Trailblazers 7: Notes from the Game-Master

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Game-Master Dragan Espenschied oversees surfers in this picture from competitor Arjun Srivatsa

At Trailblazers 7, surfing was all about different ways that indexes and taxonomies are created and used, and about excellent airhorn-puncutated stadium pop provided by DJ Smart & Outgoing.

The competition took place yesterday at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club; given the use of a one-button mouse, no keyboard, and no back button, qualifying surfers in the competition were asked to navigate a "trail" from one website to another, only by clicking. Without the use of search engines, browsing the web requires careful thinking about how websites are organized and interconnected. Often, successful trail blazing involved navigating to some link-rich environment. Whether surfers found this in editorial content (like M. Hipley's heavy usage of the New York Times website) or in the rather unsorted universe of user contributions (like Nick DeMarco always heading straight to forums and comments), finding these "indexes" and understanding the ordering of material there was crucial for success.

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