James Governor's Monkchips

What about via: via: link economies?

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Annez’s recent post on Web Worker Daily about del.ico.us prompts me to ask a question I have been pondering for a while. How are we going to enable via: via: via:? Anne says:

“Use via: to credit your sources. In many parts of the blogosphere, noting where you got a link is almost as important as the link itself — because it shows who did the work in surfacing useful stuff. These days, we need to not only know what to look at right now but who to look to in the future to find what else we should be paying attention to.

While the for: tag is well known among delicious users (and specifically supported by delicious), some delicious users use the via: tag to track who provided a link. That allows people browsing your links to know who else they might want to add to their network on del.icio.us. Ric Hayman of Aqualung proposes that this could form the basis for a reputation economy online.”

I like Ric’s idea because :via is such a useful tool for collaboration. Knowing who informed someone else of something is very useful, because it begins to establish a kind of authority. Good linkers are very useful nodes in information networks. I have noticed that people want to say via:, but then do i credit the originator of the link, or the repeater? These link networks could in theory be parsed using tag gardening techniques (think Google PageRank). This is Friend of a Friend kind of thinking, though not formal FOAF, RDF style. But how are we going to track long running recommendation-transactions? Could we use via:via:tags, somehow?


  1. In the absence of specific support from del.icio.us, maybe the nested via: tags would approximate the chain (unless it gets too long …). I think anything more appropriate would need some under-the-cover work. I have in the past used “via:bushwald via:jgovernor” when tagging something that I got from Cote, and he got from you, but maybe “via:bushwald via:via:jgovernor” would be clearer, albeit unwieldy? or maybe “via:bushwald:jgovernor” (although that makes it more difficult for an app to parse your contribution)?

  2. Via: just your source. That’s the new information.

  3. “Could we use via:via:tags, somehow?” A problem that seems to immediate arise is the non-uniqueness of names. Alice sends resource to Bob. Bob sends to Carol. Carol tags resource as “via:alice via:bob”. Carol sends resource to Dave. Dave knows another person name Alice who Dave frequently cites, and another person named Bob who Dave frequently cites. Dave tags the resource as “via:someotheralice via:someotherbob via:carol”, for if Dave tagged the resource as “via:alice via:bob via:carol” might give the wrong people credit.

  4. […] long-windedly setting out here, and tend to do in del.icio.us using via: tags (though not yet via:via:)) is sometimes more interesting and useful than the original source. That way we get to see the […]

  5. […] context of the search is far more valuable than the search itself. I have spoken before about the via: via: economy – word of mouth referrals in the delicious age. That is what Microsoft is buying into and planning to build upon. They should obviously jump in […]

  6. […] has a nice post about the retweet phenomenon in twitter (much like via: in delicious, another convention/function established by the community rather the platform […]

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