Main page: LionKimbro

I often have ideas I want to share, name, and refer to, but I don’t quite want to write a whole page for them.

I’m putting those ideas here, rather than on my NamePage, to keep the NamePage focused on introduction & messaging and so on.

This said: If anyone shows interest in any one of these ideas, please feel free to comment on it, and we can even pull it out into a full page if there’s sufficient interest.

See also: AnchoredObjectsAsMicroContribution (by SamRose)


“How do we efficiently & semi-automatically identify emergent patterns (in ThinkTalkAct) within the unpredictable evolutionary environments of individuals lives, and the lives of collectives?”

TemporalCategories? / ZeitGeist concentrations, TagConcentration?, SuperTag? / ZeitGeistTag? / HigherOrderTag?, DiscriminationRecord?s: “In, Out, Undecided.” Link to Exploring Personal Media: A Spatial Interface Supporting User-Defined Semantic Regions

“Image the simple case of product x versions 1, 2 and 3. Further deployed in locations a, b, c, which also have products y and z. permutations and combinations start to get overwhelming, and the decision to create a set identifier, a molecule, that is treated a s single tag becomes very enticing. then the need to programaticly explode the molecule to it’s constituent atomic elemental tags becomes a necessity to provide the ability to find something based on it’s atomic tags. And the need to identify molecule tags as differentiated from atom tags. Whew - I’ve become an info chemist!
“The long and short of it is that information classification is fluid, and the tools for making it happen are embryonic. – comment by Randy Roberts on Jon Udell’s blog, emphasis by LionKimbro

Whether we’re thinking or reading, we start to group ideas together, and see the particular items as part of larger structures.

What those larger structures add up to is something that is invisible to us, but it needn’t be that way; By slow accumulation, deeper structures can become evident, … …if we go through the labor of connecting words to words, assembling a pyramid of knowledge.

Again, MixedAutomationAndArtistry becomes important: Because if a “seen whole” (SeeingTheWhole) is just a concocting a diagram for me programmatically, I get confused, lost, and everything looks more or less the same to me.

What I really need is to literally develop pictures of the world with the assistance of the computer. And I need to do it quickly.

I’m going to be sharing these pictures with others, so the artistry cannot be neglected.


That is, these are structural elements, suggesting “<h2>”, and that stretch forward for some period of time, but that aren’t necessarily enveloping.

See Randy Roberts comment on Jon Udell's blog“The issue I keep running into is related to the decision process for tagging. Imagine the first email that shows up that is the very first of a new idea to be tagged - generally i don’t “get it” then. So after the 6-10th email it hits me - this a tag worthy set, so I go back to search and tag. so the first issue is recognition.”



An enveloping structure is what we more typically see on the web, in papers, and so on. I say “typically,” and I think I mean more like, “99.99% of the time.”

If you see an <h2> on a page, it’s probably part of some organized hierarchy of carefully placed thoughts on the page. Everything under that heading will be about that heading.

The section has a clear beginning (where the <h2> was,) a clear middle, and a clear end, and then when you see the next <h2>, you know you’re in the next section, that will similarly be clearly defined.

This is because the page was organized or arranged as a whole. It was NOT flowing, as from a live conversation, with message markers stuck like stakes into the ground.

A question for us who are interested in social software in the context of conversations between people that have a more “live” feel to them, is how to identify and properly attribute content into the episodic structures.

An example from email is the Subject line. It’s considered rude to change the subject line after it’s been started, a social norm that has evolved over time to help preserve the episodic structure.

In wiki, we don’t have norms much like it, though, and it’s certainly not something we can intelligently search on, visualize, and so on.

I’m not aware of anything that I can think of, where you can say, “Okay, show me the dialog as a ream of text, and then show me the major markers in the episodic structure that emerged out.”

We may well require more namespaces for addressing parts of conversations, and more sophisticated visualization technology, in order to see the conversations as things, and the markers in the conversations as part of a roadmap.


.. and SimulationWeb? – An outliner. TheBrain. A video game. Word (the desktop editor.) FireFox. I’m calling these all “simulation environments,” rather than “interactive applications,” because I want to think of these simulations as background rather than foreground. We tend to think of these things as “full,” I want to think of them as “empty.” I want to view Word as an annotation space, rather than as a space where documents are written. I want to see these things as simulation environments that you can live in, rather than as tools that you use. From here, I want to imagine re-purposing applications into simulation environments first. Turn Doom into a collaborative editor. Hang web pages in mid-air. Load world configurations from the web. Hyperlink from simulation to simulation. The SemanticWeb is the data. The SimulationWeb? is where you see and use that data. Why can’t we hit “Save” in the web browser, again? (Connected with Radomir’s idea about a rogue-like / adventure game browser / editor / game.)

Connect with recent Alan Kay work, “Exploratorium,” rather than “Desktop,” and Steps Toward the Reinvention of Programming, and work in DSL’s by Charles Simonyi. [1] [2]


It’s easy to know how to sell software: You just put it on a disk, stick the disk in a plastic bag, stick a sticker on the bag, write a price on the sticker, and wallah– you’re selling software. But how do you sell software support? If we truly are interested in writing OpenSource software and selling support, this is probably something we should learn about.

Is this related to ProgrammingAtWorkIsLessFun ?




– originally a joke, I think this is actually useful: I often times make one tagged item have a bunch of extra “mnemonic” tags, and then when I find the real tag, click on that, and I get my nicely focused super-specific results. (see: TagsVsMnemonics) I'm not the first to think of this, but I think this is really worth mulling over. (And mulling is something that happens on this wiki. :) ) Note that even the joke-author recognizes the value in this. Tag with “tagsfortags” or “attractorwords.” Potential implications for interactive question-and-answer programs.


– work in categorization, implications for SVG and potential SVG regions, “SemanticSvg?,” … Exploring Personal Media: A Spatial Interface Supporting User-Defined Semantic Regions – consider crossed with DashboardDisplayNews?.


– something we’ve experimented a little with here on CW, though (miraculously) without even talking about it! Defining hyperlink points casually as new words are introduced in ordinary speech. (That is, you don’t have to make a new page, or even a new section– just link to the definition in the middle of the original speech act.) All of these hyperlinked terms in here should be link targets, for example, until pages are made, and these disassembled.

