Last week Dave Sifry and I met up with Dave Winer and Steve Gillmor at Technorati to share ideas. We talked about the public resource that Dave W created in weblogs.com, about Technorati, and about Dave's new idea to help people categorize blog postings and the things they link to.
Dave W said: I feel we're at a turning point in the weblog world, either we're going to be like every other hierarchy that's ever been, with secret deals, lots of impediments to progress, eventual stagnation; or we're going to overcome that.
Dave thinks in hierarchies; whether this is because he invented outlining, or why he invented outlining I'm not sure. Along the way he added links into the picture, so his hierarchies can link to other nodes, or other hierarchies to get as complex as you like.
The conventional wisdom is that links beat out hierarchies - Google's link-centric approach beat out Yahoo's hierarchy-centric approach (the HO in Yahoo stood for Hierarchically Oriented).
However, another way of looking at it is top-down versus bottom-up - central design versus emergence.
Dave W wants to build a bottom-up emergent taxonomy, using open debate and open standards.
Steve Gillmor is saying something similar about how we can grow new things.
I have a couple of ideas that I need to write up as spec proposals to try to start such discussions - one about 'vote links', one a new bit of metadata for feeds saying whether they are complete or not.