Crossforum theatre of democracy - development challenges

Michael Allan mike at
Mon Aug 23 01:49:28 EDT 2010

My files on this are located here (just diagrams for now):

I can foresee some particular challenges.  Maybe other folks can help
with some of these, at some point (especially items 2 or 3).  I'll
just throw these on the table:

 1. Rapidly prototype it.  Aim for first running code in 2 weeks, and
    updates at intervals of roughly 1 week.

    Maybe the first deliverable could be a tweet-like summary of
    polling-thread posts, running through the frame sequencer.  That
    would be useful in itself.  The main drama/action is all out there
    scattered across multiple forums, and we have no overview of it.
    (People might be busy with the toolset right now, for all we

 2. Recruit someone to take over the bulk of the development work.  I
    think it would require a senior developer (or confident
    intermediate) and maybe 20+ hours a week of commitment.  I could
    then switch over to documenting the broader architecture, which is
    also needed by others.

 3. Design the visual layout of the navigable tree.  This goes in the
    map projector.  We probably want this before attempting to
    prototype any of the in-tree navigation.  Requirements (soft at
    this point) are:

    a) Orient naturally, with leaves at top.

    b) Show the location of the navigation cursor in the context of
       nearby nodes.  Show at least one candidate and her immediate
       voters.  A candidate may have up to 20 immediate voters (more
       in fact, but the mosquito voters need not be shown).

    c) Define graphically how to shift the cursor and the context as
       the user navigates from node to node.

    d) Put the users to work and play.  For example, you might depend
       on them to work out the details of the tree's appearance
       themselves, especially where these details would serve as aids
       for orientation.  So the local appearance (shape, colour,
       texture, decorations and so forth) in the vicinity of each node
       might be chosen by the node's user, while the general visual
       parameters for the entire tree and its background are chosen by
       the root candidate.  You would therefore have to define:

          i) General typology of all such customizations

         ii) Specific variations of each

        iii) How the renderings join or grade between nodes

    e) Provide a larger sense of context.  Where am I in this tree?
       Which tree is this?

    f) Render with typical 2D graphics primitives.  (I'm not sure
       exactly which will be available, yet.)

    g) Be displayable on a typical smartphone, maybe in a simplified
       form.  Note that for small screens, only 1/2 of the display
       area will be available.

I can probably start on item #1, soon.

I bet that crossforum theatre will eventually complete the
rationalization that the pollwiki started, almost a year ago.  I bet
it will end by sucking the last remaining bits of UI out of the
pollserver, leaving it free to sink completely into the back-end
infrastructure.  (All my Wicket Web UI, down the drain!)

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 647-436-4521

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