These new hyperlink points can be used for things other than definitions – discussing parts of a larger subject; bringing up new topics; etc.


One nice thing about the system we have here at CW: when someone links to a particular topic that is currently a small section of one page … then later, when that section is split off into its own page (SentenceToPageToSectionToWiki), all of the links suddenly link to the new page. I like that system more than systems (on other wiki) that have a completely different syntax for linking to a page than linking to a particular section of a page, so when that section is split off into its own page, someone needs to manually go through all the links and update them to the new syntax.


I’d be interested in formal articulations of internal mental experience. I believe it’s called phenomenology, or something like that. The question is: “What types of experiences are there?” Can we establish code-points, a basic map “from the inside?” Has anybody done this? What points would be of interest? There are subjective feelings and sensations and experiences during memorization, for example. There is the feeling of noticing associated imagery. There is the feeling of developing an idea. There is the feeling of the familiar. But there’s so much more that could be articulated in the expression. It would be interesting to have full-on maps of internal experience.

People who are trained with a special vocabulary for manipulating 3D objects (“pitch, roll, yaw”, etc.) or who are trained with a special vocabulary for colors () or trained with a special vocabulary for flavors () seem to be able to remember such things better than people with no such training, and to better recognize similarities and differences from one time to the next. Perhaps a vocabulary for describing internal mental experiences will also be just as useful.


Who is making a map of feelings that key musical melodies produce? (Who is making a map of key musical melodies, period?) For example, the Pacabel Canon, recurs countlessly. It should have a codepoint. We should identify codepoints for all melodies. And then we should map them out, and discover what feelings they produce in us. And we should see, “Are there emotional feelings that are underrepresented in musical melodies?” It’s likely, I think, that musical melodies form a language, in which some things are arbitrary, and some things are not (like onomatopoeia.) But arbitrary things have lineages, as surely as “simha” grew to “singh” and “simha” grew to “simba,” all meaning lion, all having slightly different expressions. Could we then make a musical translator, that produced music for someone else that roughly corresponded to the emotions you yourself felt?


The field of ideas, and questions & theories about how it might “work.” How ZeitGeist functions, from programming to fashion. How ideas “induce” in people across the field. (This is not metaphysical, though; Just “people talking with people, and coming to conclusions.”)

And how is this different from the NooSphere or the “collective unconscious” or Wikipedia:communication_theory ? Or do you want something less nebulous than communication of ideas in general, and more “how people communicate in 2007, including cell phones, movies, and the Internet, and how people could communicate better in 2008”?DavidCary

The NooSphere, the field of signing, can be divided into the ZeitGeistField, and the CollectiveUnconscious? (roughly.) The zeitgeist is comparable to the conscious attention of the GlobalBrain. The CollectiveUnconscious? can be compared to the unconscious attention of the GlobalBrain.


Points that are easily reached through independent thinking as “valuable” in themselves, somehow. Easily become SeedIdeas, and can define positions, stances, worldviews.


This idea needs a better name, but– whatever.

We need war-room style maps, that are easily automatically appended to.

Make a visual diagram of some system that you imagine – let’s say, “BarCamps.” We can easily envision that as a map of the globe, right?

Then push information into that map: Whenever an event is happening live, now, put a bit white dot on the map, at that location. But if an event is in planning for a date in the future there, put a dot there that’s some shade of red, indicating how close the event is. If an event happened there, make it some shade of blue, showing how long ago it happened. (And have red trump blue, but not white, or something.)

Another example: Take some system. Make a TensionMap for it. Affix tags to the different points of the TensionMap, sort of like SemanticRegions. Now, when you tag websites, the names of the websites show up on the TensionMap. If it’s recent, it’s big, and up front, and dark. If it was older, it’s smaller, underneath, or faded.

You can look at the TensionMap, and see the news and blog tracking, for the whole damn field, all in one picture. You can see the whole story.

Aside: That one guy was saying, “How you frame the issue is more important than what you (or your opponents) say.” If you can get the opponent to speak your language, even if they disagree with you, and say so loudly, “you win.” Well, this way of mapping web content– putting news stories literally on a map that displays how you and others think about the issue, will make this observation (about language) really clear. You’ll be able to see how a language and a map are really the same thing, and when you hear people’s words, I think people will think of the associated maps that go with those words. And I think they will, clearly and quickly, jump to: “Oh, well, I just don’t agree with that map.” Or, “Well, that language is connected to a map that I disagree with.” And this won’t be liberal e133t-speak; It’ll be daily reality for all people.

What this would mean is that we’d see a much larger picture. Rather than reading individual blog entries, we would be “reading” 1,000 blogs at a time, and become automatically more strategic about what blogs we will be reading. Blog reading is somewhat meandering and rambling right now, driven by (A) a page, (B) the hyperlinks out from that page. This would be different; The blog reading would be more governed by (A) a map, (B) our choices after reading that map. How is reading the map relevantly different than reading the page? Because a map works at a much higher level. It could be argued that a page is just a map, but really: How often do individual pages meaningfully link to 500 pages? These maps regularly will. And before people step from the map to a page that is mapped, people will be confronted with the question, “Which thing shall I read about next?” Hyperlinking off from a web page is more of an impulsive thing – a series (serial) of branching offerings from the author to the reader. “So blah blah blah blah blah; And, oh, by the way, would you like to read about… Foo? And then blah blah blah blah blah; … And, oh, by the way, would you like to read about, … Bar? Which is related? And then blah blah blah blah blah…” A reader makes a series of decisions, intersperced by text– not necessarily the best for strategic reading. But maps are different, and they make you think about what you’re going to read next; Consider the front page of the [[DMOZ?]], for example.

I conceive that there will be many many maps for a given region, and further, that the maps themselves will be hyperlinked. There will be maps of maps. I saw this a long time ago; I outlined it in my book. Except there won’t be just one GSMOC, but countless GSMOCS. It’ll be glorious. And the maps will be alive. They’ll be constantly shifting energy patterns, news and ideas and expressions and videos and lights blinking on and off, humming and singing songs radiantly. The HiveMind will be beautiful, and full of heart and life.

