Bulding information sources with lasting value

Mastodon is a huge step-up from Twitter. The Signal to Noise Ratio is much better. With all this valuable information flowing by and so many people investing a lot of time into creating quality content, I increasingly wonder whether we could use that energy to jointly build knowledge bases.

A second starting point of my thinking is the Delightful List (on Open Science) I am creating with @aschrijver on Codeberg. (This is similar to the Awesome Lists on GitHub). And I am also compiling a list of all groups that work on digital things in my city, which I thought to publish on a local Wiki. Hopefully this local lists will be followed by other topics (housing, environment, sports, …) happening in my city, so I was thinking of Wiki (rather than a GIT repository) to make it less technical to add and edit it for normal people.

Then I just listened to a talk at the Open Repositories conference. In de end I am not sure they actually did this, but initially it sounded like the system they were building would suggest interesting datasets to researchers using their repositories. Suggesting potentially interesting articles, datasets and code would be very useful for science. Currently you have to wade through a lot to find the few things that you need.

Before writing this up, I remembered that Mastodon nowadays has bookmarks. So the step to social bookmarking is no longer that big.

Putting all of this together. Would it be possible to create a system where you bookmark interesting toots, posts and webpages (either in Mastodon or your browser), which are stored by default in a bulk list. My browser bookmark menu is extensive. That would be the next step: categorizing the bookmarks.

Some of these categories could be public. Some could be jointly edited with friends. Some could be based on hashtags (probably best moderated before becoming publicly visible). Once a category is sufficiently filled a machine learning tool could also suggest interesting toots and posts (again probably best moderated before becoming public) from the toots and RSS feeds you missed.

Some of these collections could also take into account how current the information is. If the curator would estimate how long a toot or post remains relevant, the system could sort the collection by how (relatively) timely the links are (or, e.g., replace the announcement of the 2021 conference with a link to the conference series).

Above such a collection people could write a short summary on the topic. This could be done like a Wikipage (as long as all links go to pre-approved URLs from the link collection, spam risks are small and everyone (not just the group making the collection) could join in writing/editing such a text).

Just a thought. How could we improve this idea? What existing systems already do something (somewhat) similar?

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I had though traditional directories were dead, but …

I had forgotten all about DMOZ. And they have a successor:

In good Fediverse tradition public collection A should be able to follow collection B to be informed about changes in collection B. If the moderator of collection A likes the suggestions, they could implement them with one click.

It should be possible to start a new (public or private) collection C by pulling data from public collection B (and collection A).

No idea how it is for the other parts of the Fediverse, but extending Mastodon seems hard, there are no hooks to change its functionality. So the collections are best given their own domain name, while you can login with your normal account. Preferably something like https://Fedimarks.FediScience.org, corresponding to the Mastodon domain https://FediScience.org. That is, it would be nice if many Fediverse services would in this way add a collection service. But some random domain should also work.

Public collections (as opposed to private lists of bookmarks) should get their own Fediverse account/handle. That makes all moderators more equal and the person who started the collection (and would otherwise be in the URL), may after some time no longer be active in maintaining a collection.

With such accounts, if people want to suggest a new entry, they can simply add the collection handle/account to their Toots. For example @OpenScience@Fedimarks.FediScience.org. A second collection on Open Science would need its own server or a different name: Modern Science.

If people want to suggest a new entry for all open science collections, they could add the hashtags #OpenScience and #Fedimarks.

P.S. I guess I am mostly thinking of social bookmarking for (micro-)blogging. It would still work for Peertube and Funkwhale, simply describing and linking to the videos and podcasts, I presume you do not need to be able to start them within the collection. For photo blogging, PixelFed, a different system may be necessary.

To keep things together: In another thread, @aschrijver mentions Agora.

Looks like it makes webpages out of MarkDown files on GIT repositories. A dialect of MarkDown that supports [[linking like Wikipedia]]. But I am probably oversimplying it to dead.

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