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An Interactive Project With No Rules? 66

psydii writes: "Matt Deegan is running an interesting project to explore the nature of the concept of 'interactivity'. Is it really neccesary to have projects that are only limited by the users' minds, or is there a need to provide rules and routes that must be obeyed?" This is actually extremely nifty.
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An Interactive Project With No Rules?

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  • Ummm... A better answer might have been everything.blockstackers.org ;-)
  • by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Friday April 28, 2000 @07:51PM (#1102748) Homepage
    So I clicked on the link and took a look at the project. Its a neat idea. The first link it gave me was to the U.S. Department of Justice. [usdoj.gov] Below, I was asked for a website to "suggest" according to the rules.

    So, I thought for a moment, almost choosing www.freekevin.com, I then chose the obvious www.microsoft.com [microsoft.com] and I recieved the following:


    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'

    [Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] The changes you requested to the table were not successful because they would create duplicate values in the index, primary key, or relationship.
    Change the data in the field or fields that contain duplicate data, remove the index, or redefine the index to permit duplicate entries and try again.

    /project/SubmitReq.asp, line 48


    Wow, click on a link related to the DOJ and they take apart Microsoft in a FLASH!

    Now thats what I call internet time!

    (For those of you who don't know.... "j/k!!!")

  • by flieghund ( 31725 ) on Friday April 28, 2000 @07:53PM (#1102749) Homepage

    An interesting idea to say the least. The basic run-down: each visitor is presented with a website, seemingly at random. They are then asked to select another website that they feel is related to the one displayed. As the site states, visitors are free to be as obvious or obscure as they like. The next visitor to the website is presented with the website the first visitor chose, and so on. (Not sure how it keeps track of the thread; what if two people access the site before the first is done making his or her selection? Does the path fork? Then which path is presented to the next visitor?)

    I'm really fascinated by what the end product will be. I imagine it will be something like the stories we used to write in English class: each student would type out a sentence on their computer, then get up and move to the computer to their right and type another sentence, and so forth around the room. When we were done, we would read "our" story to the class. Most of the time they ended up being one step above gibberish, but every now and then a really fascinating plot would develop.

    I wish the site didn't limit visitors to a single site selection. I would be interested in the a long path of related sites a user would follow. But this will be cool anyway. Everyone should add to this project!

  • Of course you mean Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Pure genius. Rename your account.
  • I'm sorry to say, but of the eight resposes, 1 was on topic. I don't think I've ever seen that poor of a showing on /. And, when you come to think of it, it seems as if no one is following the unspoken /. rules.
  • Is it really neccesary to have projects that are only limited by the users minds

    Fortunately nothing is limited by my mind

    I can proudly say that I am mindless

  • All names have been changed to protect the innocent..

    AND FOR ME TO POOP ON!
  • This seems like a nifty idea and all, but doesn't seem well executed. It made no sense to me at all. Maybe it's not supposed to, or maybe I've become dumb.

    As for the Eternal Question of interactivity vs. rules, I'll answer it the way I answer most questions: balance.


    ---
    Dammit, my mom is not a Karma whore!

  • The basic run-down: each visitor is presented with a website, seemingly at random. They are then asked to select another website that they feel is related to the one displayed. As the site states, visitors are free to be as obvious or obscure as they like. The next visitor to the website is presented with the website the first visitor chose, and so on.

    Does anyone want to start a pool:

    What percentage of the links will go to pr0n

    This story could use an excuse for a hidden poll

  • here I thought this was some wacky free-for-all posting site, or something strange like that. of course there are rules! you must submit only one kind of data - that which is a URL. This is hardly free form. I mean, I see what he's doing, and I think it's neat, but to claim that he has created something "without rules" is hardly true. he has just created a simple (albeit cool) engine for word/concept association. Certainly interesting, but hardly rule-less.
  • Especially since all the /.'ers are visiting it now and using the engine, all you have to do is hit reload to see a different random page. Hey, nothing good's on TV and I'm not quite ready to go to sleep. I wonder if this will always be a good soporific.

