The Human Web

2 thoughts
last posted Sept. 12, 2012, 8:31 p.m.
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An exchange here and on twitter reminded me of something I've wanted from the web for a long time: a home on the social web for the humanities.

I find startups and new web apps and text editors to be fun, but I'm a Neal Stephenson-style geek, not a Paul Graham-style geek. What turns my crank is linguistics, poetry, philosophy.

And I know I'm not alone! But you have to go somewhere like Language Hat to get that kind of content—and that means you're in a poorly searchable, poorly commentable, poorly exportable world of individual posts and unsorted comments beneath them.

I would be so jazzed by something more like—even like Hacker News! With Markdown text or links and threaded social discussion.

Part of the issue here is cultural. Reddit has Reddits devoted to many of these topics, but they're frankly either underpopulated or well-staffed of not-terribly brilliant people.


Another area that modern app design hasn't penetrated to is the literary journal. The poets who publish on the web do so in one of two types of place:

  • A blogger page, with a default template;
  • Some totally cut-off PDF zine with exquisite (or not) design.

Neither format is optimal. Literature is inescapably aesthetic and thus design, typography, the rest are integral to its function. But this is the modern age and I should be able to tweet my poems and subscribe to RSS feeds.