Related to: SharedAwarenessSystem

Another idea, relatively easy to implement quickly:

Suddenly, Wikipedia editing would seem “cognitively manageable,” rather than “wow; it’s a chaotic spree of activity.”

It would be readily apparent: “What kinds of articles are getting worked on the most?”, and so on.

I see some early attempts at trying to “visualize Wikipedia” at – previously at .


  1. Have an idea, read a web page, …
  2. write down mnemonics
  3. identify tags (as per TagsForTags) – through a dialog on entry (& dialog on retrieval) IntelligenceDatabase?
  4. attach tags to idea / web page – entry complete
  5. over time, identify major components of structure
  6. …and the sub-structures, neighbors, super-structure(s), whole environment
  7. draw into TensionMap
  8. continue – keeping in mind MetaPhysics: that the Map is Part of the Territory


What would a dictionary of the Sonic Language of today’s tribes look like? What is the semantic information carried by specific sounds and sequences of notes? What is shared in common by the objects indexed by Sonic Language? What is the expressive range of sonic language? To what degree is agreement with a song consonant with a person’s agreement with the semantic messages encoded in the sonic language?

My exploration of EvolutionarySpirituality has led to what I call the “Indexing Problem,” which shows up in the ChallengeOfEmotiveExpression – specifically, we have no words for many of the concepts we’d like to refer to, everything even partly in connection with them exist in “God language,” of heavens, hells, deities, spirits, and so on. There is no word to index the sense of 13.7 billion years, or the collective emotions and strivings of countless creatures since the beginning of humanity. And yet, music and video seem capable of indexing to these specific concepts, even though we have not (yet) created single words for their address.

It seems to me that far from being “just sounds,” (which John Cage actually wishes that they were,) music has a ton of semantic “talking” in it (which John Cage acknowledges, but wishes weren’t there!) What I normally have to explain to people, John Cage is sensitive to, and further, considers an irritant. ;) But I differ, and would like to see an actual exploration of sonic language.

The accumulation is simple: a song is attached to a political movement, a movie scene, a movie in general, and so on. Semantic meanings from within the movie transfer to and attach to the soundscape we live in. When we hear those sounds again (consider sounds from the Matrix,) it triggers the associated semantics (philosophy present in the movie, “The Matrix.”)

Lion, worth checking out along the lines of SonicLanguage: Beethoven's Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture


Website reviews are on the order of, “Let’s dissect this web design,” or, “Let’s see which of these children’s games are “appropriate,” (a status which bears near transcendental legal value.)”

Yet there are many books and websites out there, sharing ideas for free, for which reviews are, … …sparse, scattered, and so on, because they are not books. Books get reviewed, but websites do not.

Purposes for reviews:

  • to help you decide, “Should I buy this?”
  • to help you decide, “Should I read this?”
  • to help you see what people think about ideas in a book (source)

Only one of these is obsolete!

I think there are a lot of reviews of websites – but I agree that reviews are scattered and hard to find. I hope that AboutUs ( ) will make web site reviews easier to find. – DavidCary

BuildingBusinessRelationships WhoBenefitsWhoPays

Some of the primary questions are:

  • “How do we build a business relationship here? We want this thing. I want to build it, you want to use it, … …how do we establish our business relationship here?”
  • “Who benefits? Who pays?”

Some of our (SamRose’s!) major ideas are:

  • interact with people
  • ask the people who are (or want to be) involved, or engaged, “Okay? What’s our deal going to be? What are the ideas here, for how we’re going to make money here?”

see also: CyberneticEconomy


see SocialSelfRealization


People usually believe that only material things can be mapped.

To a degree, this is not true- social diagrams are in public consciousness as well.

But outside of these pretty conventional and narrow fields, people don’t think to visualize.

Look at the Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, as an example. It’s all anatomy, or geographic places, or cloud layers, and so on. Tangible, tangible, tangible.

I think (know, really) that there’s tremendous value to be had in the mapping of the intangible.

For example, “Make a map of Linear Algebra.”

“Make a map of Chemistry.”

It can be done.

For example, if you go to the bookstore, and pick up a copy of WhatIsDna by the TransnationalCollegeOfLex, you’ll see a map of the contents in the book, in addition to the traditional Table of Contents.

Presently, we all throw away the EmergentStructure that forms in our brains, as we learn something. Each new person, learning the material, learns a brand new structure. Of course, there are some canonical books in various fields, that lead to shared structures in the minds of the people using them. But that structure in thinking is either unrecognized (most often,) or simply ignored.

Structure in information architecture is arbitrary, and there’s “no one right way.” But just because something is arbitrary, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful to systematize it, and think about it. You could arrange your bedroom or house any given way, within some constraints, (it is an arbitrary decision,) and yet its immensely important to structure it somehow.

The objects of our mental attention are the same way.

Usually people just use tables of contents, but that’s weak; There are many sturdier ways of arranging information. It can be done in a map, it can be done in a 3D space, it can be done in a fantasy worlds. The MemoryPalace? of old was a very good idea, and it works. It works for a reason.

When we open up a Linear Algebra “textbook” in 2050, it should resemble the metaphysical diagrams attributed to the occult - fantasy artists have always been drawing the mindscape of knowledge in visual form. I don’t think that this is just for “style,” I think that there’s a very substantial reason why this was done: We actually do envision the information and ideas that we learn.

Language is like a sea, and structured knowledge is like a firm land. One can’t work very well without the other. Often times, I find my knowledge of programming is like so many islands floating in the sea of words. But I do believe we can make solid land masses, and that it would be very beneficial to do so.

Learning Visual Language should be like traveling across the Pokemon map, gaining badges, and seeing the connections between different things.


A “Gutenberg wiki” is a wiki that is made to be printed in its entirety.

Some ideas:

The purpose is so that in MaterialWorld? gatherings, people can distribute the GutenbergWiki, collect initialed edits from the people present, (perhaps tearing off the corners of pages that are edited,) and then someone recommits the changes to the wiki.

see also: DistributedWiki, JspWiki:PrintWiki, Print JSPWiki Pages


This idea was inspired by LionKimbro seeing JohnAbbe print out wiki pages at the StoryFieldConference, and put them on the wall, along with a large mission statement page, that was attached to the wall, and editable to all, for later submission to the StoryFieldConferenceWiki.

