Re: [unrev-II] Collaborative Discussion Tools

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 17:28:41 PDT

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] Collaborative Discussion Tools"

      I'm replying to Jack here, and to Garold, as well.
      (Could not respond directly, as Netscape Messenger
       appears to be insufficiently bright to quote HTML

    Jack Park wrote:
    > Do you really need to reorganize the raw discourse, or just re-present
    > it in periodic summaries?
    We really and truly do need to reorganize. There is no sufficient

    The one part of that process which had me stumped for the longest
    time was the way things would be different when you went back to

    I suspect that the requirement for the *ability* to produce a profound
    change introduces a corrollary requirement: The ability to *introduce*
    the change.

    That introduction would probably act something like a CVS "change
    summary" message, except that:
      * audio/visual annotation would be more desirable, imho
      * for slow connections where plain text was preferred, speech
        to text would be needed to convert the audio to ascii
      * The annotation would apply to all reorganizations in a
      * The author should be prompted for annotations when committing
        changes, with the nodes requiring annotations displayed and
        the changes highlighted. The user could then choose where to
        annotate. (An annotation at any node would be expected to
        apply to all items in the subtree. To have nested annotations,
        user would annotate the contained nodes first. Example: If
        a contains changes to subtrees b, c, and d, then user could
        annotate d, and then annotate a, which would cover b and c.)

    When the old version is present in the user's copy of the repository
    then, when visiting the new version, the annotation would pop up
    in a secondary window to introduce the change.

    > [Garold L. Johnson] Neil Larson built a communal hypertext system that
    > ran on a LAN, and the experience that he and his users had was that it
    > required a trained knowledge worker to reorganize the input into properly
    > structured hypertext that it didn t happen automatically. Without this,
    > the result became hopelessly tangled.
    Yes. The reorganization is a manual process, not an automated one.

    > The discussion on the Extreme Programming wiki also demonstrates that
    > they found continuing refactoring necessary to keep the site useful.
    Makes sense.
    > I am ambivalent about attribution... In certain decision making
    > processes, however, I think we are stuck with attributions for
    > approval / disapproval when there is a formal decision to be made.
    > Certainly attribution at the top for discussion makes good sense.
    Agreed. There is a tension here between the need to attribute, and
    the need to avoid attribution. But perhaps attributions could be
    applied to ratings, rather than to ideas. So I might give one idea
    5 stars, and another one zero stars. That leaves me free to brainstorm
    zero-star ideas without having to be regarded as a crackpot.

    On the other hand, as a matter of historical record, it may well be
    useful to know who generated what, to answer questions like:
      * Who was it that kept sparking things with all those ideas?
        (Find the visionary)
      * Who was the idiot that kept us from getting anywhere,
        because we had to evaluate and reject a continuous stream
        of utter nonsense? (Identify the crackpot)

    Again, there is a tension here. Depending on your view, one or
    the other of those characterizations might apply! For historical
    analysis, it would certainly be interesting information. But if
    it impedes discussion, at lower levels, maybe it must stay off?

    (And maybe no ratings are allowed until all alternatives have
    been examined, to prevent premature decision-making.)

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