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January 05, 2004

Cleaning Out My (XR) Closet

I have begun to clean up the XR demo which has a bunch of broken links. As well, I will be creating and updating more of the background and design docs in the site.

I've moved it around so many times that it has gotten away from me, and somehow Dreamweaver didn't do its job.

Additionally, I am reviewing ways in which I believe XR will and will not work in the context of how the blogosphere works. This will be of use to help explain what it will feel like and how it will operate in comparison to the blogosphere. To that end here is a reprinted comment of mine.

I think that blogs are a great place for individuals to clarify their own thinking and are natural aggregators for like minds. The Bear Flag League, which is kind of a unique and unexpected result of political blogging can be thought of as a partisan group of conservative Californians.

It is the creation of partisan groups that is a big part of XRepublic. One aspect of the system (which I was just discussing with a collaborator) is the notion of affinity searches. If you were on the wonk path, you would likely perform affinity searches to help you create partisan groups.

XR depends a lot on the willingness of wonks to do their work of gathering people to their cause. It is not clear that the blogosphere does any such thing despite the existence of the Bear Flag League and observable preferences in blogrolls. (Conservatives almost always have Instapundit, Volokh & LGF, Liberals almost always have Atrios, TPM & Yglesias) Whereas the blogosphere encourages the wonky to talk a lot, XR would encourage them to link a lot.

The use of trackback which encourages me somewhat.

But I am fairly certain that getting some of the top bloggers involved in XR would assure its success, even if its just rehashing of comments already made. There are certain documents that stand on their own.

I happen to think that writers like DenBeste, DeLong or Orcinus who tend towards the exhaustive, would fare very well as crafters of artifacts that would be long-lived and well referenced in an XRepublic. I also think that the more sophisticated reputation management system would be attractive to the egos of the blogosphere.

At the very least, even those who do not participate on a regular basis would find it useful to have some of their verbiage RSS'd into various XR artifacts, and I can definitely see bloggers having a sidebar of their blog with links to resolutions which include their works as referents.

Both XR and the blogosphere compliment each other. I hope I can exploit their synergy.

Thanks to Ward Bell for keeping me on my toes not just recently, but for many years.

Posted by mbowen at January 5, 2004 06:26 PM

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Hey Mike,

Thanks for the props! Look forward to seeing the new and improved XR and I've got a couple of references that I'll toss your way that might fit into your emerging site. One is a reference to collaborative discourse structures -- which seems to be a natural; the other is the old Delphi Process -- gussied up for asynchronous computer-based inter-actions. I think that they might fit and that you can do something with them.

More later.


Posted by: Ward Bell at January 6, 2004 04:38 PM