I’d like to introduce a new tab to you on our Online Community, it’s called Features. Under it you’ll find four tools that were already there but at different places (and i updated the Tag Clouds!) and you’ll see two new tools that I just finished programming! As some of you know I am keen on experimenting with ways to access, navigate and comprehend “virtual/face2face-hybrid-organisms/entities” like the World Café Online Community. These two represent my latest manifestions in that inquiry:
1) The Sitemap Graph is my best current attempt on visualizing the Online Community as a whole; still not the content, but at least the complete content-structure in the form of a graph! Once i was into graphs i also made a membergraph and an animation of the sitemap-development since 2009. Let me know what you think of it.
2) The Nearness Radar allows you to filter out those members, amongst all 4000 (almost), that are within a certain radius of your location. That is finally air-distance based, yes > transcending national borders for search.
Please be assured that these two tools only use the information that is publicly accessible (without login) on the Online Community anyway.
… And let me use this opportunity to share another tool-idea with you. It would also only use publicly accessible data, but work with it in a way that causes issues for some people and I want to be sensitive to that.
My thinking is the following; 4000 members… that gives almost 8million different possible groups of 2! And seriously, not the best host in the world could not make sure that all of those 8million, who could benefit from being connected, are actually getting a chance to connect to each other. In my opinion, that’s where the power of computation comes in.
So, concretely I am thinking about an algorithm that suggests you to visit other profiles based on the use of words you both share in your profile/posts/comments, based on the membership in groups you share, based on your physical location or even based on your resonant (or particulary dissonant?) star-signs. Basically a match-making tool. The same concept that dating-sites are using and the same concept that Facebook uses massively (but secretly). How about having that same here; but out in the open, transparently, honest and with professional intentions? Everyone of course would have to be able to choose not to be displayed in any matching-results.
And here’s where I am keen on hearing your thoughts; how would you feel about such a tool? Under which circumstances would you find it useful? Should people be given an opt-in chance or an opt-out chance upfront? My ideal image of how this would play out, is that people will polish their own profile-information in order to appear in more meaningful search-queries and a few hundred new meaningful connections will be made every year. My worst-case scenario would be that people will find it intruding and actually reduce their profile-information or leave the Community altogether. What do you think?
Benjamin Aaron Degenhart
Global Communications Team of the World Café Foundation