Structured form output

“Structured form output” is my stand-in for an idea a bit too big to fit as a single todo.

The idea: you ask and validate various form elements, and on submit the web form it outputs the input in various formats.

I wish I could sometimes create a groovy web form that was easy to fill out, and have it do stuff for me, like load dynamic options based on earlier selections in the form, but I don’t need it to do anything with that after I’m done: I need that data as text.

Some formats I’m thinking:

  • Markdown
  • Markdown with front matter
  • mailto: links, pre-filled
  • https: links, pre-filled (pointing to talkgroup for adding a topic, for instance)

Ideas for content:

  • Classified ads
  • Character sheets

Because I’m building the forms to be good content generators, rather than capturing potential customers in my profit loop, it is more sound as a system. It is adjusted to make the formatted text portable, a prudent course.

One way to run classifieds: structure the info. Recognize unhelpful patterns in public posting, and require certain information.

If we created a form for say, posting a yard sale, we can identify what is required for a successful yard sale posting. This generates a few neat publication paths.

First, I could set up a category in Discourse (on talkgroup, but also any Discourse instance) that allowed email in, and was moderated. Folks could fill out a form, and email it to the classified board. The moderators will obviously be aware of the formats coming in. But the one sending it out can basically email it to everyone, making it a useful tool to hit many mailing lists, with many moderation policies; this method cuts down on trial and error, and is something I’d immediately use.

A second scenario is translation. If there are known qualities of “yard sales”, we translate them once for each language, and every post benefits. A yard sale is a great example, because humans are great negotiating price across barriers, but are not great at attracting folks that would actually be interested. Having a form that would structure as much data as possible, and generate a standard set of metadata that matched translation strings in the publishing system, would allow everyone to post to everyone (as much as is practical).

This conversation is for me to break these workflows down to components, because they are too big still. :thinking: