Thoughts on the Social Graph

Posted 3 Sep 2007 at 23:22 UTC by bradfitz Share This

My thoughts on the Social Graph, and opening it up...

Advogato vs other Social Networking sites, posted 4 Sep 2007 at 05:02 UTC by StevenRainwater » (Master)

One problem I've been considering is how the Advogato graph relates to other social site graphs. Most sites have a concept of "friends", which is a list of people you know and who know you. But here on Advogato, each user has two lists, one is a list of people the user has certified as members of the free software community and the other is a list of people who have certified the user as a member of the free software community.

It's quite common on Advogato to certify someone who is not a "friend", so when exporting data to another site, it's not clear that either list represents a list of "friends". On the other hand, if a new user signs up on Advogato and we suck in their friends list from some other site, what do we do with it here? If one of those friends is also an Advogato user, should their presence on a friends list be converted to some level of trust certification here? Many friends may not be members of the free software community, should they be ignored?

We could add a friends graph on top of what we already have. But that might make things too confusing. Another possibility would be to ignore the concept of friends locally but provide a link on the profile page to any external friends lists that are discovered. Any other ideas?

FOAF already handles this., posted 4 Sep 2007 at 06:25 UTC by MarkAtwood » (Master)

The FOAF format that "social graph export" depends on is able to label the types of edges in it's graph. So just export both 'has certified' and 'has been certified by', and tag them appropriately in the FOAF file.

Seperate concepts, posted 5 Sep 2007 at 02:39 UTC by wlach » (Master)

I think "friends" and "certifications" are, as you say, two distinct things (although there is obviously overlap between them: most of the people who have certified me are friends or at least acquaintances). To be honest, I don't think "friends" are really that important for the purposes of Advogato, where all content is available for all to see (in keeping with the transparent spirit of free software).

Friends information gathered from elsewhere might make an interesting add-on to the profile pages, but that's about it as far as Advogato itself is concerned. I do like MarkAtwood's suggestion for exporting the certification information elsewhere.

Current Advogato FOAF Usage, posted 5 Sep 2007 at 15:16 UTC by StevenRainwater » (Master)

At present we export the list of outbound certs in your user profile as foaf:knows elements. This made the most sense because it makes the data immediately useful to many existing programs. My understanding from discussing this with the folks on the FOAF mailing list was that if we did something custom such as creating our own graph elements that tried to express the trust certs as we use them here, the resulting FOAF files would be interesting but not very useful. Existing FOAF programs would probably ignore the cert info because the don't know what to do with it. By using foaf:knows, we transform the info into something that's immediately useful with many existing FOAF applications. For example, here's my Adovgato data as seen by FOAFer.

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web, posted 7 Sep 2007 at 17:29 UTC by StevenRainwater » (Master)

If you haven't seen it yet, a document was published a few days ago that seems related to this discussion:

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web

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