The flash application that Sarah built (here) brings up a good topic about classification for our communities. I participated in a beta site called wis.dm (which has currently shifted it’s format and is completely unusable) but when it started out it showed me clearly how a system could be built which would allow us to classify the people we participate with in our communities.
The system used a rating service (which had some scaling issues that lead to its ultimate demise) which allowed people to determine who were experts.
Basic idea was this:
1.) Someone posts a link to topic and adds some comments (to spark conversation). They then tagged the links (and people who posted comments could also add their tags).
2.) You voted on the link and comments
The result was essentially a system which would relate someone who posted a lot of information on say “Apple” or “iPod” with a positive vote as an “expert” on the topic.
We need this system in our world today so that you can tell me that “Jen” (from the sample flash application) is really good to talk to about concerts, OK to talk to about clothing and not so good to talk to about Movies. I think that this has been created as an internal memory piece (particularly on web forums where you participate with many of the same people) but how do we extend that?
For instance, I have frequented a web forum where people talk about movies. And there is this one person who is the “King-Transformer” guy. Knows everything about the history of the show, the movie and everything else that is Transformer based.
Know I know that this person is the person to go to in order to ask an educated question about Optimus Prime and gang, but how do I tell others. How does this person become widely known as the “King-Transformer” guy. This system has to be created some how. Unfortunately I think that this is something that will require the cooperation of many sites but we can hope.