Gerald Oskoboiny <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Tue, 18 Apr 2000 01:20:55 -0400
Very nice, and very similar to what I had in mind for metaboards. 
(similar in that metaboards could eventually grow to be something
like this, but different in that I had different ideas about how
it would get started.)
Hmm... I wonder if I should reply with feedback, or keep it to
myself with the hope of doing something better eventually :)
(I doubt that I'll ever get around to it)
----- Forwarded message from Jeff Bone <email@example.com> -----
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 21:53:39 -0500
From: Jeff Bone <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: FoRK <FoRK@xent.ICS.UCI.EDU>
Subject: Shameless but hopefully relevant plug
Well gang, I hope you won't string me up for this, but as promised here's an
announcement related to Clickfeed, my newco. I figured rather than posting
the pro forma marketing drivel, I'd tell y'all a story, as it involves FoRK
and FoRKers among other folks. (Mea culpa: this is a bit pro forma, in that
I'm similar announcement in another community that played a big part in this
whole thing. But hey, it isn't a press release. ;-)
A couple of years back I met Rohit Khare at an IETF meeting and he mentioned
this list. Always up for more e-mail (har har) I signed up. I've been
amazed at this list. It absolutely has one of the best signal to noise
ratios I've ever seen, no thanks to my occasional late-night
too-many-margaritas drivel. ;-) Even the random tangents are fascinating.
The tidbits and factoids and emergent memes that this list turns up are
nothing short of amazing. Since that time, FoRK is just about the only
mailing list that's kept my attention. And it really drove home a point...
I'd read much of the lit on collaborative filtering, but most of that
revolved around passive collaborative filtering, i.e. machine-based
techniques for detecting and leveraging affinity within a user population.
For me, FoRK really drove home the practicality of *active* collaborative
filtering, i.e. human referrals of interesting stuff. That is, if you can
co-opt a bunch of smart folks with the same interests as you into being
"stringers" for interesting news, the quality of the information you see and
can react to goes way up. Slashdot and TBTF are other good, though
different, examples of this.
Then, here's the second part: after Activerse wrapped up, I spent most of
last year doing market research for various business plans, advising
companies, etc. At some point, I hit my frustration point: there are very
few good, unified tools for searching / filtering / sorting / analyzing news
flow online. There's a zillion sources of news, in a zillion places, but
you've got to *go and get it.* Doggone it, I want it brought to me! I
wanted *one place* to go for really personalized news, for collaborative
propagation of news, and *one set of tools* for managing online news flow.
Enter the newco. Clickfeed is a multipurpose news portal --- we're calling
it a "metanews agency." There are two basic capabilities right now. First,
we've got a large number of topical newsfeeds that are populated with
headlines and summaries by bots scouring various places on the net, pulling
stuff from various upstream providers. Users can subscribe to feeds that
interest them, and we'll do the best job we can to pull news that's relevant
for them. Second, and more interestingly, is a sort of "meta-Slashdot"
capability: we allow users to set up their own newsfeeds. Similar to a
blog, but it supports various options and policies for subscription, posting
of items, moderation, privacy, and so on. A simple bookmark mechanism lets
people post links to pages, with optional summaries, from anywhere on the Web
to any feed that allows them to post to it.
This is really just the first set of features. We intend to offer feeds out
as RSS / RDF for others to use on their websites; various prioritized
delivery options, including e-mail, paging, and IMs; a variety of even more
automated filtering techniques; and a variety of tools for using online news
flow for research and analysis purposes. Oh, and about a million other
things, too. ;-) It's a pretty humble beginning, but I would be flattered if
you guys would take a look and tell me what you think, what features you
desperately need, what we can do to make it better. You can check it out at:
Caveats: there's some investor-requested eye candy that's probably not
authentication. It's been well tested on IE/ Netscape on Win* and Linux, but
not much in other browsers / platforms. It's built for 800x600. And it does
require registration (free!) to access subscriptions / feed creation / most
of the good bits. We don't have all the XML-RPC methods we'll have
eventually. Etc. etc. It's not perfect, but it's a start. And hopefully
it's useful and intriguing as is.
This whole endeavor (sorry Greg) is dedicated to FoRK and a few other key
inspirations. (It really is: check out the "Friends and Inspirations"
page.) Hope y'all dig it!