There's an interesting nexus between some ideas Cameron and I dreamed up when thinking about XRepublic and this new notion of OWL and worm's eye metadata.
The point is that to harness the power of distributed thinking in assigning value to metadata on a subject matter, some categorization is necessary. You want to avoid re-inventing the wheel, but you don't want valuable one-offs to go unnoticed.
In the context of a bottoms-up deliberative space whose purpose is the generation of consensus, I came up with the idea of a Taxonomy Hike. If you care about your idea, then you can walk the distance it takes to attach it to an indexing scheme that people will look for. For example, if you want to weigh in on transracial adoptions, you might want to hook that up under the Parenting category. Cameron suggests Hipboning that subject in a dynamic way such that you can gain valuable insights by taking tangents that don't work in a hierarchichal taxonomy.
The following is from the XRepublic talk about the Wonk Path.
At some point, the Wonk needs to do some research. The research that is done online in the context of discussions and artifacts of the XRepublic necessitates a Taxonomy Hike. The Hike requires the Wonk to show a demonstrated effort to understand the context of similar discussions. Since there will be a Master Taxonomy which incorporates all of the discussions, the system should deliver the most 'considered' objects relating to the subject. This assures the Citizens that wonks have done their homework. After a wonk has taken the hike, she may be presented as a wonk and begin crafting a resolution, litmus test or other partisan artifacts.
The Wonk at any time in the process should be able to free-associate in the research space. In the Hipbone Room, some gaming is done to connect different concepts. An excellent introduction to Hipbone Games is given by Charles Cameron. As Charles Cameron has showed me via Hipbone, one of the most attractive things about dialog is that sometimes you happen upon a connection, a vibe as it were, which is completely unintentional but gives a great deal of insight to another class of problem or issue. XRepublic is more of a funnel for weighty arguments as determined by peers and is such directed towards a specific purpose. But it is also the aha of a tangential discovery that can lead to greater insights.
How indeed does some matter of Niger relate to a resolution of war? Nobody, but nobody was discussing that in March of this year when it came to the top reason pro or con. Nevertheless, something tangential in a different house, perhaps talking about Northwest Africa might be hipboned to the conversation somehow. The best we could come up with was the idea of a 'hipbone room' in which people free associate and build weblike structures in which seemingly disparate ideas could be linked to each other for another layer of contemplation.
In the context of BI and decision support, the need is the same. If you notice an interesting pattern of consumption by eyeballing your POS in a retail business - say you find a lot of men buying Diapers and Beer, you need the ability to flag that notion. There should be some way to hike the taxonomies of the global data warehouse from the data supply side which has a quick worm's eye facility onsite. Doing this before the data gets assimilated into the top-down paradigm of the DW might even obviate the need for data mining. At the very least it embeds human clues into the system.
I'm rather unclear about exactly what OWL is, but this page suggests it's a wider purpose facilitator for creating ontologies. I would expect that ontologies are broader than taxonomies, but make more sense from the worm's eye view. After some time, people might agree that a Diaper/Beer ontology needs recognition and acceptance into the formal Taxonomy.
How's that for a groupthink killer?