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The Internet

Thoughts on the Social Graph 111

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-think-about dept.
Jamie found an excellent story about the trouble with social graphs. The author discusses the proliferation of social networking websites, the annoying problems this creates, and proposes an open solution to much of the problem. Essentially he is talking about an API for all those relationship systems not under the control of any single commercial entity, coupled with a shared login system. Had things like this been popularized a half a decade ago, we'd be looking at a different internet.
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Thoughts on the Social Graph

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  • Yawn. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:18AM (#20292141) Homepage Journal
    Yet another article about how all social networks should be standardized and have centralized user management. This is the Internet, folks. Decentralization is the name of the game. Get used to it.
    • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Informative)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:33AM (#20292251) Journal
      TFA says: A centralized "owner" of the social graph is bad for the Internet.

      It seems to be talking about a system where anyone can run their own server according to the open standard APIs, and hence will not be centralised.

      Although he's right that people are tired of readding friends on each network, one flaw is that "friend" has different meanings. On some, it's simply "This person is my friend". On some like Facebook, it also means they can see information about you that others might not. On LiveJournal however (which was created by the author of this article), it goes far beyond simply "friend"; it indicates which journals you want to read, and who can see your "friends only" entries. So conceivably, who I want as a friend on Facebook isn't necessarily the same as who I want as a "friend" on LJ.

      Now theoretically this can be handled in that "people whose journals I want to read" could be a subset of anyone I list as my friend (i.e., you have an option for each friend whether you read their entries, whether they can read yours, or whatever is specific for that site). But that's more hassle for individual users.
      • by Tom (822)

        It seems to be talking about a system where anyone can run their own server according to the open standard APIs, and hence will not be centralised.
        I think that's called HTTP. :-)

        Everyone can run their own server, or website (yes, even mum - there are enough myspace-like services where every idiot can create a webpage, and most do).

        But people seem to want sharing the same space with each other, even if that space is virtual.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mdwh2 (535323)
          I think that's called HTTP. :-)

          That would be a web server though. There are different types of server, e.g., email server, which need different protocols. Sometimes people come up with new protocols (e.g., OpenID).
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Tom (822)
            All the "social networking" sites I know are websites... :-)
            • by nschubach (922175)
              No way man! I have this totally awesome new social network I built from the ground up in C#. You should download it and join my network of friends and we can all look at each other's profiles without some "perv" getting access to it. Wait... I don't really know you all that well. Maybe I'll put you on the list for revision 2 though!
      • Re:Yawn. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by makomk (752139) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:56AM (#20292409) Journal
        Actually, it's more about having multiple centralised social networking providers doing different things, and how to keep friends in sync between them. (So you can use Livejournal for blogging, Facebook for keeping track of people you know from college, Twitter for micro-updates, some other site for photo sharing, etc, and it'll help keep your friends in sync between them.) It'll still encourage the growth of centralised social networking sites and still require people to get accounts on several different sites, it just makes it easier for them to do so. As commenters on Brad's journal have said, it's the equivalent of a multi-protocol IM client rather than Jabber.
        • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:41AM (#20292777)
          Facebook has made it possible for people to build the applications that people want and tie them into Facebook. A Web 2.0 site could accept log-ins, or allow Facebook users to simply add the application, adding them as users. Conceivably, Myspace will add a similar feature before going bust. The article's author gives a lot of non-sense about developers not wanting to be slaves to facebook, but they have it backwards.

          I subscribe to Netflix. I added a Netflix app to Facebook, it let's my friend's see my queue... yawn... It also let's my Facebook friends, if they get Netflix, quickly add me as a Netflix friend (subject to my approval). The Netflix app mirrors some of Netflix's UI, but not everything. I still go to Netflix to manage Queue's and add movies, but I can see what's going on quickly on Facebook.

          The problem is that most Web Developers suck. If your data store for your web-app is good, then you can EASILY create a Facebook front end. If your front-end has all your database calls (no stored procedures in the database, not even a DB functions file in Perl/PHP/whatever you coded in), then you see it as "be a Facebook App OR a website."

