oss4lib: An Interview with Paul Everitt and Ken Manheimer of Digital Creations, publishers of Zope Page 5

Manheimer: Classic wiki shows many things well worth doing - eg, WikiWord vocabulary, backlinks, recent changes, etc. It also manifests an outstanding *way* of doing them - low impedence/low complication operation and authoring - that we will only be able to achieve in the general realm if we use a smart, discerning framework. From my viewpoint, having recently joined the CMF effort, i think it is becoming just such a framework. I think we will be able to generalize the classic wiki features, and our organizational strategies/extensions, more globally and across a richer, comprehensive range of content. I'm excited about it!

Everitt: It remains to be seen whether this model can achieve its goal without losing the simplicity that makes Wiki so pervasive. But let me describe a thought scenario and see if it makes sense to you...

Email and news. Lots of content blows by, a continuous flow of wisdom left almost completely untapped. Email isn't content.

However, let's say that some smart mailing list management software (such as Mailman) did a little bit more than relay mail and archive a copy on disk. Let's say it also shoved a copy of the message into a content management system, which converted relevant RFC822 headers into Dublin Core, indexed the contents, etc. Just for fun, let's call that CMS, well, the CMF. :^)

So in real time people could do full-text and parametized searches. Big deal.

However, let's say the CMF also applied some of the ideas above to email. For instance, threading relationships in email could translate to backlinks/lineage, from which you could make inferences.

But let's take it a *huge* step further. Let's say that a small portion, perhaps 1%, of the people on the mailing list committed themselves to being Knowledge Base Contributors. That is, before sending their email, they observed a couple of small conventions:

a. Using RFC822-style headers at the top, as is done in CMF's structured text, they add targetted cataloging data.

b. In the text of their message they use Wikiwords.

For instance, an email message in response to a bug report might look like this:

Subject: apache, mod_proxy, timeout, bug report
Description: A bug report on using Zope behind Apache 2.0a9 and its new 
mod_proxy code causes the previously-reported ZopeProxyDownstreamError.
Rating: useful

I heard Ken describing the other day at his ZopeProxyDownstreamError
page that others had experienced this error.  There's a fix available at
ZopeHotFixes page.

Joe User wrote:
> Hello Zope mailing list.  I am using Zope behind the latest Apache 2 
> alpha and am getting proxy server errors.  Has anyone else seen this?

Observe that a Wikiword was used in the headers as well as the body. There was also an extra header (rating) that isn't part of Dublin Core.

So all we ask is that a very small percentage of people use this system, and the smart mailing list server will munch the headers at the top of the email message before relaying them. Not a very high bar to jump over.

Thanks to the threading response relationships, nearly every email message in the corpus will be within one or two relations from something manually annotated.

You could then provide tools that treated the relations and the concepts as content, allowing reparenting and cleaning up the vocabulary.

This article was originally published on Mar 16, 2001

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