and interoperability between different developers' products.

The alliance will:

  • aid discovery of developers working on synergistic projects and standards
  • assist in shaping open standards that mesh well with other alliance and Internet standards
  • help promote each standard to gain wider adoption

The fast-paced nature of the social software space now argues for developing light-weight, easy-to-implement standards, following the Internet tradition of rough consensus and running code, but perhaps moving faster than the larger standards bodies. It is expected that those standards promulgated by the alliance which become widely adopted will be proposed to the appropriate general standards body or bodies: W3C, IETF, ISO, etc.


  • First CFD published: April 16, 2003
  • SSA Happening (voice/online meeting): April 18, 2003 (time TBD based on participants' time zones)
  • BoF at Etech conference: April 22-25, 2003
  • SSA Happening (voice/online meeting): May 2, 2003 (time TBD based on participants' time zones)
  • Alliance announced with founding members: May 15, 2003


There is an email list and a wiki set up for the purpose of discussing the formation of an alliance.

list subscribe: blank email to
unsubscribe: see List-Unsubscribe header in any list email
help with list server:

registration for editing:

It is expected that similar and/or additional discussion and collaboration tools will be migrated to the alliance's web presence, once it is created.


Danny Ayers

Stewart Butterfield
President, Ludicorp Research & Development Ltd.

Marc Canter
Chairman, CEO Broadband Mechanics Inc.

Ward Cunningham
Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc.

Greg Elin

Noah Glass
Listenlab, LLC

Mark Graham
VP of Technology, iVillage

Meg Hourihan
Co-founder & Director, The Lafayette Project

Peter Kaminski
CTO, Socialtext Inc.

Elizabeth Lawley
Asst. Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology

Jon Lebkowsky
CEO, Polycot Consulting

Kevin Marks
Instigator, mediAgora

Ross Mayfield
CEO, Socialtext Inc.

Matt Mower
Novissio Ltd.

Mitch Ratcliffe
President, Internet/Media Strategies Inc.

Clay Shirky

Benjamin Trott
Co-Founder & CTO, Six Apart Ltd.

Mena Trott
Co-Founder & CEO, Six Apart Ltd.

Paolo Valdemarin
Evectors Software

David Weinberger

Nancy White
Online facilitator, Full Circle Associates

Keep (at least) an eye on the SSA. I think this is an important step.

By the way, in case you missed it as I did, Nancy wrote a transcript of the April 18 Happening (thanks!).

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:14:40 AM  
Social software challenges

Arnold Kling has a piece describing three types of problems that social software might help solve. My favorite is the matching problem (as you might guess from this).
What do you think? []  links to this post    1:09:03 AM  
Courseware karma

Laura Gibbs: "I don't think anybody at Blackboard has ever talked to a student."

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:04:09 AM  

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