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Why Blog Now, Document Dialog Later

In response to all the dialog among Millard’s Minions (I’m sure we can think of a better name bit this one rhymes at least) for how to carry on our Monday dialogue and extend it beyond the one-hour time slot, there have been suggestions for using a wide variety of systems, including corporately owned ecosystems such as Google Hangouts (which I support for real-time/meeting dialogue) and Slack (which strides real-time and asynchronous), as well as Microsoft Teams and newcomers which are open like Signal and Discord which is also a commercial product. And there is always Skype. And I’m sure there is also more out there. Zoom. Pow-Wow. Etc.

Live/Meeting (closed, but what to do?)

We have all gone through this before. We have open systems for email and web but not for getting together to hold group conversations where anyone can build a client and any and all end users can store their own data. This is bizarre and retards ad-hoc group dialogue I think. In an official ‘job’ someone can mandate what system can be used but in an open group like ours this (in my experience anyway) saps a significant amount of initial energy. I therefore think it will be important for someone to build an ‘exchange’ of sorts where I can ‘dial in’ with my iPhone using FaceTime and Dave Skype in, and so on, but we are all on the same call and it is robust and free at point of use, like web and email. However, that’s just a tad outside our capability to build right now but if someone in this group knows of a system that does that (perhaps Signal?, I have not had enough time to research it properly) then let’s use it!

Link-Connected Open Dialog (blogging…)

For the asynchronous aspect of the dialog though, I am not really willing to go to a commercial company’s system which may change their data policy or even go bust. For this I think we need to use blogging as a way to write our thoughts and reply to them. (Yes, really). By blogging I mean any web-accessible posting, whether wordpress or hand coded or whatever, where the end user owns the data and the way they connect/link is open. An RSS implementation to show all the posts by people in the group would be wonderful and yes, I know this has been tried before. But what is the better alternative? We can of course have a Twitter hashtag #ccg-soton or something and link to longer pieces within that if we want but we’d still have to search by that hashtag to see the dialogue, same as using a RSS thread.

For What?

What is the point of this community? What is our reason for getting together? Is it simply chat over coffee? Nothing wrong with that. However, is it to discuss our projects more in depth–or is there a desire to build something together? We should likely have some initial, casual, discussion on this. Personally I’d be happy with any of these. I’m just grateful to be here.

The Dream (document based dialogue)

My dream dialogue system, just to put it down here, is to have a dialogue based around the notion of citations, but with the computer power usefully applied. What I mean is that I’d like to post this article/document/thought to you as a document, maybe even as a PDF initially, in a way where you can read it and reply to it by citing it and through the magic of our industry, I could choose to see who has commented/cited/replied to my documents or not. I can also choose to reply back. & So on. Basically the academic citation process but at high-speed and without reviews or institutions. I think this would be beneficial since it would encourage long-form, thoughtful authorship expected to live on, not just disappear down a social-media hole, without exception of ever having future value.

We could even somehow combine links and citations by uploading the PDF documents to WordPress posts and have the means to have the PDF reader first search for cited PDFs on the user’s system and if not found, then follow the link to the associated WordPress post and automatically download the PDF and open it. A truly document-connected system which would be robust.

My visual-meta proposal could be a part of this, as described in the video below and at

State of My Art

BTW, if you have 8 mins to spare, this is the demo (in a generalised form) I did with Vint Cerf at the Stationers’ Hall last week, showing the full system of my software, which I would appreciate any feedback on. Based on this we are doing some further polish and testing and will release updates in about a week. It is the implementation of my PhD work, it is intended to augment student authorship but please keep in mind, this is just me, with a limited budget, paying for one programmer part time–this is not the full package as a company with real funding might make it. With that said, feedback would still be very much appreciated.

State of Your Art

It would be very useful if everyone in the group would update us on their work, both during chats and also somehow by posting updates. Personally I would love feedback and I would love to be involved with dialogue with fellow hypertext thinker’s work. Is this something we all feel?

? !

So what do you think we should use for our little community? Start with Hangouts tomorrow, Monday the 16th of March, and continue via blogs and perhaps Twitter? Or is the consensus Slack and Skype? Should we build something to support our own dialogue or just use what is available?

Thank you for reading this.

Published inAuthorCitation MetaCorrespondanceMeeting NotesUpdatesVisual-Meta

One Comment

  1. Lesia

    I would really miss an instant messaging component and the more casual interactions that come with it. When I write for a piece that needs to stick around for a bit, such as papers, blogs, or even emails, I take a lot of extra time to re-read and re-craft the text before I send or submit it, as compared to when I use instant messaging. This is time consuming and comparatively laborious because I feel that I can’t just type things out as I’m thinking them. Perhaps this says something about when I started using the web for fun and for socializing: mid 2000s when MSN Messenger was all the rage in highschool.

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