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WGTwo -- Work Group Two

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WGTwo -- Work Group Two

This is the place for posts/comments by those of you who self-identify with WGTwo, which is mainly concerned with using PlanetMath as a springboard for developing additional commons-based, peer-produced online communities.

You may participate in both WGOne & WGTwo if you choose.

--Carl


I agree we will need to have some plans regarding this if we are at all successful in continuing and growing PM and the nonprofit org.

Some likely areas would be sharing the burden of community concern activities, like producing a newsletter, getting Noosphere and other CBPP coding done, and running content interchange activities. Maybe other admin activities could go into the fold for "planets" that grow into larger operations.

We are already being presented with some of these questions regarding Ben and PlanetPhysics, and to some extent PlanetComputing (which is not yet fully-formed).

Possible solutions include limiting collaborations to individual projects/initiatives but not forming formal organizations for the other "planets", or keeping them separate; having many formal organizations but having them join into some sort of "congress" (perhaps with its own nonprofit) that coordinates them; and of course the "everything under PlanetMath.org" solution (potentially with renaming the organization to something more general, like "Collaborative Mathematical Sciences Foundation").

The situation with Wikimedia and the many Wikipedia language projects resembles the second option.

apk

Thinking about this from a formal-organizational point of
view is only one way of going about it. It is also quite
possible to think about things from a "project" point of
view, or a "media" point of view, or (maybe the most general
but least weildy), a "computation" point of view.

To sum up: plenty of the ideas we've talked about over on the
Asteroid have to do with things that are not part of the
Mathematical Sciences, not ever part of science at all.
Perhaps the most general thing these discussions have included
is the Collaborative feature. We're looking at documents
that are produced collaboratively & products that are in some
sense delivered *as* a collaboration.

Here I am echoing your other posting today on the centrality of PlanetMath's community. Actually, I'd say community is a central
thing in a lot of places, in a lot of applications. It is
tantalizing to think that it might in some sense be the same
community, just one that isn't in very good communication with
itself.

Anyway, to sum up, if we're talking about a generalized mission
for PlanetMath, we can generalize well beyond, math, "planets",
and mathematical science -- even though all of these layers
continue to be important, and probably mutually interdependent.
If we make "collaboration" central, we handily bypass various
"traps" like software platform (wiki, Noosphere) or delivery
medium (encyclopedia, etc.) or document type (text, code,
pictures, etc.) which could constrain the growth of our project(s)
and hold back our broadest missions.

(Note the difference between Google, who is, or was,
the "search company" but who doesn't just do search! -- and
Wikimedia, which, as the name indicates, is about the wiki
medium in its various applications.)

I do not insist that "collaboration" is the one most general
or best term for us to focus on, I am only advancing it as
a highly general candidate.

I was just telling Aaron by email today abut several salient
points associated with the Multi-User Semantic Network (MUSN)
project I am currently working on. These seem to be prototypical
"WGTwo" types of things. (I am also interested in WGOne.)

"It", below, refers to MUSN; if you don't know what this is,
please see

http://planetx.cc.vt.edu/AsteroidMeta/MUSN

or, for more information,

http://planetx.cc.vt.edu/AsteroidMeta/Arxana

(1) It is one of the key parts of our NSF cyberinfrastructure grant.

(2) It is something you say is needed in digital libraries in general.

(3) It is the core of the HDM project.

(4) It is a major step forward for free/open/collaborative software.

(5) It solves a high-profile problem: lifting the "curse of Xanadu".

(6) It facilitates easier feature-request fulfillment for PlanetMath.

(7) It opens the way to interesting inter-Planetary content work.

One question which has been around for a while but hasn't been
discussed all that much, likely because it was not so important
is "What is the relation of the official organization to other
planets, in particular PlanetPhysics? Will it also support them
or will there be a separate organization for each planet?".
Now, however, that the official organization is expanding and
will have official membership and is looking to expand its
budget significantly, this becomes a more important issue.
What do differrennt people here think of this question?

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