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LinkMyMind
Rohit Gupta, 10 Nov 04

[This is a slightly improved version, with help from Aaron McBride.]

Problem: How to vote for ideas instead of individuals? How to construct public opinion? For instance, how do we know what is the opinion of the entire blogging community, or any web-based community, about a particular issue?

Solution: LinkMyMind is a scheme for voicing and searching for opinions online. This is a complete flip-side of conventional electoral processes which reduce the individual to a statistic by representing him as a vote. In this case, the individual is treated as a cluster of opinions, and 'public opinion' is treated as a signal being extracted from the noise of opinions.

This opinion can be searched via an engine, in context. For example, as of today the google hits for "LinkMyMind" are zero.

The idea also stems from the art of creating unique, non-existing words that can be tracked on the internet in relation to specific content. For instance, Lawrence Lessig invented the word 'enblogment' to take a partisan stand for Kerry, and the meme was growing prior to the elections.

This tag when attached to, and representing people's opinions can be searched via an engine, giving us exact opinion distribution, or even frequency. As this idea, or meme, spreads the hits will increase, and they can be analysed.

A technical definition of LinkMyMind can be expressed in several ways - 1) an opinion ID structure, 2) a trigram tag at the bottom of each comment, 3) or the tag as the opinion.

Description: Like everything, there is an underlying structure to personal opinion which is lost in the survey and polling systems that exist today. This is the reason we get binary results in elections. The problem is in posing the right question to the voter. In this scheme, there are no questions posed to the voter. He is simply expressing opinion, and depending on what question you ask the search engine, you will get an opinion distribution.

The idea is based on negative feedback control systems in Control Theory, and Cybernetics. Here is a thin notion of how we process information through our nervous system and convert it into opinion. In the process, we learn...

Opinion = [Context]passing through[Identity]and becoming[Thought]

1. When we post on blogs in reference to other items, we Link/Context.
2. My blog is how I express My/Identity.
3. What did that information make me feel? I make up my Mind/Thought.

So suppose I write a blog entry that wants to say that ee cummings is a great poet. I say what I wish to and sign off by writing a tag like this "cummingsMyGreat", without any spaces. cummings is the link, the link is my identity, and my mind thinks it's great.

To remember this syntax, all one has to remember is LinkMyMind. The middle gram should always be My, linking to your website or blog. Else, you can't search anything. the formal structure of the tag is thus: [LINK]My[MIND]

For reasons of readability, the first letter of each gram/word should be a capital, as in L, except when one must respect a great dead poet who preferred the lower cases.

Feedback is life. Please improve this model for me at the Wiki.

- cummingsMyGreat

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Comments

Sounds like a good idea. I'd like to see it fleshed out some more before it becomes popular. Why isn't the middle part "Me" instead of "My"? "Me" seems like more of an identity, but I don't know fore sure. :)

I created a Wikipedia entry for it here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkMyMind

I hope the author will either post his blog entry in the wiki, or give permission for it to be posted.


Posted by: Aaron on 10 Nov 04

Uh..Aaron, I went to the Wikipedia site you linked to and there's a message on it saying it's listed on VfD - votes for deletion. I went to the discussion on the VfD page and it seems they think it's spam. You might want to go the VfD page and say your piece before it gets excised.


Posted by: salas on 10 Nov 04

So I've posted my comment on the Wikipedia page.

Aaron, thanks for posting it on your blog with an example of the application. do you think we need to specify the suffix, the actual opinion gram? For instance, I used "Great" for Cummings, and you used "Interesting" for LinkMyMind.

This will start working only when it becomes popular, and I think it will become popular, if we sign of like this as a habit.

I'm asking for too much from the bloggers of the world, but hey, it's a cool tool. And it belongs to no one.


Posted by: Rohit Gupta on 10 Nov 04

I've gone ahead and posted a very slightly modified version of your blog post to fill out the Wikipedia article. I couldn't find any copyright notice on your site, so I'm not sure how you feel about that. I'm just guessing that by "Please improve this model for me at the Wiki" you're giving permission. We'll see what the Wikipedia folks have to say about it.

I don't think we should try to constrain the suffix. It might be a good idea to come up with a list of 20 or so "standardized" opinions. If this idea really does take off, then it should be possible to build a search engine that will automatically take synonyms into account (searching for "cummingsMyGreat" would automatically also search for "cummingsMyGood").

I think we should also try to come up with examples of the Identity not being "My". For example: QuantumMechanicsEinsteinWrong.


Posted by: Aaron on 10 Nov 04

Aaron,

I'm still thinking what the implications to search will be, if we use non-My Identity grams. You may have just found the key to applying this in small e-voting environs. How about you and I try to simulate an election through this somewhere?

It could almost be a new lingo to express opinions that can be tracked on the visible internet.

So do you think we should start standardizing opinion responses? That would help, since then it MAY eliminate the need for a synonym-enabled search engine.


Posted by: Rohit Gupta on 10 Nov 04

I've written the Wiki in more detail, and I've taken out any sentences in first person. I'm hoping they will accept it now.


Posted by: Rohit Gupta on 10 Nov 04

I can't make any sense out of this post at all; it feels a bit like reading the output of a Markov chain generator. Would someone who understands what this is all about mind explaining? I can't tell what problem it is that needs to be solved, where this new "LinkMyMind" format is specified, what it is supposed to do about whatever the problem is, or who is supposed to use it and with what software.


Posted by: Mars Saxman on 10 Nov 04

I think this should be now made clear here, what I posted on te Wiki: "LinkMyMind is a scheme for voicing and searching for opinions online. This is a complete flip-side of convential electoral processes which reduce the individual to a statistic by representing him as a vote.

In this case, the individual is treated as a cluster of opinions, and 'public opinion' is treated as a signal being extracted from the noise of opinions."

Also...

"The idea also stems from the art of creating unique, non-existing words that can be tracked on the internet in relation to specific content.
For instance, Lawrence Lessig invented the word 'enblogment' to take a partisan stand for Kerry, and the meme was growing prior to the 2004 elections."


Posted by: Rohit Gupta on 10 Nov 04

Ahh, now I think I get it. Thanks for the clarification.


Posted by: Mars Saxman on 11 Nov 04

I don't know that this could be used in any kind of official election. It would be way to easy to stack the votes.

Another example of where it could be used are product reviews. For example, I own a Roomba, and I think it's great. I'm not sure if that should be written as RoombaIsGreat or RoombaMyGreat (because it's my opinion). Either way, someone could search for RoombaIsGreat and RoombaIsBad and get a feel for what people think about Roomba. You could dig deeper by viewing any of the pages that the search engine turns up.

I wonder if this project would work better as part of the semantic web.


Posted by: Aaron on 11 Nov 04

re IsGreat/IsBad: but people *already* do that, without any of this - http://srom.zgp.org/ is an old classic, and there was the "Tool Of Object Truth" (which doesn't seem to be around anymore - kittenfight is a more modern version.) They key is that they use the fact that many people already have a way to express these opinions - the English Language (and yes, english is overrepresented on the net - because the net is like that, not because of invented syntax...)


Posted by: Mark Eichin on 11 Nov 04



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