I would apologize for some of the jargon in this, but in fact that is partially the point of this post.
I am writing up notes from a discussion with @Flancian. We have been “chatting” on Twitter and Mastodon about various topics, and ended up booking a time to speak in person last Wednesday, January 20th, 2021.
Very quickly on the call it was clear we were “pushing” context into each others brains so that we could get to deeper topics and explore shared areas of interest.
Querying things like “have you heard of X?” If not, quick context as well as key terms to note and search for later. If yes, then anchor that context and go deeper.
With Fission, we have interest from a number of different people and software apps that want to have user owned files and notes, as well as thinking about how to link them together between people.
@Flancian has written a Python server and is interested in connecting Agora at the level of a git repo filled with Markdown files.
I had mentioned to him that I was interested in experimenting with this site, but after all the recent tinkering I had done, I had kept the git repo private and closed. To prep for the call, it was a good excuse to bring the repo for this site public. It is available at https://github.com/bmann/bmcgarden. Actually connecting it into the Agora will be documented in the future.[^colophon]
Will connecting second brains at the Markdown layer work?
In fact, the completely normal Jekyll behaviour of specifying what the resulting web permalinks look like from source Markdown files is completely custom per site.
I already know that some of the syntax of Simply Jekyll is going to be problematic for portability. I like the side notes and margin notes features, but they are totally custom.
I have a note to move many of them to regular Markdown footnotes, and then add BigfootJS to have a nicer display. Knowing myself, I will want to switch around the theme and engine behind this site in the future, so using more standard “source code” is important.
I’ve said before a couple of times now that if the various note taking initiatives / engines / apps want to interlink, there are going to need to be some conventions or specifications or something.
I stopped using LogSeq in part because of their Markdown formatting.[^logseqmd] which isn’t compatible with regular posts in any other system.
[^logseqmd]: LogSeq has bullet lists that visually look like Roam Research or other outline-primary systems. The text that is created uses hashtags (which are used for headings in regular Markdown) for each level of outliner, which just looks like a page full of headings when attempted to publish using a regular Markdown renderer.
How is the extended Note-verse going to come to some consensus? How do we layer backlinks or other supersets of Markdown for note-specific purposes together? And, to do this at a text-only layer, which in turn has to work with a build process and/or live hosting software, desktop software, and display layers across multiple different programming languages and software architectures.
At the very least, we need a protocol or standard at some layer, and a way for these disparate groups to form consensus.
Related: I wrote about a vNotes Format some time ago, but that is in fact at another “layer” — more of a wrapper or sync format.
Connecting over the Internet
We can, of course, also connect over the Internet. Mostly, I mean linking to other pages, but there are some other protocols and standards that may prove useful or be the base layer on which backlinks or extended references could be built.
We ended up talking about convention of being able to do double brackets anywhere one can put text, like on Twitter or Mastodon, which could then be processed and sucked back into an agora. No spec, no permission, just a convention that starts being used, which is exactly how @ChrisMessina invented the hashtag.
Somewhere in here is the concept I was introduced to by @agentofuser, which is.
Flancian is an SRE at Google. Many Google only tools from software stack to hosting.
What’s the simplest that will work without having to dive into more learning?
[^d2h]: See my extensive tagging of Deploy to Heroku
Making things explicit can help people and communities find connections as well as understanding.
Specifically, three things:
On Social Networks and Community
I mentioned the Orbit Model of looking at community engagement.
Flancian sees the agora as an integration hub. For Fission, we’re using the label constellation provider. Some equivalencies?
Can a social network do more to connect people and have them learn from each other? Similar as the Viznut Eternal September post: social networks beyond consumption or entertainment.
If you take two people and most of their opinions are the same, can we dig down into the areas where they are different in a way to learn why they differ? Understanding and learning.
I mentioned chicken fingers vs. tentacles: you have to understand the preferences and biases of another person if you hope to give them useful recommendations, because your recommendations are based on YOUR preferences.
An agora is a tool for building context.
New wording. A Stoa is shared context with explicit overlap defined by its members.
A data structure and a social graph that is designed toward problem solving.
I introduced the concept of a Squad: a collection of people with a set of skills coming together to jointly work on some tasks or goals.
What goals can we work on?
Cross post between social networks
Moa Party is what Flancian currently uses to sync between Twitter and Mastodon. It has an Instagram API, which currently isn’t working.
Create an Open Collective to see if we can pool funds to pay someone to enable the Instagram API again, so we can cross post our photos into that social network.
Make some blog posts, announce the idea, get in touch with moa.party maintainers, see who else is interested in joining this Squad.
Agora Interlinks from Social Posts
We’re already experimenting with Twitter / Mastodon double bracket linking.
Can we use the agora integration hub to do more of this?
What tools do we need to do to ingest these posts into agoras?
Also need to explore common patterns and conventions. How do we inter-work with e.g. hashtags?
Experiment with linked agoras
As mentioned above, Boris’ garden is now a public git repo.
What to do next? How do we connect?
Make a call for other git repo based agoras to link.
Other Ideas & Resources
Add agora features? Add instructions on how to link into Anagora, and make the template linked in "by default", or at least following some simple steps.