Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixed

Has science taken a wrong turn? If so, what corrections are needed? Chronicles of scientific misbehavior. The role of heretic-pioneers and forbidden questions in the sciences. Is peer review working? The perverse "consensus of leading scientists." Good public relations versus good science.

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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:07 am

An Example of a Science Article Written on a System Designed for Annotations

Now, I do not agree with either the approach to teaching this complex subject, nor the technical evidence presented here, but I am posting a link to this because this is an article on black holes on a blog which permits basic annotations to the article. The prototype has been elegantly crafted, but also -- based on what I'm hearing -- it's too broad of a solution to matter in the business world. It's not a direct response to a specific problem that people are having -- and this creates problems insofar as people will not pay to actually use it.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:00 am

iAnnotate Web Knowledge Annotation Conference in San Francisco
April 3-6, 2014


I went to the Matter.vc open house last night, and it looks like a remarkable opportunity. I am unfortunately not the ideal candidate, given that they prefer candidates to arrive with a working prototype, a team of 2-4 cofounders and a reasonable business model. Given that I -- and for those who are still following along, "we" -- are still struggling to identify a problem for which the EU and annotations can be a solution for -- I therefore come up short on four different aspects. But, Matter.vc is willing to critique whatever idea is presented to them. And candidates can of course re-submit their ideas on the next funding competition (which I believe happens twice per year).

So, the most pressing problem is the problem definition. Everything else follows from that: The technical expertise required to solve the problem, possible cofounders, the prototype (of course) and the business model.

Now, there is an event coming up here in San Francisco where I live called iAnnotate. I found this announcement at hypothes.is -- which is well worth a detailed look itself.

So, the good news here is that (1) The open house last night solidified my awareness of what I need to do, in order to move forward. I now know how I am deficient.

And (2), I seem to at least be centrally located here in San Francisco for my interest in media (Matter.vc) and annotations (iAnnotate).
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:51 am

"… Something is happing in the world of annotation …"

Web annotation might very well be a recently-arrived "adjacent possible" innovation.

I logged in to observe real-time IRC meeting between iAnnotate developers, and the quote above is one of the first comments I observed. It was made within the context of the upcoming W3 proposal for papers on the subject of annotations:

Annotating is the act of creating associations between distinct pieces of information. Annotation is a ubiquitous activity online in many guises: comments on articles, footnotes, sticky notes, “hot spots” on images, timestamped notes on video or audio tracks, highlighted text passages in ebook readers, evocative pictures attached to song lyrics, quotes and links on social media, and even tagged bookmarks, are all forms of annotation. One of the most common and engaging web activities for the average person is discussion of a document or piece of media.

Many projects and companies are now turning to annotations to solve a variety of issues with communication on the web.

W3C recognizes the value and potential in annotations of various types, and is holding a workshop to determine what the web ecosystem needs to fully realize the potential of annotations.

The Challenge

Annotation currently lacks a structured approach. Comments are siloed inside the blog or comment system hosted and controlled by the publisher of the original document, or inside an ebook reader. They aren't readily available for syndication or aggregation, and it's difficult to find more comments by an insightful author if they are scattered around different places on the web. Worthwhile commentary is obscured by trolling, spam, or trivial comments. These are challenges both social and technical.

Other problems are purely technical: interchange formats need to be agreed upon; privacy and security of comments need to be preserved; styling highlighted content across element boundaries is tricky; and finally, anchoring a passage when you don't control the original document, or when it has a multipage or single page view, or when it has newer versions or has otherwise changed from when the annotation was made, is a hard problem, and lies at the heart of annotations.

These requirements should be met across document types, reading systems, JavaScript libraries, and disciplines of study or entertainment. This workshop will focus primarily on the technical issues, with an emphasis on pragmatic solutions.

We want to identify the biggest challenges, most compelling use cases, and most promising solutions for standardization. We invite you to submit a paper and to attend this workshop to help shape the next steps.


Bingo. And, for the sake of clarification -- since this is getting a little bit confusing, and things are happening very fast at this point …

W3C's Annotation Workshop is collocated with I Annotate 2014, an industry summit on annotation, which begins the day after W3C's workshop and includes 2 hackdays on the weekend. Attendees of the W3C Annotation Workshop are encouraged to attend the I Annotate summit, as well. I Annotate is organized by the host of the W3C Annotation Workshop, Hypothes.is. Organizations interested in becoming sponsors are encouraged to contact the organizers.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:09 pm

Annotations Were Originally a Core Feature of the First Web Browser

Image


Image


"Back in 1993, when Eric Bina and I were first building Mosaic, it seemed obvious to us that users would want to annotate all text on the web – our idea was that each web page would be a launchpad for insight and debate about its own contents. So we built a feature called “group annotations” right into the browser – and it worked great – all users could comment on any page and discussions quickly ensued. Unfortunately, our implementation at that time required a server to host all the annotations, and we didn’t have the time to properly build that server, which would obviously have had to scale to enormous size. And so we dropped the entire feature. I often wonder how the Internet would have turned out differently if users had been able to annotate everything – to add new layers of knowledge to all knowledge, on and on, ad infinitum."
-- Marc Andreessen, co-creator of the first web browser, Mosaic
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:51 pm

W3C's Current Annotation Ontology

The W3C published a draft for their Open Annotation Data Model one year ago.