    Droit devant soi on ne peut pas aller bien loin...
  • Exactly. The 'Project' gave me the webpage of a valve manufacturer that so happens to be 1/4 mile south of me..

    I saw the easy relationship to the industrial microcontroller company that makes the stator solenoid controllers, then to the company that sold them the conveyors their assembly line runs on, over to Australia to the conveyor peoples biggest butt-buddy, who makes theit ball bearings on a press controlled by PCs made by a company that leases their chip placers from a company my employer used to own, and then to my site. Make someone eat the anti-MPAA sentiment off my boot before I go..

    And then it tells me I can only play once a day. What a disappointment!!
  • Funny. The first link I got was Linux Today so I too tried www.microsoft.com, going with their McDonald's/PETA dichotomy in their example. I got the same error. So I tried slashdot, same thing. It looks like they have a few bugs to iron out.
  • I bet most of those articles are filler. Have you read any of them? Another article on Wired today was about the Bill Gates story. Hey, that's original!

    Personally, I like these experimental/hackerish type articles even when they focus on social and not mechanical science...

    I can get SDMI articles till my eyes bleed over at MP3.com.

    Okay, my experience w/ the program was this: It gave me the link to a site for a band called Deep Elm, music for workers or some such thing, I gave it www.communism.org, but when I went there, I found it was communism.com how's that for irony? But anyhow, when I looked at the links list it had created, the link I had been presented with, and the one I submitted were nowhere close to each other on the list, so I wonder how he's going to analyze the history.


    OoO
  • The basic run-down: each visitor is presented with a website, seemingly at random. They are then asked to select another website that they feel is related to the one displayed.

    Well sort of, but actually it just says to submit a site that you think would LINK to the site displayed. And in the wacky world o' the internet, you know that you can find links from anything to almost anything.

    Am I the only one who's ever played link games over the web? Trying to follow one site to a totally unrelated one only by clicking links on each of the intervening sites? Come on, it's fun? No, I'm not a loser... hey come back guys... guys?


    -Mad Dreamer
  • I don't get this no rules interactive project thing.

    It seems like all the project does is ask you to view a site then type in a URL simillar to it by your own standards. Kind of like a web version of a psychologist's word association game. Okay so it seems that there is no censorship (i.e. I can enter http://goatse.cx) but besides that what is so novel about this? If we use something as tenous as lack of censorship to define an interactive project with no rules why not just point at USENET, or slashdot browsed at -1, or any webpage with a form that allows the user to input text. Heck, my own online survey [216.78.252.247] can be said to have no rules because I have a field for best and worst software experience where users can type anything they want.

  • I was shown a link to AreYouDumb.com I gave them thomas.loc.gov. It just seemed appropiate and was the first site I thought of.

    I tried to give feedback but there was an error when i clicked on that link. I'll try them again tomorrow.

  • Yeah, my guess is that the database can only hold one reference to one page at a time. Given that a previous poster [slashdot.org] had submitted slashdot that link cannot be chosen again. It should either deny the use of that link (bad idea IMO) or just accept it. This is obvious I know, but I have the feeling that with the /. effect someone is going to offer a few bug fixes for them in short order.

  • The concept is kind of cool, looks like it could use some work though. It was fun at first, but it lasted for all of about 3 seconds.
  • Oh god. How many people will submit goatse.cx? *shudder*
  • I think you're right in comparing the result to the multiple author stories of grade school, but think that this will be even less cohesive here given the abstract nature of links. A link may continue on some abstract and undocumented principle that only the author of the link will understand. There is no information to qualify the relationship of the link.

    Perhaps if there were opportunity to provide metalink data...but I doubt that all respondents would provide accurate information. All forums seem to require a moderator if they are to accept any source of information.

    Come to think of it, /. is abstract association limited only by the imagination of those responding and creating links to and through their own interpretations of the story.

