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Community Tied To One Technology vs One Big Soup
Jon Lebkowsky, 29 May 04

Nancy White pointed me to CommunityWiki's page, CommunityTiedToOneTechnology. Nancy and I had talked in the past about the potential power in building collaborative spaces using several integrated technologies, but as the Community Wiki discussion sez, "most of our internet communities appear to be tied predominantly to one technology or another." The wiki includes possible explanations like member inertia or low technical acumen, though maybe we just need more and better examples of integrated toolkits. There've been a few examples of successful integration of different modes and widgets, like the Emergent Democracy happenings that Joi Ito led. Another exception cited on the wiki: Open Source development teams use every technology for communicating and organizing that they can get their hands on. The future may be OneBigSoup (spun off as its on wiki converation here. (There's a #onebigsoup IRC chat room at Freenode, for those who think chat.) OneBigSoup discusses a potential Public Internet Communications architecture including
  • PersonalServers
  • LocalNameServers
  • Group Servers
  • Document Servers
  • ThreadServers
  • Blog Servers
These are explained as part of a trend from centralized coordination to decentralized coordination of a bunch of interoperable modules. Here's a comment from AlixPiranha:
yes. yes, yes, yes. decoupling. let me get away from applications and systems that try to make me use their specific way of doing things. i don't want a web browser with a built-in newsreader and MUA and editor. i want to plug all my favourites together. i want to be writing this text in emacs, not on a web form. i don't want to learn yet another way to mark-up a page; i want all of that to be transparent. and i definitely want control at the same time at which i want to make as much of my stuff as possible publicly available -- but i don't want to lose access to any of it when LiveJournal or any other large provider goes down; i want it ultimately all on my own server. and i want to look at everything that interests me out there in my own personalized aggregator where i can decide whether i want it threaded or not, sorted by subject, author, date, keyword, whatever.
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It's really amazing how easy it is to support fairly complex tools today, and I think it's got a lot easier recently. For example:

A blog, a wiki and a file repository - all set up in less than three hours, all public access.

I think once the infrastructure costs, in both time and money, fall below a certain level, the technology inevitably becomes personal. Photocopiers started out institutional, and are now personal. Laser printers too.

I don't see why web servers and other technologies shouldn't follow the same model.

Posted by: Vinay on 29 May 04

Let's try that hyperlink again:

Posted by: Vinay on 29 May 04

The key thing is using protocols and connecting services.

That opens up our machinery to inter-connection and independent development. :)

Posted by: LionKimbro on 30 May 04



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