[Home]ConversationMode

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ConversationMode can be seen as a

Variations:

Pros:

Cons:

Conversation

HelmutLeitner: I think FridemarPache introduced this form of ThreadMode to the meatball wiki. You put your name and a colon in front of your contribution. It's uncommon for many wikizens who are used to signing their contributions at the end. But, it is very intuitive for people that have little or no experience with the internet, IT or the history of mail systems. Remember that wiki signing just follows the standard of signing mails, displaying this in standard wiki rendering: the "-- " line and the name line are joined to the preceding paragraph. This is pretty freaky. I wouldn't suggest to through over wiki traditions in general, or to use this as a new standard, but I think it could be used where those involved prefer it. Note that this is the standard notation of dramas/plays. In addition: on a wiki that I created for a group of 20 non-technical people, this notation formed spontaneously as a group standard (they even add the date in parantheses after the name). I take this as an indicator that this notation is intuitive.

FridemarPache: Helmut, thank you for showing appreciation of this notion as intuitive. Actually the credit for this format goes to the CommunityWiki, where I learned to appreciate it. The TechnologySolution of signed contributions puts the author's portrait, their signature and timestamp to the left, giving it a natural feeling. In the real world, if persons start a conversation with each other, they first see each other before the talk begins or as well, when new utterances start, signaled by some body sign language.

Lion, if I remember right, you extensively reflected on this style and showed it as superiour to ThreadMode, could you please give a link.

LionKimbro: CommunityWiki is a very particular case, because we made a whole different AlexSchroeder coded a [new::YourNameHere?] system that puts your picture on the left, and alternates background colors to accent difference of contributions. Also, we have a very strong doctrine favoring turn-based conversation to interrupted conversation. See: CommunityWiki:TurnBasedVsInterruptedThreadMode. This may be the argument you are thinking of?

FridemarPache: Thank you for the link and your friendly unobtrusive reformulation in your part, that helped me to improve my wording and let me add the 'real world' part argument.

LionKimbro: Personally, on wiki without features like that -- I have no real preference for "sign before" or "sign after." Sign before does seem to me to be clearer, because you see the name of who's talking, and you have a clear marker of where one person's expression begins. (Sometimes, looking through these threads, I have to scan the ends of paragraphs, which can be situated anywhere horizontally on the page, in order to find the name, and then do again for the paragraph before, in order to isolate the beginning of a particular expression.) But then again, I can usually tell anyway just by what's being said, and the signature serves as a clarification if necessary. I do favor some form of signing over no signing, which I find inevitably confuses me, at one point or another.

FridemarPache: Lion, as I've been reading a lot of wiki stuff, I can confirm, that I made the same experience with scanning for names. (Yesterday, when I did some housekeeping on my Wiki homepage, refactoring into prefix signatures, I detected, that I had missed to give a thank you to somebody's favor. Another argument, supporting MarkDilley, is given on WikiNomics). Besides that, refactoring a signature prefixed conversation (<-> Wiki:RefactorWhileRespectingSignatures) is much easier, if the conversation-partners don't leave the burden to housekeepers. WikiPageCarers. At hindsight, I now can appreciate this concept, for which CommunityWiki has found an appealing name, can you help me to put it here?

LionKimbro: Are you referencing the CommunityWiki:PageMaintainer concept? A solution to the CommunityWiki:SocialReworkingDilemma?

FridemarPache: Thanks Lion yes, it's a pleasure to have you as a conversation partner.

..:..


Discussion

SunirShah -- Wed Aug 26 02:44:41 2009

I really dislike this style because it encourages rather rambly ThreadMess with interferes with the ideal wiki style of converging on a OneText. The style that WardCunningham encouraged on WardsWiki is to sign at the end of a comment with "-- RealName" as this mimics the typographic style of a quotation. The idea is to then refactor down a thread into DocumentMode, which may include a series of impactful quotations. The correct solution for those who cannot bring themselves to write in DocumentMode is to separate the discussion from the document. WikiPedia accomplishes this with /Talk pages. Others have used the EditComment?, but that still mixes comments with wiki text. I much prefer having the discussion on the same page as the document being discussed, blog-style. Consequently, I have enacted this for MeatballWiki (as of August 25, 2009).


