“the blogosphere environment actually conspires against the successful evolution of difficult ideas, unless they get programmed into a form of application. This is a flip side to the creativity of the blog world, where the same constraints (i.e. noise and miscommunication) can often lead to serendipity and innovation.”
Not sure I buy everything Tom says there, but it’s a thought-provoker to be sure. Once we’re up-and-running with a decent, active population, we’ve definitely got our own ‘pearls-in-the-mud’ problem on our project. We’ve got a couple of things we think might help.
One is that we will have a strong geographical focus – so that the big national power-law curve of what people are working on becomes many smaller domains. These will have their own zipf curves I’m sure, but more comprehensible and accessible. Themes within these smaller local domains can, and will go TransLocal, which is when things get interesting.
Secondly, these smaller domains will have access to human editors: acting in sherpa-not-censor mode; who can cluster quicker, smarter and cheaper than an algorithm; at least while we are in start-up mode – also giving feedback and encouragement to those building and sailing their ships.
Thirdly – the ‘t’ word. Taxonomy. We have a large, but discrete problem domain, which gives us a large, but discrete taxonomy we can generate. Done well, it will give people structure to build their own ideas around, go translocal and ultimately the ability to improve that structure based on their experience.
We’re trying to get just the right amount of mud for good stuff to happen, but some killer pearl-detection officers and equipment on hand for everyone to enjoy.
Can we have our cake and eat it? The next couple of months will show us.