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Saved by Stowe Boyd
on June 5, 2009 at 1:58:39 pm

Microsyntax.org (in 140 characters)


Microsyntax.org is a non-profit focused on identifying, researching and finding consensus on information syntax.


Microsyntax (in one paragraph)


Conventions -- or information patterns -- for various sorts of information content in Twitter messages have appeared in many ways. The use of '@jennalee' to indicate a reply to or a mention of another Twitter user has been adopted by the authors of Twitter, but the great majority of future microsyntax will not undergo the same sort of standardization by fiat. Instead, a generalized sort of experimentation is going on, a sort of competition among various ideas for adding a higher degree of structure to the form of Twitter messages, like the emergence of hashtags ('#sxsw'), the adoption of stock tickers ('$AAPL'), and the newly proposed geoslash for location ('/San Francisco CA/'). These conventions are intended to be both human- and machine-readable, and our goal here is to:


  1. identify conventions in the wild, as users or applications begin to apply it
  2. document the semantics of the microsyntax we find or that community members propose, and
  3. work toward consensus when alternative and incompatible conventions have been introduced or proposed.


In a sense, we are focusing very much on the tactical level here. We will link to theoretical opinions (see Theory), but the purpose of this wiki is to identify and characterize what is going on, organically, in the open web, and to create a forum where we can discuss how to find common ground when disagreements arise. 


Organization Of This Wiki


This wiki is designed to have five major subsections:


  1. Noodling - an open area where people can pose questions, interact in an unstructured way, and find their way.
  2. Sightings - reporting on new microsyntax appearing, and discussion.
  3. Proposals - structured pages, outlining ideas for microsyntax, with forum for discussion, and use cases.
  4. Brainstorming and Research - people suggesting that some microsyntax is needed, w/out a detailed proposal.
  5. Theory - Links to long-format posts on microsyntax topics.


Note: It appears that contributors are putting all contributions in comments. In some cases, like Sightings and Noodlings, the default behavior should be to add to the existing page, or create new pages.




The basic organization of this wiki is open, however, we'd like to have open discussion about people's thoughts and proposals rather than free-form editing as a discussion technique or a way to express disagreement. Please use comments to discuss other's proposals, and edit only after being invited by the page's creator. 

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