Posts Tagged ‘banyan speak’

Shew. Thesis is done.

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

This actually could have gone up eight weeks ago, but there was what I suppose is a traditional post-thesis crash. Which isn’t to say I didn’t get plenty of other things done (there’ll be a post on that in a minute), but it is to say that I’ve basically put off any thinking/work related to Banyan Speak since then.

It’s about time to get back to that. But first, to catch people up if they’ve been here on the blog and haven’t seen the work I’ve been doing.

I gave my final presentation on May 3. You can check that out right here (it’s about 20 minutes long):

ITP Thesis – 3 May 2010 from Anathomical on Vimeo.

If you’d like to take a look at the current draft of the paper I’ve got explaining the project, feel free to take a look at the most recent Google Document. The appendices, especially, need work and clean-up, but the core ideas are all in place.

Which means now it’s time to get back into things. I think the place to start is with the Dreamwidth people. They’ve got some very smart developers who have a strong understanding of community. They’ve also begun implementing some features that make some of the ideas behind Banyan Speak worth implementing on a strictly local level, which would mean getting to test out architecture and dealing with some user issues without having to worry about cross-site support.

We’ll see if I can manage to keep things more updated around here.

Thomas

Banyan Speak – A first-pass explanation

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

My ITP thesis project, the current working title of which is Banyan Speak, is, at its most basic, an attempt to decouple public/semi-public internet-based discussion from specific URLs. Or, put another way, it’s an attempt to make discussion threads embeddable, or at least portable, objects on the web.

Which isn’t much of an explanation, so let’s see if I can expand a bit on that. At the bottom of this specific blog post, you’ll find that you have the option to leave a comment. Maybe by the time you read this someone will have done so already. In fact, maybe they will have left a comment, and someone will have responded to it with something incredibly insightful. And perhaps that’s kicked off an incredibly intelligent discussion only partially prompted by this initial post.

Now, if you wanted to send an email, or talk on your own blog, or make a post to a forum and you wanted to draw ideas from my blog post itself, that’d be easy. You can just highlight what you want, copy, and then paste. Then, maybe, you include a link back to my original post for people who want to do more in-depth reading. But if you want to excerpt part of the discussion at the bottom of my post? Not nearly so easy. Sure you could highlight, copy, and paste, but you’ll find that because of all the meta-data about who said what when, it doesn’t actually move very well. And, further, if the discussion is ongoing, then the people who see your excerpt might well miss out on awesome new developments. And that doesn’t even get into the complexity of what it would be like trying to copy and paste a discussion that used an organizational technique like threading.

Banyan Speak is an attempt to take that discussion at the bottom of a post, and make it easy to display that discussion elsewhere on the web in a way that keeps itself updated. That allows people to participate in the discussion from my blog, or from the email you sent about my blog post, without privileging one over the other or requiring users to go to one location on the web or another.

There are quite a few reasons I think this is an important project to undertake, and I’ll probably try to outline a number of them as the project moves forward, but I think that’s enough for now.

Thomas