Design for a Web Filtering Service.
November 5, 2001 12:31 AM   Subscribe

Design for a Web Filtering Service. Phil Agre, an associate professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the editor of the rather popular mailing list called The Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE). In his latest email to the group, Phil picks up the issue of community web filtering and announces that he started a yahoo! group on the topic. The prime goal of the group will be the design of software to power what he calls a webfilter, "a cross between a discussion list, a weblog, and a bookmark file".
posted by HeikoH (5 comments total)
Is it just me, or does it sound familiar ?
posted by XiBe at 2:26 AM on November 5, 2001

What an original idea! I can't wait until this software is implemented (preferably with a nice blue & yellow front-end) so I can finally spend endless hours following obscure links and posting nonsense in some sort of community.
posted by phalkin at 3:28 AM on November 5, 2001

Actually, I think the model is a bit more closely related to Slashdot or Plastic based on my reading of the proposal. What with the editors and services aspects.

Moreover, I see the issue-based publishing as a weakness. Issues hearken back to the days of paper newsletters and then email-based distribution lists. The only reason the distribution of content in issues might make sense on the web is if there was some thematic feature or commentary that glued everything in the issue together. Other than that, what's wrong with publishing a link as soon as its ready, i.e. edited? It sure helps maintain currency. Better yet, trust your members to self-edit and publish the links as soon as they are submitted? How better to follow a rapidly developing situation such as we have experienced less than two months ago?

So now we're re-approaching the Metafilter model but are there some truly meaningful improvements we can make on it? For one, I wouldn't mind some way to separate links "of the moment" from links that might have some lasting value.

For instance, a link of the moment might be a link to a single news story representing a single stage of a rapidly developing situation or it might be a link to a Flash movie featuring a kitten with demonically flashing eyes. A link with lasting value might be a link to a continuously updated news source or perhaps a link to a table containing ASCII characters cross-referenced with their HEX and DEC values. Of course the lasting links would have to be categorized to make them navigable and maybe we are just re-implementing Yahoo.

Perhaps effort might be better spent on implementing a system to deliver a small electric shock to anyone submitting an Onion article.

Any other thoughts?
posted by rocketpup at 4:18 AM on November 5, 2001

Matt ought to apply for a patent (we should donate the money for the fees and other costs).
posted by riffola at 6:05 AM on November 5, 2001

Phil's 'service' is a lot different from MeFi... I'm developing my own version on a subdomain of one of my websites (I'll post a link sometime next week), so let me elaborate:

A) possible topics would be limited by the service owner. For instance, I would set the topics to be "Afghanistan", "Personal Privacy", "Freedom of Information".

B) The topics would be moderated. Users would be able to sign up for a nightly email for any or all of the topics, and they could select an unmoderated or a moderated email. The moderated email would have only links that were approved by a moderator, the unmoderated would include every link.

C) You would not be able to post comments without posting a link. Therefore, it's a community, but not as much of a 'community' as we have here on MeFi.

D) Most of the stuff is done via a nightly email; the website is only for viewing archives or adding links or managing your emails.

Therefore, it is not MeFi. A note to new users: Please read the article thoroughly and think for a minute before pressing the 'Post Comment' link with snide ideas already forming in your mind.
posted by SpecialK at 1:43 PM on November 5, 2001

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