RE: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

From: Gil Regev (
Date: Mon Sep 10 2001 - 02:00:52 PDT

  • Next message: Grant Bowman: "[unrev-II] GNOME & Bonobo"

    This discussion reminds me of the paper by Shipman and Marshall called
    "Formality Considered harmful". They show how and why people don't take this
    extra step of documenting code, structuring their discussions with IBIS
    (which the explicitly name) etc. It's not a long paper and is easy to read.
    You can get it at:

    "Reported experiences with mechanisms to capture design rationale -- from
    McCall et al's use of PHI (McCall, Schaab, Schuler, 1983) to Conklin and
    Burgess Yakemovic's
    use of itIBIS (Conklin, Burgess Yakemovic, 1991) -- can be interpreted as
    limited successes. The
    methods resulted in long-term cost reductions, but success relied on social
    pressure, extensive
    training, or continuing human facilitation. In fact, Conklin and Burgess
    Yakemovic reported that
    they had little success in persuading other groups to use itIBIS outside of
    Burgess Yakemovic's
    development team, and that meeting minutes had to be converted to a more
    conventional prose
    form to engage any of these outside groups.

    Shipman then went on and wrote another paper on a system they designed which
    helps people incrementally formalize:

    Shipman's home page is at:

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Eugene Eric Kim []
      Sent: lundi, 10. septembre 2001 10:10
      Subject: Re: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

      On Sat, 8 Sep 2001, Jack Park wrote:

    > I have a confession to make.
    > I have a login password for Bernard's web site. I have yet to use
    > it. Why? Because I am lazy. It is far easier to hit NewMessage in
    > and type "unrev" and then ship off some gem, than it is to fire up my
    > browser, type in enough of a url to get the browser to remember where I
    > want to go, then log in, then navigate to some appropriate page, then
    > up some gem. Eric Armstrong has been right all along: email is easier.

      This is an important quandary. A little effort can result in an order of
      magnitude return. However, most people don't want to blindly expend that
      effort without knowing for sure that the returns will be worth it. And
      even then, most people are too lazy to expend the effort. Witness the
      reluctance most programmers show in documenting their code.

      If we can erase the need for that effort in the first place, then the
      problem is solved. This, however, is far easier said than done.

    > But, email is far less useful in a couple of senses: it's not well
    > organized (in contrast to a well-designed web site as is Bernard's), and
    > tends to allow rambling, which, I think, calls for some structure, as
    > example IBIS provides. But then, try to put IBIS threads into email and
    > you lose the structure of the discussion; web sites are better for
    > that. So, I conclude, email is easier and for those of us of the lazy
    > persuasion, better. But, I also conclude that, for purposes of logical
    > coherence in discussion and knowledge space, web sites, particularly
    > designed as knowledge portals like Bernards, are better. Go figure.


    > Were I to conjure a summary of this response, it would be:
    > What we need is a knowledge portal that is as convenient as email, and
    > powerful as a web site.

      I have been experimenting with the following:

          1. Use e-mail for unstructured discussion.
          2. Have a designated group facilitator create a structured IBIS dialog
             map of the e-mail discussion, with links to the original e-mails.
          3. Use a Wiki to collaboratively build a web site that integrates the
             content from both the e-mail archives and the dialog maps.

      I am convinced that this combination of tools and methodology greatly
      improves the collaborative process. However, in the absence of better
      tools, some effort must be made to conform to the methodology, things like
      periodically checking the dialog map and Wiki in addition to following the
      e-mail discussion. My challenge is convincing others that this effort is


      +=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== =====
      | "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they
      +===== can have an excuse to drink alcohol." --Steve Martin

            Yahoo! Groups Sponsor

      Community email addresses:
        Post message:
        List owner:

      Shortcut URL to this page:

      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Mon Sep 10 2001 - 01:52:36 PDT