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What might a linking-game look like?

An interesting conversation in the comments to Cole Camplese‘s post about the importance of having access to data in a university system. Brett Bixler brought up the idea of bringing some game aspects to using the data, and Cole pushed toward the ‘how many clicks’ game:

students are given a random starting topic and a random ending topic and they have to see how many clicks through articles it takes to get from A to B … an example might be, “get from the topic iPod to Kennedy Space Center.” I wonder if we could design something like that uses tag aggregation as a pass through

I’d love to see something like that, might even scrape up the time to work on something like that, but need help figuring out what, exactly, that might look like. Tags might be a great way to start something like this off. Links might be a way, too. How does the game work, though? I don’t really know where to begin with this.

One additional thought. Theoretically, with both tags and links we could come at it from two different directions. One is to have something that focuses on the existing tags/categories and links to make the game go. The other is for players to create their own links and tags/categories on posts they encounter. Since the data in SemanticUMW is in a completely separate database from the UMWBlogs database, this could fairly easily be done, and might even provide an additional set of interesting and useful data.

Anyone with ideas/models for sharpening up this fuzzy idea?

5 Comments

  1. Cole says:

    I’ll look forward to the demo when I am down there for the TLT conference! Keep me/us posted on ideas as they shake out. Lots of promise in a concept like this.

  2. Easy! Wait…how is it that tossing out off-the-cuff ideas turns so quickly into making a demo?. . . (too many demos…too many demos….)

  3. It would be cool if users (players) could store their click history as they went along; these could be stored in some database as a as named graphs for each search game instance. Then graphs could be compared for length, etc. This system would work differently than a borwser history in that (1) the graphs would be saved on a server, and (2) it would not erase parallel paths whenever you backed up and went forward again in a different direction.

    Also cool, as long as graphs are being saved on a db, users could edit the path directly and annotate it.

    Then the path could open on the left in Firefox and guide users through the trail.

  4. Rafael,

    Love the idea of recording a path in a named graph — seems like more generally that would be a great aspect of a semantic web browser. Especially with point (2) it could reveal a lot. I wonder if this could be derived from Google Analytics?

    I’m right there with you on annotating a path. That seems like a remarkably reflective approach to understanding thought patterns.

  5. Yeah — semanitc graphs are like (or just are) “externalized thought patterns.”

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