Monday, January 31, 2005

Stigmergic Horting

There's little i enjoy more than learning a new word, so it's the rare day when i learn two new words serendipitously. I was doing a search earlier today on the topic of collaborative filtering and i found first, a paper that uses the word stigmergic; and second, a reference to a paper on something called horting. Neither word is likely to be used in any conversation among sane people, but they're fun to say. I'm not sure that horting could arise stigmergically, but i'm guessing that if it can it's probably the explanation for all manner of mysterious and profound phenomena.

Horting seems to be basically a way to build a network of connections between users based on the similarity of preference for various items (movies,books,songs,etc.). I particularly like horting, because hort could be used as a sort of transitive verb (e.g., i hort you), which would mean something along the lines of "i have enough in common with you that it's safe to say that if you like something, i'll like it about as much". Clearly the English language needs this word because it expresses compatibility without any sort of emotional connotation. I intend to use it whenever possible. Inevitably, somebody will create a parody song called Everbody Horts.

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