I think we are in violent agreement.
I don’t think that editing someone else’s work without leaving a trail to
the original work is a good idea.
I read your question as whether or not annealing was desirable rather than
asking about editing another’s work.
As I reorganize my information, I would love to have a track of the history
of changes at an ‘appropriate’ level of granularity.
It is not my intent that the work of others be destroyed in the process of
restructuring the main thread, only that the main structure reflect the best
of the integrated thinking of the participants.
Consider the difference between having a textbook on a complex subject and
*having* to wade through all of the papers, notes, memos, false starts, dead
ends, etc. that are involved in the history of the subject of the book. The
historical record can be extremely useful, even essential, so long as it isn
’t the only source of information.
One of the things I like about Augment is that a document, once published,
is there essentially forever. It is clear from the discussion that the
interaction of versioning with reference is a definite issue.
I think that the use of avatars for attribution would be an interesting
experiment. It seems that ‘reputation’ would develop, and this may or may
not be a ‘good thing’. It seems to me that in such a case most people would
learn not to argue too strenuously with the most articulate regardless of
what name was used. Since I don’t know any of you personally, for example,
the names carry no impact beyond my experience with them in this forum, so
there is no distinction between ‘real’ names and any artificial names. I
recognize that there is a difference when we are talking about situations
where there is interaction other than on the form, such as when some
individual is in a position of authority.
Since I feel free to disagree with anybody regardless of credentials, this
doesn’t affect me directly. I figure that whenever there is a discussion, I
either (or both) learn and teach, and either way, everybody wins.
To summarize: The original work should never be lost by any summarization or
restructuring that takes place. Part of this is addressed by getting ‘buy in
’ from the group on the rewording or restructuring.
Garold (Gary) L. Johnson
DYNAMIC Alternatives <http://www.dynalt.com/>
From: Jack Park [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2001 9:40 AM
Subject: RE: [unrev-II] Collaborative Discussion Tools
At 09:06 AM 4/13/2001 -0700, you wrote:
[Garold L. Johnson] It may be useful to save the original input, but the
structure of the result is as important as such things as wording.
IBIS, for example, might be a valuable structure for documenting discussions
even though it doesn t appear to work well for capturing the discussion in
real time. In this case, the original input is historical, but the
restructured discussion is the desired end product. This is where I think
that David Parnas is correct that it is desirable to document the history as
we would like it to have occurred rather than absolutely accurately the way
One of my difficulties in managing my own information is exactly this
ongoing restructuring so that my recorded information documents my best
understanding in an area. Tracking the history of an idea is also extremely
valuable at times. None of the tools I currently have do a really good job
of either of these things.
[Jack Park] David Parnas (presumably) says it is correct that it is
desirable to document the history as we would like it to have occurred...and
you follow with ...so that my recorded information documents my best
And I see an apples and oranges issue here. Rod Welch is fond of recording
events as they unfold at his site, then annotating hell out of them with his
own brand of insight. That particular behavior results often in some really
insightful walks down memory lane when he shares a page or two with us. On
occasion, he might "get something wrong" and we are blessed with the ability
to click a link and jot off a reminder, correction, whatever. At this
point, he has either the opportunity to go in and literally change his
record, or he has the ability to post the comment and react to that, leaving
the original oratory intact. It's his personal space, and his right to
So, given that there is merit in seeing the flow of information being
translated into representations of somebody's knowledge, including all the
warts, I recall my question: is it appropriate to mess with the original
flow of information, occasionally restructuring it through a de novo
presentation, perhaps adding commentary and so forth, or should one go back
and restructure original messages, which, imho, opens up a whole nother set
of issues on link integrity and so forth as is being discussed over on
From my own perspective, whenever one messes with somebody else's writing,
one is just liable to introduce personal biases into the result; again,
imho, personal biases should never be allowed to censor or otherwise
pre-interpret an open flow of information in society. Lord knows, we've put
up with one helluva lot of pre-interpreted information while watching the
US/China thing just now trying to put itself to bed. But, I also think it
is appropriate for the those with an editorial bent to occasionally make
statements that reveal their judgements, biases, and so forth, on the flow
of information. A moderator might step in and summarize things, perhaps
even drawing to a close some on-going thread. Again, however, that is a
loaded canon, so to speak.
With respect to attribution, my thinking has always been that it would be
best if everyone had an avatar and never actually identified who they are.
That way, it would be possible to really have a serious discussion going
between the likes of Nobel laureates, congress persons, spys, school kids,
and even Ted Kazinsky. One wonders where such a conversation would go. If
you don't do it that way, it's not long before some big cheese dominates the
thread, again, inserting tons of personal bias into the thread. My opinion
here: personal bias is valuable at the outset, but lethal when individuals
overuse it <note>I hope you realize I'm trying carefully not to overuse
You have every right to modify that which is contained on your own web page.
Indeed, reflections of your personal knowledge should be expected to evolve
over time, and if you don't want others to see the history of your thought
process, so be it. But, and this is, I think, my point, when you enter a
discussion (such as this one), I do not think you should have the ability to
go in and change some statement you make when you later find out you'd
rather not have somebody find out you were, say, "that stupid." <note>
imagine how I'm going to feel some years from now when somebody rubs that
statement in my own nose! </note>. So, as hinted above, there are both
public and personal information spaces. Nobody should, imho, have editorial
control of public spaces (within certain limits such as motivated by the
need to suppress hate messages, threats of death, pornography, and so forth
-- and those applying only when appropriate, e.g. on discussion lists such
as this <note>I am saying there are times when censorship has its proper
role, but not in a knowledge-accretion community where everybody is
basically aiming at discussion specified kinds of issues</note>).
Do I have expectations that my diatribe will end this thread? I have great
hopes that it will not do that. It seems to me that we are now tapping into
the roots of collective wisdom building. Nothing could be more important.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 13 2001 - 11:01:31 PDT