    I can't bring myself to anticipate the results of an unstructured, unmoderated, and impromptu forum on the web. The linear form of responses makes this even worse and a waste of time IMO.

  • moderate up +1 funny
    moderate down -666 YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE THAT PAGE

    I saw it then I had to puke and then clear my cache

  • by ruin ( 141833 ) on Friday April 28, 2000 @09:03PM (#1102769) Homepage
    So, the page it gave me was www.hotsex.com. I guess this concept is just one more data point in the question: "What is the average time in between the introduction of an information sharing method and the first instance of it being used to share pornography?"
    --
  • to do somebody else's homework.
  • I was shown some page about protecting the panda bears. So of course I submitted www.nfl.com/bears/ [nfl.com]

  • Looks like someone has an error in their SQL. I'd suggest checking for uniqueness before attempting the insert, just a quick select. I must say, I like minimal sites; and this certainly is one. However, there seems to be no cool way to view what people are doing to the site. I think this kind of thing could make the web useful (like yahoo did wayyyy back when they could index a decent amount of the web) It's new, but don't use asp and MS-SQL, your just asking for the pain.
  • What are you talking about? The rule-less site or slashdot? Either way you'd be correct.

    The `rule-less' site, but come to think of sometimes slashdot applies to this as well :P
  • while this may be true...My name actually is the name of the "graphic short" (comic strip) that was the basis of The Terminator. (and it's Ranxxerox Burn!) I really have no idea why I am posting this, but oh well...
  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Friday April 28, 2000 @09:21PM (#1102775) Homepage Journal
    we're in a process of slashdotting a site running on MS Access! C'mon, guys, thats only capable of handling like 5 people at a time.

    I too got the error. Mine from submitting google.com The error itself should be easy to fix - all he needs to do is change it to a non-unique index.

    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005' [Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] The changes you requested to the table were not successful because they would create duplicate values in the index, primary key, or relationship. Change the data in the field or fields that contain duplicate data, remove the index, or redefine the index to permit duplicate entries and try again. /project/SubmitReq.asp, line 48

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Friday April 28, 2000 @09:29PM (#1102776) Homepage Journal
    There is a term used in psychology, it is called free association. A subject is given a word or a picture and he/she is supposed to say/draw anything that comes into his/her mind. This is the same type of exercise only instead of words/pictures you see Internet sites. What in fact is going to happen is that some associations that people will make only work out for those people and noone else because of their own experiences and not due to any actual correlation between the shown website and the site a person chooses to respond with. In psychology this exercise is supposed to show what is on the person's mind, to see their hidden wishes and trouble, this is what we will see here, someone hidden (or obvious) desires and someones hidden (or obvious) problems. So these people will create a profile on you, nerds, and then sell it to the feds because your government wants to know what you are thinking about.
  • Thanks for the comments I did read the stories on wired. I was making a point. The point being their are many better articles that need to be posted. Save this for one of the slashdot shorts.
    Wired sucks but at least they don't publish this type of crap.

    Oh BTW I logged in before I flamed. If you want to flame me LTFO(Log The Fuck On).

    Last time I submitted a story a couple of weeks ago their was over 300 stories in the submission queue. That's about the normal. I'm sure that many of those are duplicates but I'm also sure that their are better articles then this one to put here.
  • What did you mean by insetad? Oh wait are you going to fuck my mom too? Come on she's the town bicycle everyone's had a ride.

    -Marc

    Flame all you want, I'll post more

  • I though that I was the only one that didnt get it. I still dont see an "end result". Is there going to be something produced or is this just going to go on like this forever? If I missed it help me out.
  • I interpreted that rule in this way too, but now I suspect they were intended differently. I think that rather than the semantic interpretation of a site that would "link" via an HTML anchor, the author probably had the broader concept of "to link to" in mind, as in the English verb. It's a bit ambiguous, but...

