rethinking the link: social jargon - Ward Cunningham presentation

rethinking the link
Ward Cunningham
@ward
AboutUs.com
  • Ward is the inventor of the wiki: the Portland Pattern Repository. http://c2.com/cgi/wiki 
  • What they’ve implemented in Ruby on Rails and Javascript
  • What is a link?
    • Something to click that takes you somewhere
    • a relation to resources : Ray Fielding (inventor of the wiki)
  • is a link that goes where broken?
    • Not necessarily: as wiki proved
    • so Ray Fielding says a link is “a relation to resources, possibly zero”
  • wiki turns the zero case into an invitation
    • a link that doesn’t go anywhere is an invitation to author that topic.
    • wikipedia wisely color coded the link: a red link doesn’t go anywhere, a blue one does.
      • It’s pretty hard to find a red link these days on wikipedia: it’s been so successful that virtually every topic has been written about.
  • bringing the state of destination page to the link avoided the dreaded “under construction” on to-be-developed pages.
  • two kinds of links
    • internal links: essentially a query to see if the page exists
    • external links: aren’t checked
    • it means every page is dynamic: even if you don’t expect the page itself to change, the state of the links can change.
  • extending the wiki color code
    • blue link means one (links to exactly one place)
    • red link means zero (nothing there, we have to write it)
    • orange link means many (have to choose)
  • there are 30,000 disambiguation pages on wikipedia.
    • there are people whose whole contribution to wikipedia is disambiguating terms
  • happy collision / happy accident
    • originally wiki (Portland Pattern Repository) was 30,000 pages on a single topic: how to go about doing computer programming
    • a happy collision is when you write a WikiWord expecting to see a question mark (indicating that the page wasn’t written), but it is a blue link (the topic is already written about.)
  • sister sites
    • pretty early on, other sites on related topics started up.
    • “let’s share our names”
  • what is the Japanese word for “glitch”?
  • social jargon
    • part one: you have a glossary of words you use: not every word, but words you use that not everyone knows, but you want them to know.
    • part two: your writing automatically links to words in your glossary. (no special brackets or action needed)
    • part three: your readers learn your words automatically
    • part four: your words spread friend to friend as they are used
      • when someone else uses a word, it gets added to their glossary
  • social jargon is a feature of AboutUs.com
  • AboutUs:
    • Community generated content about domains: an expanded version of whois.
    • People don’t want to write encyclopedia articles
    • So they focus on micro-summaries. A single sentence.
  • The purpose of social jargon is to add precision to concise summaries:
    • Example: “JiveSoftware moves its HQ from Portland to the Bay Area”. 
    • What do they mean by Portland? Portland Oregon? Portland Maine? Portland Cement? By detecting it and disambiguating on the fly with a glossary, then others can know that Portland, Oregon is meant.
  • It allows people to be casually precise. In a world where we want to write less and have it mean more.
  • is it important? are names important?
    • “The dominating feature in the [energetic neutral atom Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) all-sky maps] at low energies is the hydrogen, helium, and oxygen interstellar gas flow.
      • super long noun: many words used to achieve full precision. 
    • it’s a natural human feature to compress and utilize context to fill in the gaps. 
    • context, adjectives, and syntax are all normally used to help achieve precision...
      • context: “it was a dark and stormy night”
      • adjectives: “energetic neutral atom”
      • syntax: “meeting @ward at #wv2010”
    • interaction helps:
      • “By wiki, did you mean Portland Pattern Repository or collaborative software?”
  • Give it a try on AboutUs.com
  • The future of writing
    • Wikipedia has had a tremendous impact on writing.
      • And a tremendous impact on linguistics who have something to study that is properly licensed and has a full history.
    • Texting trend: short messages
    • Social trend: context for everything.
      • We want to use the computer and language in a way similar to our colleagues and friends. 
    • Tapping trend: favors choosing over typing. (e.g. better to write something short, and be able to choose the precision than to have to write something long and precise using an iPhone keyboard.)
  • Impact...
    • accelerated evolution of language: it will be easier for new words and concepts to propagate rapidly.
    • specialize language used freely: when you find that existing words don’t work, you’ll make up new words
    • hard to read offline: you’ll be able to read further from your comfort zone because you’ll be able to look up words as you go.
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