A basic user interaction issue illustrates how the way documents connect into a conversation is a crucial link which can be improved: Someone writes a thoughtful post for a community of people who are working to do something together. First of all it is worthwhile looking into how we can make the post more findable, skimable and readable as part of making the document a more effective part of the conversation but the core issues for this research are:
- Someone reads the post and agrees with the general gist but has a few issues with specific points which she would like to address. How can she best address these points in a manner which is not only useful for the author for immediate reading but also for the group over time?
- How can we provide high-resolution addressing so that comments and what they comment on can be flexibly accessed and viewed?
- How can such a response be threaded in the future for dynamic viewing by post, person, time or other context?
- How can others ‘jump in’ to this conversation?
- How can we build a system to support a new person being able to freely move around in this conversation space to get to grips with what was written and said before, without having to trawl through long posts and a morass of links?
This has been the meat of much hypertext work over the decades and has been solved to various extents in various ways but predominantly in single environments. How can we co-design a system where the author and reader have a choice of system and tools for authoring, reading and threading conversation?
The goal is not to help the author write more, but to help the author write less and to make it more readable and better substantiated since the measure of the success of the document is the quality of the resulting document and how it removes clutter and adds clarity and, crucially, how it can add to the conversation in a meaningful and accessible way. This is in support of the Doug Engelbart CODIAK model and aims to initially provide B feel support but will need to provide C level support as well, over time, primarily through the Future of Text initiative.
Web & WordPress
My initial perspective is that a web based environment is logical place to start, with WordPress providing open and free initial user-spaced and Solid as a candidate for next stage storage. If every comment is an html document/blog post, then, as long as access is granted, the user can choose to view as a dialogue, separate but linked documents, in linear fashion and in a non-linear, more dynamic view. I believe there is tremendous opportunity here.
We aim to build a system of interconnecting components to deliver on this goal, providing an immediate payoff and scope for further work over time, with an initial focus on wordpress to use the web as the substrate for the work. Yes, we can do this. Since this is a proposal for a richly interactive text system, it makes sense to present the proposal itself as a web document using hypertext methods. Please feel free to ask me any questions of course, at firstname.lastname@example.org
With this project we are looking to augment serious people who are interested in working together to solve problems. We are not addressing political or social issues of widely divergent groups who are not principally interested in growing together. In other words, the initial user community is the community building the system.
We aim to build a system of interconnecting components to deliver on this goal, providing an immediate payoff and scope for further work over time. Yes, we can do this.
Our approach is to contribute to a more liquid information environment by using established protocols to tie together a wider ecosystem of applications and processes to enable a richer workflow and more competition among software developers. This is why the approach is not to build one monolithic application, but a series of interconnected applications, plugins and other tech as necessary, to deliver on the workflow.