Notes: Stephen Downes - Community Blogging

by Suw

Note: feel free to add to these notes, tidy up, etc.

Against the long tail
- long tail as property of networks
- phenomenon of six degrees WRT to links in networks
-- power law
-- growth over time
-- preferential attachment
-- some bloggers get links because they were first
-- people in the long tail don't want to be part of it; they want to be read
-- analogy of socialists representing the working class, but the working class want to be rich
-- scarcity of attention, the most valued resource online
-- communities built not around randomness, but meaning
-- Stephen is anti-tagging
--- what would a graph of all the possible tags look like? a power law
--- [Richard: tags are effectively meaningless in an age where we can search for keywords and get instant notification of results for that in PubSub/Technorati/Feedster/and-even-Google. That is, keywords in the text *are* the tags!]
-- Stephen is showing the photos from the Open Spaces session at the Bryght office on Friday
-- "emergence is a hard concept"
-- Scoble having his friend telling him to link to something, and Scoble saying 'something of value' is the spike telling the tail what to do
-- [Richard: huh? Isn't the friend telling Scoble to link to something the tail telling the spike what to do as well?]
-- shift in online learning to place-based, centralized learning to distributed learning

"How do we kill the Big Spike?"
- teacher is the spike
- students are the long tail

- need a way to recognize the posts that are salient to _US_ as individuals, without having to have a bunch of tags.
- people don't get this in the online world.

- Need to get away from top-down hierarchical structures which are "ripe for abuse, propoganda, marketing" - eg. 43 Things, Raging Cow...

Theory of community
- a system defined by 3 major components
-- means of organizing input and experience
-- a mechanism for putting that experience into context
-- a means of creation

We must have a self-organizing, organic process, rather than a Technorati-like Big Spike Generator.

- It's easier to filter for what you want than for what you DON'T WANT.
- filter based on connections between resources
-- attach author info to rss about blog posts
-- online identity used to filter content


-- 3rd party metadata created by readers of a post (um. isn't this
-- Creation of 3rd party metadata via autmated means (usage data, etc...)
-- Other non-automatable metadata like commentary should also be used.

Self-organizing network based on a dense set of connections

"The network is the search"
- layers of llnking
- what comes out of the end process will be of interest to you
- Meaning emerges from the community, rather than defining the community

People lie (recalls Cory Doctorow's metacrap.txt article), tags are words which always under-describe the post/site/idea/etc.
"if I don't know what I'm looking for, I'll never find it"
[Richard: well, I've found cool stuff looking for something else, so the process of 'finding' stuff may be random for some people for certain things.]

Marc Canter: this is why academics have a bad rap

Jeremy C. Wright: all the people quoted are people of importance, so "you're long-tailing us"

The word 'paris' means something to everybody, but means different things in different contexts [The city, Paris Hilton, Paris the rapper, etc.]