Re: [unrev-II] Re: Can IBIS be useful forindividual/asynchronous collaboration?

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Fri Nov 09 2001 - 07:43:10 PST

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    Jeff Conklin wrote:

    > 1. On Arguments as Pro or Con. The case for putting the pro/con
    > semantics on the links is that you might want an argument to do double
    > duty, supporting some ideas and objecting to others. Turns out that
    > this is mostly a red herring, and grammatically problematic....

    It's a rare occasion, but I think I want to part company, here. One of
    the clarities
    that surfaced for me out of the discussion so far was recognizing a
    difference between intrinisic characteristics and context-dependent
    evaluations of same. IBIS gives a method for coordinating thoughts and
    arriving at conclusions. Along the way, much knowledge surfaces. But our
    capacities for reuse are so limited that it never really made sense to
    focus on reusability, heretofore.

    What I see happening in such a system is that material, by the mechanism
    of transclusions and links, gets added to the discussion. In a
    conversation, of course,
    that kind of ability is mostly irrelevant. But in a electronic exchange,
    it makes a
    lot of sense for me to point to an existing article on bubble sorts (or
    part of that
    article) and use it as a pro or con for one of the alternatives we're

    This kind of function becomes even more important as we begin to use
    maps and the like to store and retreive real "knowledge" (which appears
    to me
    at the moment to consist of categorized, retreivable, and inter-linked

    I agree that when generating new information, it makes just as much
    sense to
    write what I mean, using the information that is in my head. It's
    quicker and
    easier. But for linking to existing information, it makes more sense to
    link-based semantics.

    Of course, it continues to be a chicken and egg and chicken feed
    We really need mechanisms that make reuse possible. We need purple
    numbers, and we need good knowledge-based search mechanisms that
    make it possible to instantaneously retrieve the reference we have in
    without a lot of searching. (I admit to intellectual laziness, after a
    It is usually easier for me to write an essay from scratch than it is to
    dig up
    one that I know of, but would have a hard time finding.)

    Given such mechanisms, we are likely to place a premium on storing
    knowledge in a way that makes it reusable. But we need to have
    information stored in reusable form to make it clear that we need to
    develop those mechanisms. Here is the complete cycle (after the
    spacing is cleaned up)

            +-----> Mechanisms ---+
            | |
            | v
       Reusable Reuse
          Info |
            ^ |
            | |
            +----- Authoring <----+

    Access mechanisms promote reuse. The ability to reuse makes reusable
    information valuable, which causes authoring mechanisms to be produced.
    The existence of authoring mechanisms causes reusable information to
    be generated. The existence of reusable information causes access
    mechanisms to be produced. It's a multi-stage spiral, equivalent to
    to teach people to read so you can print newspapers!!

    I agree we're not there today. But it's pretty clear we're headed there.

    (You're one of the folks driving the bus, so I *know* I'm preaching to
    the choir, here -- and for a mixed metaphor, that's a prize winner.)

    I guess the bottom line is that IBIS does not currently distinguish
    general-purpose knowledge and a context-specific application, and even
    though a users interface may not ever make that distinction apparent, an

    interactive version of the system nevertheless needs that capability --
    will -- eventually -- I hope.

    > <snip>
    > PS ... and being painfully aware of how fragmenting and debilitating
    > this discourse tool/environment is for the conversation we're trying
    > to have!!

    Hear, hear! (Here, here??)
    (For example, I note that I *should* have couched the above as another
    which could be evaluated side by side with other alternatives, but

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