I've been reviewing the possible approaches to upgrading our communication and interaction options.
It would appear that the installation of an EI/extropians news server (similar to slashdot.org) is feasible. I am going to undertake the setup of a test-server (perhaps einews.org, though other suggestions should be discussed). This appears to be a non-trivial task since it involves setting up and testing a SQL database server as well as a host of perl scripts, so it will not happen overnight.
Eugene has mentioned that there is a fundamental difference
in the operation of servers like /. (a pull model) and extropians@
(a push model). /. has a variant which seems to allow it to
operate in the intermediate (news/NNTP mode).
I believe that the architecture behind /. is flexible enough to
allow for some creative experimentation on our part.
(a) It should be possible through "User Settings" to incorporate
the mail (push) option into it.
(b) Obviously some users like a news/NNTP model and this
should be supported.
(c) The "pull" model currently supported allows for some of the
more interesting approaches such as enhanced "scoring" or "sorting" of messages based on such things as size, # of external URL's, Known "experts" "wrote" or "read" them, messages with the greatest reader volume, messages authored by people who donated the most to EI to get their messages "advertised", etc.
IMHO, the real problem with the "push" model we currently have
(and the old News model) is that they lack a central database that
can contain sets of heuristics (presumably selectable by the user) that can merge the collective intelligence or opinion of the user community.] If you have a centralized database, you can test things like Robin's "futures" models or simple "voting" on the worth of a message. We don't have to resort to flame wars.
I believe that this is a non-trivial amount of work and would like to establish a group of individuals who have expertise in these areas that we might sub-allocate the development of areas in which they have the greatest interest. I believe some of the skills which might be required are (a) SQL/Perl knowledge, (b) Mail Server/MajorDomo knowledge, (c) Indexed databases (e.g. SWISH knowledge), (d) News servers.
If you have experience/interest in these areas, please send me your name, email address, area of interest, etc.