Margin Writing

We have seen the evolution from books to wiki and diaries to blogs from the physical world to virtual. But people naturally use both in combination in the physical world. I know of people who actually insert book pages and articles in their diaries. And there are enough historical examples of people noting their personal views in books.

Recently, I was surprised when Dipti Kulkarni explained on looking at the distinctions between a wiki page and a blog from a semiotic point of view (at wikiwars POV held at Bangalore). The differences are actually stark and it explained why style on wikipedia would only get non-narrative type content, whereas a blog post would naturally lead towards narrative/interpersonal forms.

This insertion of one style on another is what I call as “margin writing”. Earliest of them are noted in Quran. I am sure there are similar practices in most cultures. I was discussing this one of my friends Abdul specifically on Quran interpretations and its 2 forms Tawil and Tafsir. Both having its own evolution patterns and even stricter acceptances/rejections in specific groups. We have been seeing wiki evolving as a platform, but how come not so much for expounding views and sharing narratives, why do support to such forms of “margin writing” does not figure in the technology.  In context sharing of narratives (e.g. within Quran or for that matter wikipedia) is what we are terribly missing in wiki. Any wiki, while it will remain as reference how much ever authentic or authoritative and will be less bound by editorial rules leading to fluidity. I feel only way it can be held together is by the ‘margin writing’ of multiple people with their context, view points or personal narratives.

Currently this is all too limited by us referring to some version of a wiki page. Social apps are coming up that support something basics like highlighting for example on Kindle, . But we could do a lot more than just this. I feel we are limiting openness in how people and communities express, interpret and comment by technology on most content.


One thought on “Margin Writing

  1. Pingback: Notes on Harnessing Complexity « Cognitive Noise

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