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year end report

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year end report

I typed up some notes on a conversation I had with Ray about the state
of affairs around PlanetMath. Unlike a typical "year end report",
this doesn't go into detail about all the things we have achieved over
the last year. Rather, it looks mainly to the future.

Actually, plenty of details are lacking about that topic too. Mainly
I hope that this document will spur some conversation and further

Wishing you all the best in 2008 (whatever it might hold).

The document:

Well, maybe some of the ideas from this report can feed into
future grant applications (for example, to the Hewlett Foundation).

Many of our efforts here are associated with "Using information
technology to increase access to high-quality academic content;"
(quote from their strategic plan on education, linked to from

My proposal in Section 3.1 of the report (about a $-based
Q&A/tutorial service) could be extended with aspects of the
Cyberinfrastructure and Charlie Schweik-style "distance
learning" proposals to create a suite of educational tools
that would address the Hewlett Foundation's goal of
"Supporting strategies to provide effective universal basic
and secondary education in developing nations", as well.

Our approach to these issues can be as "basic" (e.g. multi-lingual
site) or as complex (scholium-system-driven courses and
competancy measures) as we might like.

If we are going to apply to this foundation, it would be
good to get more history on the things they have supported
and see where we can supply missing pieces.

Almost by definition, I would expect that Fedora forum would be
using free software so cost is not the issue. Rather, it's a
question of who will do the work to install the new software,
integrate it with the rest of the noosphere platform, port
content, and get the bugs out of the system. However, Chi Woo has
been heading an initiative to form a group of people who will do
things like this, so hopefully some improvement to the forum
interface will happen this year.

I think it looks good... nothing really to add right now. Just would re-empasize the point that I think we need some investment to get efforts moving on these things.


I have a comment as a new user - and only about the forum aspects of planetmath. The forum interface is probably comfortable for those who like the USENET tradition, but it seems archaic when compared to the capabilities of forums like, SOS Mathematics Cyberboard, ToyotaNation, SawmillCreek etc.

And I would be interested to know about the facts of life as far as forum software goes. For example, I don't know if the forums that I mention are using expensive commercial software or how many of them use the same basic software. Or is that they simply have a different philosophy of what a user interface should be?

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