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Meta-WebLogs

By eann in News
Mon May 01, 2000 at 04:06:08 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

I've noticed that K5 tends to get a lot of the same kinds of things posted as there are on That Other Site (and we occasionally grump about it in story moderation), and we're mostly the sorts of people that check out places like Advogato and Bruce Perens' Technocrat regularly, too. And in general there are all these sites trying to generate intelligent discussion about the same topics, or facets of the same ideas.

So I had the idea a few days ago to make a Meta-WebLog. Unfortunately, I've been busy since then with my "real" job and volunteering at my local PBS station's annual auction, so I haven't really had the time to think this through. I figured I'd post my thoughts now to get feedback, rather than go off on my own and spend lots of time making uselessness.


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It won't take much Perl to go read the RDF files at the WebLogs in question. My first thought was simply to provide some interface where readers could then assign some value (numeric or linguistic) to the relevance of stories to each other. Story A on K5 is the same topic as Story B on Technocrat, and there's a tangential discussion in Story C on Advogato. I haven't worked out any details of how that interface would work, but I'm sure it's possible. But is it useful? Would Rusty, for instance, add to each story a little button that would link to this service, so we can see what discussions are happening elsewhere?

Second idea, flowing directly out of that: Does it make sense to go grab all the comments, too, and then try to merge the discussions? It sounds more useful than just linking to them, but I like this idea least, because it feels like (if it's successful) I'd be discouraging discussion at the individual sites, and that's not what I want to do. Not only that, but different threading and moderation systems would certainly make a nightmare of a headache for me.

Can we think of a way to use something like this to actually reduce link propagation, so we're not discussing the same things at 4 or 5 different sites?

One last thing--I really would like to write the core of the software for this, but I'm about to go on vacation for 2 weeks (and then will have a pile of catch-up work that takes priority). If I've inspired you, please take the idea and run with it, and fill me in later.

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Meta-WebLogs | 26 comments (26 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
There are actually a bunch of meta-... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by rusty on Mon May 01, 2000 at 01:22:03 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

There are actually a bunch of meta-blogs sort of like this already. Mostly they provide links to cool sites, and often RDF's. This also sounds tangentially like the peerpress idea (no website yet, AFAIK-- hi raph! :-)), which intends to be a standard for open content sharing amongst sites like these, potentially including discussions. But I think this is a good idea-- do a site where stories from here, and /., and advogato, and etc etc can be linked and interrelated to each other. I'd help out (except I probably don't have time), or buy into that, at least.

____
Not the real rusty

neat idea--duplicate links are anno... (2.00 / 1) (#8)
by thelaw on Mon May 01, 2000 at 02:04:01 PM EST

thelaw voted 1 on this story.

neat idea--duplicate links are annoying.

THis kind of stuff makes for cool p... (2.00 / 1) (#7)
by gaudior on Mon May 01, 2000 at 02:19:27 PM EST

gaudior voted 1 on this story.

THis kind of stuff makes for cool programming. The task could be enormous.

not a news story and these things a... (1.00 / 1) (#9)
by Prep on Mon May 01, 2000 at 02:43:39 PM EST

Prep voted -1 on this story.

not a news story and these things already exist elsewhere

Re: not a news story and these things a... (none / 0) (#11)
by deuteron on Mon May 01, 2000 at 05:21:05 PM EST

and a link to such a site/"thing" would be...?

please back up your statement. :)

[ Parent ]
Re: not a news story and these things a... (none / 0) (#14)
by eann on Mon May 01, 2000 at 10:43:33 PM EST

I'm curious, because I'm sure Rusty would like to fix this: what, specifically, gave you the impression that K5 is for news only?

As for other sites, I agree with the other person who replied to you. Give me some links and I'll shut up about the idea already. Well, unless I think I can do it better than them. :)

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


[ Parent ]
Re: not a news story and these things a... (none / 0) (#20)
by rusty on Tue May 02, 2000 at 12:12:03 AM EST

Yeah, I was a little puzzled about that too. In fact, we're not even *mostly* for news. News basically ought to be here only when it relates to "the big picture" in some way, or someone has something really interesting to say about it. I will be providing more pointers to site info on the "Account Confirmed" page in the very near future... hopefully we can get people in the swing of things faster. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: not a news story and these things a... (none / 0) (#25)
by kraant on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:07:53 PM EST

This just reminded me of something I noticed...

