big red STOP signs

So once upon a time…

I created very complex schemas.  I did Databases to 4th or even 5th level normalization.  Breaking it of course when needed for speed but always starting out “clean”  then profiling once I had the actual data to optimize for performance.  And if any one wants to (stupidly) compete on that level… I did EDS style systems with all the funky military codes.  And sometimes, I had to deal with  people that make it so complex to where a monster was a 27 level table join.

I understand complexity.  I understand the basic, sometimes biological, need for it.  Yes I used to sort my closet and room obsessively: clothes from shorter to longer while shoes underneath ran in the opposite direction.

When we all started doing computer stuff 20+ years ago, this was completely necessary and was a good thing.  But things have changed.  It used to be we were programming robots on how to cross the street.  We used robots because it was all we had and we could automate them.  But robots,  well robots are dumb.  Sorry I love robots too but they are only as good as we can directly tell them to be.  Instead now we have people.

We don’t have to tell people how to cross the street.  They won’t read those instruction manuals.  For people, we put up a great big red sign that says STOP.  That makes them aware of red means danger I should look around access and go on from there.

These new online community groups, need the same.  They do not need strict complex schemas.  They were break them – even if they understand them.  Think normal vocabulary and young people eg urban dictionary.   I don’t blame them honestly.  I also don’t care if your stuff breaks because of it.  I needed to break it – it DIDN’T FIT.

Make things to stretch and break.  Make things flexible. Make things simple.

We are creating for people not robots now.

Yes this is why I am a huge fan of microformats.org they are doing a great job of bridging that gap.

o yea and I’m with Jimmy Wales – I hate the term “crowdsourced”  implies lack of intelligence and implies business resource.  I also prefer Community Created.

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