Over a decade ago I spend a lot of my free time on Usenet. I learned a lot there.
One of the things that got driven home is that some people are full of shit, no matter what topic they are writing about; other people are worth reading within their area of expertise, even if they don’t have the sense to know their limits; finally, other people are worth reading on just about any topic they decide to write about.
This really shaped my thoughts about the potential for the way the internet would change the way media was created, filtered and consumed.
Almost since my Usenet days, I’ve wanted a way to use computers to help me see all the sides of a story. In my ideal, the software could identify differences in POV between different comentators on the same event and provide excerpts of the differences in opinion. I’m sure that that is a long way off though, so I’d be happy if the computer would just do a decent job of identifying the different commentators for me.
Google News already does this with conventional media sources, to a large extent and “Memorandum”:http://tech.memeorandum.com/ mades a good go of it with political and technology blogs. Unfortunately, both of them rely on other people’s judgements about which sources of information are actually worth watching in the first place.
What I really want is to have a personal memorandum. I want to define a “personal reading list (using OPML, perhaps?)”:http://www.reallysimplesyndication.com/2005/10/13#a1032 around a broad topic area and let the software scan the feeds and present articles to me a view of the current topics of discussion in that sphere. Furthermore, I want to be able to define other reading lists for other topic areas and get a similar view of those spaces. Even better to bring in points of view on the topics from outside my selection of sources but connected by one degree of separation.
So, when can I have this, or does it already exist?