          The promise of HAVi in the AV world was that we would connect our equipment via Firewire, and they would export a front-end in Java that our TV or Receiver would render for us. The data in MPEG-2 with fixed compression caused content producers to go ape-shit, but the idea is valid on the web.

          If you want to process information, you need to collect it and do something with it. The days of a "single HTML interface" are now over. You need a mobile version, an iPhone version (possibly, we'll see adoption rates), and now a Facebook version.

          I collect my photos in iPhoto on my Mac. I upload them to Facebook via an iPhoto plug-in to show my friends. I upload them to Shutterfly via an Export Plugin (well, did until they haven't supported iPhoto '08 yet), so my extended relatives can buy pictures.

          I have other friends that are into photography, they use Flickr. However, there is a Flickr "interface" for Facebook, so their Flickr Albums are viewable on Facebook. Sure, if they have pictures that they want the Facebook features (tag a friend), they need to upload to Facebook, but if they want Flickr sharing (tags, etc.), they upload to Flickr and put it on the Flickr App on Facebook.

          Open APIs will let US aggregate OUR data, not have one site steal it from others.
          • The problem is that most Web Developers suck. If your data store for your web-app is good, then you can EASILY create a Facebook front end.

            It isn't so much that web developers suck, it is that there is no consensus on the data store. Even if the data store is stellar, if it is not in an open, agreed-upon standard format and it isn't universally accessible then even the very least-sucky web developer will struggle to give users a seamless social-networking experience.

            The days of a "single HTML interface" ar
            • It isn't so much that web developers suck, it is that there is no consensus on the data store. Even if the data store is stellar, if it is not in an open, agreed-upon standard format and it isn't universally accessible then even the very least-sucky web developer will struggle to give users a seamless social-networking experience.

              Wrong. For my websites, I carefully build normalized databases, triggers and stored procedures to maintain "slow" meta data like counts, quick lookup tables/views for constantly a

      • by iaculus (1032214)

        Although he's right that people are tired of readding friends on each network, one flaw is that "friend" has different meanings. On some, it's simply "This person is my friend". On some like Facebook, it also means they can see information about you that others might not. On LiveJournal however (which was created by the author of this article), it goes far beyond simply "friend"; it indicates which journals you want to read, and who can see your "friends only" entries. So conceivably, who I want as a friend on Facebook isn't necessarily the same as who I want as a "friend" on LJ.

        Now theoretically this can be handled in that "people whose journals I want to read" could be a subset of anyone I list as my friend (i.e., you have an option for each friend whether you read their entries, whether they can read yours, or whatever is specific for that site). But that's more hassle for individual users.

        From TFA [bradfitz.com]:

        It's recognized that users don't always want to auto-sync their social networks. People use different sites in different ways, and a "friend" on one site has a very different meaning of a "friend" on another. The goal is to just provide sites and users the raw data, and they can use it to implement whatever policies they want.

      • Even if everyone supports one standard, the bottom line here is that the data has to centralized somewhere in order to maintain data consistency. Facebook might think that "Bob" on LJ is "Alice's" friend while LJ might not agree. That would be highly confusing to the end-user. Without centralized data, there's no way to make this thing workable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bar-agent (698856)
          Even if everyone supports one standard, the bottom line here is that the data has to centralized somewhere in order to maintain data consistency.

          Not necessarily, the data could be distributed, redundant, and synchronized.
        • by mdwh2 (535323)
          Even if everyone supports one standard, the bottom line here is that the data has to centralized somewhere in order to maintain data consistency.

          Presumably the point is that that "somewhere" doesn't have to be the same place for everyone.

