new_model_design

New Model Activist Site for Just in Time Research

New Model Push Notes

Information Originates and Interrelates

As I started thinking about my New Model ideas for the activist community design, I took a close look at embryonic ideas of bloggers about linking concepts. I simultaneously looked at a little yellow notebook I use for jotting ideas. I call the notebook my push notes, where the idea is to push ideas out of the mind and into the Information Society as quickly as possible: thought pushing.

Little scraps of knowledge-building appear first in notebooks (the computer being too bulky for creativity), then get introduced to the Information Society as a small entry. The entry is modified as the author extends the idea, and finds supporting information. While existing ideas contribute to the original inception, the inception, in reality, springs from the thin air of the author’s inspiration.

An idea pushed to a scrap of paper evolves into an expressed idea; collections of pushed ideas can create aggregates of ideas forming well-documented text. As concepts evolve, and the scale upwards into the expanding Information Society, meta-joins of documented concepts can create high level and cohesive virtual repositories of information attributable to no single source. Still recognizable within the joined documents are significant contributors, and the mapping of constructed information can show the evolution of ideas giving a foundation of supporting ideas for the further development of ideas. This describes truly inclusive knowledge building in the Information Society.

Ideas are not spawned by ideas; a person has to form an idea and express it as a concept for an idea to exist, to be recognized, and to become part of constructed knowledge. A leading newly inspired idea combined with its contributing and supporting knowledge gives most, if not all, of the information necessary to create linking constructs useful in attaching this new idea with documents built of similar ideas.

“I have this thought: this is where the thought came from, and these sources contributed to the thought, or support it” –thus the author reflects the thought he just developed; he creates from the reflection linking information so he can allow it attach to other similar ideas.

By adding tags (really keywords) to his knowledge-constructs that reflect the ideas within the construct, the author can allow the ideas in his documents to mix with ideas from other authors, or even himself.

Since no two texts of original ideas will reflect the same impression with which to create linking mechanisms, similar documents, possibly closely linked, will offer differing profiles of linking information.

As documents with similar ideas link to each other they can form a cluster. They can pull to themselves, as a cluster, or to other text that contains more diverse ideas because of the differences between them. This ongoing linking process can create expanded clusters of ideas that blend, in a multi-dimensional medium, with other clusters likewise built of closely linked ideas: just as colors blend in a spectrum.

Thus formed are floating clusters of meta-information constructs, and with them, newly freed and joined knowledge with no physical limitations.

These floating clusters have to originate from somewhere. They may develop in a discussion environment, for instance, where each idea is proposed in the form of a response to some other idea. Here, the discussion environment provides a scaffolded construction area based on commonly accepted ideas of thought development. The resulting ideas developed in the scaffolded environment can separate from the scaffolding to join conceptual idea clusters with the benefit of highly reflective linking constructs. The ideas can float away from the scaffolding of the discussion forum into an entirely different nebulous architecture of gravitationally attracted idea clusters. This architecture is multi-dimensional; it is more like a cytoplasm than a discussion environment or a bookshelf; it is more like a mass of floating dandelion seeds than the ship’s dry dock that may have constructed it.

The entry point for a person into the atmosphere in which all the clustered ideas float–the cytoplasm of the Information Society–is really a guiding overlay for the joined concepts: it is a narration. Ideally, a narration successfully joins a sequence of short stories. These clustered concepts are produced as teleplays where a narrator guides a listening person through the many knowledge-constructs of linked concepts and ideas.

Listeners join into the Information Society to become contributors as they find areas in which they are comfortable. They then can build knowledge from knowledge. Meditating on concepts, developing inspiration, and pushing their ideas, they link their ideas to supporting constructs. As listeners become increasingly recognizable as contributors, their own constructs, complete with open-ended links built from a reflection of their ideas, allowing for further connecting ideas to attach to their information; new ideas are drawn to their information, supporting or, ideally extending their ideas. Their newly developed ideas become a foundation for ideas in the purely fluid soup of the Information Society.

The clustering of information, the quality of the supporting information and the comparison of information allowed by the clustering of concepts will build knowledge that comes to the real needs of the world, knowledge useful for the true aims of activism.

Links and tags can be created externally for a developed document as the document comes to rest somewhere in the cytoplasm of the Information Society, typically as a log entry or in a forum discussion thread. Information gleaned from the document, such as the originating information the ideas were built on; the physical source it was derived from; the author; his references; and an aggregate of descriptive words chosen from the text can create the basis of linking profile. Sophisticated linking constructs built from these clues can be used by server-based algorithms to make meaningful connections joining differing information sources, to create new and previously unimagined idea relationships leading to potentially valuable discussion and conceptual alliances.

Since no two documents reflecting original ideas will have the exact same profile for their ideas, (even similar and closely linked documents will have differing linking information); they will pull to them diverse linking documents. This will create clusters of ideas that blend, in multi-dimensional space, to other clusters of ideas, just as colors blend in a spectrum.

The basis for creating a linking profile can be drawn from the text or from the context of the idea:

  • an aggregate of descriptive words chosen from the text

  • the author

  • discussion that initiated the text

  • references supporting the ideas

As original ideas expand further outwards into the cytoplasm of the Information Society, the technology needs to focus inward towards the inspiration process. As people increasingly join as contributors, after having been listeners, their ideas become increasingly sophisticated. As they increase the volume of their information, they improve its quality. As both the quality and the volume increase, more time is necessarily spent in the management of their information constructs. Hence, a pressing need for algorithms at the personal and community levels. Linking algorithms now need to be distributed to all the Information Society contributors, just as the original networking services technology was transferred from the monopolistic corporations to the world’s people.

Algorithms have been developed to find key-word matches in the document to create links to other information sources. But, these algorithms presently cannot recognize the distilled ideas behind the developed concept; they are unable to aggregate the links into meaningful joinings of documents. Corporations are uninterested in aggregating information concepts; commercial marketing only justifies the flow of separate unrelated and often inaccurate information presented with no means for comparison or meaningful dialog. Corporate developed information links occupy the Information Society, but provide no useful contribution.

These after-the-fact links are formed externally by algorithms, hence they controlled by the algorithms, rather than allowing the author of the ideas to create a meaningful reflection of this thoughts with which to encourage idea-linking. External, after-the-fact, linking of concepts by corporations can be ruthless: algorithms created by the Google search engine, for instance, pull thoughts and insights towards commercial products, often irrelevantly. They are unsophisticated and inaccurate because they cannot be aware of (nor would they care about) the author’s original inspiration behind his thoughts.

Scaffolding: The Web Community

Components of the New Model Design

Similar to action research, but developed independently, the model I developed for accessing government, for allowing democratic participation through the web, to directly and instantaneously benefit those in extreme need, is a cycle for knowledge discovery, development and implementation. The process is not a cycle; a single instrument of knowledge is delivered to, in the case of the US, congressional leaders, who can use the well-developed knowledge of the community to make decisions and implement beneficial laws.

In my personal experience, and the experiences of the Katrina group, good information can provide moral guidance for timely action. The success of the Katrina group, and other successes I have had, are surprising; congress has historically been a culture of cynicism. Throughout American history, the purely self-interested motives of discrimination and exploitation have seemingly dominated the top levels of government action; in the case of the domination of the Native tribes, US mistreatment could be the worst in history. Of course, the natural and humane side of American culture developed in parallel resulting in what Humanists call emerging society: people following their own guidance based on their own experiences independent of framed information usually coming from either the corporate controlled government or the religions pulpit. Most, if not all, of the members of the Katrina activist groups are emerging people.

As natural people and animal lovers many of the members have likely been hippies sometime in their lives, or may be so now. There is an anarchistic streak as well in most of the members, where conceptual departures were occasionally made from what I would consider accepted science. Looking at all the components of the Katrina experience, both successes and difficulties, the structures provided by the discussion threads and the group accounted for its success: no individual effort could have influenced the misdirection of government that New Orleans experienced. But, as a group, the discussion forum was able to deliver accurate information, which in turn influenced congress to create law instantly, often informally. The most remarkable successes were with respect to animal welfare; the usually unstoppable forces of animal killers were halted instantly. The group empowered and coordinated highly individualistic people purely through knowledge construction; political direct action was usually implemented outside the group. The information discovery and development process was the scaffolding structure, for the most part. Guidance was provided by me to focus the information development effort, and I tried to protect the group and its treasure of information, but neither of these efforts brought the group together nor motivated its members. The desires by group members to benefit the people and animals of New Orleans, structured by the information process itself, provided the successful impetus.

Educational and information technology efforts often work in cycles, where action research is a prime example. The new model design is similar to action research in the ways it seeks and develops information but is different in many other ways. The purpose of the new model is the timely development of information instruments for quick delivery, usually to other activists or to government. Rather than ruminating, as action research does, the new model moves on to other areas of distress to repeat the information discovery, development, and delivery processes.

Central to any information system or process is the typing of text into a screen, where a button sends the newly formed information into the Information Society. Little input to the Information Society is done through the electronic version of paper composition, the modern word processor. The text area is limited, providing only letters, numbers, spaces and new-lines. Recently, simplistic word processors have been developed that can be embedded into a web page. The area of development that has created these is called AJAX, where the J is for JavaScript, the programming language of web pages. (HTML, the markup language of the web, is technically not a programming language, it only guides the formation of web pages in the browser.)

These new micro word processors usually save their information as HTML code to be embedded into the web pages of the information system that provides them. They provide the majority of necessary word processing functions as well as access to spell-checking facilities. They are an important development for community systems, because they provide basic tools for the most important component of the Information Society, the authoring effort. Another important contribution they make, is to provide community members with a sophisticated service, leading to an important purpose of a web community, member support.

In the new model design, the advanced text-area works as a tool for the member just as paper and pen work for the traditional author. Information created in the advanced text-area can be channeled to a variety of places simultaneously. The most important destination for the discussion thread, but the information stands on its own as well. It gets saved as a draft as stand-alone information. The information is not saved so much as contained; the container includes areas for attributes about the information, specifically the kind of information that can be used for linking it to other information. The container is a complex structure, an object, with a name and a location. Such sophistication as applied to every little piece of information is unique to the modern information system. The ability run sophisticated automated software processes against the text is nearly effortless; data storage is so cheap that space used by composed text has negligible cost.

Exactly how all this data is stored and accessed is highly optional, whatever works best for the benefit of the system, and its members, is usually adopted. An important factor is privacy; group members may want to keep their drafts and personal documents very private, possibly on their own machines. This is, of course, a personal prerogative and a valid choice. Since the community software provides support to the user, it may make sense for the group members to run web based software on their own computers, giving them a personal local web site that would be a subset of the community web site. An arrangement like this would help greatly if members are participating in the development of the community; also it may provide redundancy for the centralized web site in event of technical outage, or some other problem. Users may want to provide their own, distinct, web services themselves.

Discussion: Understanding, Empathizing

Threads, modeled after Care2

Interest groups are formed by someone who becomes the owner. Within the group, members join and they can start discussion threads; owners can manipulate the discussions and control the membership. There is a small space where the site can be customized, and additions like an area for RSS feeds. Many activists resist Care2 because it is commercial, and relies on advertising; the advertising is fairly obtuse. Individually, people have profile pages, which they can customize somewhat; they are similar to sites like MySpace but far less spectacular; technologically speaking, Care2 is far behind commercial sites, and less responsive than member run sites. While the Care2 is primarily a discussion and advocacy site, it has a commercial side. The online shopping attracts many people; all the products are environmentally aware and free of cruelty to animals. Also, the possibility of dating is an attraction; there is an expectation of more awareness and tolerance from possible mates than might be found in most of society and other online dating sites. There is a vast variety of discussion groups, there is something for almost everyone on Care2. There are sensitive discussions between people who would certainly be committed friends in real life, but because of distances between them and differences in social status probably would never meet.

Care2 is a new economy project in everyday, altruism is mixed with commercialism exactly as new economists proposed that the free market be channeled to create a better, more efficient world. Of course capital thrives on exploitation, the new economy concept was fantasy for the most part, but Care2 survived easily, probably because it was founded at a time before the so-called angel investors created the environment of high risk for complete control.

In the two years I have hosted discussions on Care2, it has gone through various changes, none of them good. They redesign their pages with incremental improvements; they completely ignore the creative freedom given by blogging and personal sites such as BlogSpot, Live Journal, and MySpace. The pages are completely static, with small choices available. It is almost as if users are stuck in rural high schools, while the rest of the web world has moved on to art academies in the newly cultural small cities.

The Care2 discussion model is fairly one-dimensional, yet effective. Probably Care2’s biggest strength is its community nature. The majority of members are animal lovers of various degrees, and all members support the environment, though sometimes in contradictory ways. There is no libertarian activist support for corporations, such as you find for Microsoft in Usenet discussions in Linux groups. No one calls corporate support liberalism, liberals are still leftists; President Bush is a neoconservative on Care2, not a neoliberal as he labels himself. Despite having an environmental core, there often seems to be more argument than agreement on Care2.

Owned by the Care2 corporation, and closely linked, is the Petitionsite.com. Discussion can lead to action through the development of petitions. Traditionally, petitions have had little meaning on the Internet; they have usually been passed by email from person to person, who each add their name. There is no foundation for these petitions, nor is there a verifiable source for them; they have always been ignored. The Petitionsite is effective though, to the surprise of the rest of the Internet. Petitions generated by Care2 users have between a few hundred to a few thousand signatures, really entries. They are verifiable people, and there is an area to put in comments and also a photo. During the peak of the Katrina suffering, many petitions were generated by Care2 users through the Petitionsite. The level of the effect on government can only be guessed at, but changes in our usually intractable government this time were rapid. Petitions backed up by phone calls and faxes, especially to Congress, are among the most effective political tool available to the average citizen. Recently, software has been deployed on capital hill that will filter out emails and petitions, it could be that authoritarian representatives and bureaucrats are chafing at Internet democracy; there can be no possible network security threat from an Internet petition.

A goal of the New Model is enable moderate numbers individuals with information tools for maximal effectiveness in a personal sense rather than having large numbers of users who are only moderately involved. From my experience, the best way to influence government has been through large coordinated letter mailings combined with phone calls and faxing. The purpose of these large activist mailings has been to shame the government into doing its job of enforcing various protection laws; or to influence it to create laws. An effective group in New York has been the League of Humane Voters; as a block, they promise (and deliver) votes to politicians who support humane legislation; they hinge their groups votes very often on particular legislation, and they are non-partisan, they support any politician who supports animal kindness legislation. These efforts by groups of individuals are usually effective. Yet ironically, conditions for animals deteriorate and the destruction of the environment accelerates.