    ...Of course one could argue that the reader's interpretation of "link to" is an integral part of their next-URL choice, and thus of the interactivity (which is otherwise sparse IMHO), in which case the rules work just the way they're supposed to.

    As for whether it should have no rules at all, what would be the point? It'd just be a random URL submission page, and there are more than enough of those, thanks.

  • Question: does interaction require rules?

    Answer:

    No, rules are not required for interaction. However, if you want that interaction to be productive (i.e. have something meaningful occur), you are going to need to define some rules.

    For example, web site navigation. Web page designers can count on the fact that any graphical browser is going to change the mouse cursor to a hand when pointed at a link. Without that, many sites would be un-navigable because they are image/javascript laden and the user doesn't know where to go (this is bad design to begin with, but that's not the point).

    Also, consider games. Games without rules are simply not fun. Even fairly unrestrictive games such as pen-and-paper RPGs have a set of rules that must be followed. Would solitaire be the #1 game if players could choose any card from any pile? Would Quake be as fun if individual players could turn off things like lava or blast radius damage, or even collision detection?

    If we define "interaction" to mean general human interaction, the need for rules becomes even clearer. Without rules for grammar, word meanings, pronounciation, etc, people would not be able to communicate. Even if every person spoke a unique language, the act of learning another person's language is learning the rules needed to communicate! In fact, by reading this post, you are following rules needed to recognize characters in the alphabet, group them into words, and determine the meaning of those words.

    To borrow from a Tic-Tac commercial: Can you interact without rules? Certainly, but I wouldn't reccomend it.

  • there is no interval.

    massive p0rn collection == test data == deductable
  • It happened when I chose www.perl.org [perl.org] too. I think it has more to do with using Active Server Pages without proper tweaking.

    Oh well,
    it was a neat idea, anyway.

    -
  • Hai hai,

    Slashcrap...heheheh. I was wonderin the same thing.. then i looked at my watch... 3AM on a Saturday morning... makes sense. Just my two crap nuggets worth.

    Griffis

  • Try my "create your own adventure" thread here. I've been advertising in my .sig for 4-5 days now and have gotten about 3 people in on it, but I would like to see more people involved. There are a few guidelines, but it being a roll-your-own sid there's not much in the way of enforcement. Just creating a loosely joined story from sid to sid and seeing where it goes. If you land on an empty, create one! If the current story gets out of hand, has too much bitrot or just doesn't suit you create another one.

    I was going to wait for a quickies article to post this but it does seem ontopic, considering that it's a completely interactive project with not only no (real) rules, but no real goal other than amusement and entertainment of ones self and others.

    Anyway, I'll not make a habit of spamming the boards with it, just thought it might intrigue those still awake. Try it sometime, it's rather small at the moment, and post up if you like it. The sid is in my .sig and URL, and discussion of the stories/whatever happens at sid=adventure.
  • <i. I imagine it will be something like the stories we used to write in
    English class: each student would type out a sentence on their computer, then get up and move to the computer to their
    right and type another sentence, and so forth around the room. When we were done, we would read "our" story to the
    class

    When I was young, we started with a story and would wisper it into the next persons ear. By the time it made it around the circle it was something completely unrelated. The computer version is interesting because you don't loose info from one person to next. It show's how each person distorts the story. So much for eyewitnesses.....and to think people have been killed for less evidence than that.
  • I kinda disagree that this is an...
    unstructured, unmoderated, and impromptu forum on the web.
    I believe that very rich information structures can be developed from many people/processes/automata following simple trends. For example:
    There a was an experiment where a bunch of robots were designed to
    1. move at random
    2. pick up a block if they weren't already carrying one and they buimped into one
    3. set down a block it they were carrying one and they bumped into another one
    This sounds relatively random, but when many of these robots were released into an arena with random blocks everywhere, the robots eventually put all of the blocks into one big pile.

    I think that these students are trying to find a pattern within the links.

    It's the same thing that makes well written massively parallel computing algorithms so effective...and interesting!