          I mean, it's like saying that email has to be centralised somewhere, because you still need to choose one single server for your email. But the point is we're not all dependent on a single company, you can choose which server to trust, and if you're that paranoid, you can r
      • by jesboat (64736)
        On LiveJournal however (which was created by the author of this article)

        The summary seems to imply that the article was written by "some random guy", which, IMO, is misleading given that it was written by the founder of one of the most popular social networking sites.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Red_Foreman (877991) *
      I agree, a centralized API would make it far too easy for stalkers. But the article makes a flawed assumption - that people on Facebook want to be connected on MySpace and vice versa, and you (IMHO) can't make that assumption.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by liquidpele (663430)
        Good point. Some people will want to be connected to everything, and others including myself will only want their real info on one site (such as myspace) and everything else will be anonymous. I don't want 50,000 social networking sites to know my address, phone number, AIM screen name, my personal preferences, and what I look like. The ability to abuse all that info is too great.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by xappax (876447)
          I don't want 50,000 social networking sites to know my address...

          Social networking is about voluntary information sharing. If you don't want the whole world to know your address and phone number, don't put those things on your MySpace page. If you do, it doesn't really matter which other social networking sites have that information, because it's already public on the internet.

          This isn't about scraping and publicizing information that you want to keep private, it's about giving you the freedom to syn
        • by d0rp (888607)

          Good point. Some people will want to be connected to everything, and others including myself will only want their real info on one site (such as myspace) and everything else will be anonymous. I don't want 50,000 social networking sites to know my address, phone number, AIM screen name, my personal preferences, and what I look like. The ability to abuse all that info is too great.

          But TFA is talking about making the relationship connections standardized and shared between all social networking sites, not address, phone number, AIM screen name or anything beyond "I know this person". Any additional information (i.e. your personal information, or even things like how you know that person) would be specific to the individual site and layered on top.

          The idea is if you had a MySpace profile and ad 50 friends on there, and then you joined Facebook, it would automatically list those 50 p

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BoberFett (127537)
      You can have cross-compatibility without decentralization. In fact decentralization is easier when you don't have vendor lock-in, which is essentially what we have now. A bunch of disparate sites all with different abilities, but no system to easily move from one to another and link any of the data from one to the other.
    • by ewise (216213)
      From the article:

      "The world won't switch en masse to anybody's "social networking interop protocol", pet XML format, etc. It simply won't happen. This must all work supporting any and all ways of data collection, change notification, etc. "

      "Ultimately make the social graph a community asset, utilizing the data from all the different sites, but not depending on any company or organization as "the" central graph owner."

      You did _read_ the article, right?
    • Tbe best way to describe it is

      Random Leaf Node: Hey! Root node! I think you should make all your data public!
      Root node: ...

    • Say what you will, but it's one hell of an acronym!
  • IP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PresidentEnder (849024) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .rednenrevyw.> on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:25AM (#20292187) Journal
    So if I write a little app that I point at my friends page on Facebook or you point at yours on Myspace, which then steals our friends lists and adds them to this wide open free social graph, do Myspace and Facebook have a right to be mad at me?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mdwh2 (535323)
      Whilst IP laws can cover "collections of data", it's hard to see it enforceable in this sense. I mean, by the same logic, would they be mad if I recreated the same friends list manually on a different site? Of course not - it's not unreasonable that my friends are still going to be my friends on a different site. I don't see using an automated tool changes that.

      Is it an IP infringement if I list my phone number, email and address on one site, then put it on another site too? Of course not. No matter what th
    • It is YOUR friends list. YOU created it, not Facebook or MySpace. They are providing the tools and storage for you to create it, but it is YOUR data. You could already manually keep lists in sync and they can't do anything, so what is the problem with coming up with an automated means?

      It's not like you hacked their site and made a mash-up facebook clone website that basically called facebook and presented the whole website as your own with some reformatting--you are only managing your own personal data.
  • by Tucan (60206) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:29AM (#20292219)
    How about an RFC instead of a web page?
  • communism (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The article tries to imply that a mandated central authority should control all relationship data using the paper-thin excuse that it saves repetition.

    I suppose if identity cards advocates jumped on the "open" bandwagon, then their brand of Marxist/Stalinist state-control fascism would be "progressive" too.
  • A [spammer will] then be able to log into a social application (e.g. dopplr.com) for the first time, ideally but not necessarily with OpenID, and be presented with a dialog like,

    "Hey, we see from public information elsewhere that [user] already has 28 friends already using dopplr, shown below with rationale about why we're recommending them (what usernames they are on other sites). Which do you want to be friends with here? Or click '[spam-them-all]'."

    This is also why there are more big sites where you

    • Re:Security Issues (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kebes (861706) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:55AM (#20292399) Journal
      TFA only briefly mentions the possible downsides of aggregating all of the social networking sites. It says:

      It's recognized that users don't always want to auto-sync their social networks. People use different sites in different ways, and a "friend" on one site has a very different meaning of a "friend" on another.
      My reaction is much harsher than this. I don't merely want the option of syncing/not-syncing... I would want (ideally) complete control over how widely distributed my "friend-connections" become. Frankly I hate having to maintain all kinds of separate username/password/accounts on different sites. But, I would hate even more if all those different accounts were automatically identified with each other.

      The people I communicate with on Facebook are not the people I interact with on Linux forums or on Slashdot. The meaning of a "friend" (or whatever) on each site is totally different. Not only do I not want these connections treated identically... I don't want those separate accounts to be related to one another!

      Frankly the downsides to having my online social activity interconnected are numerous: spamming, ease of monitoring me, etc. The end result is that I will either reveal personal information I didn't intend to, or conversely I will use the sites less freely because I'll be worried about revealing information (e.g. if I know potential employers will easily find the information).

      Considering the numerous downsides, I have trouble seeing the benefit, to the end-user, of having a comprehensive, widely-accessible 'social graph.'
      • by Sique (173459)
        You could achieve that with declaring some of your identities to be the same, and others not. And if only the respective owner of an ID can declare an ID to be identical to another ID, you might have a good control about the spread of your "friendships". You could even have private declarations of identity, which are just here for you to keep track of several IDs of the same person you know, and which are held privately with your own account and don't spread elsewhere.
      • by MatB (845512)
        I would want (ideally) complete control over how widely distributed my "friend-connections" become

        Given that Livejournal has allowed micromanagement of that wort of information for as long as it's been around, and that was always something Brad saw as a strength, I suspect that'll be covered within the project.

        You don't see an advantage to an end-user; I do, specifically, I had no idea Brad was working on this, but have been talking about something very similar in a variety of places already; distribut
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@@@optonline...net> on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:36AM (#20292275) Journal

    ...who cares?

    Use a social netowrking site, don't use one. Use MySpace, Facebook, or don't. Is this really a problem? No. Is it bothering anyone else? No. Is this news? No. Nothing to see here -- move along.

    • by jesboat (64736)
      ...who cares?

      Use a social netowrking site, don't use one. Use MySpace, Facebook, or don't. Is this really a problem? No. Is it bothering anyone else? No. Is this news? No. Nothing to see here -- move along.


      Well, obviously, you don't care. A lot of people do. In the (admittedly perhaps dubious) judgement of the Slashdot editors, enough of them care to make this relevant to the homepage. Perhaps, even if people here didn't care, it'd be relevant because it could be the beginning of a big trend in the social n
  • anti-human (Score:2, Interesting)

    by m0llusk (789903)
    People change their social networks all the time. With this in place, you wouldn't be able to just "wash that man out of your hair", but you would have to go online, identify yourself, proceed with authentication, and then click around to make the changes. In addition to big changes in social networks being laborious to enter, their implications grow as well. What about the folks who relied on your network to reach others? Will they give you negative feedback for moving on? This idea seems to be based
    • by bkr1_2k (237627)
      Just out of curiousity, how would haveing to "go online, identify yourself, proceed with authentication, and then click around to make the changes" be any different than how it is currently done?