Because of the massive influx of users the story moderation queue has slowed down significantly from how it used to be making it almost impossible to break new news first

I think this is a good thing since it brings the focus more towards discussion and comprehensive articles analyising a situation rather than worrying about the weblog equivalent of "FIRST POST!!!!!11!!!!"

kuro5hin.org the broadsheet of weblogs
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

Hats off to anyone with enough dedi... (2.00 / 1) (#4)
by marlowe on Mon May 01, 2000 at 03:25:29 PM EST

marlowe voted 1 on this story.

Hats off to anyone with enough dedication to actually code and debug such a beast.
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

very reasonable idea.... (1.00 / 1) (#2)
by ramses0 on Mon May 01, 2000 at 03:26:49 PM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

very reasonable idea.
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

Nifty idea. I'm not sure how sites... (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by schporto on Mon May 01, 2000 at 03:40:55 PM EST

schporto voted 1 on this story.

Nifty idea. I'm not sure how sites will react though. You are kinda then taking their content. Its one thing if you have permission, another if you just do it. It'd probably need some kind of human intervention to get it going correctly though. As for the comments those are probably even touchier. -cpd

This is a terrible idea. Imagine th... (3.00 / 1) (#3)
by xah on Mon May 01, 2000 at 03:55:30 PM EST

xah voted -1 on this story.

This is a terrible idea. Imagine this. "Yes, I get my information from a source that tracks sources that link to sources of second hand information. I consider myself very informed."

One of my biggest uses of That Othe... (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by warpeightbot on Mon May 01, 2000 at 04:06:08 PM EST

warpeightbot voted 1 on this story.

One of my biggest uses of That Other Site is the little configurable boxes... I can see all the articles in the sites that interest me, and I can just pick and choose without having to traverse all the sites (and wait for all those spurious graphics to load). It's a Real Big Win.

Having a metasite with just the little boxes would be tres cool, and would make my websurfing time real damn efficient. Dunno how you would automate and/or validate linking the discussions together, though. Good discussion topic in and of itself.

Re: One of my biggest uses of That Othe... (none / 0) (#16)
by eann on Mon May 01, 2000 at 10:49:03 PM EST

I thought of an all-Slashboxes site, too. That may be a first pass at relating them to each other--it's a decent intermediate step, anyway. Of course, it brings up things like "How do I indicate that a particular User Friendly cartoon relates to this topic or article?" :)

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


[ Parent ]
Re: Meta-WebLogs (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by irix on Mon May 01, 2000 at 05:13:24 PM EST

A friend and I are already trying this. It is currently in beta, tacked on to the back end of another website we run:

http://www.tomandian.com/weblog

It is done using Java/Oracle on the back end, XML for communications and Perl up on the web server side. We have got other "admin" features that we haven't started using yet either.

You can send suggestions/requests/comments/etc. to webmaster@tomandian.com.

Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#19)
by eann on Mon May 01, 2000 at 11:31:39 PM EST

How are you attaching the stories to each other? Conceptually, I mean, not what relational data structure. How does your site "know" that two stories are discussing the same thing? By comparing the external links each site is supposedly discussing?

You don't have any independent discussion areas (or I didn't see them). For that matter, I didn't actually see links to those individual stories--you link to the site home page and rely on the reader to find it himself. Did you make these decisions simply for practicality (less overhead), or was there some other reasoning involved?

That looks like a good start, anyway, although I was thinking about having a linkage moderation (not unlike story moderation here at K5), to let interested visitors decide which stories belong together, and how closely related they are.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


[ Parent ]
Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#22)
by irix on Tue May 02, 2000 at 12:23:06 AM EST

How are you attaching the stories to each other? Conceptually, I mean, not what relational data structure. How does your site "know" that two stories are discussing the same thing? By comparing the external links each site is supposedly discussing?

Yes, we look for the external links on a site, and the date/time they first appeared there. We aren't even using RSS backends - some weblogs don't have them, and others link to more than just what is in the RSS file.

Our page is sort of an intersection of "who is linking to what today".

