Re: [unrev-II] Faceted classification, accountability

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Wed Oct 10 2001 - 13:58:06 PDT

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] Communication, Intelligence Require Research"

    Rod Welch wrote:

    > ... (I) wonder if you can explain what more can be done to make
    > communication clear,
    > concise and complete, beyond empowering people with access to context
    > that is
    > accessible at their time and convenience, and is summarized and linked
    > to
    > relevant details, emulating the architecture of human thought, and how
    > a system
    > of "ratings" can be applied to links that takes less time and
    > expense? How does
    > the mind rate its connections?

    First, I commiserate with you on the "routing" systems. I just called
    Sprint PCS to complain that
    callers were not being given the opportunity to leave a voice mail. I
    was greeted by a voice-activated
    routing system that had no option for reporting problems, and no option
    for contacting a person.

    I wound up screaming at it in frustration, cutting off its every attempt
    to give me another prompt
    (I'd heard 30 of them, by that time), until at last it delivered me to a
    human being who had enough
    intelligence to deal with the issue constructively. I have rarely been
    so frustrated.

    As for what people can do to improve communication: The first rule of
    sales is to answer the question,
    "why do I care?". Posting a link is nice. I won't visit it. Summarizing
    what is in the link is helpful.
    If I happen to see a connection between what's been posted and what I'm
    working on, I may choose
    to visit it. But if someone really thinks a link is good, it needs a
    summary of "why we care" -- what
    good its going to do us, how we're going to use it, etc.

    In other words, a link is only as good as the surrounding information
    that tells me whether or not
    is worth the time to follow it. There are various ways to do that. One
    way is with typed links, that
    would display differently, or perhaps have a little explanation when I
    hover over the link, so I know
    whether the material is reference, or argument, or what have you.
    Another way is with the text
    surrounding the link, as in "For more information, see xxx."

    In general, I see the man/machine interaction systems as the most likely
    to produce useful results.
    I don't think we spend near enough time designing those kinds of
    systems. Most are either all
    one way, or all the other.

    I wish there were an opportunity for me to focus more effort in this
    area. There isn't. The best
    I can do at this juncture is to outline the big picture, as I see it.
    Everything that has usable
    results provides useful design principles for the eventual "solution". I
    need to make time to look
    at Alex's stuff more closely. I'm sure he has incorporated several good
    ideas, based on his
    posts. I look forward to discovering what they are.

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