Interactive Projects/information/guilds database --+-- Idea for getting the DB effort off the ground quickly -

John Schinnerer eco_living at
Sat Dec 15 19:05:46 EST 2001


> I have a new idea to help get the DB off the ground in a hurry:

What does Dan Hemenway's sig say..."we don't have time to rush"...? 
And I'm still wondering if pfaf might go open-source and we can all

I'm advocating not rushing.  Most commercial dev work is far too rushed
("first-to-market" and all that) and turns out inflexible, inferior
products (a large local co. near here is a prime example... ;-).  I
suggest we do it differently.  Why not?  We can.  We don't have
competitors breathing down our necks, we're not trying to beat someone
to release the next commercial "killer app," etc.  Consider David Orr's
concept of "slow knowledge" vs. "fast knowledge."

And then there's "prolonged and thoughtful observation" instead of
"protracted and thoughtless labor"... ;-)
> we can still start collecting  and categorizing
> data in an easy-to-use interactive online resource:
> a public, no-subscription-required, web & email forum...

My concern is that all the data will have to be re-massaged anyhow if
we don't have a basic data model first.  How do we "categorize" if we
haven't gathered collective wisdom from potential users on what might
be useful organizations of data?  

Could you give an existing example or two of such a forum, Larry?  I'm
curious as to what the data storage model is for these and how it will
translate into an eventual RDBMS or object DB.  That is, are we really
getting started, or just looking busy?

> it will be very easy
> to use (submit input either through the Web interface [a form or
> direct email] or by private email) and all information submitted will
> be readily available to the public.

I'm not arguing against this, just wondering how useful it will be to
the maturing project.  Tons of info is just that...tons of info, not
necessarily useful or accessible.  It could be both, I'm just not clear
on what you're actually proposing for a collection/organization system

John Schinnerer, MA
- Eco-Living -
Cultural & Ecological Designing
Food - Shelter - Community
john at

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