This could be a result of the “think globally, act locally” adage. It is very difficult to completely comprehend the effects of capital around the world. A major obstacle created by globalism is the concept of multiculturalism. On the surface it sounds good; it implies the trading of ideas and cultures around the world. But, it is always found in the context globalism, a clear threat to the environment. This gives a clue that multiculturalism may not be what it appears. In reality, multiculturalism consists of consortia of dominant cultures from around the world provides a sense of ethnic diversity. But, all these dominant cultures are exploiting dominated cultures: something very difficult to see, especially on television. Supporting multiculturalism means supporting local exploitation.

An activist community needs to be designed so it sidesteps these obstacles. Possibly by focusing on specific problems, and developing a cluster of related concerns that in of itself becomes a community of concern, creating a social community of friends.

New Model

Knowledge Organization, Computer Organization

Computers and network communication applications have the benefit of being relatively new contributions to the Information Society. New ideas for building information as well as new ideas in both design and construction, are allowing for new types of culture to grow.

However, many people still see computers as simple devices for their personal benefit: the primary computer unit of our world is, in fact, called the personal computer. Unfortunately this is the perception of people who have political control. Unfortunate, also, is that political controllers have managed to exert fascist-like control over computer systems. The present controlling organization in the US is Homeland Security. In the Katrina portion of this paper, I hope I presented information to prove that this organization is beyond incompetent–its were negligent during the Katrina crisis causing thousands of deaths. From all reports, the Homeland Security and FEMA abuse of Katrina victims continues in fenced camps set up for thousands of refugees from New Orleans.

In a sense, the new model of group activism is well positioned to deal with control and abuse because of its roots in both activist culture and the highly advanced technology and group organization techniques of the information renaissance of the 1990s. The inspiration of the new model is the Katrina group on Care2; the group members are largely activists, albeit part-time, and the system is an excellent example of enduring success of the influences of that information renaissance: the New Economy.

Groups

The facilitation of open and supportive work groups was initiated by the Humanists, notably Carl Rogers, to assist in therapy and teaching. The ideas have moved so far into the mainstream that it is hard to find anyone who can give details of the history of the modern group dynamic who hasn’t studied Humanism. Possibly, because of the ubiquity of small group dynamics, much of the founding philosophy, and facilitation techniques, of bringing people together to resolve differences has been lost. Often, the techniques of creating groups are used for personal gain, to create better community relations.

Groups give activist efforts efficacy, but it is the inspiration of the individual that creates for the group direction and the knowledge necessary to make the group’s efforts valid and effective. To make a new model web community that is effective, that is more than a voice in the forest, there has to be a transference between group and individual efforts that is supported by the web community application design. While the design architecture does not make the group or define the effort, there is a relationship between the computational executions of the application’s code and the efforts by the group members. As more of the application is designed to facilitate the group effort, and less of it is defined by the group itself on-the-fly, the group can function at is most efficiently. An added benefit of computer communication, especially in the discussion thread, is that both individual and group efforts can operate simultaneously. And, because activism is usually a volunteer effort, the work group needs to be efficient so as to allow the group members maximal time for their normal lives.

Care2 claims to have millions of members. While that may be true, the active core of Care2 is probably about 10,000 with about 4,000 in my immediate surroundings. Within the Care2 community are sub-groups often defined by nation, and sub-groups defined by interest: the members’ reasons for being on Care2. The largest group is concerned with animals; many are there for recreation, others for romantic recreation. Each member belongs to a series of groups, and it is by these groups that their topological location in the community can be defined. This diversity in service guarantees Care2’s longevity, despite some technical awkwardness that it has.

While Care2 is clearly successful, I believe that an activist web community needs to be more focused on effort, and that that responsibility falls to the design of the web community. Care2 has the group model well defined, but other applications have better tools for the idea development and knowledge delivery desired by the new model. An application that can contribute components to the new model is Moodle, a free and open online school application. While no school uses Moodle exclusively as their campus, many high school teachers use it facilitate their classes. It utilizes Wiki, Blog and Discussion forums, as well as tools specifically designed for school management. The project is written in PHP the most popular web service language. I chose PHP for the new model so that I could re-use as much code as possible; Moodle provides nearly all of the necessary components to be used by the new model. All that is left is to develop the architecture, develop the information documentation standards, and reapply Moodle’s code in conjunction with other borrowed code, and code developed specifically for the new model.

Important to the design of the new model, is making it open so that the members can make technical contributions; so that they can design and build parts of the site themselves. The primary benefit is obvious, the members take what is called “ownership” of the project, but the other important benefit is in the reduction of operational costs. In fact, the whole operation should be un-moneyed and run for free. As a not for profit organization, it will require a board for legal status; in my experience, boards need to be avoided like the plague.

Basic Idea

  • Comprehension – Summarizing Sources and Storing Text and Pictures

  • Understanding – Discussion, Defining, Narrowing empathy

  • Support – Community and Individual Discussion, Personal Pages and Storage (leading to personal relationships)

  • Direct Action – Instruments and Targets (creating impact with lawmakers, other activists, and the general public)

Members find issues (or already have issues in mind) to discuss. Generally, they have seen something that disturbs them, and they want to help. As in Care2, a member initiates an effort by creating a new effort. The conceptual computer effort of creating an effort is new –> effort.

As an individual, the initiator collects information and presents it in such a way as to attract other activists. For this the initiator needs a desktop to create, an area to store information collected on-line, an area for information scanned into her personal computer. This repository has to be divided into personal and public areas both for privacy and for the concepts of scaffolding.

If the initiator’s ideas attract other activists, and they personally commit to investing time, then a group effort is initiated. If not, then the effort is an individual effort, where others may contribute comments or suggestions without committing to creating knowledge to deliver to congress.

Within the initiator’s tool set, there should be no reason why every compositional tool ever invented cannot be accessed to add sophistication to the initiator’s presentation. This includes code building tools, graphics manipulation tools, and any kind of text editor. Since most of these tools are in existence as applications, the code within them needs to be converted into loadable modules to be integrated into the desktop of the initiator.

Here, I introduce what I call the ThinMan model. ThinMan was my attempt at personal success during the new economy. I looked at the Nintendo 64 child’s computer gaming console, which uses a 64 bit path (soon followed by a 128 bit path), and compared it with the 16 bit Microsoft Windows system in my corporate cubicle. In comparison to the Windows computer, the Nintendo was factors faster and eons ahead in sophistication and service to the user. My first idea was to use little gaming boxes, like this one, with the quickly growing Linux operating system. I developed a marketing plan similar to the Swatch watch idea, where a new box would come out every month. To connect with the youth, I would have contests to see which school design team could create the best box exterior. Ideally, the boxes would become collectible; they would also be upgradeable.