      Also, why should anyone be responsible for other people relying on them to contact others? Seriously that shouldn't be my responsibility. If someone is using my friend's list (on whatever site) to reach people, great, but that doesn't obligate me to not change my friends list. It never has and never will. People
  • by pla (258480) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:40AM (#20292301) Journal
    What I mean by "social graph" is a the global mapping of everybody and how they're related

    Just that? Why, sure, I'll gladly make enough info public on myself and my friends to make identity theft nearly trivial. And hey, as a perk, if I ever find myself on the run from the police (for example, after someone steals my identity and gets me flagged as a major contributor to Al Qaida), they'll have a convenient list of everyone I might contact. Golly, what not to love about that?



    People are getting sick of registering and re-declaring their friends on every site

    Why, exactly, does "every site" need to know my friends? For that matter, why should any sites know my friends? And I don't mean in the Slashdot Friends/Foe sense - I have plenty of both, solely for the purpose of moderation. Of over 100 people on my lists here, I only actually know three of them, and one of those I've never even met.

    If a site actually needs to know my friends/family/coworkers, you can safely bet on my not wanting to use that site.

    For the record, I get sick of registering at websites not because it takes too long to come up with fake info, but because for the majority of them, I shouldn't need to create a personalized account in the first place! If I find something through Google, I don't want a lasting relationship with a site, I just want my damned content. If I buy something as a one-off purchase, I don't want an account, I just want the transaction completed and all my info expunged from the site. Unless I specifically ask a website to give me a persistant profile, don't force one on me - it only wastes time, and I won't rememeber what fake info I put in next time anyway (hell, I must have over fifty logins at the NYT).



    This sounds like yet another one of those non-issues that give marketing gurus wet dreams and serve no purpose beyond stripping us of any semblance of privacy and anonymity. Brad can keep his thoughts, I want no part of it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by FiveLights (1012605)
      Does this mean you won't be my myspace friend?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323)
      Why, exactly, does "every site" need to know my friends? For that matter, why should any sites know my friends? And I don't mean in the Slashdot Friends/Foe sense - I have plenty of both, solely for the purpose of moderation.

      Actually, this is the sense that is meant. Usually sites, just like Slashdot, use "Friend" to imply some specific feature, whether it's who you want to see certain personal data, or whose journals or comments you want to read. It's unfortunate that the word "friend" has been overloaded,
    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:58AM (#20292437)

      For that matter, why should any sites know my friends?
      So... The whole concept of social networking has bypassed you entirely?

      You truly are Slashdot material. Welcome my brother.

       
      • by pla (258480) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:44AM (#20292819) Journal
        So... The whole concept of social networking has bypassed you entirely?

        If you mean that I can't call myself one of the 1.4 million "friends" of the latest boy band - Yes, it has. I simply do not see the point of Myspace or Facebook other than as a free-as-in-beer webhost (with the hidden expense of having all your "friends" receive slightly better-targetted advertising).

        If, however, you mean a real social network - I limit mine to people I actually know, people that (with very few exceptions) I have physically met. Friends and acquantances whose real names and at least partial contact info I know, whose birthday I might celebrate with them, whose voice I would recognize on the phone or whose face I would recognize in a crowd.



        Call me a Luddite, but it disturbs me greatly to think that we have diluted the term "friend" to nothing more than a form of moderation roughly translating as something between fandom and "I like something about your web page".
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ryanvm (247662)
          Call me a Luddite, but it disturbs me greatly to think that we have diluted the term "friend" to nothing more than a form of moderation roughly translating as something between fandom and "I like something about your web page".

          Hmmm - what scrumptious irony it is that I have added you to my Slashdot friends list because I completely agree with your post.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          "Call me a Luddite, but it disturbs me greatly to think that we have diluted the term "friend" to nothing more than a form of moderation roughly translating as something between fandom and "I like something about your web page"."

          I'm no luddite (Masters in CS) and I don't get how this is so "important" and "revolutionary"; seems like one big illusion/delusion with a bunch of hyperbole to me. Yes, sign me up for the big targeted advertising machine!

