RE: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

From: Gil Regev (
Date: Mon Sep 10 2001 - 13:43:33 PDT

  • Next message: Gil Regev: "RE: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal (Formality Harmful)"

    Thanks John, I didn't know about the OHS Launch Community. I must have
    missed the posting that mentioned it. I see that it makes explicit
    references to a common ontology and IBIS. Obviously, Shipman's first paper
    "Formality Considered harmful" should also be considered in this effort
    because of the difficulties in formalizing that the members of the OHS
    Launch community will encounter.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: John J. Deneen []
      Sent: lundi, 10. septembre 2001 20:37
      Subject: Re: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

      Thanks Gil for the pointer. I find Prof. Shipman's paper: "Supporting
    Incremental Formalization with the Hyper-Object Substrate" very relevant to
    the OHS Launch Community efforts.
      You can find more info about the OHS Launch Community at: < >

      Gil Regev wrote:

         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 --
        McCall et alís use of PHI (McCall, Schaab, Schuler, 1983) to Conklin and
    Burgess Yakemovicís
        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 Yakemovicís
        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:'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
    > 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 offer
    > up some gem. Eric Armstrong has been right all along: email is

          This is an important quandary. A little effort can result in an order
          magnitude return. However, most people don't want to blindly expend
          effort without knowing for sure that the returns will be worth it.
          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 it
    > tends to allow rambling, which, I think, calls for some structure,
    as for
    > example IBIS provides. But then, try to put IBIS threads into email
    > 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
    > persuasion, better. But, I also conclude that, for purposes of
    > 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 as
    > 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
                 map of the e-mail discussion, with links to the original
              3. Use a Wiki to collaboratively build a web site that integrates
                 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
          periodically checking the dialog map and Wiki in addition to following
          e-mail discussion. My challenge is convincing others that this effort


          +=== 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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