Re: [unrev-II] Listening to Doug, Proposal

From: Eugene Eric Kim (
Date: Sun Nov 26 2000 - 15:40:39 PST

  • Next message: Henry van Eyken: "Re: [unrev-II] Listening to Doug, Proposal"

    The essence of Rod's proposal is great: Let's learn about KM by doing KM,
    starting with the tools we currently have available. I'd be very
    interested to see the reported results of a team doing KM using SDS.

    Here's my proposal: How about studying and doing KM using the tools
    already at our disposal, specifically this mailing list?

    We already have one component of a DKR: the automatic archiving of this
    list into a rudimentary, hierarchical structure. The question now is,
    are there human methods that we can practice to further improve the
    building and maintenance of this DKR?

    I'll propose several, in no particular order. The first is a simple
    one: format your messages intelligently and readably. Poor mail clients
    seem to be the biggest culprit here, but a little human awareness goes a
    long way in fixing this problem. In my opinion, e-mail should be
    formatted for at most 70 character lines with hard-returns at the end of
    each line. MIME messages should be avoided for standard, 7-bit ASCII
    messages. This provides maximum readability for the majority of mail
    clients, and also makes it easier to write translation tools that
    automatically infer structure from unstructured text messages.

    Second, someone should do a periodic summary of this mailing list, with
    links to the appropriate threads and messages. As I mentioned earlier,
    this is already practiced to good effect by several open source
    development communities.

    (As a brief aside, I'd like to dispute Rod's earlier comment that
    engineers don't seem to be anxious to practice KM. On the contrary, I
    think that engineers are among the best practitioners of KM, and that many
    of the more interesting innovations in KM have sprung specifically from
    the open source community.)

    Third, link to messages rather than quote them. This is one that Doug is
    constantly promoting, and one that is nontrivial to do with the tools we
    have at our disposal. It's one of those areas that immediately arises as
    a necessary tool feature. Not surprisingly, the only two people who seem
    to practice this -- Doug and Rod -- are people who have tools that support
    this feature by providing granular addressability and some linking

    Fourth, change the subject lines of e-mail to reflect the content of the
    message, not the title of the thread. Lack of foresight has rendered the
    subject header irrelevant. Most subject lines tell me nothing except the
    subject of the first message in the thread and the fact that a message is
    part of a thread. This latter feature is mostly unnecessary today, as
    decent mail clients will use the In-Reply-To header.

    Fifth, develop a charter for this mailing list. This is tremendously
    challenging, especially for a list that has traditionally been broad in
    scope, but I think it is vital for bringing focus to a forum.

    Sixth, highlight significant points in messages by resending them
    (preferably with a link to the original message) in new messages. Eric
    has already been practicing this, where he will take a particularly
    interesting paragraph in a long message, and resend it with a different
    subject and some brief commentary.

    These are just a few suggestions off the top of my head. I would
    definitely like to see those interested in practicing good KM attempt to
    incorporate some of these suggestions. I'd also love to see comments on
    the above as well as new suggestions for practicing KM using existing


    +=== 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  ===========+

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