Making claims

Anything that one bothers to write down should make some claim. In fact, it's very hard to avoid -- even "purely informational" writing (such as what one might hope the Wikipedia aspires to) still makes truth claims by asserting a certain state of the world. I aim to have every post of this blog make claims -- a high aim, I realize. Better than that though, I plan to make these claims explicit with each post; I will distill each blog post into a series of straightforward claims, similar to the following:


  • Anything that one bothers to write down should make some claim.
  • Purely informational writing makes truth claims by asserting a certain state of the world.

To facilitate this, I've found a neat web site all about making claims: jyte. I'm particularly fond of jyte because it's nicely integrated with openID and explicitly aims to implement a light-weight reputation system online. As readers of my other blogging may have noticed, I've become interested in identity. I have grabbed a little bit of online identity (=mattbowen) for myself and have learned well enough how to use jyte that I think this is a doable task.

I'm currently figuring out exactly how this should work. First, I need to link each claim with the associated post. To do this, tagging works pretty well; I can tag my claims on jyte and then aggregate them into drupal. At first, I was going to give each post a secret code word, but that seemed like a lot of work, so now I plan to use machine tags. Having spent a few weeks thinking about how such a tag should look, I've specced out a namespace and syntax for this application called "cross site content." We'll see if people on Jyte hate the long tags, but maybe it'll spur the JanRain to support machine tags in their products.

Associating the claims with the posts is proving to be trickier than I had hoped, but I have something that resembles a method through drupal. Using the leech module, I can associate a feed with a post. Now, I just need to make the association more obvious -- but that's just a matter of time. Because of the limitations of my current approach and the experimental nature of it, I currently am only going to be pulling the jyte feed and will only aggregate my own claims. Eventually, I'd like to also pull appropriately tagged bookmarks from ma.gnolia and related images from flickr. This way, I could keep updating the links associated with each post well after I've finished writing, and I could illustrate my posts as I came across related images. Equally fun would be pulling community claims/bookmarks/photos (tagged by you) and displaying them with the post -- but I'm going to need to sort out pulling multiple feeds per post and some sort of anti-spam system before doing all that. Until then, let me know what you think of the idea in the comments, and join jyte to vote on my claims and many others.