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August 08, 2003



Funny. A month ago I had exact the same idea. I described it in the teamblog blogosfear.

Look here: http://blogosfear.org/eintrag.php?id=111

John Abbe

Heck, you got here early, Shannon!

The present (and future) seem likely to be a mix of explicit and "scraped" metadata.

Wikis, lacking native structure (which is the whole point), depend heavily on the community to create structure in it; the ease of making index-like pages helps, but in a way the wikiest result is that the links in the text on each page acts as a sort of index to its own context (e.g., while refactoring one is encouraged to work "see also" links into the text).

I'm ambivalent about the no-thought-required aspect of blogging - free, uncensored writing is excellent practice; on the other hand the discipline of thinking about where something goes is often clarifying. When i blog something, i never know if i'll see it again. Once something's in the wiki, i'm more confident. Re what Josh said, i love having multiple views on the same data, but get frustrated with having content in two differently-organized categories (date vs. name) is frustrating. Improved wiki-weblog integration (e.g. PikiePikie's search works across wiki pages and weblog posts) can help with this.

Shannon Clark

Joining the conversation a bit late, but a few comments.

1. I, for one at least, do not tend to plan my blog posts, they are mostly spur of the moment posts, some rambles about a topic I am thinking on, some a discussion of a page I am visiting (thanks to the Google blog toolbar/blogThis button). Asking me to first add a layer of "semantical typing" to my links is just not going to happen. For one, until I am done writing I fundementally do not know what the link "means" - i.e. I only discover that via the writing process.

2. WIKI's for me are rarely very compelling, because they are so disjointed and randomly changing - and the structure (or lack of it) makes it difficult to know where to do and what to look at, especially when pressed for time. A blog, on the other hand, makes it easy to skim the current thinking and activity of the writer - but it tends to be harder to delve deeply into their archives as most (but not all) do not classify posts around topics.

3. I think the wave of the future will be automatic classifications - i.e. classifications that happen without human intervention or activity, but respond to similar structures and/or content to sort bunches of content into logical groupings (which in the case of a "blog" would then in turn generally be sorted around time)

this is possible today, if not exactly easy.

Paul Ford

I think the distinction between the two forms is cultural more than technological. A combination of the two technologies would not be hard to pull off--fairly featureful Wikis and Weblog tools are only a thousand lines of Perl code each--but you'd then have to convince individuals that their publishing models for weblogs are inadequate. The Wiki world would be more amenable--there are already timeline views of wikis that are very bloglike.

More than this I think people need to really think about what links mean, and start semantically typing them, ala XLink. When I link to a topic in my weblog, am I saying "this link is a narrowing of the topic, a broadening, or what?" If weblog authors could do that sort of linking, and map it to ontologies, then you'd have content that was created in a linear fashion, but could auto-assemble into structured topics because the links have meaning; the system could take a guess at the right hierarchy of presentation. But that's a little out of the scope of Moveable Type....

Dave Christenson

There are Wiki / Blog integration software engines. http://www.ourpla.net/cgi/pikie?AbbeNormal is an example of a Wiki/ Blog. There is even a Wiki / Blog commercial service http://www.wikilogs.com/FrontPage

IMHO, the biggest difference between Wiki and Blog is the authorship. Blogging is more a broadcast publication than a conversation.Wiki is (potentially) a collaborative (content) development tool.

I'm curious the content volume of Wiki vs Blog. I suspect public Web Blogging content is 100X the quantity of Wiki.

Josh Kirschenbaum

I actually see this a little differently. I'll use another analogy.

Blogs are like coffee shop discussions- there is no structure, and the topics can veer and change rapidly. In fact, most blogs are more stream-of-consciousness than anything else. Beyond RSS aggregators, and Google, there isn't really anyway to control blog content, either. But blogs are not designed for that purpose- they are public journals.

Wikis, on the other hand, are MUCH more structured- because they are relying on hyperlinks and meta-structure to somewhat control their content.

Why do these disparate systems need to be converged? We use libraries every day (even the Web) that have many interfaces and structures.

I would rather see a new form of VIEWING this content- so I can see the world in different ways- the data is the data...

perhaps semantically?


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