Skip to main content

Forums, Feeds, and Foundations for Answers

The web forum. Mailing lists. Newsgroups. They all boil down to the same thing: digital forums of discussion. We have relied on these mediums to carry the Internet from prototype to fad to craze to necessary base of our culture. The discussions we enable through the web (and its friends) drive everything we do in the digital world. How can we pay tribute to this with an upgrade?

We have migrated from discussing to just broadcasting our opinions. Maybe we'll tune in to some other opinions on similar topics. Maybe some of them will have read ours, who knows. We are deviating from the formula that has driven us to everything we think models the technology we desire. We need to move back to real discussions, bringing what we've learned from feeds, blogging, and content subscriptions.

Forums, beloved as they are, have lost their way. Unfortunately the number of Internet users has risen so high that no forum can carry nearly the percentage of knowledgeable users they once could. This leaves all forums at a loss for intelligent information and leads to a loss for anyone using them. Either we must spend eternity locating the perfect forum for each exact question, or we cross post dozens of forums and monitor them all for updates. This simply does not cut it.

Everyone has at least one feed these days, and what we feed the world with is still pretty limited. We write little posts, usually barely enough to call an article. We can post anything. We can feed the Internet our pictures, voices, or our minds. We can send out our questions, formatted for consumption, and allow everyone subscribing to our feed or receiving the questions through aggregation and search engines to get a full range of questions from the curious and in need. Instead of browsing to a forum page, we can find those in need through the same feed readers we already enjoy.

For the responses to the questions, the same feeds can be used to broadcast responses with meta-data attaching them to the right questions from the current feeds. The questions can even be posed with information on HTTP requests the responder can make to inform the original poster of a feed with a response.

No, this isn't even a draft of any idea for a technical spec. It is just a few ideas, and maybe even just enough for a micro-format. It would not be a lot to put together, would be less to pose the questions like this, and most of the work would be in informing those asking of the answers, but not much work.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why I Switched From Git to Microsoft OneDrive

I made the unexpected move with a string of recent projects to drop Git to sync between my different computers in favor of OneDrive, the file sync offering from Microsoft. Its like Dropbox, but "enterprise."

Feeling a little ashamed at what I previously would have scoffed at should I hear of it from another developer, I felt a little write up of the why and the experience could be a good idea. Now, I should emphasize that I'm not dropping Git for all my projects, just specific kinds of projects. I've been making this change in habit for projects that are just for me, not shared with anyone else. It has been especially helpful in projects I work on sporadically. More on why a little later.

So, what drove me away from Git, exactly?

On the smallest projects, like game jam hacks, I just wanted to code. I didn't want to think about revisions and commit messages. I didn't need branching or merges. I didn't even need to rollback to another version, ever. I just …

Respect and Code Reviews

Code Reviews in a development team only function best, or possible at all, when everyone approaches them with respect. That’s something I’ve usually taken for granted because I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing developers who shine not just in their technical skills but in their interpersonal skills on a team. That isn’t always the case, so I’m going to put into words something that often exists just in assumptions.
You have to respect your code. This is first only because the nature and intent of code reviews are to safeguard the quality of your code, so even having code reviews demonstrates a baseline of respect for that code. But, maybe not everyone on the team has the same level of respect or entered a team with existing review traditions that they aren’t acquainted with.
There can be culture shock when you enter a team that’s really heavy on code reviews, but also if you enter a team or interact with a colleague who doesn’t share that level of respect for the process or…

On Pruning Your Passions

We live in a hobby-rich world. There is no shortage of pastimes to grow a passion for. There is a shortage of one thing: time to indulge those passions. If you're someone who pours your heart into that one thing that makes your life worthwhile, that's a great deal. But, what if you've got no shortage of interests that draw your attention and you realize you will never have the time for all of them?

If I look at all the things I'd love to do with my life as a rose bush I'm tending, I realize that careful pruning is essential for the best outcome. This is a hard lesson to learn, because it can mean cutting beautiful flowers and watching the petals fall to the ground to wither. It has to be done.

I have a full time job that takes a lot of my mental energy. I have a wife and a son and family time is very important in my house. I try to read more, and I want to keep up with new developments in my career, and I'm trying to make time for simple, intentional relaxing t…