[rdfweb-dev] More on 6 degrees...

Danny Ayers danny666 at v...
Tue Jul 23 09:30:28 UTC 2002

Thanks for the reference Graham, I remember the idea from (20?) years ago
when I started an A-level psychology course but couldn't remember who talked
about it (never finished the course - far too wordy).

One potential very useful side effect of the FOAF stuff is to introduce a
*lot* of people to SW ideas. I'm sure being a member of some kind of
network like this appeals to some pretty fundamental psychology (based on my
half-A-level deep understanding). To hitch foaf onto the human network, it
needs 1. to be possible for a person to create their metadata easily
(salute, Leigh!), 2. to be able to see some pretty visualization of the
network (I'm guessing there's work being done on this - danbri? libby?) and
3. for it to be easy for new people to be induced into the network. I reckon
this third part is presently most in need of advancing.

What would be nice would be an 'invite a friend' service, where the
recipient of an email invitation gets directed to a form with (at least) one
friend already filled in, the inviter. This would also need a direct way of
uploading the RDF somewhere - I'm guessing from previous posts that
automatically adding a foaf link to a list/registry is already being worked
on, I don't think it would take much more for the actual data to be stored
too. I've no idea about the Wiki at RDFWeb, but the one I've played with
most (OpenWiki, MS platform I'm afraid) suggests that it would be easy
enough to add RDF docs in this way, or alternately one of the simple
discussion board scripts could be modified to save the RDF (rather than
blog-style posts).

A related, lower priority thing would be to make it easy for a person to add
new friends at a later date.

Just to dodge the "why don't you do it then" response to the above
suggestions, I'm already busy with some related coding, using foaf as the
basis for personal vocabularies in my Ideagraph app (I'll publish the (Java)
source to the component parts).

It really is exciting seeing this stuff gather momentum, keep up the good
work folks!


Danny Ayers
<stuff> http://www.isacat.net </stuff>

Idea maps for the Semantic Web

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Graham Klyne [mailto:gk-rdfweb at n...]
>Sent: 23 July 2002 08:31
>To: RDFWeb developers
>Subject: [rdfweb-dev] More on 6 degrees...
>In the late 1960s, social psychologist Stanley Milgram popularized his
>theory that there are an average of six intermediate people--"six degrees
>of separation"--connecting any two individuals chosen at random. Some
>mathematicians claim Milgram's small-world network theory can be
>applied to
>natural and technological systems. Cornell University's Steve Strogatz and
>graduate student Duncan Watts formulated theoretical models demonstrating
>that members of a large network can be linked by short paths, provided the
>networks consist of clumps of close associates and the occasional "random
>element." Watts set out to establish the existence of such social networks
>by studying the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and says that other
>systems-- the electrical power grid of the western United States or the
>path of an epidemic, for example--follow the same connectivity principle.
>Researchers are now tackling how to map out the reasoning and pathways
>through such networks: Watts is replicating Milgram's experiment with
>email, and has recruited 50,000 participants so far. However,
>skeptics such
>as University of Alaska psychologist Judith Kleinfeld question the
>of Milgram's theory. Kleinfeld, for one, says the Milgram archive at Yale
>University has no records of Milgram's experiments ever being precisely
>Links to:
>Graham Klyne
><GK at N...>
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