    --
  • He keeps getting me to think about having sex with my mother, that's stuff I don't want _any_ government to find out about. Damn Freudians...

    One of the funniest things about psychologists is when they go to confrences in the Alps. You'll never see so many Freudians slip.


    When the pack animals stampede, it's time to soak the ground with blood to save the world. We fight, we die, we break our cursed bonds.
  • if you have to be drunk to feel good enough to post, then i would advise you to see someone about your self esteem. im sure a psychiatrist can help you, mine did wonders for me.

    hope i didnt offend you with this post.


    When the pack animals stampede, it's time to soak the ground with blood to save the world. We fight, we die, we break our cursed bonds.
  • I got www.macster.com so
    I put www.toaster.org as my reply.

    I like this site. Maybe I'll try it again tomorrow.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • I suspect the spammers are going to swamp it now.

    The site I got was pure advertising.
    --
  • I agree. Do NOT type in goatse.cx into your web browser. It's gross.

    This is NOT one of those times where we are trying to get you to view it by being contrary. Honestly.

  • In fact, I closed the window so fast I didn't have time to see it properly.
  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Saturday April 29, 2000 @01:35AM (#1102794)
    Along those lines, people may find Nomic interesting, a game where the participants make up the rules as they go along. You can find information here [earlham.edu] and here [sff.net].
  • Hey, am i the only one who got this when trying his project?? :

    ==================
    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'

    [Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] The changes you requested to the table were not successful because they would create duplicate values in the index, primary key, or relationship.
    Change the data in the field or fields that contain duplicate data, remove the index, or redefine the index to permit duplicate entries and try again.

    /project/SubmitReq.asp, line 48
    ===================
  • Hope this guy is ready for the slashdot effect on his project - not only massive number of additions, but the trolls etc. adding their favourite beastiality sites.

    Actually, come to think of it, he'll probably be able to use the project as the basis for a phD thesis on the mind of the 'net geek...

    Cheers,
    SuperG
  • Warning, goatse.cx is a *REALLY* nasty link. Now that I know your interest is piqued, again, don't follow it unless you want to see some sick sick shit.
    ----------------------------
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (yes, that's his name, now try and pronounce that quickly three times) wrote a fairly good book on personal enjoyment of experience named "Flow". For reaching an optimal experience, it outlines the need for a person to have goals, rules, and a way to measure progress towards his goal.

    While projects with no rules can be interesting at least in academic sense, they do not provide sufficient drive for the individual participating to find fulfillment in life. They simply do not offer you the feedback you need to do the "right" or the "wrong" thing, required for personal development.

    Like I said in an earlier post [slashdot.org], the mind is a powerful neural network - now imagine a Beowulf cluster of those. :)

    Now imagine living as a part of a Beowulf cluster, and think again about quitting your day job.

    I heartily recommend Mihaly's book to everyone, especially to programmers as the arcane art of bit-twiddling is obviously very suited for sustaining Flow. This is largely thanks to the relatively rigid set of rules involved in programming, and the constant sense of self-development.

    An area to explore, though, are projects where the individual still has a strict set of rules but does not need to see the big picture to participate or to find enjoyment.

    No, wait... we already have that, and it's called Life. :)

    Jouni
    --
    Jouni Mannonen
    3D Evangelist

  • by MattDeegan ( 179881 ) on Saturday April 29, 2000 @03:28AM (#1102799)
    Well the project was just skipping along at a nice pace until the /. affect kicked in. Bloody hell. Thanks for all your emails, i'm sorry if the links were broken or there were problems with ASP, it all seems to be working now. The discussion so far about the nature of interactivity's been fun, part of the project is to see *if* people do follow the rule. Personally I thought people would be posting their own websites and there would be more porn, but generally people do follow the rule. I believe that users only like something if there is some direction. How many of you that have played have returned to see what the next person linked to? Matt. who has to hand this in nect Monday arrgghh!
  • So did I!

