Inverting the Web
We use search engines because the Web does not support accessing documents by anything other than URL. This puts a huge amount of control in the hands of the search engine company and those who control the DNS hierarchy.
Given that search engine companies can barely keep up with the constant barrage of attacks, commonly known as "SEO". intended to lower the quality of their results, a distributed inverted index seems like it would be impossible to build.
@freakazoid Shifting ground (and jumping back up this stack -- we've sorted the URL/URI bit):
What you suggest that's interesting to me is the notion of _self-description_ or _self-identity_ as an inherent document characteristic.
(Where a "document" is any fixed bag'o'bits: text, audio, image, video, data, code, binary, etc.)
Not metadata (name, path, URI).
*Maybe* a hash, though that's fragile.
What is _constant_ across formats?
@freakazoid So, for example:
I find a scanned-in book at the Internet Archive, I re-type the document myself (probably with typos) to create a Markdown source, and then generate PDF, ePub, and HTML formats.
What's the constant across these?
How could I, preferably programmatically, identify these as being the same, or at least, highly-related, documents?
MD5 / SHA-512 checksums will identify _files_, but not _relations between them_.
Can those relations be internalised intrinsically?
@freakazoid Or do you always have to maintain some external correspondence index which tells you that SOURCE.PDF was the basis for RETYPED.MD which then generated RETYPED.MD.ePub and RETYPED.MD.html, etc.
Something that will work across printed, re-typed, error/noise, whitespace variants. Maybe translations or worse.
Word vectors? A Makefile audit? Merkel trees, somehow?
@dredmorbius We have real world solutions for these problems in the form of notaries, court clerks, etc. I.e. (registered) witnesses. Trusted third parties, but they don't have to be a single party.
@dredmorbius In the RDF world I guess one doesn't sign the individual triple but the entire graph.
And it might make more sense to call these 4-tuples, because it's really "this person says that this object is related in this way to this other object".
@freakazoid So for 4-tuple:
4. Obect1-Object-2 relation
"Signed" means that the whole statement is then cryptographically signed, making it an authenticatable statement?
@freakazoid And, so:
Back to search and Web:
- The actual URL and path matter to the browser.
- They may matter to me. Some RoboSpam site ripping off my blog posts _might_ leave the content unchanged, but they're still scamming web traffic, ads revenue, or reputation, based on false pretences. I want to read my content from my blog, not SpamSite, even if text and hashes match.
@freakazoid The URL and domain connote to _trust_ and a set of relationships that's not front-of-mind to the user, but _still matters_.
Content search alone fails to provide this. And some proxy for "who is providing this" -- who is the _authority_ represented as creator, editor, publisher, curator, etc. -- is what we're looking for. DNS and host-part of URL ... somewhat answer this.
(Also TLS certs, etc.)
@freakazoid And for anyone following this:
I'm not an expert, though I'm interested in the area.
I feel like I'm staggering drunk in the dark. Some of what I'm describing is Things I Have Known for Five Minutes Longer Than You (or a few days). Some longer.
This is ... remote from most work I've done, though I've been kicking around ideas for a few years, and know at least _some_ of what I'm talking about.
Informed input / corrections welcomed.
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