James Saiz : 43 Things and Self-Normalizing Folksonomies

James Saiz

journeyman of some

43 Things and Self-Normalizing Folksonomies

Python Challenge is still sucking up my time but I did take a break and take another look at 43 Things.

43 Things is a site for declaring your goals and matching you up with other people who have the same goals or who have already accomplished them.

They've added some new features since I first checked out the site and one of them really impressed me—how they deal with the issue of distinctions without a difference. i.e. goals that are really the same thing but have been created separately and given different names.

Because goals are identified by the string given in answer to "I want to...", there is a distinction made between say "speak Italian fluently" and "speak fluent Italian" even though they are clearly the same goal.

How does 43 Things solve this?

When someone notices two very similar goals, they can suggest that one is really similar to the other. When they do this, the pages for both goals start showing the other goal under the heading "People have suggested XYZ is really the same as..."

Other people can then, with a single click (hmm, probably a GET), switch their goal from one to the other.

But here is the really clever thing. They say whether the other goal has more or less people. This means you can voluntarily switch your choice of goal naming to the one that emerges as more popular.

So the community's folksonomy becomes self-normalizing.

This page last modified Thursday 12 May, 2005
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