- What is Agora Protocol, anyway? Is protocol even the right word for what it tries to be?
- Is it an entanglement of many things, perhaps, born out of confusion?
- If so, allow me to try to disentangle it.
- An Agora is a repository of shared patterns.
- Agora Protocol is what I use to define my intent.
- Trying to define a high level protocol, plus a roadmap for a platform or federated network making use of it.
This protocol is meant to allow people to exchange resources mapping to patterns in a commons, which I call the Agora for short.
- An Agora is a knowledge commons which can be seen as a repository of patterns.
- #go https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JdaC_9J0uYFNFp7g7x4VNtMxJSZQsE2MQkOMmydLCCc/edit
- I started with google docs in 2019/2020 and then I tried moving to hedgedoc but actually I think I might just go back to the google doc. It's just a rich experience, and several potential collaborators already use it (they left comments).
- Update (2022): revamping now with the occasion of writing agora pkg chapter.
- To communicate with each other with good intent.
- text based to begin with.
- This means you can use it anywhere you can write down text.
- Using this protocol we can define an Agora.
- Agora Protocol in a nutshell: https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1437079533253976066
- layer 1
You can use wikilinks. This expresses an intention to make use the wiki protocol, of which the Agora is a special case.
- The reference Agora, in which you are probably reading this, also has some limited hashtag support.
- An Agora is any virtual space you can define in any way you want as long as it is explicit and by default public.
- can be bootstrapped with agora exchange format?
- #pull knowledge commons
plain text plus as layer 0 (bootstrapping layer).
- indented bulleted lists designate a useful heterarchy.
wikilinks and #hashtags at layer 1, plus other link conventions and metadata extensions.
- successive layers are explicitly discussed through agora rfcs and settled through a governance layer called an agora and defined by convention.
- to see the communally maintained text of the full protocol, please refer to the stoa below.
- a protocol is a set of explicit conventions that can be followed for a purpose.
- push to or modify agora rfcs.
- this is as kept by the community agreeing to cooperate on such a list: the community of the agora.
- #push agora
- #push agoras
- 2020 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JdaC_9J0uYFNFp7g7x4VNtMxJSZQsE2MQkOMmydLCCc/edit#
- the agora is a markup convention
- 2021 I presented in i annotate, refer to go/agora-slides or recording if interested.
- 2022 writing agora pkg chapter
- for federation.
Go links 4
Meta, and a note to contributors
- Agora is just a working code name; it is a recurrent label that one of the authors has been using as a placeholder for a set of concurrent, only occasionally convergent ideas. Please feel free to propose a different name, or indeed to ignore the name overall.
- This document will probably make use of unresolved wikilinks both for the purpose of demonstrating the concept and labelling entities. Eventually this text is expected to move into a reference Agora, and such links will resolve.
- I tried keeping Background to about one page and Proposal to about one page. Unsure if this is the right proportion/format at all. Open to any and all feedback :)
Some conventions may be emerging in a new batch of personal knowledge management tools
, or amenable to them; for the duration of this document, we'll refer to these tools as Roam-like. These systems have caught on over more legacy apps such as Evernote, because associations can be created in a mesh or graph style between concepts and notes instead of relying on folders and more traditionally hierarchical organizational approaches.
This document seeks to explore common ground and propose a way towards a protocol for cross-tool distributed collaboration including aspects like interop, federation, etc.
The ubiquity of wikilinks is a notable innovation over the previous batch of Personal Knowledge Management tools. The wikilink convention is in wide use not only in wikis proper, but also in all Roam-likes.
At their core, they allow a user to quickly make a relative "wiki-style link" between a note in one place and a note or concept in another. Typically the user will employ a wiki-like convention to begin-- for instance, typing "[["-- at which point an increasingly constrained set of options will be offered in real time as the user continues typing, against a set of notes or concepts that have already been created in their personal knowledge graph.
As of the time of writing, all Roam-likes support wikilinks with optimistic resolution
; following a non-existent wikilink triggers a new note creation. This encourages link-driven writing and enables users to easily create stub pointers to entries to be filled in later.
Backlinks are core to the note taking and navigation experience in Roam-likes. They are the main innovation over most common Wiki tools previously in widespread use.
Backlinks are usually implemented as a list of incoming edges to the currently focused node.
Block references are critical to some, but not all, of Roam-likes; notably Roam Research and Athens Research support them. Block references are an instance of block-level transclusion.
