Re: [unrev-II] Visual stimuli & IBIS methodology

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 12:44:19 PST

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] Brynjolfsson on organizational capital" wrote:

    > ...Watch nearly anyone trying to learn to construct, or for that
    > read this type of representation. They will get thrown by the "double
    > of not only trying to chop up discourse into nodes and give those
    nodes types,
    > but also trying to determine what types the links should be; where do
    > semantics go? Too many choices need to be made. ...

    > Eric wrote:
    > >I have to agree that this a weakness of the system. In effect, it
    > asks people to learn algebra in order to do what they normally do, but
    > do it better...
    > >
    > I agree with much of this, but not that the difficulty of
    > learning/practicing IBIS in any of its variants implies a 'weakness of
    > the system'.

    Hmm. Several points in response.

    The first is that we've lost a bit of the original context of my
    remarks. As I recall,.
    we were talking about something with more complexity than IBIS, which
    raise the bar a bit more on the complexity side.

    The second is that we continue to work on the problem of individual
    users sitting
    at individual terminals, collaborating remotely. Even the IBIS technique
    turns out
    to be sufficiently complex that moderation is a requirement for success.

    Third, I basically agree with your underlying point. In fact, I had
    started out to say
    something along those lines, but distracted as I followed other threads.
    I have
    something of a "commitment to excellence" that is tantamount to a
    character flaw.
    I get into new things all the time, gather the best equipment, and work
    hard at
    learning and practicing the best techniques. I've played tournament
    chess, won
    volleyball tournaments, coached at the State level, spent time as an
    Irish dancer,
    played fiddle, engaged in martial arts, and taken up old-time

    Each of those endeavors has specialized techniques. Learning them makes
    more proficient. Practicing them makes you effective. Mastering them
    you an expert. I see no reason why applying logic to solve problems
    should be
    any different.

    Oner of the things we should begin seeing in the next 10 years, in fact,
    will be
    different techniques for collaboratively solving problems. As Doug has
    the human systems will co-evolve with the technology, and we will begin
    those logical frameworks -- IBIS-based, question-based, or
    as with logic.

    As those methodologies are developed, they will begin competing for
    winning converts they go. Those that are successful (and adequately
    hyped) will
    survive. Those which are unsuccessful and overhyped will die rapidly.
    Those that
    are successful but underhyped will linger a long time, and eventually
    either succumb
    or emerge, depending on the environment.

    At the moment, we don't have a system that we all understand and use. In
    country, most kids played baseball growing up. So we can collaborate in
    a game
    of baseball. In England, they played cricket. So we can't very well
    collaborate on
    a game between our countries, but we can within them.

    When it comes to discussion and design, we are all from separate
    countries, and have
    only a small common understanding on which to base our efforts. I
    understand that
    IBIS is potentially part of the solution. But as you pointed out, people
    have a hard time
    with the "double work" of creating arguments and categorizing them at
    the same time.

    That is one reason I favor systems that let you add categories and tags
    later in the process. That way, you can stream out your thoughts, and
    then go back later to tag
    them, or someone else can do so.

    As you say, people typically find it hard to maintain a logical thread
    of reasoning
    while at the same time endeavoring to:
      * chop up discourse into nodes
      * give those nodes types
      * determine what types the links should be
      * determine where the semantics go

    Each of those areas constitutes a "weakness of the system" to precicesly
    the degree
    that people find it hard to do. I think there are answers to many of
      1) Education.
          People find many things hard to do that they eventually learn to
    do with ease.
          Human adaptability being what it is, we can get used to most
    anything. But we
          need a standard playing field for that to happen.

      2) Software Technology
           In an outliner for example, "chopping into nodes" is automatic.
    You don't
           even think about it. So that hurdle can be minimized with the

      3) Retractive Cateorizing
          Applying types to nodes and to links in a later step makes it
    possible for
          a moderator to have a significant impact on the proceedings. Once
          know the system, you can apply types proactively. But that choice
          not be forced on you at the outset. (That is the kind of system
    that was
          under discussion. The requirement to choose types at the outset
          a true "weakness" of the system.)

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