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OpenQabal: a social software platform w/Roller

I'm always happy to see Roller used in new sites, projects and products. Here's an interesting new example that I've been meaning to blog for a while now. Phillip Rhodes is working on building what he calls OpenQabal a "social software operating system." The project integrates a set of social software applications, including Roller and JavaBB, via Single Sign-On (SSO), a common look-and-feel and Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC). He explains it all in an lengthy and informative blog post on the project's JRoller.com blog.

I'd never heard of SIOC before. Here's the executive summary:

Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities SIOC or is a framework aimed at connecting online community sites and internet-based discussions. Currently, online communities (boards, blogs, etc.) are like islands - they contain valuable information but are not well connected. SIOC allows us to interlink these sites, and enables the extraction of richer information from various discussion services.

Sounds like it could be pretty darn useful. But then again, I spent a little time exploring the list of SIOC enabled sites with the SIOC Firefox plugin and didn't really find any examples of interlinked communities or conversations. Am I missing something?


Hey Dave, thanks for the plug! As far as SIOC and the lack of interlinked communities and conversations, I think it's just because the idea is still somewhat new and maybe a little foreign to (some|most) people, and there aren't a lot of platforms supporting it yet. I may be wrong, but I'm hoping that as more software supports it (inc. OpenQabal, obviously) that adoption will increase. One guy read that blog post and got really excited, and went so far as to call "distributed conversations" a "killer app." Not sure if I'd go that far, but it's an idea whose time may still come. Or not, I guess time will tell. :-)

Posted by Phillip Rhodes on December 10, 2007 at 02:21 PM EST #

Hi, and thanks for mentioning SIOC. Philip is right - the idea of [semantically] interlinking community sites is comparatively new. It needs to get to a tipping point when enough SIOC data are available to start connecting communities together.

Getting more blog, forum, ... sites to make information available in a rich format (e.g., SIOC) is what we could call Phase 1. There are more and more applications (see SIOC Applications list) for doing so. Yet, people need to be motivated to install them and that's where applications making use of this data come in.

Posted by Uldis Bojars on January 22, 2008 at 04:14 PM EST #

Phase 2 is using the data to find and explore connections on the Social Web. We are just at the beginning of this phase and hope to see more exciting applications and projects like OpenQabal starting to appear. Recently, the data portability movement has added fuel into the fire - SIOC vocabulary aims to express rich information about the user-created content, and what you can express that you can import back elsewhere.

P.S. This article about the Social SIOC Explorer (PDF) can be interesting reading on how rich SIOC data can be used.

Posted by Uldis Bojars on January 22, 2008 at 04:14 PM EST #

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