Only the Schema Matters

As I said last time, I didn’t “get” Xpertweb until I read the World of Ends Declaration. In making Xpertweb “WoE-compliant”, as Doc put it, I mimicked WoE’s point 8—based on Doc’s NEA construct:

8. The three virtues of the Xpertweb agreement:

    a. No one owns it
You can’t own an agreement. It lives at the intersection of your promises.
    b. Everyone can use it
Like the web, you’ll need some code and a little training, but that’s what Mentors are for.
    c. Anyone can improve it
Don’t like the rev 1.0 PHP business forms? Roll your own in Fortran. Only the schema matters.

The reason the schema is the big deal is that it does for economics what all the Internet’s equipment does for electronic transmissions—enforce an agreement on how to play nice with each other. That’s a bracing thought: unlike anyone else, Xpertweb people are subject to an overarching economic agreement enforced by forms and scripts conforming to their agreement.

As you’ve learned by now, the larger economy has no rules and few ethics. Like the wild west, people do whatever they can get away with—pretty much anything.

Let’s review what World of Ends teaches us.

Tale of WoE

Doc and the Doctor have reduced the Internet to its essence, which is how we can finally get it that the Internet is only an agreement. The parties to the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol have agreed to distill our words and our longings into ASCII chunks of a certain size and format, and route them according to certain rules. You also abide by your agreement to do so every time you log on to the Internet.

What’s that you say? You don’t remember making that agreement? Neither do I. To save us all a lot of trouble, every Internet black box and switch and chip and router and software program conforms to the agreement called the Internet. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t. If a data packet doesn’t conform to the IP agreement, it’s not an IP packet, so it’s just ignored.

This is a big deal. We’ve come to a point in our culture that we can reduce our obligations to code so we don’t have to worry about breaking the rules.

Economic Rules For the Best of Us

You probably know better than I that a schema is a rule book for XML file structure and XML is a way to organize information so it’s readable by machines and people. By putting all Xpertweb data out in the open on its user’s sites, the Xpertweb protocols let all its users know about all its users. When people use the Xpertweb tools, they also use the schema’s rules, which are based on the standard Xpertweb Mentor Agreement. It’s a work in progress, but you get the idea.

And just as a packet isn’t an IP packet unless it conforms to the agreement, neither is a transaction an Xpertweb transaction unless its records conform to the schema and are present on the sites of both the seller and the buyer.

When we get all these tools hammered out, there’ll be two kinds of economy. The huge one we use now, with no stated rules, and the tiny micreconomy we’re designing here, with explicit rules for those who choose to abide by them, and a way to add others rapidly.

Then we’ll find out how many of us prefer to play by the rules.


10:27:58 PM    

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