While I generally dislike PDFs, this idea appeals to me precisely because the Portable Document Format is designed to make its content “portable”. Thinking about this, it may actually be a better alternative that HTML+CSS for producing a printable output. I think I’ll add investigating this a bit further to the toDo list for the next intern that comes available.

I think that I’ve seen some news about a fork of Wikipedia that was supposed to produce a printed encyclopedia – I can’t find the name now.

I’ve been recently making some printed materials from web pages at my work, and I have noticed one thing that should definitely be included as “new markup” in such a wiki: the non-breaking space. The browsers completely ignore any rules for line breaking, and you need the ` ` and `­` (if it worked in any browser, that is) to get acceptably formatted text. I can see you can use ` ` here and it will be passed, but the raw text with it looks and reads horrible.

O’Reilly is working on a book that will be written on a wiki:

“We thought that it would be a great idea to write a book about community using a wiki to allow the community to edit and write the book with us. It is in this spirit that we invite you to participate and help us write the Art of Community AS a community. If this experiment is successful, we hope to see it released in print form by O’Reilly Media.”

RadomirDopieralski, are you thinking of “Wikibooks” ( ) ? In particular, many of the books have a “pdf version” – such as, for example, "Consciousness Studies".

see also: [2007-08-03], Wikitravel Press


Wiki is really bad at handling cross-cutting edits. For example, taking the stack of pages and sorting them into categories, – very hard to do.

It’d be neat to have some way of making edits that cut across pages.


Make a video of what it’s like to use different mediums on the InterNet, using only human actors, a camera, a chair, and stand-up paper sheets. So that people know WhatCommunicationSoftwareToUse.

LowPower “Low Power” is a metaphor that LionKimbro is picking up on, and exploring here.


see: 2007-08-29

Guess who created Wikipedia:Low-power ? Alas, I was fixated on literal power (in watts) in electronic devices. This seems to be something much more general.


When two wiki find they work towards the same (or very similar) purpose, when two FreeSoftware projects find they have the same (or very similar) purpose, there is an interesting question of, “Shall we merge? And, if so, how?”

This question gives rise to / comes with a number of other questions.

The study of that question is an interesting one.

There are very good reasons for projects to merge, there are very good reasons for projects not to merge. There are rarely very good reasons for the projects to connect somehow, in my experience.

Companies, religious organizations, and political parties also occasionally merge. Also, even when they are so similar that outsiders have difficulty telling them apart, sometimes they refuse to merge. I suspect that someone who knows more about Business Administration could tell us a few things about that.

Sometimes people get all excited about starting some open-source project. They’re willing to put in weeks worth of effort to make it happen. They even go out of their way to try to recruit others to work on the project to share the load. But when they can’t seem to drum up any interest, they think the project is too big for one person and give up. Or when they find out some other person or group not only is interested but has already started an open-source project to do basically the same thing – it mystifies me that sometimes those people, because they can’t be the “founder” of the project, totally give up on it. I would hope those people would get even more excited – glad that they found others that agree that this is a worthwhile project, glad they can skip over some of the initial preparation and dead-ends and jump right into the meat of the project, and glad that they have found others to share the load.

I agree; I also partly understand: I can’t see how to make MailMan? into a MailingListReplacement? – it’s so established, so complex, that I don’t think I could easily figure out what to do.

It looks far easier to me, to start with one of these little dinky scripts, start adding features, and then solve all the bugs over again, over millions of years.

The gestation path is the thing. I’m looking at (Mailman-Developers) Re: Hacking Mailman to Work with Central Authentication, and (Mailman-Developers) Editing messages held for moderation, and thinking, “Yeah; It’s really hard to manipulate a complex piece of software.”


Make a personal search engine seeded by blogs and the data that they point to. Wiki of course, as well.

The easiest way to do it is to supply a list of seed web pages, to spider, and then get going.

When you show search results, organize them by the seed they came from, and by date / currentness.

The idea behind this is that I intuit that my friends’ blogs and wiki are giving me better information than Google, and so, naturally, I should give special priority in my searches to their worlds.

Someone must have done this by now, right? I don’t keep up with the world of search. But I know that a bajillion people are thinking about it. Surely, someone must have done this? If only I could find them.

I’ve been told that Wikipedia:Nutch lets you pick your own seeds. I don’t know if it tells you which seed a particular result came from, but since Nutch is GPL, it should (in theory) be “a simple matter of programming” :-/.

I’ve also been hearing about “personalized search”, which sounds like it is vaguely similar to what you are trying to do. “Eurekster assumes “friends don’t spam friends,” and it’s a pretty safe assumption.” – Danny Sullivan 2005

There’s already a book about personalizing Wikipedia:web_crawler software.

Perhaps you could post your question on the Nutch wiki ?

In my, now suspended, LinkMine? project (a la, I added the functionality to source all pages in 1 or 2 links distance from a given url - this was enough to link all pages linked to from a wiki ( that has an AllPages page ).

See Also


see HiveSpeech


Lion’s crazy way of writing PythonLanguage code in AgglutinativeLanguage style.

Pronounced “Apple Pie.” A reference to the Wiki:AplLanguage.


I was just reading WikiPedia:Subculture. It says that marketers seek “cool.” Subcultures generate “cool,” in order to segregate themselves from the mainstream. “Cool” is thus something like peacock feathers- utterly superfluous, except to attract mates.

I have a different theory.

I think that cool is often times knowledge.

Let’s consider the FreeSoftware subculture, for a moment. They make new software. Some of it is “cool.” Why is it cool? Did they just re-arrange the icons, per-chance? Ruffle up some feathers?

No; New software is “cool” because it’s better made, or it holds promise of a better way, or it has some new features, or something like that. It is cool, because it is a better assembly. It was made because we value better software. We like that.

But what about other subcultures?

I think that there is semantic content to art products (“art persuades without argument,” and “art communicates the universal through the particular,”) and that people in different life situations are seeking to understand and develop through those life situations.

