Re: [Fwd: Re: [unrev-II] Meeting Summary: 22 Aug '00]

From: Jack Park (
Date: Fri Aug 25 2000 - 08:21:03 PDT

Damn good post, Eric.

From: Eric Armstrong <>

<massive snippage/>
> * "Hierarchical structures provide no means of visually
> displaying a sense of convergence."
> --Here, we will someday part company, if I can *ever*
> figure out how "reduction" should occur. What I have
> so far is that a simultaneous reply needs to *supercede*
> the nodes it replies to, in some significant way.
> --The issue, of course, is that not all such replies
> are summaries! So that kind of reduction is not always
> the right tack to take for a multi-node response.
> --By the same token, it should be easy for someone
> else to provide a competing summary. And there needs
> to be a mechanism for "adopting" a summary -- i.e.
> selecting, in the same way that an alternative is
> selected from an IBIS discussion (another mechanism
> yet TBD).

The reference to IBIS is particularly useful. I suspect that the notion of
issue-based discussions is one of the more important insights here.

> --If, however, these issues (essentially interface issues)
> can be resolved, then a hierarchy can conceivably
> introduce a very *nice* mechanism for convergence, by
> *inverting* the hierarchy when the occasion demands it.

Of course, the notion of *inverting* a hierarchy will need much more
elaboration, complete, IMHO, with examples.


> * Although he usually calls them "CC" environments, at one
> point he describes them as "asynchronous conferincing
> environments". Talk about an acronym! ACE has legs. It
> could go places. Plus spinoffs: TRACE, PACE, GRACE -- you
> name it.
Interesting observation, that.

> * I suspect we should be basing our initial efforts around
> the analysis presented in this paper -- if not its
> proposed solution. If email is just a way to put information
> in the system, let's dispense with the concept of capuring
> email messages and go here, instead.
Isn't this somewhat akin to turning the Titanic?

> * "How a next-generation computer confercing system be
> designed? One appoach is to reconceptualize CC from a
> knowledge-centered, rather than conversation-based
> perspective."
> --I know Jack liked that. I find it scary, but interesting.
> Unfortunately, I wasn't able to intuit from the rest of
> the paper exactly what that meant in practice.

> * He also mentions "an APA-style reference list". What's that?
American Pediatrics Association? <gg>

> * Each note includes a list of "Notes that refer to this note"
> --ie. backlinks. Doug will like that.
Open question: are these links put in by the author while creating the post?
or are they added later, which implies the next question: do we add stuff to
a post after receipt, or do we do all referencing *above* the post space
(ala Topic Maps)?

> * I think the author has the view that showing the nodes
> graphically will indicate where convergence has occurred,
> and that somehow that will suffice for confergence to
> happen.
> --I'm not sure that's true, but there may be more
> utility to graphical node-representations than I think.


> --I tend to distrust that they will do the job as
> intended, without becoming overly. I'm still inclined
> to pursue the concept of "superceding" nodes in the
> hierarchy.

Overly what?

> --Doug gave me an example of a sitution where graphic
> networks *do* make sense -- it was an app for Bell
> Atlantic that helps people identify their clusters
> and collect them into sub-networks, or something like
> that.
> --It occurred to me then that graphic soluions
> work when there are only a few elements in the system.
> (Let's say 5-7, using that famous limitation of the
> human mind.) A person can then look at an arbitrarily
> complex collection of nodes, see patterns, and see ways
> to group and rearrange things.

I love to stand back 10 feet or more from a huge graph and try to see the
patterns or clusters in all the *dots*. I am also in favor of the notion of
*drilling down*, in which key topics are first exposed. Double-click any
node and you get a new plane with more detail surrounding that node.
Double-click again...

> --For text nodes, though, where each node is fundamentally
> different from every other node, the utility of graphics
> is a lot less clear.

Text nodes can generally be transformed into a named topic, assuming, of
course, that the text node does, indeed, represent a well-constructed

> --There is one area where good use of graphics makes sense,
> though -- prioritizing with respect to evaluations.
> Simply ordering isn't enough. A list of 5 options ordered
> from best to worst could represent 4 great ideas with
> marginal ideas and one bad one, or 4 lousy ideas and one
> good one. The system can use graphics to identify the
> rating of each node at a glance.

Good point.

> --Beyond that, though, I'm not sure I see a lot of value.
> Even with categories, there are so many potential
> categories that the system easily expands beyond the
> 5-7 types that will allow human pattern-recognition to
> function well.

So we get to do an IBIS on this?

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