Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

While I was asleep, a debate raged on the IRC channel about whether IRC logs should be automatically turned into blog entries. kensanata pointed out that VotingIsEvil so I proposed a sort of deliberative democracy approach. Lets all have a discussion on wiki page and post our positions on the issue. The point would be to change your mind freely and try to sway the opinions of others and recruit them. Like neuronal recruitment. I don't feel strongly about this issue and it appeared quite controversial. I thought it would be a good experiment in emergent democracy on wikis. That and the emergent democracy of picking a party date. ;-)

Boris writes about it here.

If only the guy in Memento had a blog...

I haven't really commented on the "should blogs be in Google search results" debate, but one random question. What is a blog? What's the technical difference (from the perspective of a search engine) between my blog and The Register? I don't see how you can "filter" blogs. You can obviously change the page ranking mechanism to give certain types of sites an advantage or disadvantage, but I don't see how you can filter blogs. My blog is just a bunch of html created by a content management system.

If more people think that the google search results are poor because the top results are not "relevant" it means the ranking system is broken, not that something has to be "filtered". The whole point of a search engine is that it searches everything and finds the most relevant pages.

Had an interesting chat with Alex Schroeder on the #wiki IRC channel. We were talking about whether my #joiito channel was increasing concentration of attention, etc. Alex has written some interesting stuff on his wiki about Attention Concentration.

I thought a lot about the name of my blog, wiki and IRC Channel and chose very egocentric names "Joi Ito' Web", "JoiWiki" and "#joiito" because I wanted to make it clear that it was my own space. I have several reasons for this.

In the past, I have run maling mailing lists with names like "netsurf" which I put a lot of energy into setting up and running. At some point, these "places" became public places and I ended up becoming a custodian. It's like having people come over to your place to party leaving you to clean up the mess. I lost control of the community, but not the responsibility. If it was called "Joi Ito's list" I think people wouldn't have come into the discussion thinking that it was a public place.

Also, I think that putting my name on the blog makes it clear that it's my personal perspective and point of view -- nothing more, nothing less.

I do agree with Alex that there is an attention concentration element to my #joiito channel on IRC, but I think of my blog, wiki and IRC channel as my living room. I'm happy to host parties and discussions in my home, but am also happy visiting other homes to join discussions there. I spend a lot of time on the wikis and blogs of people who I meet on my blog, wiki and irc channel. I think that although there is some concentration in my living room, people can meet, speak and draw traffic back to their living rooms quite easily. I think it's a fairly inclusive. I'm MUCH MORE likely to go and read the blog or wiki of someone I just talked to on IRC than someone who sends me unsolicited email.

Having said that, I think that there may be other structures than "this is a place, this is my living room." I think that the best case might be if we ALL had our own blogs and we could get rid of blog comments all together and use trackbacks or a similar mechanism to have our conversations across the blogs. Then the "places" would be the topics of conversation.

I don't know what the wiki equivalent of that would be. I have a sense that wikis and irc channels work better with multiple contributors and are inherently places, compared to blogs which could turn into identities and voices that participate in places that are conversations across blogs.

Figuring out how to deal with the attention concentration issues, inclusiveness and responsibility and accountability in these places is the key to Emergent Democracy, I think.

Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn has just gone through and responded to many of the points raised in the LinkedIn wiki page. If you had posted comments and were waiting for him to respond, please go check out his comments. He has interspersed his comments in dialog in wiki style. Thanks to the people who posted comments and thanks to Reid for all of the thoughtful responses. Now my wiki is much smarter. ;-)