As If I Were You

I don't want to be you, but I'd like to see your side of this conversation as if I were you. And then I'd like to be me again.

I have found a weakness in Recent Changes that I did not expect. Rather, I have now seen the opportunity that others might expect to already exist but crushingly doesn't.

# Reading

I will be me when I start from my own site. I will grow a neighborhood seeded with my pages and the many that I have forked.

I will be you when I start from your site. I will grow a neighborhood seeded with your pages and the many that you have forked.

# Keeping

When I start from my server I am using my software that sees pages my way. When I see something I like I can copy it (fork) into my place and have it forever.

When I start from your server I am using your software that sees pages your way. When I see something I like I can copy it to my browser local storage (yellow bordered) where I must return to your site and load your software if I ever want to see it again. HEY, WHAT?

# Returning

Now I realize what is missing.

I want to read your pages as if I were you. When I understand what you are saying in the context you have said it I want to take those thoughts and make them mine. DAMN STRAIGHT.

REPEAT. I want to read your pages as if I were you without stopping being me.

Recent Changes doesn't work that way yet. But it could. It could read up everyone's changes but then for a few moments pretend that it hadn't. It could pretend that it has, for the moment, entered into the small neighborhood where you write.

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) limitations in the browser had me thinking that there were only the two ways of Keeping: as me on my server or as you keeping only in my browser. I confused one limitation with a different problem.

I could not understand this difference when I was reading my own work. I could not even understand it when I read Mike's work. I could keep all of that straight in my head. Today that has broken down for me as it has broken down for others early on. -- Ward Cunningham


The HEY WHAT? observation is exactly what I was going to write this morning too. It took about three days of intensive interaction to realize when I could and could not fork, and why or why not. And once I did realize when I couldn't -- because I'd navigated via another's server not my own -- I also saw why forking has been so problematic for me and evidently for others. Returning to your page via my server is tricky. I can go back to my server-relative neighborhood and try to navigate or search from there, but I might not get back to your page, and even if I do I've suffered a major disruption of context. -- Jon Udell

These observations lead to the experimental script we are now calling Conversation Clubs. -- Ward Cunningham