Mass import, and some good reading on blogs and comments

First, my apologies to the two or three of you that have me in an RSS reader. I just went back and copied all of my BH posts into posts on my blog. I wanted to do it in the middle of the holiday weekend, so I’d be out of the way when everyone with current topics came back on Monday. However, it was just too beautiful on Saturday, and I went up and enjoyed a bit of a hike in Horicon Marsh instead (No jacket on November 28th? Hell yeah). Late Sunday night is better than midweek. So, if you’re freaked out that I’m suddenly talking about the ASM constitution or the district 2 race again, don’t worry.

One of the main points of this blog is a way for me to always be able to keep track of my own content, and ensure that it only leaves the Internet when I want it to. (The BH’s search functions are terrible, and the Daily Cardinal periodically seems to delete all of their old content.) This is sort of what John Udell calls Hosted Lifebits. I’m using WordPress at the moment, but I’m careful to use a URL that I control, and more importantly, I can always preserve the namespace no matter where I host it. I experimented some with Google App Engine to host the blog, because I’ve got some ideas for posts involving serious computation, but for now no GAE blog engine is as easy to use as WordPress. If I eventually move, however, it should be completely transparent.

Comments are off on the old posts. My original idea was to leave them off entirely. Again, I’m drawn to John Udell’s thinking on the subject, which is that each individual should ultimately be responsible for their own comments, though there’s presently no good way to do that. (For those of you wondering “wait a sec, didn’t he rail against people publishing their own stuff in his first post?” the answer is that publishing and syndicating are different.) I’m sympathetic, but less convinced, by Joel Spolsky/Dave Winer’s version of the argument. Finally, comments demand a fair amount of time, especially if you want it to be any sort of community. The Critical Badger has a great set of commenters, but ask him how much time he’s spent tending to them. There are other, more vibrant places for discussion, and I’d rather they get the traffic. However, I post so infrequently that comments aren’t really an issue, but I would encourage you to read Udell’s posts.


2 comments so far

  1. Kelly on

    I don’t think that these relationships are hard to coidfy at all unless you are coming from an RDF centric design point of view.If we pretend that RDF didn’t exist in fact that no XML-like world exists at all and you’re forced to work with objects: suddenly all the things that are hard to coidfy in RDF become very easy to create. The reason why RDF (and FOAF in particular) seems (to me anyway) to be so hard to work with is that it seems that all of its vocabulary/data types and relationships are built starting from the point of view of how they would be represented in a file rather than as living objects.Another thing that I find absolutely baffling about the design of FOAF is the that decades of previous work seem to be purposefully ignored. For example, the overlap between vCards and FOAF is close to 100% yet there is no simple way to make FAOF work with the existing data that makes most people’s worlds go around their address books.As a demonstration technology FOAF is very clever, but as a potential real-world tool it is competing with much more robust and better established tools and data-sets. The lack of any meaningful interaction with the current tools that people use looks like a dead end

  2. Sekhar on

    That’s not strictly true. While your cecrort that FOAF doesn’t attempt to do with real-world mapping of associations thats not a failing, it’s a deliberate design decision.Because these relationships are so hard to codify, rather than attempt to define a single model and expect everyone to conform to it, FOAF instead lets other communities (e.g. a specific social network, clique, clan or business) define these relationships for themselves.FOAF is an RDF vocabulary. This means it’s terms can be easily extended. For example the relationship schema allows description of familial relationships.FOAF also has the potential to allow discovery of relationships such as went to college together , without having them explicitly defined, by making simple inferences on top of basic data such as attended school .In your posting you state a desire to completely re-orient and de-centralize the very concept of the social network . The items on your list are the very things that FOAF is aimed at solving: decentralised and open data; ability to capture both explicit and implicit relationships; act as substrate for creation of people-centric applications.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: