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SEMS: ONE FEATURE OF COLAB SCAFFOLDING Add your comment on this item1
Comments for item 1
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
01:31 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 1

Some context is needed for this doc on SEMS. On first approximation (social) scaffolding is a system of hardware, software, instructions and techniques for use, and protocols designed (created and tested) to seaf (support / enable / augment / facilitate) the galdee (growth / adaptation / learning / development / evolution / emergence) of a self-organizing social-cultural system where a major activity is collaboration.

SEMS, on first approximation, are whatever can be viewed on a monitor: text, graphics, video sequences, programs).

The scaffolding (a dynamic, changing structure) both seafs and constrains the activities of members. The constraints on personal freedom enable essential coordination of actions by many and provides guidelines and maps to give a common intentional objective to the self-organizing process.

In analogy, imagine the construction of a building, with scaffolding that enables workers to get to all places where parts of the building will eventually be constructed. Workers, prepared with construction competencies and knowledge of what they are to build and how to do it, swarm over the scaffolding, constructing the building - after which the scaffolding can be removed (or incorporated in the building).

Our building will be constructed of sems, and will be new scaffolding for future buildings (or systems of sems). Not all scaffolding need be temporary. Some scaffolding my have the intentional objective of teaching a team or community to perform a specific dance (a specific pattern of activity - like organizing a conference to completing a research project).

On closer examination, the boundaries between scaffolding, workers, and the new construction are more dynamic. Workers can modify the scaffolding, including adding additional scaffolding to train workers to perform new tasks. The scaffolding may also enable the workers to modify the plan of the new construction.

Over a longer time span, we might interpret an emerging web of scaffolding within scaffolding as the nature of the behavior of workers in the scaffolding changes. The emergent colab dance of workers creates scaffolding to bootstrap their social-cultural organizing.

We can view scaffolding to contain scripts (guides for worker performance). Some scripts are designed as scaffolding for script creation. Scripting and Performing are intertwined dance movements.

All members will be workers, and scripters, and performers, and designers, and evaluators. Directing and managing performing are but necessary tasks, to be performed by anyone competent to perform the requisite tasks. Every task implied in the scaffolding will have an assessment process for the competency of workers trained in the techniques to perform the task.

Scripts will vary from precise behaviors to open-ended tasks where worker freedom to create is encouraged. During script performance, workers may participate in designing modification of the script for the next batch of performers/workers.


            Work in Progress  August 20, 2008 -- 2 draft perspectives of a critical component of Larry Victor's model of reality which may enable us to rapidly emerge a nu planetary humanity. Add your comment on this item2


            jorl - this embryonic theory of sems is probably consistent with your theory of information reality, beyond materialism, which I must study. Some aspects in the following came from recent insights resulting from my interactions with you and deepwater. Add your comment on this item3


            SEM ENVELOPES Add your comment on this item4


            I know that both emails and websites, when stored as files, have data that is not normally viewed when reading the site. Even word-processing documents have data related to the formatting, etc. stored in a place not normally viewed when reading or writing.  I know very little more about this, other than that search engines can access this data as well as data in the "body".  I don't know what this is called, but I will call it the envelope of the sem, or esem. The sem being the semiotic structure of the "body" (whether it be text, graphics, video, sound or multimedia). I expect the esem, today, is limited to text and code. Add your comment on this item5


            In the hypermedia core of the emergent virtual world, the nodes are called a sem within an esem. The esem can be viewed as an envelope containing the address of the sem within the whole web of the emergent virtual world [EVW] and other data characterizing the sem among other sems. Add your comment on this item6
Comments for item 6
07:10 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 6
An esem, in the context of the internet is called meta-data or meta-tags. It is information 'about' the data object. One important point about the semantic web is its use of meta-data to create a semantic framework that structures the many data objects on the net. In this respect it contextualises "the sem within the whole web of the emergent virtual world [EVW] and other data characterizing the sem among other sems."
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
01:18 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 6
/m7 /m8 One characteristic of my knowledge, is that I am somewhat accurate comprehending the role a sem plays in the larger network, while lacking much of the details of the link patterns or details of the sem. It is not that I lack any knowledge; rather, I seem to attract knowledge most relevant to holistic patterns. That is, I select my knowledge to fit my emerging world. This can be dangerous, as it is a popular fallacy. Yet, I am meta-cognitive of this issue and all attempts to uncover flaws have not succeeded.

I have long had a general idea about meta-data, and once started to look into it so as to have my websites score higher in search engines -- but got nowhere. I know that this domain is under continual improvement and that it can be used in creating semantic webs and semantic searches (but little to no detail).

In that I seldom get requests to select data for the meta-data (beyond setting parameters in applications) I almost never am exposed to the meta-data. More and more frequently I am given options to set tags to improve future searches. So far I have not found them useful.

Decades ago I put all my digital text in an AskSam database. I created about 15 categories, each with a fixed list of options. For example, one category listed the various types of document: narrative, outline, essay, quotation, proposition, proposal, definition, argument, etc. I may try to look them up some time. Although I worked hard trying to invent ways to make entering meta-data easy and not intrusive to the flow of composition, I was not successful. I gave up AskSam we it became difficult to export a file in newer formats. I review the new versions of AskSam, but have not been tempted to try again.

Every time I started to explore semantic webs and searching, it got too technical for me to comprehend without devoting much time to dedicated study. Unfortunately, this is an increasingly frequent and difficult situation.

ASIDE: This is an important side issue: how to explore sems that contain much information beyond your competency to comprehend and yet gain significantly from the exploration. I learned to do this in high school by reading my father's physics with calculus books. I can skim papers filled with math that I can't follow and skim over them, comprehending much if the author was also clear in his/er text. I do the same with text filled with detailed logical argument. Yet, in my physics study my texts were filled with papers where I performed the math left out of the book and replaced with statements such as "and it can be shown" or "therefore, if follows". Many docs today are pruned of ordinary language and directed only at the specialist trained in the specialized language. The flood of long, specialized terms has made studying neural anatomy and molecular biology impossible - without starting at the beginning. Future sem systems will provide translations linking different branches in the trees of knowledge - matching versions of sems to the knowledge and mental style of the learner.

Back to semantic webs. I sense the efforts are both too ambitious and not considering the user. Or, they limit their view of the user as IBM did when they limited the use of computers to large corporate business tasks. I have learned that many of those with high talents in computer languages and systems are often intolerant of those who have different needs and competencies. This is but an example of the more general issue of specialization and generalization.

I sense that those designing semantic systems want them to be automatic for the "commercial" user - except when they are designing for their own use (as was done for the WWW and Wiki). Or they are ambitious in trying to create a Global Brain in one try. Although searching is a powerful tool, I feel that it tends to dominate and mask other alternatives for organizing and accessing knowledge.

What I vaguely envision for meta-data useful for me is more bottom-up than top-down. Composers of sems and semwebs need meta-data that they can easily enter during composition and use after. Some type of standards will be needed, which should not inhibit a small group from tailoring a system for their special needs. After a few generations of meta-data systems, some "universal" versions may emerge.

This is not only a design issue. It is also an educational and attitude issue. Participants using new sem and semweb technology cannot expect everything to be automatic. Authors must accept the need for their participation -- at least in learning to enter meta-data. In most cases this won't require persons to work at tasks for which they have no competence - but rather that they give quality time providing and using feedback. L2L2UIT - Learning to Learn to Use Intelligent Technology must be a diverse system of disciplines.

An individual may be more productive (for awhile) by limiting themselves to a few tasks, leaving all else to others. A community may be more productive if individuals share more in performing tasks. As many tasks performed by individuals depends on changing context, even individuals may - over a longer period - be more productive by being less limited.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS: I can't predict what meta-data would be most useful at the beginning. We can generate large lists and examine them, making a first approximation and then test it. I also expect that modes for meta-data entry will vary with individual preferences. Practice will be necessary before any user will be fluent enough in entering meta-data that motivational incentives will be needed to attract novices to participate in the training - which itself must be quality. As in any venture a the frontier, what is done may be slow, crude, and with far from optimal tools. Yet, explorers learn to have the requisite patience.

We cannot require new members to our galdeeing system to immediately use all the protocols. We must create a training process whereby they can learn requisite techniques and be encouraged in using them. This issue will result in many levels and types of processes, so there will never be an end to training and learning.


            Whereas a sem can be fixed (no more editing), its' esem will be continuously changing. Add your comment on this item7


            Some user data will be automatically entered into an esem whenever the sem is accessed. This may include the path (through other sems) by the user both before and after accessing the sem.  Depending on the nature of the sem, activity of a user with the sem may also be automatically added to the esem. Through linkages, the path of the user could be traced back and forward as much as the data allows. Add your comment on this item8


            Depending on criteria, a user may block data entering the esem of a sem accessed. However, a balance between privacy and transparency must be negotiated. Add your comment on this item9


            A user can request to add more data to the esem -- or the specific tour through the EVW the user has joined may automatically request the user to add data to the esem. For example, evaluation measures and other questionnaire-type input from the user. A user could request being asked for easy-to-use data entry systems for specific needs of the user. Add your comment on this item10


            The overall system should be designed to make time with the esems as familiar and automatic as possible.  Users should be able to tailor how the request for esem data is presented and entered.  Entry could be by voice, foot pedal, brainwave, special iconic matrices, etc.  Each user would need to be trained to use this system as "second nature".  This requires a new attitude towards learning-to-use intelligent tools: that higher levels of performance requires training and practice - but the gains are well worth the effort. Driving a car at high speeds in traffic is a very complex skill - most people can learn this skill because they want to drive. Add your comment on this item11
Comments for item 11
05:35 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 11
I want the brainwave input system!


            esems will continuously be processed by a multitude of programs. The data, at any  moment, cannot be altered; but how that data is stored and accessed can be improved and changed. A backup access to all changes is retained, and can be accessed by anyone -- but the backup record cannot be modified, although parts may be tagged to indicate subsequent modifications. Add your comment on this item12


            The relevance of esems is to enable an emergent virtual world of sems to grow with a semi-stable core - a scaffolding - with variations accounting for individual differences and alternative perspectives. Persons and teams can conduct e-tours and e-expeditions, the former heavy on experiencing and providing feedback, the latter heavy on adding new sems and alternative versions of sems.  e-tours and e-expeditions could now be offered in Wikipedia as an experiment, and through any domains of cyberspace.  The history of Wikipedia can inform us of issues in managing a participatory editing process. Add your comment on this item13


            Today, most persons lock-into routine patterns in cyberspace -- never learning how truly diverse it is, how potentially REESEE.  Semi passive e-tours, with activity between watching tv and computer gaming, could become a major attraction. Done appropriately, this could be a source of resources for pre-STAR development. Add your comment on this item14


            I believe esems are critical in making a hypermedia creation/experiencing system that users develop quality fluency and competency, with quality training - which can be integrated into e-tours and e-expeditions. Add your comment on this item15


            I first learned of hypertext in the early 1980s via Ted Nelson, an early cyberspace guru. Add your comment on this item16


            Ted's vision was that there would be only one "established copy" of a sem in cyberspace (although stored virtually in many locations for security). When that sem is to be included in an doc of assembled sems, the "established copy" is accessed and a record of that access is added to the esem of that "established sem". This is Larry's language, not Ted's.   Ted proposed that the authors of any sem would be acknowledged/rewarded according to the variables associated with access.  Ted's attempt at his Project Xanadu  was never successful - but still provides a vision of an alternative to the current system we have in the WorldWideWeb. Add your comment on this item17


            Not that Ted's vision should now be implemented - we know much more.  But, we must examine our current system in terms of "paradigms" that blocks (or makes difficult) many processes. For example: the desktop paradigm, the building-construction paradigm for Project Design and Management Apps, the folder/file paradigm, the email paradigm, the business paradigm for Operating Systems, the outliner demoted and not integrated with hypertext, the printed page paradigm, the classroom paradigm for virtual education, the line after line after line paradigm for text-on-page, the backup paradigms, the outmoded "intellectual property" paradigms, the "user friendly" paradigm which blocks levels of competency development, etc. And, most significantly, the economic market paradigm for hardware and software development. Add your comment on this item18


            Those deeply involved with intelligent technology have always created, as best they could, what they needed.  Whatever we call them: techies, hackers, geeks, computer-freaks, etc. -- they create technologies useful for their needs.  The Internet is the exemplar of this collaborative creativity, as with Open Source, Wikipedia, and other outstanding ventures.  However, many of these apps are frozen in paradigms comfortable for those deeply involved with intelligent technology (who usually have wide gaps of appreciation of how those without their special competencies function) but quite difficult to use by the novice. Add your comment on this item19


            While on this theme, I must call attention to the works of Neil Larson in the 1980s. Neil was a maverick in a field of mavericks. He opposed the mouse and GUI, yet his software creations that augmented creativity have yet to be duplicated 3-4 decades later.  Larson's HOUDINI (a creator of webs of terms) and MAXTHINK (an outliner that forced re-examination of structures) are not available today (using our advanced technology).  In 1984 Larson created an online hypertext system (which I used) many years before his concept was employed in the early DOS version of the WWW.  Unfortunately, Neil could not adapt to the rapid changes in computing and many of those changes, unfortunately, wiped out a theme of importance for intelligent technology - how to augment human creativity. Add your comment on this item20


            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_web_browser Add your comment on this item21


            http://www.eatonhand.com/maxthink.htm Add your comment on this item22


            http://www.maxthink.org/indexflash.htm   : A windows version of Maxthink is now available. But it is a new version of Houdini, with multiple types of links between nodes. that would be most useful. Add your comment on this item23


            I expect that contemporary search engines search the esems of existing websites, as well as the text in the sem. What we need is a fresh look at the sem & esem framework, both in terms of diverse users and those who know the variables involved in creating such systems.  This is not a development that will have immediate market value. After a number of generations of development, a new cyberspace based on the sem/esem framework might eventually dominate. Add your comment on this item24


            Initially, this system will require considerable human participation, along with sophisticated automation. We must return to enjoy repeated routine performance, as needed in the early stages of innovation. A fetish for automation must be resisted. Add your comment on this item25


            There may be a set of standard formats for sems, which a user could select to display the sem. Sem creator recommended formats also available. Standardization could speed processing when using familiar formats. Add your comment on this item26


            Recommended size of sem -- where all information can be processes in one sitting with all (or most) active in short-term memory.  User time with a sem will vary greatly, due to many factors. Some sems will require "guides" for some users, to be determined by users processing patterns and the profile of the user (this could be viewed as an envelope for the user). Add your comment on this item27


            This feature of a nu cyberspace cannot stand alone. There are many other features needing development, in synergy, with this feature. Add your comment on this item28
Comments for item 28
07:19 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 28
What you describe here strongly brings to mind the semantic web, topic maps and web ontologies. Are you familiar with these? They are currently emerging manifestations that provide many aspects of what you describe here.


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