          Seems like it is an overall pattern of dumbing down of socie
          • by Adambomb (118938)

            seems like one big illusion/delusion with a bunch of hyperbole to me. Yes, sign me up for the big targeted advertising machine!
            Ding Ding Ding!
            Thanks for coming out folks, but we have a winner!

            The insecure who require their new high score to stroke their egos, well they can sign up all they wish. Just think, if all the marketers think they're the targets, we should get left alone.... ...right?
        • by Wordplay (54438)
          It's a dilution of the term, but not the actual role. What's really happened is that the "acquaintance" role has gotten a huge boost, first by IM programs, and then by social networking sites. It used to be that the only people that would stay on one's radar were actual friends and people you actively ran into on a regular basis. Now it's entirely reasonable to indefinitely keep an active contact list of acquaintances and friends who are fading to the acquaintance level.

          It seems reasonable that this woul
    • by kebes (861706) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:21AM (#20292597) Journal

      Just that? Why, sure, I'll gladly make enough info public on myself and my friends to make identity theft nearly trivial.
      Quite right. And it goes even deeper than that.

      I know how to use the web in such a web that I'm "sufficiently anonymous." I know true anonymity is impossible (e.g. with an IP address and a subpoena), but I know how to restrict the information I give out to a level I am comfortable with, and totally out of my control.

      One problem with ubiquitously-connected social networking is that I not only have to be careful what I reveal, but I am now very much dependent on what my "friends" decide to reveal about me. If they go mentioning personal information about me, and it's cross-connected through every social networking site I visit, then this represents a release of information beyond what I'm comfortable with.

      Obviously this problem already exists (and currently results in, e.g., people wasting time un-tagging themselves from Facebook photos)... but a widely connected and widely available social graph exacerbates the problem. Suddenly I'm dependent upon the net savvy of every single person who is connected to me? (And, given the whole "six degrees" issue, that's a lot of not-so-savvy people.) No thanks.

      The end result of more detailed, more available, social information is merely that those of us aware of the privacy implications will stop using social networking sites. Is that really the intent here?
    • And hey, as a perk, if I ever find myself on the run from the police (for example, after someone steals my identity and gets me flagged as a major contributor to Al Qaida)[...]

      If this happens to you, I'd suggest definitely not running away and hiding.

    • by rm999 (775449)
      In all fairness, it sounds like you aren't the target demographic of facebook/myspace. These sites target young people (under 30) who don't consider their relationships a secret (think dense settings like college campuses, where 100s of people know your network). For these types of users, finding their friends on a site is about as annoying and time consuming as losing a cell-phone and having to replace the numbers.

      While you may find these sites to be intrusive and useless, clearly millions of people disagr
  • Facebook - grownups
    MySpace - Kids/teens
    Anything else - non starter.
    • exactly, why would anyone even WANT to join myspace? for it's fast loading time? for the horrible user layouts and really bad 'hello' graphics? or am i missing something?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by aftk2 (556992)
      Ummm... Linkedin? It's been pretty important for a number of people I know..
    • by Tribbin (565963)
      Here in Holland, hyves.nl is much bigger than the two you named. And before it got big cu2.nl was ruling. I suppose many other countries have similar sites.

      I, for myself, would like to have the possibility to merge my social webs.
    • Own custom web site that you encode yourself: the way it should really be.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      There is also Linkedin but the I have to wonder when these "Social networking" sites time will be past.
      Just how different are they from all the "personal" webpages that people used to put up on the web? These social networking sites seem to be trying to become a sub-set of the internet or recreated Compuserve/Delphi/Bix/.

