Re: native xml processing vs what Postgres and Oracle offer

From: Keith H Duggar <>
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2009 15:02:07 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <>

On Nov 10 2008, 9:17 am, salmobytes <> wrote:
> I'm thinking about starting a hobby project.
> I wrote a files-based Bulletin Board years ago.
> I'd like to convert it to a more database-like system, so
> password-identified users could edit old posts.
> Forums are inherently hierarchical

Discussions that evolve in forums are in fact not hierarchal. Claims that they are arise, I believe, chiefly from a lack of imagination and brainwashing by current interfaces.

For example, one often finds the need to respond, with one post, to many prior posts across multiple levels in a typical hierarchal view such as the "tree" view Google groups creates. That is what I am doing write now. This paragraph responds to several posts at different levels in the google tree that all claim forums are hierarchies. However, since google provides the capability to "reply" to but a single message I had to choose one thus perpetuating this false structuring.

What's more, a forum post may respond to content from other forum topics, other forums or even entirely different sources such as articles, emails, books, television, etc.

Even more amusing is that posts can actually preemptively respond to posts from the future! This most often happens when ignorant or lazy or time constrained or just plain stupid participants blurt out their two cents without having comprehended or read or cared (respectively) about said prior post that already address their belched vociferous reply.

Furthermore, different parts of single post may reply to different subsets of prior posts, topics, forums, external, or future sources. Likewise those parts may respond only to parts of said sources.

Thus, often in a general and very useful sense a post does not have a "parent" post in the narrow sense of a hierarchal tree as some have claimed here.

To improve the design flaws or your (and most or all other forums) I would humbly (because am and certainly not expert enough to claim this as a very "good" set of requirements) suggest that you aim to achieve at least the following:

Phase 1 : Basic

   For every post the ability to:

  1. refer to multiple posts (including THIS post and posts in other threads and forums)
  2. refer to external sources
  3. denote that a referent REPLIES to a referent

Phase 2 : Content Parts

   For arbitrary parts of posts the ability to:    4) refer to multiple arbitrary parts of multiple posts

Phase 3 : Temporal Correction

   For arbitrary content parts the ability to    5) edit the content part to add or remove referents

Phase 4 : Semantic Enrichment

   6) In addition to the basic REPLIES, the ability to

      denote that a referent SUPPORTS, DISPUTES, REBUTS,
      referent (possibility including THIS).

I think you would find that the above far more advanced forum fits nicely into a relational model and would support more efficient and productive discussion. For example, imagine how much easier it would be to refute a vociferous ignoramus when they continue to repeat the same bullshit. You can simply edit one of your prior responses adding a CALLS-UTTER-BULLSHIT reference to their latest post and immediately it could appear in various forum views.

KHD Received on Sat Jan 03 2009 - 17:02:07 CST

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