Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thoughts on Web Knowledge

Forums suck. Email archives suck. In fact, pretty much all the web content you get from a google search for the solution to a problem sucks.

But let me start at the beginning...

I recently got a second monitor and got in running in Ubuntu Linux. I'm running an Nvidia card in a twinview configuration. I had one major frustration: Windows would maximize across both monitors and dialogs would appear right in the middle of the virtual screen across both monitors instead of within the middle of one.

Today I decided to find a solution to these issues. So I went to Google and did a number of searches.

I dug through a number of forums and email archives looking for the solution. I finally found half the solution on a blog and the other half in one of the forums. (I ended up having to remove xserver-xgl and adjust compiz settings)

Anyway, the point is that across the internet there's a huge duplication of knowledge and it's incredibly unorganized. Also, it is often misleading, out-dated, and unhelpful.

The biggest culprit is forums. Forums are poor organizers of knowledge. Threads are often duplicates and experts are often dubious. And sometimes the gold nugget is a comment 3 pages into a thread surrounded by 2 idiotic posts.

So what's the solution?

I'm thinking something like wikipedia, but directed at practical knowledge. And not a wiki per se, but another type of user submitted content system with more structure and a better sense of context as well as dimensions such as time.

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