      Personal webpages? Every ISP used to give you a little web space for that.
      Groups? Usenet and or web based forums.
      Chat? IRC, ICQ, AIM, Jabber.
      Friends list? Guest books on your personal webs
    • Don't forget the task-specific sites; Flickr/Zooomr/Ipernity for photos, last.fm for networking by musical taste, LiveJournal and Vox for keeping a journal (including private/semi-private entries), Twitter for fine-grained status, and so on. Flickr and its ilk do a better job with photos than general-purpose sites, LJ/Vox do a better job for publishing medium-sized journal entries, and pretty much anything else will do a better job of more or less anything than MySpace, whose capabilities tend to be somewha
  • NSFW! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Maybe it's just my rotten porn-addled mind, but I think the picture at the top of the article is Not Safe For Work.
  • While it would be convenient to have the social networking sites auto-populate their relation ships based on your previously entered data from other sites abuse of this system make me very nervous. Particularly, the use of OpenID. I believe this was the intent of Microsoft Passport (centralized login to all other websites), but I would hardly trust my ONE internet password to Microsoft.

    Saying that it does seem better if the entity you entrust this information to (not just password but friend relationships
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mdwh2 (535323)
      Particularly, the use of OpenID. I believe this was the intent of Microsoft Passport (centralized login to all other websites), but I would hardly trust my ONE internet password to Microsoft.

      OpenID is decentralised. Being open or a standard doesn't imply centralised (think email - you can email people on other servers, without needing some centralised trustable email server).
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:49AM (#20292371)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOAF_(software) [wikipedia.org]

    Vendor lockin is the reason it isn't simple to migrate across all the sites.

     
    • by usrusr (654450)
      i'm just wondering how foaf can still not be in the "tagging beta" thing of this "exciting news item"...
  • He keeps claiming that a "simple" XML protocol, Atom-like, won't work, because he want's non-geek usage, but I don't understand what kind of non-geek usage he expects.

    Non-geeks are not going to be developing new applications and mashups, they'll be using it. Moveable Type pioneered a blogging API, that turned out to be a nice defacto standard, that most other blogging engines support. Result is that thousands of non-geeks can now blog from outside their blogging-silo.

    I imagine a simple REST/XML webservice p
  • is you have the same crowd who often pillories things like a us national id and microsoft's passport, but are quick and happy to embrace an open login system like this, and bemoan things like IM systems that don't talk to each other

    huh?

    universal id is universal id folks. it's the same thing

    someone might point out that one is open and free, and the other is under the control of a central authority. what are you smoking?

    you don't get it: any kind of universal id is open to the same kinds of abuses you could a
    • by Colin Smith (2679)

      universal id is universal id folks. it's the same thing
      You don't think Colin Smith is my real name now do you? No, in real life I am "The Burning Light from Zorg".

       
    • by l4m3z0r (799504)
      Its all about consistency, you drop the magic words(open/free/technology/internet) and /.ers come running like moths to the flame. You say the forbidden words(parents, government, security) and we rattle our sabers from our bedrooms while yelling "Mom would it kill you to make me a sandwich!!".
    • by robably (1044462)

      is you have the same crowd who often pillories things like a us national id and microsoft's passport, but are quick and happy to embrace an open login system like this, and bemoan things like IM systems that don't talk to each other
      There isn't one comment here saying this is a good thing - who exactly are you mad at?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Baavgai (598847)
      Good point. However, the pro single sign on, anti universal tracking is not entirely incongruous. It's really a question of control and information revealed.

      The vilified universal ID is assumed to be attached to all personal information and controlled by an entity with no particular vested interest in that person's well being. Big Brother bells sound and people start thinking of how to get off the grid.

      A single sign on is a little different. It doesn't implicitly involved any information that the indivi
    • you don't get it: any kind of universal id is open to the same kinds of abuses you could appreciate if it were microsoft or george bush behind the plan. it's the same tension between convenience and privacy/security, regardless of the entity behind the universal id

      Big difference number 1: I can see social relationships on myspace. I cannot see the relationships I have to "terrorists" in some government database. Therefore I have much more freedom and knowledge using an open social network.

      Big differenc
  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:58AM (#20292433)
    "Dear commercial websites, could you please implement a system that will render yourself and your profit models irrelevant?"