The most important development of the ThinMan model was not in marketing (though I still believe the Swatch concept would work well). I developed a component model based on the Perl CPAN. The ThinMan user’s desktop would be central, and modules would load onto the computer from repositories to give the user’s desktop capabilities. It would allow the combination of tools, and subsets of tools, right into the contextual application of the user’s text. For instance, an art application has a palette, a word processor has text tools, and a browser has a top navigation bar. The ThinMan users desktop window would have both available when needed, there would be no separation between applications; tools would surround the contextual effort as needed, and be discarded when used. The open and free software model would allow the code of the modules to be loaded from any source: a repository or a nearby ThinMan. Furthermore, an exciting tool like the ThinMan would attract engineers all over the world. My enthusiasm for local youth culture world-wide would help define the ThinMan to be as minimalist as possible to exert ubiquity–to assure that any youth can have one, knowing that many young engineers will want to contribute code and design features.

Extending the ThinMan modular concept to the new model, the new model user, now in the role of initiator, would be able to access tools through the web site to sophisticate her presentations.

A sophisticated, yet obsolete, text editor is the visual editor, or VI. I mention it because it has an important feature: mode switching. But, as I think about it, I feel the VI editor was probably the most important initial building tool of the modern Information Society.

It was with the VI editor, that all the original Internet applications were written. VI was developed by one of the founding member of Sun Microsystems. It was designed during a time of very slow computer communication, and therefore had to be very efficient to be awkward; its awkwardness in use makes it obsolete in comparison to modern text editors. None-the-less it is still a very popular editor and has advanced to be able to utilize modern desktop systems.

An important feature of VI is the idea of mode; the editor is either in text-entry mode, or in command mode. When in text entry mode, all you can do is type text into the window, when in command mode, all you can do is manipulate text. All text editors have to have these modes, yet most try to hide the mode-switching with the use of the CTL button, as in CTL-Z to undo a mistaken edit. VI has two distinct modes, making it interesting, though difficult to use for anyone used to, say, word processing.

VI’s distinct mode concept is an excellent example of how computing operates; different functions are distinctly separate–they may produce a seamless effort, but mixing modes only confuses things and dilutes the actual effort. When in one mode, function best in that mode, when in another mode, function best in that one: don’t try to mix modes. Unfortunately, most tools do just that, creating isolated efforts and diluted efforts. I would personally like to see the VI teams abandon VI as a tool and apply VI’s mode concept to other applications and tools, particularly the text-area used in web pages for editing text. Using now-common graphics, it would be easy to switch between modes all the while cognizant of which mode you are in. Knowing which mode you are in, and switching between modes, is the primary weaknesses of VI.

Different Modes

Receptors and Perceptors

When I was working late one night recently, I came up w/ two action agents: receptors and perceptors. They relate to the roles in group organization, because in group learning the goal is learning.

The modes for the new model are socially, rather than technically, derived:

Reception

Perception

Meditation

Discussion (mediation)

Development

Delivery

Text

Contextual text

Unity

Separation

Evolution

Disruption

One-way linking

Consensual linking (One-way, Consensual)

The idea initiator, being contextually linked to the developing ideas, is always in one these mode choices and always in one mode or another. Another mode choice can be technical or social. When truly embracing the Information Society, one learns that technical and social are really layers rather than modes. We occupy both these layers simultaneously; within a web community; a member is socially attempting creation and interaction, while being situated technically in a sequence of code.

Technical and social entities are equal, and mutually dependent, layers of human society. There is a tendency to separate the technical and social layers along authoritarian and democratic lines: nothing could be more wrong. Authority and democracy are better viewed in terms of capital and synergy.

In the Group is Power

Effort and Architecture

Once an individual has discovered an important issue to discuss; a group discussion validates the perceptions and modifies it to create new knowledge. Once ideas are in place, accepted by the community, and the initiator is recognized for the contributive inspiration; the group can start to create an instrument of change; a block of knowledge to force into the pubic consciousness, or onto the desk of a powerful politician. The effort is linear; once events are observed and a valid perception is developed, the effort is directed to righting a wrong and the instrument is delivered; the hurt are being helped. If a problem persists then more information is collected and delivered, utilized more effectively and more widely, until the group wins, or at least recognizes that extra efforts will not provide effective action. This is part of the New Model design; meditation and mediation (as in discussion) relevant to individual and group efforts.

Short Lived Phenomenon: Discussion is done, so the group dissolves

While new model ideas are superficially similar to the ideas behind action research, action research uses a cyclic architecture, to keep revisiting and improving issues or topics. The new model exists in a one-shot mode. When an instrument of change has been created and delivered; and those who are suffering have felt relief, it is time for the activist group moves onto something new.

While the community that develops around the efforts may be cohesive and socially interactive, the place for their socializing is somewhere else in the community: in a community area, not in the area of knowledge building. The areas for socializing are very near to the knowledge construction structures, however. Since this is a virtual world, places for socializing or working are only a click away.

The New Model architecture attempts to bypass negative social dynamics, effectively neutralizing them, by narrowing the focus of the effort to building knowledge about particular problems and locating persons who can use the knowledge to right a wrong.

For the purposes of the new model, I would prefer that more social-type people than myself design and build the technology to support social atmosphere; I would no doubt be a frequent visitor. I am personally far more concerned about the areas of discussion, the development of ideas, and timely changes for the benefit of the planet Earth.

Making threads socially sophisticated is hazardous

The community-group-topic discussion architecture of Care2 is too one-dimensional; it lacks supportive tools. When a group becomes truly effective, a variety of discussion types and documentation needs emerge that have to be handled socially within the group, usually by creating rules. In the Katrina group, I referred to rules as guidelines or suggestions, but one assistant of mine saw the need for guidance as an opportunity to exert unreasonable controls. She embraced the guidance to a degree that the rules became the focus of the group. She specifically seemed to be implementing them for personal goals.

In the new model, groups are kept healthy by allowing them to evolve by extending themselves in useful ways. They can create for themselves new types of mini-venues to support their efforts. Any technical needs perceived as useful to extending the efficacy of the effort, and the comfort of the group, can be built using modular code by the group members themselves. These modules, once built, can be implemented anywhere at any time. It makes sense to allow every member to design modular tools as they are needed, so that they can earn recognition in the group, elevating their status.

Discussion Thread Design

  • Thoughts

  • Statements

  • Threads

Discussion goes from observing to understanding, from comprehending to deeply empathizing; it is a meditative transference of personal ideas into a public domain of discussion.

Phases

  • Comprehending a situation

  • Understanding the deeper implications through discussion

  • Developing an accurate documented description of what is really happening;

  • Delivering the information to those who can use it

  • Utilizing it as a sort of pacifist weapon.

Ideas, expressed, are text; they are often nebulous. Text evolves in context through discussion, and ideas become more relevant in the discussion environment. Text is an idea, or a thought; context is the environment that the ideas exist in.

In archeology:

“The position and associations of an artifact, feature, or archaeological find in space and time. Noting where the artifact was found and what was around it assists archaeologists in determining chronology and interpreting function and significance. Loss of context strips an artifact of meaning and makes it more difficult (sometimes, impossible) to determine function”

(American Institute of Archeology, Glossary)

Different Types of Writings

  • Messages and responses are effectively pushed-thoughts: sometimes as small messages in discussion thread, sometimes messages sent through the system along the lines of an intercom

  • Statements are more developed messages, thoughts in context; they the text of the threaded discussion

  • Positions are stated as true writings, the evolution of significant understanding

  • Significant information contributions are what the public sees, what is provided as evidence of necessary change

Initiating the process

  • Group members need little encouragement, they are motivated activists,

  • Information sharing: teach how to mediate and empathize to create a focused effect, to focus information as individuals, but in a well supported way.