Obsidian, Foam and other players either don't support References at all or support only limited forms (e.g. Obsidian can transclude sections only). It is unclear whether this should be a core feature of a protocol aiming to federate between tools.
At the time of writing Roam is the only tool with an established multi-user (a.k.a. "multiplayer") experience being developed.
We propose to develop Agora, a protocol that
- Enables interop between Roam-likes and the rest of the participating internet, in particular the fediverse and the semantic web.
- Offers a common interface for tools targeting Roam-like databases as knowledge graph backends.
An Agora hostsa collection of interlinked gardens # 3. Each garden is an instance of a personal knowledge graph such as that produced by any Roam-like targeting a database. For the purpose of this document, assume that distinct users A, B and C all publish their digital gardens in an Agora.
Multinodes, or constructive conflict handling
Whereas in a Garden each node id is expected to be unique, in an Agora conflicts are desired and enable multinoding # 4_._Assume users A and B have nodes in their gardens with a given id, for example Stoa.
Multinoding results in the following behaviour:
- When a user of the Agora (not necessarily A or B) visits a Stoa, both A and B's nodes will resolve, and be shown one after the other.
- When user C creates a new node in Stoa, they are made aware of A and B's node (it is shown as related context).
One of the most common uses of tools such as Hypothesis is for users to create annotations which are then imported into a wiki-note application for other purposes.
An obvious affordance would be for folks to directly reference their or other's knowledge graphs in their own annotation bodies. Both the Hypothesis app and others in this category are often using a flavor of markdown as the editor syntax, so the applications are already conceptually similar to each other.
Annotation tools could connect to an Agora of the user's choosing so that while an annotation was being created, a direct reference to a concept node could be created inline. The editor would need to be able to query the remote knowledge graph in real time such that candidate concepts could be presented as the user types, just like in a native client. One could imagine this kind of capability becoming social, if some knowledge graphs were exposed publicly and one could query across them and choose amongst them. In this way, if the Hypothesis note were to be exported to another system— including the remote knowledge app itself— the direct reference to the graph would automatically work.
Most Roam-likes, with the notable exception of Roam, store their data as plain Markdown files. This makes their databases amenable to being hosted in common version control systems.
With the exception of block references, Roam notes can be exported to this format in a lossless way.
The Agora v0.5 reference implementation makes use of this data format and is based on git subtrees. This makes it so that each participating user can host their gardens independently, and rely on the Agora exclusively for Agora-enabled flows (such as multinoding and publishing).
To be written. See distributed knowledge graph.
- Should wikilink resolution collapse or maintain plurals and other common variations? Same for go links.
Note go links and wikilinks have synergies. Go links can be seen as HTTP 302 as a service; they can provide both simple social bookmarking (letting users easily claim "URL space") and be seen as a social knowledge graph client. Making clients resolve also resolve wikilinks to go links as published by participating domains (perhaps those in a list controlled by the user, or those of their "friends") would allow users to crowdsource interesting targets.
1Roam Research; Athens Research; Obsidian; Foam; Notion.
2 Or as Ward Cunningham said: "When you reach the edge of your knowledge, create a new Wiki Page" (h/t Gyuri Lajos for the quotation).
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1464264568893583361
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1481742857320939524
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1484250606370017282
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1495598242028994566
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1495597185404186627
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1497640468972195843
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1444766327051366404
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1437085666651869189
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1437079533253976066
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1432063674756309000
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1423711815012429824
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1417926671265632261
- flancian https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1504133992756432898
2022-07-10 13:50:26 @flancian:matrix.org (link):
- I'm finally picking up agora protocol again after much procrastination (or maybe just a pause for thought!)
2022-07-16 23:45:15 @flancian:matrix.org (link):
- tomorrow I'll try to do some writing about agora protocol
- 2022-08-05 23:34:53 @flancian:matrix.org (link):
2022-03-04 20:43:46 @flancian:matrix.org (link):
- I see it as part of agora protocol, but I'm sure there are other names for it
2022-03-16 16:29:13 @flancian:matrix.org (link):
- I must work on improving agora protocol
- 2022-03-20 16:41:26 @flancian:matrix.org (link):
2022-03-20 16:42:46 @flancian:matrix.org (link):
- of course they should all be supported, but I think we need to choose one "base protocol" to speak to each other by default -- that also maybe means that's the main protocol you target when you're writing code to implement some aspect of agora protocol
- 2022-03-20 16:48:05 @flancian:matrix.org (link):
- 2022-05-04 23:31:56 @charismatic_shell:matrix.org (link):