Monday, October 25, 2004

visualizing blog threads and debates

rklancer's del.icio.us points to an interesting post on functioning form about using tufte's sparklines for providing thread context to blog posts. it's a fairly interesting idea -- allowing posts to be atomic yet connected in an easily navigable fashion --, and i think that it should be extended even further so that off-site discussions on the thread (read: trackbacks and comment-linkbacks) can be displayed as well. perhaps this would be cumbersome for posts with more than 2 off-site continuations, but it might be interesting nonetheless...

update: oh, totally forgot to mention, but a bayseian classifier would be great too. perhaps the sparkline would differentiate between 'hard', literal links and 'soft', inferred links generated by the classifier.

functioning form also has a design for a debate-centric post format, which would be especially useful in the contentious world of political blogs. however, i would like to see this format support a further reductionism and formalization...torless once mentioned his belief that all arguments stem from differing readings of a single core idiom -- the quicker this difference can be elucidated, the more productive the argument/discussion. with this in mind, i think it would be interesting to build a simple blog-debate interface that enables the debaters to formalize their arguments, harkening back to the days of high-school geometric proofs. each assumption/position/opinion would be a line item subsuming factual line items for support. the oposing debator could then challenge the validity of a given line item with their own items, etc.

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