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My (Experiment) Social Network May 20, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in computers, physics life.
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I am a member of two online, work related, social networks. At least, if you apply a broad definition to social network. They are the collective mailing lists and message boards of the D0 experiment and the ATLAS experiment.

Lets play a thought experiment. Lets say we killed all the mailing lists and the message boards and put everyone on a facebook or Ning-like social network. Would I and the rest of the experiment do any better?

Lets see. If I wanted to know when a new version of the offline software came out I could subscribe to the offline software’s profile. There would be site hosted discussion boards that where people would ask how to get pathena to work. I could post a little message “Working on the @*36@ T/P separation for tagging” as a status. Or perhaps “In the Jet Resolution meeting” or something like that.

But where is the extra value? Now that all this data is in one place (and lets pretend you have some sort of API that you can use to access it) what would you do differently? How would value get added to it? And I mean different than what we currently do with email?

I’m sure it could be done better. I just don’t have a good enough idea of how this works to see what we’d do that would make us work better.

Of course, many of these things would have to be automated (like notification that a new release has been built) – perhaps you’d send email to the social networking site? How ironic would that be??

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