Interesting code-essay from Joe Edelman: Chatterbase. I see this as a reply to my Transcript proposal (now Chorus). It is gratifying to get this kind of feedback. This is how we make progress – it is what academics mean when they talk about how research is a “conversation” – people’s work triggers others to contradict/extend it in a virtuous cycle of progress. While I have many issues with how academic computer science works, this is one piece of wisdom we shouldn’t ignore.

Joe’s declarative social appears to be essentially what I call social datatypes, but his soft automation attempts to go beyond the fairly rigid workflow envisioned in Chorus. As with Joe’s previous work he is deeply concerned with the humanism of social media – making it suit the way people naturally function rather than the other way around. I take his point, and would like to make Chorus work as informally as possible.

Joe makes the intriguing suggestion that out-of-band communication like email, chat, or even voice should suffice to satisfy obligations in the workflow. It is interesting to think about how that could be done. Here is a speculation: many current attempts at AI chatbots will fail to work beyond the most generic conversations because they have insufficient knowledge of the subject at hand. Perhaps the declarative scripts that Joe and I envision could supply the needed formal description.

I’m hoping this is the start of a little mini-field of people working on Socially-facilitating Software. Maybe someday we can hold a workshop. But in the meantime, in the spirit of encouraging the sort of conversation I spoke of above, I’ve add a “See also” section to the Chorus website.


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