  • Allow members to develop ideas individually, then return to group

Existing thread models

  • Traditional threads can be sequential, as in Care2, or multi threaded based on replays to replays, as in the Usenet

  • Wiki: collections of structured collaborative discussions, often forming articles as in Wikipedia. An advancement of the bulletin board system, usually anyone can contribute. Vandalism is rare, except on Capital Hill.

  • Blog: (the Pew Report) most bloggers are “focused on describing their personal experiences to a relatively small audience of readers”

Scaffolding Discussions

Discussion threads are a knowledge organization school; they develop critical analysis techniques, especially self-analysis. Members leave and return threads in receptor/perceptor cycles; they leave the scaffolding of the thread to work individually. The best ideas are often created individually. Pairs can work on especially difficult constructs, probably best using the telephone or working in person. Larger groups are beneficial when finalizing and delivering the constructed knowledge.

Death of a Thread

Threads get abandoned when projects end, but threads provide valuable resources, and sequential discussions in threads can provide scaffolding. Threads can be encapsulated for further discussion, or can become material for a new presentation. They can even initiate new projects.

Beyond the Discussion Thread

Text can be thought of as words created of letters. But these words, by definition more, are more than that: the very word text derives from the concept of weaving. Text is push-thought, and idea. But, to become valid in community and society, push-thoughts (or ideas) need to move into some kind of context.

  • “Textual knowledge is that relevant to understanding of grammatical aspects of the language”

  • “Contextual knowledge means the awareness of inter-sentential relationships and the cumulative impact of all preceding text” (Raskin from Heping Zhao)

Going beyond that, many define further steps ideas can take into their environments, usually referring to them as something like extra-contextual. Language moves from statement units into a context of surrounding statements, and finally into a social environment to gain real and relevant meaning.

“Elements that exceed lexical definitions, sentential rules, and compositional principles” exist in “social structures, cultures, expectations, values, behaviors, and language use.” (also Heping Zhao)

In constructivism, the extra-contextual environment is thought of as situational. Situational learning goes a dimension beyond contextual learning. It describes the environment a student experiences as she heads out into the sea of discovery, having been released from the initial community of learning, which is usually made safe with scaffolding. She is truly at sea; her learnings lead to discoveries which in turn creates many questions, confusion, frustration, and self-doubt. The process of mastery in new areas of learning is fraught with risk and difficulty.

Situational discovery may provide ideas so new that no scaffolding can possibly support them. Situated learning is where significant contributions can evolve, where truly revolutionary ideas and solutions to perennial problems can be discovered and developed. Possibly, the ideal work group size for situated learning is two, to provide mutual support. More than two may result in a desire to turn back into safer areas of learning. And, a solo learner will have to weather the emotional stress of self-doubt unassisted. In project science, it is the responsibility of the teacher to help situated students create structures for inquiry, which may, or course, evolve into newly situated confusion. The teacher will have to develop a sense of humor about all this.

Teachers assist students in their project development by helping them analyze new questions, and mysteries, to help them better design inquiry paths as their situated learning reveals to them questions they never knew existed. In project science, the primary goal is building knowledge development skills first, then achieving significant understandings as contributions to community knowledge.

At a certain point, a discussion will ideally revert into individual efforts again because the supports provided by group discussion no longer help the creation of new ideas and significant change. Questions will arise as the result of attempting understanding; the process of inserting thoughts into the group context, hopefully, will raise questions that will lead to significant new discovery. As efforts become situated in the environment, where true impact can be experienced, relationships may develop with the information target audience, hopefully creating new potentials for generalized perception, action, and societal influence.

In the Information Society itself, as separate from human society, ideas spawn into the cytoplasm of contextual interaction. They become situated with each other: clustered into community by commonalties. So, where is the risk? I imagine it is in releasing into the Information Society cytoplasm thoughts whose ideas are so original that they can find no thoughts to link with. But, this seems highly unlikely; the power of the Internet is to link all of humanity. With six billion humans out there, there must be someone thinking the same things; the cytoplasm is safe.

When is a thought, or idea, best set free? Should it be released as an embryonic idea, or an idea that developed within the context of a discussion (the zone of personal development), or an idea that evolved as the result of risky situational discovery. Could it be that, within the process of the empathic delivery of influential information, newly developed information becomes the basis of the initiation of a new comprehension, empathizing, and knowledge delivery cycle? Knowledge building is the result of the process of the creation of embryonic ideas; the new model can cycle thoughts into action very quickly.

The actual cumulative effect of this type community may ultimately be to spawn embryonic ideas based on questions developed from successful recent knowledge building efforts as an extension of the classical scientific corollary. Resolving political injustices, the activist task, is in effect the process of creating meaning that can be effectively used to construct society’s reference of knowledge.

The Information Society is operating far beyond the ideals of fairness found in two-way communication as envisioned by the Humanist engineers Lewis Mumford and Buckminster Fuller. Thought-linking can be used to arrange concerns into a matrix of ideas which are not so much criticisms leading to change, but beneficial suggestions that can (and are) implemented immediately. This is a vast improvement over the traditional activist role as the criticizer and complainer. The structure of fully developed knowledge can be analogized as a snowflake which can be laid down on top of the topography of society (which happens to be the surface of the planet), to create a matrix of interactions that are wholly beneficial and based on trust: a resolution to the pain caused by inequities, such as what is called free-trade.

The features that make humans beneficial (very likely the ideals innocently developed by youth and introduced by them as they become situated in society) can be stored and accessed easily with linking technologies. When ideas are linked, thoughts can evolve conceptually based on incremental differences. As people traverse through a matrix of linked ideas, no great leaps are necessary. Contextual ideas neighboring locally developed ideas are already familiar because linked ideas have commonalties. People accessing information in areas (or thought clusters) where their own thoughts have joined with similar thoughts, already have familiarity with much of the neighboring information. Neighboring ideas can then be easily mastered allowing for easy travel to other, only slightly distant (or differing), ideas.

Possibly a strong validating feature to solidify and validate contextual linking is consensual linking. As in a web-based friendship, obviously adapted from real-life relationships, is the idea of permission in friendship. On Care2, you ask permission from another members to be their friends. It is rare that friendships are rejected, but the process still requires consent. In real life, people seeing things in each other that they like simultaneously mutually bond. Delays within Internet communication systems, as well as difficulty in perceiving emotions through the Internet, prevent instantaneous bonding. But, once online friends are introduced in real life, that bonding often occurs.

Linking takes contextual statements from paragraphs, and bigger documents; and creates from many linked statements, the thought basis of highly synthesized documents. Servers are used to link contextual text, consensually; but, only the human can reflect on text within context, giving it meaningful linking attributes.

As part of the service process of idea linking (something has to do the linking, it might as well be a public domain free system) matched linking profiles would trigger messages seeing if mutual linking is possible. Mutually consensual linking will certainly reinforce the validity of ideas within common areas of comprehension. Opposing ideas, defined by mutually opposing linking profiles, will very likely never connect, though a daring linking server might try to interrelate opposing ideas in an attempt to seek a resolution between them. This may, instead, result in conflict. Still, within the areas of idea comparison and knowledge construction, idea differences never result in anything illegal. The worst type of Internet conflict is the flame-war, the online trading of insults: hardly something to worry about.