I think that when something really epochal happens, when some major understanding or change happens, that it is told in art that is then venerated and holds weight. It makes an impact. It makes an impact because of what the change signified within the cultural narrative. This then is seen as “cool,” by people who don’t necessarily understand it, but may sense it’s significance in a way that can’t be articulated (“art persuades without argument.”

Or it may be a better telling that really captures the story that people carry, or a telling refit to a new circumstance that the people find themselves in. It’s all “cool,” but not because it’s “just peacock feathers.”

I think that the view that everything is just peacock feathers is just SuperFreudianism, the insistance that everything must be just inhumanity and senseless ranking.


WikiPedia and Citizendium aren’t just transparent. They’re full-on OpenCommunity.

Perhaps what we’re looking for is “responsive” and “connected,” as well? Responsive to what?

What would it mean for an organ or a body to run not just transparently, not just openly, but in a responsive and connected way?

Searching for the phrase, I found: The Global Centre for ICT in Parliament - Beyond Transparency - New Standards for Legislative Information Systems. It points again for me: PoliticalSoftware.


see RealCommunity


I often times wish I had a public graveyard for the gigantic swaths of text that I regularly throw out of my writing.


There’s an idea floating about, that secrets are at the heart of our lives.

So for example, I’m a programmer. I am paid, because I know how to program, and other people do not. That’s my “secret,” according to the doctrine. If I could somehow write something that could teach everyone how to be a programmer, (say, overnight,) and that method of teaching were not secret, I lose, because now I don’t have a secret.

In some respects this makes a lot of sense, especially given our capitalist economy.

In another sense, it doesn’t make any sense at all.

Imagine the pilgrims, coming in on the Mayfair, or whatever.

People need houses, food, and so on.

These aren’t secrets. We could abstract it to “information,” but where does that get us?

There are needs, and the people work to meet those needs.

If there’s only one carptenter, he’s going to teach others in the town how to do the carpentry, so that everyone can get their houses or barns or whatever built, before the first storm comes.

The "netocrats?" Please.

If there’s a bunch of programming work to do, there’s a bunch of programming work to do.

This may be seen connected to the AlexandrianMethod / MusterTheorie / “pattern theory”. The theory is about the creative process in general. Each pattern contains a description of how to solve a problem, a secret. It may be a secret of “how to create” but also of “what’s behind something”. Normal science talks about facts and causal relations and avoids to put this together to working modules, which would weaken the position of the experts. To collect and ellaborate patterns means to enable people. This is in the interest of a democratic society.

Yes, I see the connection, and agree.

I’m starting to realize that many people use the word “secret” because they’ve discovered that using that word draws people in, attracts their attention. If they discovered that using the word “licorice” had the same effect, they would use that word.

There are some tasks that are easy to do – but only if you know the secret.

Certainly we see super-specialized jobs today – we have a jumbo jet airplane pilot here, and a movie director there. And if we asked them, they would both admit they don’t know how to do the other job (unless one is John Travolta).

So it would be easy to incorrectly conclude that the reason they don’t know is because each of them knows some “secret” and refuses to tell the other one.


Casual conversation has a broader range than “small talk” (weather,) often involving particulars of the local environment (gossip) or personal doings (“going to the store today,”) but generally avoids matters of the heart that may be disagreed with.

Formal conversation is generally directed to a specific purpose, and intentionally limits going outside of particular boundaries. “But that is not what we’re talking about; We’re focusing on X.

I find that I do not generally enjoy casual conversation or small talk or formal conversation.

What I enjoy, I’d call “SemiFormalConversation.”

This is about matters of mutual interest, matters of the heart, may involve construction, follow-up, further presentation, deliberation, confrontation, difference, integration, and so on. It has a degree of work to it. But it is also open ended, flexible, voluntary.


A page I’ve intended to write for ages, but have never had the time. I still don’t have the time. But I can put in a brief mention here, about the shape of what I’d write.

  • “Zeitgeist” is German for “the spirit of the times.”
  • Where does the “spirit of the times” come from? Global events, the collective background processing (calculating) of bajillions of people, historic events, new technologies, and so on.
  • By the PowerLaw visible in the political sphere of the EcologyOfNetworks?, attention focuses on very large, very specific problems, in a very distributed way. People put 2 + 2 (+2 and +2 and +2…) together on massive scales, and several people realize the answer (or alternative answers,) find the key locuses of thought, sometimes nearly simultaneously, in many different places.
  • People who were “almost there” but didn’t quite have all the pieces quickly recognize the whole solution, the whole frame, the whole perspective, and then start articulating it for still others.
  • In this way, the emergent answers to the questions develops. No single individual can really be credited with the whole answer; It is the working of the whole organism. The power law just causes us to see individuals.
  • Looking through the historical records, we can always track key lines and individuals and movements in thought. We can’t see forwards what will result.
  • History is the product of the various forces, (Dialectic Hegelism,) but it is also creative as well. It is wrong to say everything is determined, but it is also wrong to say “just anything can happen.” The best description I have found so far, is Bill Joy’s, who said that at any given (say) decade, there are certain opportunities that can be taken, at any point. Whether these opportunities are taken or not shapes the future.
    • (I saw this in a video interview with Bill Joy, that I can seek out, if anybody is interested.)
    • As an example: Wikipedia was an opportunity. It could have been held off, until 2005, rather than 5 (?) years prior. Perhaps we could have written the SvgWiki? in the last 3-5 years, as well. Some opportunities are taken, others are not.
    • Timing matters.


see FearOfGroups


I have this vision of the future government being a dual-layered thing.

We have the nation states as they exist right now, as a basic layer, providing basic rights to people and so on.

Then I am envisioning that the EarthCommunity? will exist as a layer on top of that, being the CivilSociety. So for example, just about all OpenSource projects are part of that second layer.

It is analogous to the layerings of the brain. We have the reptile brain, the mammal brain, and then the neocortex.

Similarly, the GlobalBrain would have the governmental bodies, corporations, and the CivilSociety, which functions as the neocortex. Through efforts such as a DemocracyOfGroups, visualization technologies, SoftTechnology such as governance, PoliticalSoftware, and such – we can start forming the interlinkages, like the interlinkages between OpenSource software and various corporations and governments and so on. What really requires activation is the CivilSociety, getting BeyondTransparencyWorkingOpenly.


