Forum OpenACS Development: What we telll other users about you

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Posted by Ben Koot on
I have been playing with openaCS 4 and question the function of "what we tell other users about you... It seems this tracks every entry a user makes on the site, admin, public etc. For example it creates multiple entries of adding a picture to the database. Can anybody explain me why we need this? Maybe we need to make things a bit simpler. I can't imagine anybody to be interested what I am doing an an ACS site. Maybe this doesn't make sense, here's a URL... To me this looks like technology getting out of hand. I understand the principle of informing what usefull info a member has been talking about, but not every step on-line. The reason I am posting is that I feel average members/users will not be happy about this form of controle with no realy usefull function.
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Posted by Torben Brosten on
That is interesting. I wonder if the information can somehow be presented as a blog about an individual. In some ways we are what we do. I for one would like that option available. emphasis on "option".
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Posted by Ben Koot on
Hi thorben, An interesting thought. Here's how the raw page would look like now if you add a background. I guess if we get rid of a number of uninteresting subjects you almost end up with a blog. It only lacks hyperlinks in the content. What if the items displayed could be selected from a dropdown menu.
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Posted by Lars Pind on
This is a classical example of one of Philip's good idea made into absolutely unusable but beautifully overengineered crap by enthusiastic hackers fresh out of MIT grad school :)

You're right, it should be on our to-do list to make this page make sense again.

/Lars

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Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on
Ben,
I argue that having this information about users is the most valuable part of OpenACS (although I agree that the output you use as an example is very verbose and not very useful unlinked... which can be changed). You should look at the page "what we tell other users about you" as a resource for community builders that can be tapped as needed to tell more about individuals of the community. We are talking community software Ben... removing the links between user and contributions for the sake of simplicity would be a major mistake. To promote community there must be a way for members to get to know one another and what a better way to get to know one another online than over contributions? Supporting ways for individuals to get to know other members of the group is important. A community suffers otherwise. Of course in some situations you must be careful about what you (as a community builder) share about your users (which makes the fact that the data is unlinked a safe default). I would like to point you to the "Community building vs. privacy in online learning(1)" discussion on the dotLRN boards as an example of such a situation. My conclusion: I think what you are looking for is an option to modify the display of this data without having to modify code, I am correct?

(1) https://openacs.org/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=0005ax

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Posted by defunct defunct on
Carl,

I think Ben's point (and a good one) is that the actual implementation was shite.... I think we agree there's value in the idea.. its just that at the moment all it provides is a long list of (largely) useless pap....

Some kind of interface that allows admins to decide what kinds of linked info should be shown sounds more sensible.

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Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on
Simon, that is what I was trying to get at (and what I would like to see).

We should "make this page make sense".

Leave it to Lars outline the essence of and the solution to the problem with five words or less.

;)

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Posted by defunct defunct on
Ahh.. understood....

Kewl.. we're all in agreement then.... bloody hell.... is that a first in these forums... ;)

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Posted by Ben Koot on
Yep Simon, exatly my point. What more can I say. ;-)) I look forward to find out what we can realy do with this part of the system.
Cheers
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Posted by Tilmann Singer on
And just for the record: propably the first step towards making this page make sense are the packages user-profile and profile-provider from Yonatan Feldman, mentioned here.
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Posted by Torben Brosten on
While on this topic... this information might have value beyond the social/community aspects.  There may be some practical value in a telecommuting/project/work environment --Noting if someone is logged-in, projects they have access to etc. etc.  Employers like access to literal indicators of "working" relationships. ;)
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Posted by Talli Somekh on
I think everyone is right here, with Lars' point being the most right on but Carl's ultimately being the vision that the OACS should be striving for.

When I try to tell people about what community software is, I use Amazon.com's functionality (which is actually a suggesion of Philip's). I would not be surprised if Amazon's db servers have as much if not more user contributed content as editorial content. More than once I've ended up purchasing a book that I learned about from an entirely unrelated review of another book. This was because I was able to follow a trail of user contributed content.

This functionality is, of course, the same that exists at photo.net and at here. The problem, as Simon says, is that in oacs4 it's total crap.

Perhaps this should be another item that use-case experts should take on as a design task?

talli

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Posted by Don Baccus on
Actually Tilmann's post is probably the most accurate.  The problem's recognized (and Lars has explained the source of it quite well!) and OF has taken some preliminary steps towards solving it with the two packages they've written for dotLRN.

So the TODO item should be something along the lines of working towards fleshing out the service contract used by profile provider and user profile and adding code to packages to supply the necessary items.