Ontology v. Stigmergy

By day I struggle to bring order to increasing complex and disorganized information while on nights and weekends I let Collaborative Links do this work for me.

Ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences. wikipedia

Stigmergy is a consensus social network mechanism of indirect coordination, through the environment, between agents or actions. The principle is that the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of a next action, by the same or a different agent. wikipedia

# Mind

To explain the mind, we have to show how minds are built from mindless stuff, from parts that are much smaller and simpler than anything we'd consider smart. Unless we can explain the mind in terms of things that have no thoughts or feelings of their own, we'll only have gone around in a circle. Minsky. Society of Mind

Consciousness is to be found in the actions and flows of information from place to place, rather than some singular view containing our experience. There is no central experiencer who confers a durable stamp of approval on any particular draft. Dennett. wikipedia

# More

For any information system we ask, does more information make it better or worse? How will we deal with a growing corpus? Will curators keep up? By what means?

With El Dorado we cross-reference operational metadata with pleasantly versatile modeling and rendering technology. But with first five, then ten, now twenty sources we feel a comprehensive picture fading away.

With Ward on Wiki we have written in thirty different sites automatically cross-referenced as pages close to front of mind get copied here and there. This indirect coordination requires little forethought on entry and proportionally less effort on retrieval as connectivity grows.

These two systems differ in significant ways. Most likely the diversity of metadata authors adds naming confusion barely present when I go looking for my own prior work. I'm also biased toward making my system work where my work colleagues don't pay much attention to that system.

# Models

The two systems differ also in what they choose to model. El Dorado extracts metadata about things built in the course of our work while wiki models attention given by the authors in the building. These approaches overlap but the former is more schematic than the latter which can leave out useful information.

Erika Arnold asked me how the systems we have built will help others find a new service she has completed. Given its name I could find it but given a description, no. The application aggregates cross-site metric, but no word in this description is unique enough to separate her work from everything else we do.

If I wanted to find Erika's service again I would ask Erika, or her team, or lookup "cross-site" in wiki about metrics but not about scripting which is a different kind of cross-site. If Erika has left a trail of pages describing the need for the work, her approach to the work, and the methods by which her work was deployed, then there would be lots related things to find.

This episode has me considering again the role of shared experience propagating tacit knowledge. If we take Elon Musk's brain implants as an ideal, my pair-programming Mind Meld offers a pretty good second best without surgery. I offer a checklist.

Third best would be an organization wide branch of the federation where each author's daily activity is described and then performed largely within wiki. Can we do it? In another checklist I consider what wiki must do to provide such a Conduit of High Fidelity.