Multiple ontologies are available for any mess.

SeeingTheWhole is multiplicity– there are multiple wholes.

Wholes exhibit personalities of the beholders, and there are consequences of seeing one whole vs. another; One narrative vs. another, whether cultural or individual.

Wholes reflect the MetaPhysics that order them, and the choice of MetaPhysics influences the whole.

MetaPhysics then has a rich and practical future. Maps that were once considered mystical metaphysics, will be everyday practical reality, in our UserInterface. Just look at “The Sims,” for a miniature version of it.

See also: MessMaps



People keep asking me which wiki I recommend, and I keep saying, “OddMuse.”

“Oddmuse, Oddmuse, Oddmuse. If you are using wiki to converse, to build theory, to learn about the world with others, your choice is very simple: It’s between Oddmuse, Oddmuse, and Oddmuse.”

They ask why. Then I have to come up with the bullet points again, from scratch, and that can take some time.

To help me get it straight, here is my reasoning.

First, I say, “I like it for what it does not have!”

Then I say, “Here’s what’s cool:”

This said: I think MeatballWiki:RecentChanges has surpassed OddMuse’s – collecting all participants for the day together, including the # of changes, removing history, … It seems to all have worked well.

– 2007-12-06

Whenever I visit Meatball, I get confused by its RecentChanges. Am I so set in my ways that I can no longer learn something new? Or is it really hairier to understand. Specially the part about how to tag things as minor edits or despamming. It’s weird!

I think “near perfect multi-faceted evolved federated spam control” should be replaced by “simple text-based CAPTCHA” – are you still using banned content and its ilk? I never do.

What does “svelt layout” mean?

And: thanks! :)

I can imagine a better wiki than Oddmuse, but I haven’t seen it. “Of course,” we should always be looking at other wiki to see what we can pick up. A doubt about our set ways makes sense as well.

CAPTCHA: updated! It’s simple and works great.

“svelt layout” – Actually, our user interface is not as svelt as it could be. Radomir will be able to come up with something better. FrontPage & SiteMap & Blog seem redundant. The XML link and RecentNearChanges? can probably be linked from RecentChanges.

There are probably other changes we could make as well, to simplify the user interface.

The opposite of CW’s (& MB’s) “svelt” is MoinMoin’s block. CW is more curved, MM is more angular.



This is an idea that is not original to me.

The idea is that we should not strive to communicate; Rather, we should embrace what HerbertBrun? (I believe it was him) called anti-communication.

“(Anti-communication is…) maintained through messages requiring and permitting not yet available encoding and decoding systems or mechanisms.”
“Insistence on communication ultimately leads to social and physical violence. Anticommunication ultimately leads to insistence on composition and peace.”

Communication is intrinsicly regulatory, working entirely within established orders of things. Anti-communication is creative, and is generative within misunderstanding.

Oftentimes, we can say what we mean far better by anticommunicating, rather than by communicating.

The emphasis on clear communications is then entirely misplaced. Clarity is great, but can you inspire?

If you liked that one, here’s another Herbert Brun-ism, that I’ve come to deeply appreciate: “War is a defence against conflict.” That’s just how Herbert Brun talks.

“anti-communication” does not make any sense to me.

The only way I can even begin to make it sort of make sense to me is to paraphrase as “Certain individuals have core beliefs and personalities that are diametrically opposed to the core beliefs and personalities of certain other individuals. Forcing people to communicate (rather than allowing one or both to walk away), even when there is such a personality conflict, inevitably leads to violence.” ("connectedness leads to conflict").

Or perhaps a better paraphrase would be “Insistence on certain very restricted forms of communication – restricted to only Politically Correct statements, and further limited to statements that never criticize anyone, or cause anyone to lose face, or that might potentially cause someone to lose self-esteem, or might offend someone – ultimately leads to a backlash.” (“Don’t shoot the messenger”) ( “Being told that bad news or blunt advice isn’t welcome infuriates me.”[3]) (“Being polite wastes time” – "Crocker's rules")

Or is there something else I’m missing here?

I think you’re looking at communication like an engineer: “Was the signal intended the signal received?”

This is more about interpretation and the human domain, though.

The common language is regulatory, “Do this; Don’t do that; You owe this,” and so on. The communications are present to keep the system in a homeostasis.

Where there is something new, an inspiration, it will not be understood by regulatory language. It will provoke conflict and disrupt the homeostasis. New “decoders” and “encoders” for the words will be needed, to account for the new thing.

In the land of engineering, we see the birth of video codecs, for example.

See also "anti-Language," a theory by linguist M A K Halliday. My only difference is in seeing language as a way for a group to demark itself (rather than to exclude,) and, of course, in that I see new language as a necessary tool in the development of new ideas (mathematical notation making this point starkly clear.) I would also point to the power of language to evoke feelings and emotions and associations. If you are restricted to the common tongue, you are restricted to the feelings, emotions, and associations of the common tongue. Essentially, you are living as a module.


see DoWeNeedToReadSource


That is, “Show me all the data you collect automatically, and then let me tweak how you show it to me, and add my own flourishes, text, and structures.”

Most of our tools right now are either focused on data entry (“I have something in my head, and I’m going to show it to you” – ex: Word, Photoshop, Illustrator,) or focused on data visualization (“Show me, computer, what you know.”)

I’d really like to say, “Show me, computer, all my email, and threads, and mailing lists,” for instance, and then say, “Okay, of these email threads, this is the important one, make it big, these are all unimportant, make them tiny, or even invisible. Track them through time, like this. That particular email was crucially important to me, make it really big.”

The zeitgeist right now appears to be “ZeroUserInterface?,” which is to say, “I shouldn’t have to do anything. Let the computer figure it out, and present it to me.” There are good reasons for this being the zeitgeist, but it makes my idea unpopular.

I want to communicate with other people, and see things in proportion to other things; All of this requires artistry and expressive power.

Another way of saying it:

“I’d like some help from the computer, in building my LifeMap?.”


There is a developing concept of “Self-Organizing” emerging within progressive circles.