Within the document's acknowledgements, it states, "This specification builds upon the work from many previous annotation efforts, including in particular …" the following two documents:

  • Annotation Ontology
    Ciccarese, P. Ocana, M. et al. "An open annotation ontology for science on web 3.0", Journal of Biomedical Semantics 2011 2(Suppl 2):S4, DOI: 10.1186/2041-1480-2-S2-S4, 17 May 2011

    This paper presents Annotation Ontology (AO), an open ontology in OWL-DL for annotating scientific documents on the web. AO supports both human and algorithmic content annotation. It enables “stand-off” or independent metadata anchored to specific positions in a web document by any one of several methods. In AO, the document may be annotated but is not required to be under update control of the annotator. AO contains a provenance model to support versioning, and a set model for specifying groups and containers of annotation. AO is freely available under open source license at http://purl.org/ao/, and extensive documentation including screencasts is available on AO’s Google Code page: http://code.google.com/p/annotation-ontology/ .

  • Open Annotation Collaboration
    Sanderson, R. Van de Sompel, H. "Making Web Annotations Persistent over Time", Proceedings of the 10th ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, June 2010

I am quite confident that this is where I will probably lose most of you, but it seems that I will now have to learn this annotation ontology, in order to get a better feel for what exactly is being proposed.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:18 pm

Big Discovery:
Comment Annotations Were the Inspiration for Google's PageRank


There is much more to this video than just this shot, but this is probably the most important thing I've learned all week:

Image


So, all of that stuff I said about Post-Ranking -- Maybe something to consider … apparently …

The Idea of Post-Ranking

One of the topics that I follow is search engine optimization (SEO). Simply put, it's the system which Google and other search engines use to rank search results. What's important to realize is that SEO exhibits a rather large set of values about websites, the details of which Google does not explicitly state. But, researchers and practitioners are nevertheless able to reverse-engineer these values. What I would suggest is that, in a very general sense, this current problem which reddit is trying to solve is not incredibly different from Google's solution of ranking webpages.

The philosophy of SEO is that although anybody can create whatever website they wish, if their desire is to actually get a free top spot in Google's search result listings, then there are certain expectations for the structure and nature of the content. Google's SEO values things like inbound linking, which is used to indicate relevancy (How many other people are linking to your page?). A knowledge mapping site could decide to do the same sort of thing for its discourse.


That knowledge was dropped on me at a startup networking event on Wednesday evening. Very helpful, and remarkable that I've for some reason been working on Larry Page's dissertation for a few months now.

There is definitely a collective sense of adjacent possible going on here -- a tech wave of sorts with respects to annotations: People are collectively sensing the lack of annotations on the web, and it's actually been 20 years in the making.

It's possibly the right time to speak up. It's worth a try.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:55 pm

From a recent article on physorg which is actually worth reading, insofar as it is an explanation which arguably reveals too much on how the 97% consensus marketing campaign was originated. I argue in the comments there for why this is an unfortunate campaign -- and it speaks directly to the topic of vision which I've brought up here many times now:

Image
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:16 pm

Coursera's Entrepreneurship Course

It's not all that bad. If you wish that you could create a social network, but to date, your focus has mostly been on science, then this free online course is a reasonable guide for originating a scientific social network that is an actual business idea. I'll be taking this course to its completion.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:20 pm

"To us, what we're really about is this journalistic ethos that people in power more than anything else need adversarial checks from those in the media," he said.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:35 pm

BTW

I would be interested in hearing what others have to say about scientific social networking, in the event that people have been holding back and have something to say. It's not a big deal if you've so far put no thought into the business side of the issue. But, part of the habit that must be adopted in any discussion of scientific social networking is to try to work through the suitability of all ideas and creative problem-solving processes on this topic to business. If this ruins the topic for people, I apologize. It is perhaps possible that there is an idea for a non-profit on this topic, but my focus will continue to be on finding a problem definition and scalable business model.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby CharlesChandler » Sun May 25, 2014 1:30 am

pln2bz wrote:I would be interested in hearing what others have to say about scientific social networking, in the event that people have been holding back and have something to say.

