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The many lives of Frontier
By Dave Winer on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 at 8:34 AM.
A picture named krebs.jpgThere's a screencast that goes with this post. permalink
Today I have something new to show, a way of linking together online discussions around what I think of as a stream of consciousness. The discussion organizer puts together an outline, and attached to each entry in the outline is a discussion thread. You can have as many threads as you want. You can organize them any way you want. You can reorganize them. You can add or delete threads as easily as adding a new entry to the outline. permalink
Here's an example. Two old but great rock bands, The Doors and Alice Cooper. And three of their songs, for each.  permalink
There are a lot of places this idea can go. permalink
1. One item for each session at a conference. permalink
2. A business plan. permalink
3. A family diary. permalink
4. A month's worth of tweets. permalink
5. A product user's manual. permalink
The newness here is twofold: permalink
1. Quick overview of lots of threads. permalink
2. Easy editing and reorganizing by the discussion leader. permalink
To edit the outline, all I have to do is open the outline, make the change and save. permalink
I'd love to have this idea percolate through all the different instances of the Frontier user community, all the way back to the early Apple days around Computer Plus in Sunnyvale, and through the people who used Living Videotext's outliners. Oh heck, let me make a list. permalink
1. Personal Software outliner, Visitext. permalink
ThinkTank/Apple II permalink
Ready! the resident outliner for the PC permalink
ThinkTank 128/512, MORE for Macintosh permalink
GO USERLAND on Compuserve permalink
AppleLink and AOL forums permalink
AutoWeb permalink
Clay Basket permalink
24 Hours permalink
Newsite Suite permalink
Manilapalooza permalink
Frontier-User permalink
Frontier-Dev permalink
Frontier-Newbies permalink
Frontier-etc? permalink
6. Radio UserLand (aka Radio 8) permalink
7. permalink
8. Podcasting permalink
9. OPML Editor (first incarnation) permalink
Now we're ready to do yet another incarnation of the Frontier community.  permalink
I think of the early Mac outliners as part of the Frontier thread. And I think of the OPML Editor as a continuation. There was a new codebase as from ThinkTank/MORE to Frontier, but it was all done by the same brain. So there's a huge amount of continuity. And in many ways, what's happening today is the realization fo the idea that all this started with so many years ago. permalink
If this were a speech, now I'd leave you with this. permalink
On Twitter the other day, I realized that there are people floating around there, on my follower list, and me on theirs, of people who were important anchors for each of these communities. And in most cases I'm pretty sure they don't know each other! So I thought it would be interesting to shout out to each of them, people who are smart and curious, who throw themselves into their work without worrying where it will lead. There must be a thread of optimism and intelligence that connects them. All I know is that I have had good experiences working with each of them, and would welcome the opportunity to do it again. permalink
I asked each of them if it would be okay to mention them in this post, and I haven't heard back from all of them. So the list is not complete. permalink
1. John Baxter. Helped lead the Compuserve community in the early 90s.  permalink
2. Susan Kitchens. Was an inspiration in the Manila days. We drank margaritas (I think) at Manilapalooza. permalink
3. Bryan Bell. Designed all the templates for Manila and Radio. Did the graphics for all the standards we pushed. He did the art for the Harvard blogging site, the first academic blogging site in the US. And for BloggerCon.  permalink
4. Adam Curry. The inspiration of podcasting and co-leader of the podcasting community that believe it or not booted up out of Frontier.  permalink
5. Amy Bellinger. The user-leader of the OPML Editor community in the mid-2000s. I famously sang a duet of Green Acres with her. Though we've never met. (I haven't met Baxter either.) permalink
There were a lot of other people who did lots of great stuff to help Frontier, but these people were exceptional and I'm still in touch with all of them. I'm sure they will all read this. And I just wanted to say thanks! :-) permalink
Now, the next thing on my to-do list is to do a screencast as I outline all the elements of this post, and turn it into a discussion tree where people can add their comments. I want to give everyone who was part of a Frontier community a place to post a comment. And no doubt I've forgotten to list some communities, so help me build out the list. permalink
Update: Here's the outline I created in the screencast. permalink
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