This is different than “Wow, the Internet is so amazing because it’s self-organizing!”, and it is different than “Wow, aren’t markets great, how everything comes from self-organizing.”

These are very entry-level parts of it, intuitions leading to the greater understanding, but the developing understanding is far greater.

This is an understanding of self-organizing that goes much further: it extends to conversations between friends, it extends to work places that function (workplaces function because of self-organizing, not because of hierarchy! – hierarchy is necessary and self-forms, but it is not the thing that causes it all to happen), it extends to agenda when people are talking, it extends to evolution, it extends to “what is my life’s purpose,” it extends to pretty much everything.

“Every formed thing is the sum of it’s history.” For example, the pen in your hand, or the keyboard under your fingers, and the ideas in our heads.

Part of the particular importance at this time, is that it allows the progressive impulse to talk about hierarchy and not-hierarchy in useful and pragmatic ways.

For many decades now, progressives have rejected hierarchy wholesale, and thus been unable to form effective organisms. The post-modern dictum, “Who’s to say?”, interrupts everything. This is because there is a recognition of abuses of power, lack of solidarity, and also the felt injury of exclusion (a form of unrequited love; consider again CS Lewis’ “the Ring.”)

The theories coming out of the discussions of self-organizing are different, because they convey both freedom (“self-” made) and permit hierarchy (organism = organization.)

Nobody says that OpenSource projects are anti-hierarchical (quite not the case,) but they do note that they are voluntary.

In addition to giving room for hierarchy, self-organization gives room for creativity and mystery. “The thing formed itself.” Where did the contents of conversation come from, when strangers meet and converse? Where do the creative and profound imaginations that suddenly appear in our heads come from? How is it that some groups of people are nearly impossible to form, despite high intentions all around, and others magically form of their own, practically overnight? A 37 year old man suddenly has an idea one day, that completely transforms his life. How did it happen? How do grace and effort interplay? These are the mysteries of self-organizing. Looking back, we can identify what threads led to what, but looking forward, we cannot calculate what will happen.

(This is not against scientific determinism; See Compatiblism, for example. Our inability to reduce culture to molecules is due to difficulties in collecting data and performing calculation, not necessarily due to “magic” happening because nature somehow perceives “levels.”)

Self-organization allows for things to “form themselves” or to “be formed by unimaginable powers of imagination,” – a mystery of incarnation comparable to the breath of God entering dust. Somehow, consciousness lives inside and through these bodies of matter. We could argue over the how, but we cannot debate that it does.

Related to: EmergentStructure; AboutLogistics; I, Pencil, FreeWillAndDeterminism.


“The Inner Ring”, a speech by C.S. Lewis in 1944. We discuss it at: CommunityWikiGovernmentMotivation and CliquesAndCommunities.


By “schematic,” I refer to forms of communication that are based in layouts of line, word, shapes, and icon (or image) that convey meaning by not only textual content (and pictographic content,) but also (substantially) by arrangement, positioning, shape, and white space.

Electronics, mechanics, and architectual blueprints are common schematic forms that people are familiar with, but there are many more. For example, many diagrams are schematic (consider relationship diagrams for romance novels or story-based video games,) and UML & transportation maps are clearly schematic as well.



The idea is to perceive the daily news as a dashboard or HeadsUpDisplay?, rather than as a collection of stories.

The power of stories is tremendous and, if we have SocialSelfRealization, something that we want to be cautious in invoking. Stories of lost young white girls have a profound, biasing, and disrupting affect on the minds of people, provoking and inflaming their passions. If we adapt our news intake to be oriented towards our values and ideals, including efficiency, comprehensiveness, prioritization, and sustained concentration, then we should be able to work much more deliberately towards our highest values, both individually and collectively.


  • There is nothing that cannot be visualized.
  • A persistent framing model for everything learned, is crucial to the learning process.
  • We must make peace with arbitrariness; It does not matter that there are 10,000 ways that it could be visualized; We must pick one. There is room for character and personality in the world.
  • There is greater continuity between information and knowledge than people presently imagine; It’s not just “information” on the left, and “understanding” on the right. People do the intermediary steps in their head, but this can be facilitated with skillful representation.
  • Representations can be tested for efficacy. That we do not test the efficacy of our Chemistry books, our Math books, our documentations, and work to optimize them, is an incredible waste of time.
  • The segregation of “visual,” “auditory,” and “kinetic” learners is broken in many respects; Nobody gets essays on how to put a building together; Everybody uses blueprints. Maps vs. directions has more to do with trust in directions than it does with “auditory” vs “visual.” We would do much better if we looked at detailed facts, rather than these gross distinctions.
  • Intelligent density is important. Density alone is not enough; The density must be intelligently arrayed.
  • The word “schematic” may better encapsulate what I am aiming for: A combination of text, shape, arrangement, and occasionally image. See: SchematicForm
  • 3-D can almost certainly be applied to positive effect, but we have a hard enough time even working right with 2-D.
  • Ability to annotate, to link, to edit, is extremely valuable. White space – room for the new, allocated for in the persistent metaphor.
  • Indexes are extremely important, and the ability to add to the index is extremely important; Even though we are talking about indexing parts of structures and so on. People understand adding notes in the grangers of books, but people do not think to extend the index in their books with their personal names for things, and names of incidences from their lives that pertain to parts of the books.
  • You can both show and tell; You do not have to pick one or the other. If people can understand your English, then they can probably follow along in the image as well, to weld their understanding to a persistent metaphor.
  • With computers, we can represent what cannot be represented with paint brushes and canvas: We can make infinite density, fully immersive 3-D metaphors, and images that function.


→ PlanarProgramming


These are some rough ideas towards reworking wiki towards the ends of developing thought (SenseMaking, TheoryBuilding.)

