Re: INFO: Hypertext

Hal Finney (
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 14:02:58 -0800

From: Dan Fabulich <>
> I've recently taken interest in reading about hypertext, a decentralized
> system for fine-grained bi-directional linking in writing. For a good
> description, read Drexler's "Hypertext Publishing and the Evolution of
> Knowledge," which makes an effective argument for hypertext.

If you look at, you can get info
on Drexler's group's current project to try to bring about something with
the flavor of his original proposal. They are working with a system called
HyperG (aka HyperWave) which allows bidirectional linking and some other
capabilities. I don't know how or if it deals with the retraction/revision
problem though.

The idea of using Usenet is interesting, although it's not clear to me that
the Usenet model of flooding the world with postings is going to survive.
The web approach of just linking your new data into existing structures seems
so much more efficient.

> At this point, I'm despairing that a permanent decentralized hypertext
> system can work in a free society. If it's permanent, then it all must
> be stored somewhere, and it will never be cost-effective to do so. If
> it's decentralized, the system will drop unprofitable information and
> may refuse to buy from most of the public.
> Any ideas?

I'm surprised you didn't mention that, in fact, there are (so far)
permanent, (somewhat) decentralized sources of Usenet postings. and are the two that I know
of off the top of my head, and I think there are others. It used to be
that you could order CD-ROMs with all of Usenet for some date range,
but I don't know if that is still the case. These outfits apparently
are able to fund themselves by means of advertising revenues. The cost
isn't really that high given today's cheap storage.

So before getting all upset about this problem, consider whether the
existing vendors have already solved it "good enough".