Societal knowledge thus built and tested in the activist context as well as by the linking process, (including consensual linking), would likely be protected from the lies of deliberate disruption and would therefore be free of corruption–a significant improvement over the arbitrary law-making and enforcement process under which we now labor.

It is only in the journey into unexplored areas that comprehension and empathic understanding may be difficult. This may be because many problems have remained unresolved. The journey into discomfort, pain, and even death (the realm of the activist) is fractured and unsupported. The human mind becomes nearly unable to process successfully, yet activists go there anyway. The new model exists to assure support for activists from the expansive new model community for journeys into the emotionally dangerous area of situated discovery in society.

Thread Analysis and Presentation of Threads as Documents

When I wrote about Katrina by trying to understand the discussions in the Katrina forum, I was first worried that I had not enough information (I had forgotten the success of the effort). I then found that I had a wealth of information that was both unique in its completeness, and also difficult to manage because of its breadth. Valuable information was usually contained in single postings within discussions. As a member found interesting information and presented it, the group discussing the issue would move further into the issue. Sometimes the group would digress onto other topics and valuable related but slightly different information would appear. Sometimes members would be inspired to digress alone, but report new information within the original topic thread. We were, however, successful in keeping most discussion within topics. I extracted testimonies and discussions showing critical inquiry, meditated on them, and used them to develop my writings. It is possible, because of my search strategy, that my reading was not as contextual as it could have been, it is possible that better search tools would allow information to be viewed in relation to the context in which it is presented. Specifically designed searching tools could help identify tangential or even solo discussions. When reading the anecdotes of Texas schoolteachers to develop my hurricane project science ideas for middle school students, context was everything. Furthermore, the discussion was situated in the environment in every way imaginable. Searching tools, in that case, would have only gotten in the way; every bit of testimony was valuable.

The Katrina forum had incredible chaff though; sifting through it was cumbersome. Later on, when expanding on my notes, I used a rudimentary search tools to bring me back to the reference text and to find related text within my notes. While the work was difficult, and emotionally stressful because it was a study of suffering during crisis, it did not take a very long time to fully comprehend the entire disaster and the events that followed over months, it took only about three days. It was only because I was familiar with the crisis that I was able to produce the mass of notes (possibly a hundred pages) in such a short time. Had I known ahead of time the volume of the source text in the forums, I would have written a program to sift through the material, and to identify each statement as an individual information source. I regret not writing this program because I could have applied it to the entirety of Care2, utilizing the whole community as a source. I then could have used every discussion thread on Care2 as a potential source, not just in the Katrina discussion. I might have also enabled other researchers to do the same with some unrelated studies they may be doing. Since Care2 inspired the new model, scripts for analyzing Care2 discussion threads would also be useful in developing topics in the new model community. Certainly, a similar program could be used to search for kindred spirits presently working on Care2; this would help the new model community recruit contributors.

Placing discussion threads in the time context of events that initially inspired the discussions can be difficult and confusing. Usually discussion threads are timestamped by the date they were initiated, or by the date the last post was added. This can be confusing when researching threads, because very crucial threads that start at the outset of a crisis will continue to be updated throughout the crisis. If they are dated by the timestamp of the last entry, they will likely be reviewed last, even though they are the most important discussion of the entire crisis. When researching threads, it makes more sense to read them starting from their initiating dates, when updating threads with new information, it makes sense to look at their last postings first. But, when simply trying to scan a threaded information source to get a general perception, say, at the beginning of a study; it makes sense to date the threads based on the peak of activity of discussion within the thread. Then, you may see a discussion within the thread that occurs at the peak of discussion activity that is different, than the initiating topic, discussion that has resulted from an evolution of meaning within the discussion. Or, you may find a voluminous and unrelated personal argument that skews the meaning of the thread.

Discussion activity tends to follow a bell curve when analyzed. It usually takes a day for a group to grasp a situation, then maybe a day to find relevant text to contribute and comment on, and then the action phase make take a day or so. Commentary or discussion posted during the peak period of activity of the initiating event or crisis tends to be the most valuable information. If the topic is important enough to continue for weeks or months, there will be a slow decrease in the number of entries which will eventually level-off to a trickle after a period of months. However, information that percolates into the thread after the discussion as leveled-off is also valuable; there has been for people to truly understand the issues.

Often in these retrospective discussions that occur late in a discussion, two or more equally valid perspectives will be developed independently and then collide: respectfully and maturely. The mindset and actions of Mayor Nagin of New Orleans have remained a topic for many months in the Katrina discussion during and after the crisis. Still discussed in the group are his failure to utilize school buses to evacuate the stranded citizens, as well as his preventing citizens from rebuilding their homes as part of his plan to hand over poor Black communities to real estate developers.

Probably the best way to analyze text is to utilize various search strategies, and when interesting text is found, highlight it and add tags to it within the context of its discussion. Then, later on, use the tags to reference the text. In this way, no information gets left behind, and all of it can be referenced within its context as new information. New ways of viewing the information may come along as well. Keeping relevant tagging, or linking, information to a minimum number of references prevents extraneous information from diluting it. Keeping the information referenced but in context prevents it from being comprehended out of context; and also prevents the past from being rewritten by allowing the ideas to be placed into a different context.

Ultimately, a well mapped discussion, with pointers to discussion text based on topic analysis will be useful to any readers seeking to develop for themselves a perception of events as they were comprehended and empathized by the discussion group members. This removes the need for mediating analysis, but strengthens the responsibility of discussion analysis. Writers using the discussion material can focus on reflection, and subjective understandings, simply recounting facts and events.

A value of the Internet, is that the same material made available and delivered on one day, can be updated, and improved, the next, and so forth. The delivery date is not so much the date it reached the web, but the actual time that an audience member read it: the date the information took effect. Keeping resource information well mapped allows timely updating of information. In comparison print information, and emails, cannot be updated, and even when updates are issued they often don’t reach the full audience. The Internet is creating many new meanings for knowledge dissemination.

The Server

Every aspect of the system should be within everybody’s reach. To be truly democratic to the individual, the meaning of the entire community should be understandable by an average member. Effectively, a single engineer should be able to maintain the entire community service.

The Present Environment

The common perception of a server is a notion that implies a central machine to which everyone goes to be connected to information. Even though that is the most common arrangement in the world wide web, the client / server model never meant to operate that way. However, even the terminology implies that a person, meaning a client, links to a server, representing an organization; that is how it is done. In reality, a server is a computer process that is on all the time and listens for connecting calls from other computers. These connecting calls happen to be made by programs that are called clients. The implied hierarchal relationship is purely synthetic and was never meant to be part of the Internet architecture.

The Internet is a highly distributed model; when democratically implemented, each user is a provider, some one who serves information. A knowledge builder and provider, has on her desktop a connected machine with services. The man who invented the web server, Tim Berners-Lee, developed such a system for himself so that he could share information with his colleagues. Naturally, community would develop so that users could access a common server for its convince and reliability. But, the idea that services would be controlled centrally where users become subsets of an enterprise is contrary to the meanings of the Internet as it was created for the purposes of building and sharing knowledge. Because the Internet itself was privatized after long being the property of the people (in the US, at least), only organizations that could afford Internet connectivity could provide Internet services. Some lucky technologists working for liberal organizations were allowed to run their own services; they utilized it to create a model for democracy.

