idea for a dynamic system combining everything2, zig zag, and the visual thesarus, maybe with XSpringies thrown in for good measure.

Such a system would cause my brain to implode nearly instantaneously, either from sheer joy, or utter disappointment, depending on whether it was done halfway-decently or atrociously badly.

The brain is an example of this done wrong.

Done right, it could become a playland for the violent collision of graph theory and semiotics. The Chomsky-Erdos supercollider, so to speak.

Just the result of some time spent lost in thought on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

I want to know the boundaries of my nodespace. I want to see pictures of how my nodes connect to other nodes. I want a graph of how connected I am to other noders. Bonus points if it can show me my connectedness at an arbitrary depth.

The first hard problem to deal with in trying to produce these bits of metadata is how to define the boundaries of someone's nodespace. I'm thinking that a simple technique could suffice to measure connectedness at all scales. Define the borders of your nodespace to be the softlinks between nodes you own and other nodes.

A hypothetical example:

Fred is a newbie everythingian. He has 10 nodes with 10 softlinks per node. Of those 100 softlinks, 50 point into his own nodespace and 50 point out to other people's nodespace. Say the breakdown looks like this

    Softlinks     Dest Owner      Bordershare
    -----------------------------------------
       50            Fred           50%
       36            George         36%
       12            Agnes          12%
        2            Eddie           2%
    -----------------------------------------
      100                            100%
Once we know this, we can start to draw pictures showing what Fred's nodespace looks like.


                      A           A           A           AA
             GGGGGGGG A  GGGGGGGG A  GGGGGGGG A  GGGGGGGG AA
             GGGGGGGG g  GGGGGGGG g  GGGGGGGG g  GGGGGGGG gA
             GGGGGGGG n  GGGGGGGG n  GGGGGGGG n  GGGGGGGG nA
             George G e  George G e  George G e  George G eA
            --------- s --------- s --------- s --------- sA
|||Eddie-- |         \_/         \_/         \_/         \_
|||||||--- |                 Fred                          |
            --------------------- -------------------------
            XXXXXX   Nothing    |_|    Nothing      XXXXXXXX
            XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
            XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Essentially, for each softlink you create a point on a polygon and label it with the name of the destination owner. Points that map to the user for whom the graph is being is drawn are on an external border that is connected to nothing. Other points should be mapped in symmetrical groups wherever possible. (There are several algorithms to help with this. I don't recall what they are right now, but with a couple of hours, a web browser, and google.com I am invincible.) Undoubtedly, a prettier picture could be drawn using opengl or somesuch, but everything is presently limited to ASCII art.

The use of user for the sides is arbitrary. The sides of the produced polygon could just as easily have been labeled by target node title, and the resulting graph would be more interesting view of everything as it would have been a node level mapping. But it would have been harder to draw.

The same technique is used to construct a three dimensional image of second order connectivity, but I am not skilled enough in the ways of ASCII art to provide a visual aid. A description will have to suffice, although I fear it will not.

To get a second order image you must create first order images for each of the existing surfaces. Given the above example, this means calculating the borders of the nodespace defined by the 36 links to George, then the nodespace of the 12 links to Alice, and finally that of the two links to Eddie. We ignore Fred's internal nodespace because we'd just throw it away anyway when we drew the cross-sectional image.

Each of these nodespaces will be comprised of anywhere between 1 and N different nodes, where N is the number of links (there can be multiple links to the same node from within Fred's nodespace). Different visual effects (brightening, texturing) could be applied to the produced image to indicate the ratio of links to nodes found.

The generation of the nodespace borders for the second order mapping is slightly complicated by the constraint on having one side already set.

Disclaimer: I have not coded this. I have no idea if it would actually work. I know that it would be a pain in the ass without help from the everything coders. Doing it without access to the database would require spidering all of everything. Not just once, either, but over and over again trying to keep up with all of the softlinks. Nope, you'd definitely have to do it on the backend.1

Damn, I guess it's time to get back to playing with my Everything tarball. You may return to your regularly scheduled noding.

1-Hmmmmmm..... maybe not.... but that's a node for later.

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