October 1, 2008

This was originally in response to an email from Eric about the noise and relative value of Flickr photos in his friends’ photo streams.

I like the concept of notableness. Certain criteria of the datum fall outside the bell curve, warranting more attention.

We dealt with this issue on Vox—a linear stream of equally weighted items. In reality, items are not equal. Not only that, but different items are more notable to different viewers.

This morning I unfollowed someone on Twitter because she spammed the front page with several tweets per hour. This is akin to the nuclear option, something software should solve, really. Typically, her tweets are low value to me, but in aggregate they are interesting. Or if she has one that’s well-replied to or starred, it is isomorphically more significant.

Lastly, an algorithmically condensed event stream isn’t something that nicely fits into an RSS feed. Or maybe. This is where the rubber meets the road. Capturing—and therefore limiting—a set of events into an aggregate event, then freezing it in time as a discrete RSS entry might be a reasonable compromise between theory and reality of implementation.