  • History – a way of perceiving history. It’s about “UnRecentChanges?,” and it contradicts the ideas behind the WikiNow (see: TimeInWiki?). It is about ordering historical content, and making accessible where we’ve been. This can be aided with both automatic collection (“Computer, what pages were created when? What pages were edited when? How intensely?”) and manual reworking (periodizing – “This was the SamRose period, and conversations focused on X, Y, and Z.” “This key event happened here, and led to this and that.”)
  • Hiding Old Stuff – Now the focus is making the working content visible, (and prized content visible,) and making older stuff invisible. It’s not that you can’t reach them through the archives (or through a direct page link,) but not putting it in the foreground. Also – making it clear when you are in fact wandering through the archives. (The comment time stamps helps with this.) “What is CommunityWiki?” It should be easy to see the current conversational topics, prized topics, and historical topics. Hiding old conversations I think would be valuable as well – “show conversation circa Dec 2006” unrolls if you click on it, and we see the old conversation. But the user interface affords new / present conversation.

This is tough stuff to implement – it cuts into how you version your wiki, it cuts into your user interface, it requires brand new presentation logic, and it requires a bunch of tools for manually reworking that presentation. That’s a lot of work.

But I hold it in mind.


see CommanderVsJudge


see HierarchyTheory


see LionsCriticismOfAnarchism


see CommunityAndSociety


see OpenSourceSociety


see ReductoAdCongregatio


My communicative approach broadly has been to “second-foot.”

That is, if people argue that Free Speech is a good thing, and then make numerous arguments about Free Speech, then my communicative approach has been to say, “Well, I don’t believe in Free Speech in (xyz) context. I believe in <insert a new word here, for some particular rearrangement of ideas.>”

Compare CliquesAndCommunities, for example: “You condemn such-and-such for being a Clique. And yet I notice that you are utterly indiscriminate about cliques and groups, and have no argument to distinguish the good from the bad. Very well then, I’ll just call myself a clique, and then we can cut to the chase about what’s wrong about cliques, and what is right, and then where we stand on these questions – rather than just enguaging in name calling.”

Free Speech, Open Mindedness, Cliques, Cults, and so on – my rhetorical approach is regularly to say “Yes, whatever evil or vile name you have for it, let’s start there” (or, “Yes, whatever holy and all-transcending name you have for it, let’s start there.”)

The positive of this approach is that it forces the statement: “Okay, well then – that’s bad.” – and then the question comes out: “Ok, so why?

That is, it effectively jumps waaay beyond “Is it X?” (which is so frequently “is not, is too, is not, is too,” and picture painting and context framing,) and gets to the straight up analysis of “OK, so what’s so bad about X, and do we do that, or do we not do that?”

Alternatively: “What’s so wonderous and holy about X, and is that actually the case here, or not? Is that endangered here, or not?

Alan Moore for example, famously called his book “Lost Girls” pornography. He said he was pounced by people saying, “It’s not pornography, it’s erotica.” He had effectively circumvented all conversation about “Is it pornography, or isn’t it?”, which was his aim. Of course it’s pornography – he said so himself.

That the technique is communicative, there is no doubt in my mind. However, what are it’s limits? It has limits.

When you find yourself saying things that sound like arguments against open mindedness, against free speech, for totalitarianism, for cults, for cliques, and so on – you cease to be enguaging with reality.

GeorgeOrwell admonished against double-talk – “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery,” and the like. There are excellent, accurate, and important papers out there that argue “We need to limit freedoms for the sake of freedoms.” Those arguments are right. There are also excellent, accurate, and important papers out there that argue “Freedom is submission to God.” On the first example, you can’t rob the bank (a limitation of freedom,) but that makes it possible for people to save money away safely, and not worry about being robbed by others. On the second example, we must ultimately ask ourselves “what is our purpose? What is it that we are fulfilling?” There is some dream that we are putting our sufferings to, and if that end is our own selfish ends, if we cannot find the smallest grain of charity in our hearts, then what a sorry lot that is. This is profound truth. And yet, “We must Limit Freedom for Freedoms sake,” and “Freedom is slavery to God.”

If the algebra looks double-speakish in the simplified form, I do not know how to do more than shrug at present, and hope that the person is patient enough to let me explain. GeorgeOrwell, what coin would you accept?

No, there is another thing I can do: I can be myself charitable when I face what appears to be double-talk. I can say, “Surely you don’t mean (X); Can you resolve this tension for me?” And if they cannot resolve the tension in their understanding, I can be charitable again, because to understand my incomprehension of all of the tensions involved in even the simplest of acts, behind even the smallest tap of a keystroke.

Getting back to second footing though --

I need to find new ways to argue, and to see this method as a crutch. Yes, it is appropriate some times, but it cannot be over-relied on.

I believe I need something of the form of, “Yes, we should be open minded, but ..

Or perhaps there is better technique alltogether. For example, Jesus Christ’s responses in the New Testament are typically dumbfounding. They answer not only the immediate question, but the question behind the question, and then the question behind the question behind the question. They answer the questions not only of the one who asked, but still further, the secret questions of all who watch.

The most profound answers, I find, often take the form of stories, legends, myths, and prophecies. I suspect that there is something broken with the rational form itself. Not that we should seek out irrationality – that makes no sense at all. But the more I look at thought, the more that I see that thoughts carry emotional currents, and emotional currents themselves carry thoughts, (like electricity and magnetism,) and the more I look at the faculties of the mind and spirit – intuition, reason, rationality, sensing, feeling, – the stranger raw rational form starts to look; It is like the difference between interacting with a person, and interacting with a computer, but now I speak of interacting with the soul, and interacting with what we today imagine a person to be.

Say what we like about the Earth’s religions, but we cannot deny that they speak to the heart of man. I do not believe that they can do this if they are irrational; Nothing irrational turns people – no one watches static on the TV. Arguing with people, I have always found that there is a logic in their minds, even though they cannot necessarily give voice to it. You sense it as you argue; It is there.

For the mean time, I do not understand such steller heights, nor a way of responsible communication that does not rely on understanding.

For the mean time, when someone says “You’ve got to be Open Minded,” I must say things such as:

I still don’t know what the right response is. And I still see the value in drawing pictures such as the picture at the head of SelectivelyOpenMinded. But I would like to speak in favor of open mindedness, and it may be valuable to point to closed mindedness where it is found. To truly argue against it, though, we may need a deeper theory. This is not the kind of thing where we can simply speak, “I know it when I see it.” (Pornography, yes; Closed mindedness, no.)


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