I haven't exactly been holding back, but I'd like to update everybody on what we've been doing on QDL. We have formed a bunch of teams, including one for Science Improvement, Catastrophism, Mechanistic Science, Electric Universe, Aether, Miles Mathis, Paranormal Psychology, and Planetary Science. Each team has its own homepage, where the members can describe the nature of what they're studying, and assemble links to relevant material, on QDL and elsewhere. There is dedicated functionality for posting articles, participating in forum discussions, instant messaging, private messaging, filling out questionnaires, and adding events to team calendars. All of this is in a rich text environment (i.e., WYSIWYG editing), so the limitations of bb-code aren't there. And the rights can be controlled on all items, so people can post private, workgroup, and public material. All in all, I don't know of a more feature rich venue for online collaboration. There certainly aren't any free ones.

Most importantly, we're striving to get past the main roadblock to progress -- these forums are just huge time-sucks, if all we do is say the same thing over and over, and if legitimate points always get buried under subsequent posts, on or off topic. So we're developing the protocols so that teams are always building on what they've already accomplished. For example, after a chat session, one of the team members will boil down the discussion to a summary, and add action items to a list of them. Then, the prerequisite for participating in the next chat is that you've read the summary of the previous one, or at the very least, you've gone over the action items.

If you're interested in participating in this project, register on QDL, and request admittance into one or more of the teams.

Cheers!
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby chut » Mon May 26, 2014 1:34 am

On the subject of why it is so hard to change a believe system. Consider the following puzzle, one of the best known of all times:

Three men go to dine together in a restaurant. The bill comes to $25 and they each contribute $10. The waiter takes the money to the cashier, who gives the waiter the $5 in change. Being a non-assuming waiter he takes the change back to the three men. The men take back a dollar each, hence effectively paying $9.00 each, and they leave the $2.00 as a tip for the waiter. On their way out, one of them points out that they each paid $9.00 for the meal, amounting to $27.00, and the waiter was left with $2.00. What happened to the other remaining dollar? Did the cashier pocket it?


This is an interesting look on why this puzzle, with dead simple mathematics, can lead to so much confusions for so many people: http://humblevoice.blogspot.com/2008/07/fallibility-of-human-brain.html

To the human brain scientific knowledge is no difference from religion or any believe system. I am inclined to believe that it is next to impossible to challenge someone on 'facts' that are known to him/her. It will take a significant portion of the current bunch of mentors/guardians of 'knowledge' to die off in sufficient numbers before the non-believers can generate enough critical mass to herald the birth of the new paradigm.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby CharlesChandler » Mon May 26, 2014 3:59 am

chut wrote:It will take a significant portion of the current bunch of mentors/guardians of 'knowledge' to die off in sufficient numbers before the non-believers can generate enough critical mass to herald the birth of the new paradigm.

The problem with people clinging to the old ways isn't so much inside them, as it is inside us. We have to free ourselves first.

Imagine that you live in New York City, and one day, you get the idea that San Francisco is a better place to live. So you go around trying to convince everybody that they should all move the whole city to California. Well, you probably won't convince anyone at all, because that simply isn't how such things happen. Rather, if YOU get the idea to move, YOU move. If it's actually a better place to live, and people can find this out (perhaps the same way you did), and they see people moving there, and liking it, they'll move too. But somebody standing on a street corner in NYC who is trying to talk everybody into moving to CA doesn't sincerely think that it's a better place to live. That's probably a person who just wants all New Yorkers to think that he's smart or something. ;)

The same goes with beliefs. If you find a better way, explore it. And tell people about it. But don't expect them to believe you because they care about you, and don't wait for them to show their respect for you before you start really believing it. Explore the ideas. If they work well for you, they will work well for others.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby Lloyd » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:35 pm

This was a rather good thread, so I'm making sort of an update.

I started discussing Truth Mapping at http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=14667&start=45#p90668 . And that went on for a few pages. Deliberatorium came up too and it's probably one of the best methodologies that we found.

CNPS is now attempting to adapt a version of Deliberatorium on their forum and they're also working on creating a Wiki for alternative science knowledge. See http://naturalphilosophy.org . I'm pretty excited about it. The internet is becoming a global conference and, if we develop efficient, sensible procedures for communication, society will advance rapidly. We might succeed in colonizing the solar system by next month. And from there on the sky's the limit, I mean the sky of the galaxy.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby Zyxzevn » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:42 pm

pln2bz wrote:From a recent article on physorg which is actually worth reading, insofar as it is an explanation which arguably reveals too much on how the 97% consensus marketing campaign was originated. ..


Interesting.
It shows how they simply picked out the scientists that generally supported their theory,
and created the "consensus" that way.
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