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In commemoration of our fifth anniversary, I will post the first e-mail I wrote to spawn Meatball. Strangely, Outlook has lost all my e-mails before 2003. Fortunately, it lives in one of the replies. I am pleased that we have remained mostly on focus, despite having gained much deeper understanding of the subject matter. I think this has a lot to do with the rather strange name I chose that still resonnates with me today. It reminds me of why I created this project. -- SunirShah

On April 14, 2000, Sunir Shah wrote to several WikiWikiWeb regulars dissatisfied with the huge FlameWar of 2000:

 I thought you might be interested in a idea of mine that I'm in the process 
 of getting off the ground:

 Idea: create a net.project who's purpose was to research and experiment 
 with collaborative hypermedia. Here's the pitch, off the cuff:

 Mission abstract:

 Experiment with various strategies to build stable collaborative 
 hypermedia. Collaborative is defined as requiring or permitting more 
 than one person to build an information structure. That is, no webart 
 done by lone artists. If it's going to built up with individual parts, 
 it's going to build up like Burning Man into an overarching structure.

 Also, since other approaches exist too, study them.

 It's a meta-project.


 It's not going to be, "Let's build a Wiki with this, that and the other 
 thing." It's going to be, we need to collaborate on theorem proving, on 
 politics, on art, on story telling, on interactive realms. Each focus 
 would likely result in unique structures. For instance, a theorem 
 proving structure would likely not tolerate unreviewed submissions, 
 whereas a political arena might--but it would also likely require 
 authentication and non-repudiation.

 Also, some systems don't need to be scalable or have identity, like a 
 museum exhibit. Other systems do need to scale, like a pattern 

 So, as a result, several interesting projects may be spawned.

 I'm thinking of calling the system Meatball as a hypermedium generally 
 looks like meatball spaghetti, with pages of content = meatball, links 
 = spaghetti.

 The focus will be on the content, rather than the technology.

 And you can say this really bad pun: when a system really takes off and 
 gets really hopping, we can say it meatballed ~ snowballed. ;)

 Would you be interested in this?




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