Now, with the arrival of broad band services, users can now operate web servers from their homes, albeit against the rules laid down by the privatization process. Also, ISPs now sell web site space for as little as $40 per year, greatly enhancing Internet democracy. Web services are notoriously constricting, though. To achieve true Internet presence, operating services from a broadband connection makes a user truly part of the Information Society, but to do it legally requires vast financial resources. It will be a long time before the members of the Information Society become true Internet citizens.

Creating Server Democracy

In the new model, the initiation process of a statement emanates from the initiator’s desktop. This can be from their own computer desktop, or a remote server providing desktop features. Privacy may be a reason why a new model site member may want to work entirely at home, or the community member may be isolated from the Internet for at time, yet wants to keep working with all technology designed to enable her. A member may also be a developer, contributing to the technical design of the community site, and she may therefore have to work in isolation, until her contribution is fully functional. To be able to provide all the functionality of the web community on both local machines and central supporting machines, both types of machines might as well be running complete copies of the server software. Today, with the use of scripting languages, the physical size of server software is very small. Also, the code behind a web server can be very small. The many people who are running the Google desktop software on their computers are nearly all unaware that they are running web servers locally. They are, and there is no reason why local machines cannot function to provide web services.

A fully distributed model of web services enhances democracy in other ways. By having services on so many machines, centralized control is frustrated by disruptive governments, and by the corrupt corporations and consortia that see themselves implementing governance.

The first truly distributed services sharing model is the MP3 revolution where people seek others with files they seek, usually music, to download the files, with the implied understanding that the person seeking music is also sharing it. It is an anonymous arrangement, but it is a valid community construct. These sharing systems not only share the music, but provide maps to help locate other systems providing the music. File sharing systems are diffuse and evenly distributed; members of this huge network generally feel good about sharing, as well as downloading, despite the anonymity. The political strength of the distributed model is undisputed; despite operating in defiance of copyright laws (felt to be unfair by many) only centralized file sharing services have felt lawsuits. The file sharing community has forced changes across industry. The existence of the iPod is a direct reaction by industry to the file sharing revolution.

The key to understanding a widely distributed community service is in understanding its ability to be able to blend all the distributed information and services so that they are available, instantaneously, from a variety of servers, spread out over a wide region.

Work on personal servers, meaning servers running on machines used as desktops, will resynchronizes with centralized or upstream servers, so that groups can get the full picture of individual efforts, whether they by subjective idea development or objective technology contributions. Individual small servers may actually be community systems in parts of the world not served by the Internet. Those small community servers may synchronize with upstream servers through store and forward systems. Their computers may wait for a satellite or commercial plane to pass overhead upload and download information. Also, systems may rely on atmospheric phenomena to “skip” their upstream synchronization through the ionosphere. These technical ideas are closely linked to the ThinMan model, where the technical functionality is closely linked to the subjective uses of the systems, and both are closely related to the hardware to assure as efficient use of system resources as possible to help assure the democratic distribution of resources in the new model.

If the community is small, all the information can be kept everywhere, that is all the information members individually feel they want to share. A large community will have to be more selective for the sake of technology. Rather than having information on every server, servers can have pointers to information within the community but on other servers (in fact that’s the whole point behind the world wide web). In some cases act as proxies for distributing information to get around restrictive government or corporate Internet blockages.

The blending architecture requires a hierarchical system that is democratically developed. The more straight forward the design, the easier it is to maintain, and the more effort can be put into the subjective work of building meanings in humanity. The supported discussions, the scaffolding as applied to knowledge building has to be straightforward and intuitive. But, when thoughts and statements leave the scaffolding, when the binding force changes from group discussion threads to natural linking in the cytoplasm of the Information Society, the structure changes from a hierarchical structure, pyramid in shape, to something resembling spaghetti. While we can easily navigate a discussion system to find interaction, we will have to trust that linking technology will expose us to the types of information, and authors, who we need to interact with to help us expand our meanings.

Complex Structure Design

5 layers of 5 categories, Absorbing knowledge for storage and understanding

If information structures are built in layered hierarchies about five layers deep with each layer consisting of five general categories, fairly large informational structures that are easy to understand can be built. By building complex structures five layers deep each with five categories, 125 individual areas of knowledge can be located from a single point of entry into a data structure with only five choices being made five times. Human-unfriendly complex information structures can be built this way; the are simple to navigate, yet can contain highly complex data interrelationships.

A major benefit to the use of this type of knowledge structure is in its portability. A structure like this can be inserted into another structure. Furthermore, these structures do not have to be limited to knowledge storage, they can also be used to distribute and install systems capabilitities far more efficiently than contemporary methods: again, the ThinMan model.

The choices made are highly intuitive, and they are made only five times, giving nearly instantaneous access to a large array of information. Knowing how comforting this should be, many if not most community members will be unlikely to leave the predictability and comfort of scaffolded data organized democratically in the community for the unpredictable complexity of random joinings of meanings situated in the cytoplasm.

The information held in Care2 discussion groups is two dimensional in comparison to the potential of a five-layer system. By lacking complexity, it becomes far more random in nature, and it lacks linking support, of course. Absorbing Care2 information, or any other obtained information, is doable when categories can be created by understanding the specific factors influencing particular events. Linking within the structure is different than openly situated linking, because the links are created after generalized information has been absorbed into a layered information structure. These links are structural links, and may give rise to alternate generalized categories of information. The newly linked relationships may simply be mapped by concept mapping structures.

Sharing structures

This kind of linking within a structured community is unrelated to openly situated linking in the cytoplasm, though linking in the cytoplasm may at some point provide knowledge that can be absorbed by a generalized layered structure. Conceivably, also, information stored in generalized layered structures can be aggregated and profiled to be released for linking. But, thusly synergized data is mechanical and completely dissimilar to the ideally inspired knowledge of developed concepts of push notes by communities seeking other inspired constructs to connect with. It is likely that the synthesized information generated from generalized structures will be rejected in a consensual contextual linking arrangement because it is not the kind of information inspired by push-thoughts. By protecting themselves from synthesized information, thought clusters and knowledge neighborhoods can protect themselves from the repugnant influences that plague the Information Society, such as Google advertising.

Document Model

Different Types of Writings

Messages and responses, Statements, Position Documents, Significant Information Contributions

HTML, CSS, and XML

Key to the creation, the intuitive categorization, the attractive presentation, of new model information is the design of the expressive document, and the organization of documents into web page presentations that are roughly representative of the technical structure of the new model community. While the XML standard is designed to provide document structure, it is complicated, and in of itself, does not provide a web page. CSS, or cascading style sheets, as a publishing tool creates beautiful pages in ways so flexible that same page can be published with different CSS control files to look like any variety completely different pages. CSS also offers object orientation in a simple way, which can reflect the structure of the community and the presentation ideas. The class definition is represented by the

function. Another benefit of CSS, is that it integrates well with XML, should XML ever be adopted. It works with XML variants, such as MathML, an important HTML variant when working on scientific topics. Simplicity, functionality, and organization are important in document a standard design to encourage community members to take ownership of their technology, and improve on it. It needs to be something users can completely embrace with a text editor; this idea is different than the existing document models, which are horrendously complicated require servers simply to convert information into web pages.

