Talk lighting

Michael Allan mike at
Fri Sep 14 03:00:37 EDT 2012

This might be attractive to newcomers who stumble on the project.
It would require these tracks on stage:

  ^^ (X) ][ Q                                     P D D ][  link track
  --------------------------------------------------------  polltrack
  <- ||||| - |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||  geotrack
  --------------------------------------------------------  talk track
  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --- >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --- >>>>>  vote track

Picture them hanging above the home page, or anywhere else that gets
exposure.  Here's what I propose; the first part is simple: whenever
the mouse enters the talk track (-----), the talk icon lights up in
the link track (Q, top left).  This gives the user an immediate sense
of what the track shows.  Likewise for each the other tracks.  As the
mouse crosses the tracks, we light up the icons one by one (top left).

Second, whenever the mouse enters a particular message in the talk
track (-), the other tracks light up to show where the talk is
happening.  Scenery in the page lights up too, where that makes sense.
These "talk lights" fade slowly (roughly 3 seconds), such that
horizontal traversal of the track, or back and forth, lays a glowing
pattern on the other tracks.  It shows the spatial pattern of
discussion during the period of time traversed by the mouse. *

For example, run the mouse across the last 20 or so messages of the
talk track:

  --------------------------------------------------------  talk track
                                     |<----- mouse ------>|

Suppose the geotrack is currently anchored on Europe, where you see a
single patch of light among the European states.  Suppose it's Italy:

  (to Eurasia)                European states
   /                               /
  <- ||||| - |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||  geotrack
       \                                        |
      Europe                               light here

Click on Italy to see precisely where the talk is coming from.  And so
on, following the talk lights down the hierarchy of geospace to the
level of neighbourhoods, dwellings and individuals.

  (to Europe)                  Italian regions
   /                                 /
  <- ||||| - |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
       \              \    /                          |
      Italy         light here                   light here

Likewise in the vote track, where a path is lit through the
forest/tree structure of votespace.  Likewise in the polltrack, where
points of light show the polls/issues that are being discussed.

What do you think?  Can anyone foresee problems with this approach?
Or alternative approaches?

  * We discussed similar glowing effects in connection with the old
    theatre design, maybe 2 years ago.  I think it was Thomas's idea,
    involving a time slider.  Here there is no slider.  The period is
    restricted to whatever the talk track currently covers.

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 416-699-9528

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