X2, a hypothesis aggregator, is surprisingly interesting and engaging.
My colleague Attila pointed me to X2, an effort by the Institute for the Future to collect and collaboratively rank hypotheses about future directions of science. When I read about it, it sounded interesting, but coming from futurists, I rather expected it to be all style and no substance.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a substantial amount of interesting content on the site, and it seems like the core functions all work as expected. Instead of being just another pawn in my attempt to own the first page of Google results for my name, William Gunn, (I dominate Mr. Gunn already 😉 ) I might actually spend some time there.
The basic function of the site is similar to Scintilla, in that users submit content and you can rate it and find related content you may not have seen, but instead of being fed by a collection of RSS feeds
(though there are user-suggested feeds as an input source), users submit “signals”, which are short essay-style blurbs about an idea or concept whose time is coming. “Hypotheses” can be written about the proposed meaning of a signal, and “forecasts” combine a set of signals which illustrate a trend. Because the types of content aren’t just blog posts parsed from a feed, the site isn’t overrun with noise, such as the scienceblogs.com blather that has troubled my use of other recommendation engines. Interestingly, the “Add a feed” link simply goes to a project info blurb, so perhaps they’re working on that very problem.