    It's my understanding that a crack team of programmers has been assigned to this problem. That team includes Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Great Pumpkin. Good luck and godspeed.
  • "Unfortunately, there doesn't exist a single social graph (or even multiple which interoperate) that's comprehensive and decentralized. Rather, there exists hundreds of disperse social graphs, most of dubious quality and many of them walled gardens"

    And why is that such a problem? I'm quite happy with that state of things in the "social graph" arena.

    "People are getting sick of registering and re-declaring their friends on every site"

    1) Really? Some people (esp teens?) seem very happy to have new opportunitie
  • From his 1st goal "Ultimately make the social graph a community asset, utilizing the data from all the different sites,..."

    So he wants like some sort of library of users that a site can tap into on launch? Why should a popular site hand over its hard won users to the new kid on the block? Doesn't seem all that fair to me. If your social site or application is cool enough the Internet will beat a path to your NIC. If the users don't show then build a better site/app.

  • by prestidigital (341064) * on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:08AM (#20292511) Journal
    If you happen to use multiple services then you will see the utility in bringing them all together in one place. If you don't happen to use these services then don't worry about it.
    • a trillian-like app makes much more sense and is a lot more feasible then trying to maintain some giant user repository.
  • Mugshut (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bjourne (1034822) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:09AM (#20292517) Homepage Journal
    Mugshot [mugshot.org] seem to be what he's looking for. It is an open, free software, community, meta site. It tries to create a interconnect all different community sites and place them under one roof so to say. With one centralized user management system. Seems like a very, very ambitious project because it is damn hard to anticipate human behaviour and social patterns. In the broad sense, an internet community is everything from mailing lists to MySpace to Slashdot to various forums and even BitTorrent trackers.
    • by zrq (794138)
      Mugshot looks very very interesting, not so much because of what it provides, but because of who is behind it ....
      From the Mugshot FAQ page : http://mugshot.org/faq/ [mugshot.org]

      14. How does Mugshot relate to Red Hat?
      Two of Red Hat's core values are collaboration and freedom. Mugshot is an experiment in applying Red Hat's philosophy of collaboration and freedom to new types of content, beyond software and source code.

      and

      15. How does Mugshot benefit Red Hat?
      Technology developed in the Mugshot project may be inco

  • Conclusion? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tribbin (565963) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:46AM (#20292837) Homepage
    I always skip to the conclusion before I optionally read the whole article.

    quote:

    Conclusion:

    I'm excited about this. Start thinking about how you can take advantage of stuff like this. It's going to be cool.


    How 's that for a conclusion?
  • Old news, AOL has been trying to do this since 1997. And looking at it, it appears to have failed as a social network, but successful at creating a Jerry Springer, ad-infested environment for the corporations to feed on.
  • wasn't it called "Passport" or something like that and people hated it and did their typical "MS wants to control the world" dance...so, now somebody else comes up with the idea and it's a good one? Unless my memory is failing...
  • Facebook and myspace won't want to implement openID because it would ruin their business model. The only reason people use a specific social networking site is because their friends are on it (ok, not the ONLY reason).

    If you "give away" the exclusivity of "owning" that user's data, and controlling access to the data, you will have to think of a different way to make money because there is no leverage to keep a user at that site, when they can just go to another.

    I don't use social networking sites (unless y
  • Why would sites like Facebook open up their most valuable asset, its community and the data that ties it together, for anyone to use? That would reduce their value to its users. Their main source of income seems to be advertising to their users. Fewer users -> less income.
  • This all seems like a lot of work for slight gain (easier to log-in different places, easier for people who like my ranting about politics to find my tips on making leather harnesses...); but I'm glad it excites this fellow enough to work on it.

    The question in my mind would be: can you start with this "friend" framework and build a "trust network" out of it...

    If you take the idea seriously that the internet is going to become the new journalism, the backbone of democracy and so on, then eventually we're

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