Re: Call for Working Group on EI list/news server

Brian Atkins (
Sat, 19 Jun 1999 20:05:35 -0400

I will volunteer some time to work on this. I have experience with Perl, interfacing to SQL (but not SQL itself), NNTP, administration of BSD-style OSes and the usual services. My suggestion would be: why not remake into this news portal, and leave as the site for info on ExI itself?

I also have various computers and a T1 if needed.

The one thing I can't really guarantee is a lot of volunteer time. I'm trying to move into more of an active lifestyle so some times might not be able to work at all, other times maybe 20 hrs a week.

I think it would be best to get the normal /. style site going first, and then after that is stabilized and active start thinking about the other ideas you have below. Small steps.

When we do get it going, ExI should find someone to line up some advertisers in order to generate some additional revenue for ExI. If the site ever got really popular it might turn into a significant amount of $$$.

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> 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 is feasible. I am going to
> undertake the setup of a test-server (perhaps,
> 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.
> Robert Bradbury

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