In a recent journal update, @chinarut brought up a subject he and I have been discussing in various places for many months now: collaborative digital gardening. There seem to be many different tools, platforms, and other kinds of “threads” converging in this direction lately, from Roam “multiplayer” to concepts of cross-Discourse discussion, to revivals of the original ideas of the “bi-directional web”. And yet… I’m not aware of any really good tools one can experiment with today to explore this space. A forum isn’t really the right structure, and most community platforms are oriented either around forum-like topic-based conversations, and/or fairly silo’d individual spaces (like individual “pages” or “blogs”, etc.). Surely we wouldn’t call Facebook a “collaborative digital garden”, so what does that look like? What exactly defines it?
I’ll start a working definition and hopefully others can elaborate.
- Multi-user, free to register
- Each user gets their own “space”
- A “space” lets each person generate as much content as they want, and affords some amount of control of structure within that space
- Content between spaces can be interconnected, with basic links and backlinks, but also quotes, or even transclusion
- Users can choose to invite others to contribute to and collaborate in some parts of their garden, either individual topics/articles/posts, or perhaps whole tags/categories of posts, or the entire garden
OK, that’s a pretty basic conceptual outline. I’m sure we can define that more in time. And I hope as well that people can contribute any knowledge they have of existing tools, platforms, communities, or other efforts towards achieving these kinds of goals.
To infinity, and beyond!