[PP-main] My thoughts (Crossposting)

Nick Lothian Lothian.Nicholas at lmsol.com.au
Fri Mar 10 05:37:22 CET 2000

> Crossposting
> ------------
> There are two existing, simple models for crossposting. In one, each
> server has its own discussion forum, and there is no write access from
> outside servers. Currently, read access is implemented in the form of
> links, but I see no reason why the actual content can't move too. This
> would allow better presentation.
> The other model is Usenet, where all comments show up in all
> servers. I think we can reject this out of hand, as it basically
> doesn't scale.
By "doesn't scale", do you mean technically or socially?

> Here's what I propose as a compromise. When beginning a new thread,
> the poster gets to choose a subset of servers, subject to the
> constraint that he has write permission on all of them. Further posts
> to the thread are allowed only to people who also have write
> permission on all of them.

Hmmm.. how are the comments replicated across all the servers, or are they
posted separatly to each? I'd be a little worried about that if (when) we
have a few hundred sites, and a really popular discussion. I understand the
permission thing would cut down on the peer-press originatined postings, but
what about replication of comments from the original site - or all
individual sites?

I guess what I mean is:

Are all the indivudual sites expected to use only the peer-press system for
posting, or is that just an add-on to their own system? Assuming they can
keep their own system, how (if at all) do comments originating as local
comments get replicated to the peer-press system?

Note that this is all assuming we go for the non-centralised system, which I
prefer, too.

> To me, this encourages crossposting to be limited to people who really
> do bridge multiple communities, while fostering local
> discussion. Further, this method avoids the fragmentation you see when
> different people apply different filters to read comments within a
> thread.

Fair enough, but see above.

> The identity syndication above is obviously important to make this
> system work.
> How to determine write access? I suggest a two-phase commit. Assume
> there is a single system acting on behalf of the poster. This could
> either be the poster's system itself, assuming client support, or
> could be a proxy server.
> The client system first issues "pre-post" requests to the servers in
> the subset. Each of these servers issues confirmation that the
> pre-post was accepted. At this point, the client system issues "post"
> requests to all servers. Each of the servers then checks for
> confirmations of the pre-post from all the other servers (if
> necessary, by opening a connection), then posts the story.

When you say "The Client", I assume you mean some software on the server the
client's browser is looking at (the current clients server).

I'd worry about the scaleability of this system. Say you are the author of
the article, and you want to write a correction. Now (assuming the
identification system allows you to, which it should, since you are the
author), you should be able to post to all the sites with the story - that
could be hundreds!

Then if somone replied to that, it would attempt to reply to all of the

Also, some sites might want to syndicate all the comments - there needs to
be a way to do that, too.

I don't have any really good suggestions for this, and I have been thinking
about it. The best I can come up with is a web-discussion interface on top
of a NNTP system - with some kind of authentication to make sure the posts
only come from approved sites.

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