You don't have any independent discussion areas (or I didn't see them). For that matter, I didn't actually see links to those individual stories--you link to the site home page and rely on the reader to find it himself. Did you make these decisions simply for practicality (less overhead), or was there some other reasoning involved?

That is correct. We haven't done any kind of independant discussion areas, as of yet anyways. Once the site is up and running, it is something that could be added. As for linking to the "stories" on other weblogs - only some of the weblogs that we check even have this concept. Many of them just have a front page with links out. Even those with discussion areas don't neccissarily relate them to a story (e.g. ArsTechnica).

The idea is sort of "what are people linking to today" and not "what are people discussing today". We have been running and tweaking the program, for a few weeks, and the links that float to the top are usually pretty interesting.

That looks like a good start, anyway, although I was thinking about having a linkage moderation (not unlike story moderation here at K5), to let interested visitors decide which stories belong together, and how closely related they are.

Yeah, we were thinking of adding this too. We actually have some admin functions that allow an administrator to comment on a link, delete a link or add a link to the list of ones that are searched.

We were also considering allowing links to be asscoiated, as you suggest.

I guess the next step for us is to add a couple of more features and move this out into the open.

[ Parent ]

Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#12)
by GeoffinIdaho on Mon May 01, 2000 at 06:58:38 PM EST

I have something that does a part of this. I compile the RDF info into something similar to my.userland.com, but without being broken down hour-by-hour, and with a much shorter list of sites.

I also keep state, and hang on to items until they've been "stale" (no longer appear in the RDF) for a specified amount of time.

This was pretty straightforward with XML::RSS. Implementing your other features, like actually noticing duplicates and/or snarfing comments, well, that'd be a bit more work.

Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#18)
by eann on Mon May 01, 2000 at 10:57:32 PM EST

Okay. So where's yours?

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


[ Parent ]
Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#13)
by sergent on Mon May 01, 2000 at 08:50:49 PM EST

Do you get a meta-community to discuss it, too?

--jss.



Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#15)
by eann on Mon May 01, 2000 at 10:44:53 PM EST

Depends. Do you want one? :)

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


[ Parent ]
WebLog etymology? (none / 0) (#17)
by eann on Mon May 01, 2000 at 10:53:36 PM EST

Where'd the term WebLog come from anyway? I'm sure I never saw it before I started reading stuff regular-like around here. Of course, the only ones I was using before that were Technocrat and That Other Site.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#21)
by sethm on Tue May 02, 2000 at 12:17:53 AM EST

I had a very similar idea a few months ago, and I know the concept has been tossed around a lot here and there. I'd gone as far as registering the domains metaweblog.{com|org} and metaglob.{com|org} a while back, but not a durn thing has been done with them yet (and no, there's absolutely no content there yet, so please don't hammer my poor sparcstation 4 too badly)

If anyone feels like they'd like to see the idea pushed forward, we could collaberate and actually get started on doing something with it.

I'm a little verklempt. Discuss!

-Seth



PeerPress (none / 0) (#23)
by Dacta on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:45:57 AM EST

There's a bit of work going on about something like this called PeerPress.

See <A HREF = "http://lists.styx.net/mailman/listinfo/peerpress-main">http://lists.styx.net/mailman/listinfo/peerpress-main. Please read the archive... there's some interesting stuff there.

It's been a bit quite lately, but I'm hoping to do some coding soon.

Rusty, the HTML formatting of the link seems to have screwed up. (Yes, I did close the HREF link)

Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#24)
by Alhazred on Tue May 02, 2000 at 01:01:18 PM EST

How about this instead.

Go to www.nodes.net and get yourself a NODES account. Get all your friends to
get one too. Then all you have to do is put them in your friends list, and you
can all share ratings on whatever you want. That doesn't even begin to scratch
the surface of what this amazing system is capable of...


That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
Re: Meta-WebLogs (none / 0) (#26)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:39:11 PM EST

I must admit I was wondering what it would take to mirror 'That Other Site', providing pretty much the same stories but with a seperate comments section. I do like That Other Site, but I don't really like it's community. I was hoping it would be possible to set up a community that was a bit more OS-neutral.

Meta-WebLogs | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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