Nick Arnett (
Fri, 10 Jun 1994 10:32:32 -0800

At 6:34 PM 6/10/94 +0200, HALLAM-BAKER Phillip wrote:

>What we need is a convention for typing that link as an "agree" or a
>"disagree" link. It would be easy enoug to modify the mail/news system to
>give this capability. Instead of "reply to" or "post" we have a disagree
>and agree buttons producing the lines:-

I've thought about this sort of thing over the last few months... and
mainly I've concluded that it's going to take a lot of iteractive UI design
to see what people will use. But I think we can predict that "Agree" and
"Disagree" are overly reductionist. One of the problems of the mass media
today is that it imposes this sort of polarization on issues. Let's not
encourage that. The real opportunity on the net (a/k/s problem) is to
create ways to communicate multiple points of view.

I'd like to steer this discussion back toward the kinds of open HTTP and
HTML features that will support user interfaces that will allow us to try a
lot of collaborative tools. It's wonderful that WIT is underway; I hope to
see many more things like it. The best thing that could happen is that the
standard and the tools encourage people to experiment with new
collaborative information navigation systems.

To wit (pun barely intended), I'd like to see some sort of open structure
for buttons (and other UI feedback features -- lists, outlines,
thermometers etc.) enabled, so that "Republican, Democrat, Socialist,
Libertarian, Neo-Nazi, Nerd, etc." points of view can be managed as easily
as "Agree,Disagree."

It seems clear to me that user feedback mechanisms should support both
absolute and relative ranking systems. I've seen a lot of "rank every
message from 1 to 10" ideas tossed around, but I find it much easier to
rank messages (or the day's news, etc.) relative to other messages.

Anyway, what I'm babbling on about here is really the need for an open
structure that will encourage a lot of trial and error in the models for
collaborative information navigation.

A final thought -- I like the notion of allowing groups of people to create
"cells" of linked documents that can come from anywhere. Within each
"cell," we can use tried and true IR tools -- hierarchical browsers, etc.
To link lots and lots of such cells, new tools are essential because of the
implicit multi-dimensional, well, web-like nature of the beast. This
mailing list is part of such a cell (I call it a virtual forum) that I'm
building on my server, which is a gathering point for news, messages,
archives, etc. relating to the Web, libraries, collaborative information
navigation and the other stuff that interests me.


Multimedia Computing Corp.
Campbell, California
"We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunity." -- Pogo