To create a portrait online, we must first decide on the domain in which the portrait will be created and viewed. Most of the previous forms that have been proposed use the domain of home pages as a space in which people are portrayed. Since this seems like a fairly well travelled domain, as well as one that I am sure other people are going to explore, I will choose instead a different, if perhaps more tenuous domain: that of the online virtual community.
The online virtual community exists in many forms; The form I am most interested in is one based around intercommunity communication. This includes chat groups, newsgroups, person-to-person email, etc. Each of these modes of communication is part of the online community of which I speak. Indeed, the community is not restricted to any one form of communication, but rather is defined solely on the basis of the interpersonal interaction online of a group of people. Much the way that real world communities are defined by the physical interaction of people, online communities are defined by the online communicative interaction of people. A good example of this type of community is Canard. This is the domain in which I will explore the concept of portraiture.
First, we must define some of the constraints and features of such a portrait, as well as its goals, before actually designing a visual represenatation for the portrait:
All of this information is available on the canard system, most notably the person tracking information and group interaction. What makes such information different from just online chat systems is that the information is heavily grounded in reality: the system is an extension of a real life community, and represents the interaction and presenation of people as they are in real life.
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