Building platforms (building infrastructure) vs. schools (focused learning space)


  • Platform vs. school: tradeoffs w/ building flexible infrastructure vs. identity around specific subject


  • For more structured stuff, platform is very important…for more spontaneous stuff, ???
  • Chrome extension: from any link, see who in your network tweeted about it: Ampie
  • Common thing to not want to move stuff to another platform b/c you already have your own website
  • Example: founder of Wikipedia, working on platform / standards stuff…
  • Something similar for learning pages etc.?! E.g. on someone’s personal site…notes, reading, etc.
  • Stian: crazy PhD note-taking system, part of the idea = public notes; interlinking; ambient feed…
  • Linked data spec…Tim Berners-Lee has been working on this for a while!
  • Help finding people who aren’t super active online…some kind of more ambient way to find?
  • For now, we’re all backwards-engineering…
  • Social network-like interactions, but that are valuable to individuals too (anti-social social network?)

Select any text above and hit “quote” to riff on it directly, or continue this in any related direction!

With more spontaneous stuff I meant what @jborichevskiy describes on his site:

“Phrased differently: how can I chat with 5 other people obsessed with the same thing as I am this week? Be it a concept, company, question, or idea?”

The extension is called Ampie and works on any site, not just Roam.

Larry Sanger’s idea project Encyclosphere which he describes in more detail here: The idea is to establish a certain standard that allows people to build aggregators that show multiple versions of each Wiki page:

“We need to do for encyclopedias what blogging standards did for blogs: there needs to be an ‘Encyclosphere.’ We should build a totally decentralized network, like the Blogosphere—or like email, IRC, blockchains, and the World Wide Web itself.”

What I had in mind is something like but for learning pages. I.e. an aggregator for personal sites that list what you’re currently learning and want to learn in the future. If there’s some kind of common standard, the information on an aggregator site could be updated automatically and this would make it easier to find people who are currently interested in the same topics.


Ahh nice, yeah I like this. Currently best bet is probably something like: tweet about it; see if anyone else jumps into the conversation. Something w/ more structure but still spontaneous would be great.

Whoops oh yeah I have heard of that one…probably misheard Chrome as Roam :laughing: will update OP

Sounds interesting; I don’t really agree with his Wikipedia vs Facebook characterization but I do like the idea of some kind of open decentralized standards for wikis / encyclopedia-type content. Blogosphere comparison seems apt here…I want to dig in more and see ideas for actual implementation.

Oh yeah, @jaredpereira’s very first idea for was actually very close to this! Maybe something we can support in some form with Hyperlink.

We’ve thought about ways to do something like a “learning log” where anyone can showcase what you’re learning, and made the #adventures category here on the forum for posting about independent learning goals / projects outside of a formal course structure. Making a personal side page + linking it there could be a fun simple start; exploring open standards / aggregator for this kind of thing could definitely be cool too!

Oh and to expand a bit on what I was thinking w/ this original prompt—

The core tension I was thinking about here is something relevant to Hyperlink — exploring both:

  • building a course platform / learning infrastructure, and
  • building an online school / learning community with specific courses

We definitely want to invest in building great infrastructure that can be used for running all sorts of courses, workshops, and learning experiences — but we’ll also be starting out with some specific types of courses we launch and host here.

What should that identity be? How specific a focus / theme for what makes a good “Hyperlink course”?

Very early but we’re working on some initial courses, and some themes seem to be:

  • cool internet things / new web literacies / niche tech
  • strong focus on active, p2p learning
  • personal infrastructure for creating & learning

And I think some of the technology and infrastructure stuff will related to specific types of courses (e.g. things like image hosting, connecting to github repos, what types of discussion structures work best, etc.) so all this will ideally be kind of a nice feedback loop!