Bear in mind, Claimspace has yet to ship in any form. It's sooo close to shipment (if only partial shipment), it's painful for those of us that have been waiting. Also, be aware that most of the capabilities I discuss below will not be apparent in the first release. This post is about potential, appropriate platform design, and the power of simple, flexible, reusable, components. I'm making a claim about the power of ideas.

Korby has done a good job of describing the value of Claimspace from the individual contributor's perspective, and from the community member perspective generally. And, indeed, it was originally conceived to meet those needs as the phrase "personal recognition elements", that he graciously recalls, suggests. You make a claim, and people can vote on the accuracy of the claim, comment upon it, view where else the claim has been applied (Microsoft properties and elsewhere), and best of all get an RSS feed for the claim.

In that regard this emphasis is key: because the user can create/define the claim, Claimspace constitutes a long tail recognition system. It provides recognition possibilities for the greatest breadth of customers, not only the important, but tiny,  percentage that receive the traditional "five-star" type accolades. Those systems have obvious and ongoing value. But every IT professional and developer -- every single one -- has something to offer, is good at something, and has the right to seek recognition for it. This is fundamental.

Still, delivering recognition down the long tail (and thereby doing a lot to solve the "who can I trust issue") is only half the story -- perhaps less than half. Claimspace is also a generalized polling mechanism. The ramifications of that are not fully recognized and certainly not appreciated.

For instance, let's say I host a community and I'm interested in asking my community members how they feel about a proposed new feature. I create a claim about the feature, expose it, and watch the votes add up. I could even make ten claims regarding competing features, and see how the votes compare. I could do this on my blog, or in a forum. I could reuse the same claim in both instances and totals are calculated across both appropriately. I could ask 30 of my best friends to apply the same claim and because we support authenticated voting, we can avoid duplication and properly total across each instance.

Claims can be created and applied by anyone, including the people hosting the community. They could be built right into the forums application, for instance, to support assertions or claims such as "was this post helpful", or "this post answers the question asked". A library team could, for instance, create several standard claims (a claim/assertion taxonomy) that relate to the quality or usefulness of the posted library content.

We're only scratching the surface here. Because claims can be applied on non-Microsoft properties, the wealth of information regarding likes, dislikes, opinions, whatever, is almost incalculable.

A simple REST API gives everyone (and I mean everyone -- the mashup possibilities are just staggering -- caveat, keep the crawl, walk, run idea in mind) the ability use the data in a manner best suited to their needs: community (MVP or other influencer) reward programs, product design input, product feature voting, bug prioritization, and on and on and on, all without a ton of custom code. Any Digg-like application would love this kind of data. Can you imagine -- hottest claims, hottest people making claims, most used claims, newest claims, by product, by solution area, by geographical region, and the list goes on.

How many structured discussions can we imagine we'd like to have with each other?

Am I again stating the extreme case to make a point? Yes, guilty as charged. And worse yet, I have taken the liberty to discuss Claimspace capabilities that will not be available out of the gate. If this bothers you, well, I'm sorry. It's just as important to understand what can be done in the nearest term, as what will be available shortly thereafter. Our children are valuable not just because of their skill at kickball today, but also because of what they may become -- especially when growing up takes only few short focused development sprints of the Agile kind.


*Imagine my claim here: Claimspace has a lot of potential. Agree, Disagree, View Stats, Comment, RSS