Re: OPML 1.0

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From: Strata Rose Chalup (
Date: Sun Sep 24 2000 - 17:24:08 PDT

The elephant may seem to be a wall, a tree trunk, a rope, a fan, but it
is still an elephant.

The computer screen is more versatile than the elephant, because we can
choose to interact with it as if it were just one of the things it can
be instead of many of them. Many people have implemented some portion
of their mental models, and many others have built on (or routed around)
those models.
When Jon Postel said "be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in
what you send", he grasped intuitively that the affordances of a system
were just as important as the parts of the system already implemented.

I look at a computer screen and see an almost infinitely plastic
interface space where nothing happens by accident, though many things
exhibit emergent behavior. I also see many people building systems
whose affordances encourage the building of systems with affordances
which may be different from the base system. I call that "open". I see
equally many people building systems in which it is difficult to build
systems whose affordances differ from that of the base system. I call
that "closed". Systems are made up of some combination of people,
personalities, content, code, physical objects, virtual objects, other
systems, and communication between system elements. Most conflict in
the technology area, especially the Internet area, can be thought of in
terms of a war of affordances rather than of explicit system properties.

OPML looks interesting. Where Dave plans to position it, and where it
will end up, in open vs closed space, is still unclear to me. I'd be
interested in hearing more about it.


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