    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'

    [Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] The changes you requested to the table were not successful because they would create duplicate values in the index, primary key, or relationship. Change the data in the field or fields that contain duplicate data, remove the index, or redefine the index to permit duplicate entries and try again.

    /project/SubmitReq.asp, line 48

  • Hey, you too! twice, someone put up a link that seemed normal, but when i opened it in a new window....i closed the window right away.
  • Everyone wants to make the true interactive game. The agme where you'll be able to builda time machine, go back in time, kill Alexander the Great, hook up with Cleopatra. But wait, there's a problem, basically every game will degenerate into violence and sex.

    Everytime I see an author's vision of his new agem he wants the user to be able to do anything in it. For the universe to be infinite. But this tops being a game very soon.

    --dave
  • I think the worse problem (even then goatse.cx) is the surprising number of people linking to file:///c:\nul\nul or c:\con\con... I'm sure they didn't want to have rules with this and all that, but they should have thought of THAT before GPFing a bunch of PCs out there.


    -Mad Dreamer
  • Alternatively, turn off cookies and try again today.
  • I had a very similar experience. I was given winfiles.com [winfiles.com] and got the ODBC error with my response: freshmeat.net [freshmeat.net]. ...sigh... Pp.
  • by zCyl ( 14362 ) on Saturday April 29, 2000 @07:56AM (#1102806)
    So... I go to his site, and he sends me to a random website that has nothing to do with anything I'm interested in. Don't they usually call websites like this "Altavista"?
  • This seems like a good project, although I am sure there have been other freeform interactive projects out there. I was thinking of one recently to follow up on my 'hyperflow' interactive dictionary. I thought maybe a graphic version of hyperflow. Anyhow I love seeing folks doing anything new with http.

    Not that I want to toot my own horn but I set up hyperflow about 5 years ago as an interactive dictionary, with no censorship. At this point it has passed 10000 words. I entered maybe the first 50...Since it was my first CGI program I am somewhat proud of it despite its retro feel. Currently trying to make it WAP compatible.

    Check it out... [haileris.com]

    Excuse the graphic problems. We just moved it from its original site and I haven't had time to repretty it.

    As a note: We recieved about 100 hate letters yesterday from a Jesus freak who didn't like what some of the posters had sent. Since I don't censor anything that isn't blatantly illegal I have had to leave things that I find distasteful. If you also have some lack of tolerance then don't bother...

    D
  • Don't blame Microsoft because someone can't configure their server properly.
  • *sniff* *sniff*
  • > I thought [...] there would be more porn

    Aha! So you admit it! This whole excercise was just an attempt to find good pr0n sites!

    --
    It's a fine line between trolling and karma-whoring... and I think I just crossed it.
    - Sean


  • Just because you do not see the rules doesn't mean there is no rules.

    The project is not a project with no rule.

    There _are_ at least TWO rules to the project - They don't come as "rules" but they are essentially rules nevertheless -

    1. Concept.

    URL: www.msdi.co.uk/project/theconcept.htm

    [the concept]

    as part of royal holloway's media arts
    course, students were asked to create a
    piece of interactive media. i decided
    upon a project to explore the nature of
    the concept of "interactivity". is it really
    neccesary to have projects that are only
    limited by the users minds, or is there a
    need to provide rules and routes that
    must be obeyed?

    2. Challenge .

    URL: www.msdi.co.uk/project/challenge.htm

    [the challenge]

    the challenge, for you the user, is to
    enter the project, look a the website
    that's presented to you, and then
    suggets another site that you think has
    a link to what you see.

    ahem?

    well, if for example you were presented
    with http://www.mcdonalds.com you
    might suggest
    http://www.peta-online.org/, the site for
    the people for the ethical treatment of
    animals. you could be abstract or
    obvious, it's up to you.

    get it? good.

  • but then how will we know how to cheat?
    and the bigger question is will GameShark support it?

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton

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