In the

structure is a class attribute to associate all the text in that
area with specific formatting controls. The class attribute describes the type of text being written in simple terms, such as heading or paragraph. It also describes types of writing, such as an abstract or the body of a statement. The smaller meanings meant to format text, are encased in the bigger meanings which place bodies of text into a space so that they have a meaningful format and a pleasing appearance. Larger meanings, describing the types of writing, such as discussion threads, information sources, or delivery-ready knowledge-constructs, places them correctly in the web page. The control files which format the page based on the class attributed in the
structure, determine where everything goes and how it looks. The same information, even they same whole web page, can have different appearances and arrangements depending on its context and intended audience. Furthermore, individual readers can influence page format by specifying their own control files that they have created. This shows the importance of having individual web services accessible to every member, presumably running on their own computer, or within a community computer installation. In the end, anyone seeking individual expressions in the web presentation will have to learn to code in text, and possibly learn how to program in the language the web server. To make this possible, and even popular, the languages have to be simple. The effect of the web has been to over complicate technology, possibly for profit reasons. It is nearly impossible to get a simple answer to a simple question, let alone a complex one. Often, technology solutions are best developed by youth, who are open-minded and are adept at creating original knowledge in a community context.

Topology tends to come in Triads and Efforts in Pairs

Topology is the geography of the new model site. Effort is the community; members exist in the community as agents, a resting member is not really participating, he is absent. So, added to the list of comparative pairs is active and absent. Only in the delivery of a construct to those in authority, or the departure of a thought to situated linking through contextual linking. These two departures represent a third effort but both of these actions relate to activity outside the community. From the perspective of the New Model; everything outside the community is outer-space.

Topological labels:

Creation, discussion, presentation

Thread, topic, group

Individual, group, world

Personal computer, server, open Internet

The goal is to create cascading (CSS) class attributes that define text, (in context), and document type (or location). Likewise the class attributes must relate to zones: what is personally private; what is group shared, and what is available to the world. In effect, there are only three layers in the cascading style structure, only three formatting control files are necessary within a page. And, equally simple, there are only two layers within the three structures: the level of evolution of the text and location of the text within the community (or out in the world).

When controlling document appearance and style, the five and five hierarchical structure size is nowhere near exceeded; we have three and two (or two and three, depending on perspective). The inception and evolution of the document design style will, very likely, influence the actual structure of the discussions, as discussion and presentation are inherently subjective: function will follow form.

Text Linking

The linking concept is far more complicated; there needs to be a linking tool set. Postings to threads, or statements, need to be profiled by the user; the context of the discussion is only one linking attribute. By highlighting text, and applying relevant links to that text, the text becomes in itself a unique statement. Swaths of highlighted text can be joined in linking separate from their contextual statements, with the danger of the highlighted text losing its original context. But, linking is a situated effort, and is therefore risky.

Information sources can also be useful for linking, as the linked text can inherit the reputation of the cited sources, raising the validity of the text, and its attractiveness to outside readers.

Extended linking attributes:

  • Text that extends other thoughts, statements, or threads

  • Documents that cite other documents

  • Documents joined because they cite similar sources, inheriting expertness, creating a higher contextual goal-set

  • Information saving, creating libraries for members internally of copy written material

  • Each contextual idea gets read and reviewed, reviewers add links

  • Conceptually linking writings, and writing structures as the complex structure of users information is uploaded

Linking within the Community

With a linking toolkit, members can easily create linking profiles for their text; likewise, other members, implicitly having consent, also can add linking attributes. Linking does not change text, but it can pull it out of context. This can be good or bad; by linking the text to other text it puts it in a new context; this may improve it by changing its meaning, and by joining it with other meanings. Sophisticated linking can presumably initiate new discussion, new personal relationships, and even new activist projects. It may even create families. Linking tool kits can be connected to the messaging systems that members use to communicate on an ad hoc basis; the linking profiles should give members and idea of growing discussion, as it evolves. Even inspired ad-hoc messages can initiate action through linking.

Social model grows

Sites, Communities, groups, topics, threads

Linking will blur definitions and boundries within the topology of the communities. Also definitions and boundries will change as groups grow.

Groups and topics have been confusing entities on Care2. I attempted to create a group that transformed as new issues relevant to society evolved, but when trying to advance the group beyond a specific important discussion, the Katrina disaster, I ran into extreme resistance. The group was not really a group of people, but a discussion group that is linked to a topic. It is as if those members in the context of the group are static, while the same members move on to other incarnations in other topic discussions. The movie depiction of a spirit leaving a person analogizes my impression of a person’s relation to a group on Care2.

My initial idea for the Katrina group was to move it with all its members into the new model community, and then morph the Katrina group to where it could deal with the types of issues faced in the aftermath of the disaster. There are disasters everywhere, all the time; and, some communities experience continual (and unnecessary) disaster. Very big groups are effectively meta-topics of group interests; they are not social groups. To be a social group, a group has to be focused on its members: their birthdays, personal worries, recipes, and the like. While that kind of activity is an exciting and unexpected development of the web, it is not, knowledge building and activist efforts. Activist groups will definitely be social agents, joining people together in many ways. But, my experience has been that knowledge building and social activities are at cross-purposes in an online community, and that there may be a conflict between the two. They can, however coexist, but in slightly different locations. Probably they are better thought of as gatherings, where politics can be left outside, along with religion, because of the natural diversity in activist groups. Sex and love will probably work well, if drama is something you like. Among activists, the religion of love and kindness cannot probably be kept outside; kindness and well-intentioned actions are requirements of the full-time activist. Haters and disrupter’s do not last long as truly empathic activists: unless they change.

Reaching the most needy

Most needy people in the world do not have Internet Access, in poor nations, poverty is caused by corruption the elite exists to further exploit the poor. The goal of the activist is to help these people; activism in the Information Society is the only way to end isolation. The act of de-isolating the needy is very often forced to operate under the radar, as were animal rescues during the Katrina crisis. The United Nations, which opposes the natural flow of electronic information (in violation of its own charter, which requires that borders not stop learning), supports the idea that nations should have local control over all information. Very likely, message skipping across the ionosphere will continue to support bottom line communication links.

Outside the New Model, Leaving the community

Activism is about personally making connections, especially with lawmakers, crisis victims, and other activists. This means working as a respected individual working initially in the scaffolded environment of discussion threads, who then situates into the greater world as part of a mash of knowledge and community constructed through linking technology. In the scaffolded community, one learns to organize and construct knowledge. Once having achieved knowledge mastery, linking is more appropriate to find supporting information and allies. Linking technology of this kind would ultimately help build knowledge and community far better than what is available from contemporary sources.

Like a missionary, the new community member leaves the group, not unlike a linking statement. She becomes situated in many different places where she can develop community, create valid inquiry, and facilitate knowledge building so significant that there is no reason to return to framed environments, or even the scaffolded supports of a web community discussion groups. The ultimate effort of the new community is to validate individuals in the context of their world, to create communication through knowledge construction, and to target areas of existing social structures to encourage people to do the right thing.

Heping Zhao (1992) Textual, Contextual, and Extra-Contextual Knowledge in ESL Composition

http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/Home.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=RecordDetails&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED348879&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno&objectId=0900000b8011fa23

American Institute of Archeology, Glossary

http://www.archaeological.org/webinfo.php?page=10299

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