HelmutLeitner -- Wed Aug 26 11:09:05 2009

Sunir, well, whatever Ward intended, it really really never worked that way (to tranform threadmess text to citations), because (1) this intention was not efficiently communicated, because (2) usually you can't break simple parts out longer text and still have a meaning that is best in the form of a citation and because (3) we usually do not write in a quality that makes for good citations.

Anyway, if something has never worked, it would be just as well to drop this as argument for signing in a special form.


SunirShah -- Wed Aug 26 12:13:48 2009

It did work some of the time, but not most of the time. Wikis are not meant for threaded discussions. Forums are really the best for that. Turn-based discussion is actually incredibly bad on wikis. As my friend David Crow says, "Wiki is Hawaiian for can't find shit." So, the question is how do you make it easier for people to use the best medium for the task at hand? -- SunirShah


JuanmaMP -- Wed Aug 26 14:36:11 2009

What about the title juanma in category. I'm confusing.


HelmutLeitner -- Wed Aug 26 14:41:03 2009

Sunir, imho the question of this page is not whether ThreadMode is good or bad, or whether wiki is ordered enough or not, but in what way the difference between "MS: Text." and "Text. -- MS" matters. The answer to me is: there is little difference, mostly habit.


FridemarPache -- Wed Aug 26 14:57:51 2009

Juanma, any bracketed entries in the ShortDigest, leave the first word (after the opening bracket) a category field. This is a convenient filter, e.g. mainly for CopyEdit, WikiSpam, etc. . I put in front of your name a CopyEdit, which dissolved the undesired object.


JuanmaMP -- Wed Aug 26 15:07:17 2009

ok Fridemar, I appreciate the explanation and her solution.


LionKimbro: I agree w/ SunirShah in rejecting separate talk pages -- It's only really appropriate for Wikipedia because Wikipedia is trying to make polished encyclopedia pages. Separating talk pages from document pages discourages reworking of the DocumentMode text.

JamBaltine -- Wed Aug 26 16:08:23 2009

I'm confused that I can suddenly see a blue 'Discussion' section below every page. I don't think it was there yesterday, was it?


JuanmaMP -- Wed Aug 26 16:43:53 2009

yes, it seems happened that. Welcome to "MeatBall/Talk".


SunirShah -- Wed Aug 26 16:45:23 2009

Jam, I just added the comment section last night in a bout of pique over the very thready discussions lately.

Helmut, maybe to you, but to me, there is a difference. ConversationMode is a poor man's version of a discussion section, where as SignatureMode? was an attempt to fit discussion into DocumentMode. I don't think discussion is bad, but it is disorganized. Adding a discussion section is a learning step to perhaps a better system in the future. -- SunirShah


LionKimbro -- Wed Aug 26 16:53:04 2009

Sunir, by "Adding a discussion section is a learning step to perhaps a better system in the future," do you mean...

(A) that having discussion can lead to later organization of the discussed thoughts, or do you mean

(B) that the practice of communicating on wiki using a discussion section is an incomplete evolution in wiki practice, and that a practice can evolve where people do not use a discussion section, or perhaps just use it less..?


SunirShah -- Wed Aug 26 16:59:38 2009

I meant that adding a discussion section is an experiment to see how effective it is and what if anything we can learn to in general make the threaded discussions on wikis more useful and enjoyable, not to mention restoring the document wiki pages to be also useful and enjoyable.

Also, I think that discussion can lead to organization of thougths, but over 95% of the time it does not, and so is actually harmful to the site's growth as it is disorienting to future readers. I think of it as worms in a garden. You need some, but not too many.


LionKimbro -- Wed Aug 26 17:38:21 2009

If you have a vision for how to communicate on this wiki, I will strive to meet it, in the name of experimentation.

What I am sensing from what you say, is that the idea is something like CommunityWiki:AttackTheDocumentMode, to prioritize the organization of thoughts. If these are the ideals, if I understand right, I am happy to participate in the experiment.


SunirShah -- Wed Aug 26 20:07:24 2009

Ok, well to stop trolling for a moment (no guarantees how long this will last).

My goal for MeatballWiki remains to be a professional guidebook for how to build and manage collaborative hypermedia. There are better examples of this now, such as the [Designing Social Interfaces wiki]. For MeatballWiki to be a true beacon of light and utility, eventually, all the text in the wiki will have to conform to this level of quality or it will have to be deleted, but that's a lot of work. As a resource, I personally would find it incredibly useful to have a large corpus of the Right Thing To Do for any given situation as it would dramatically lower the cost of development and experimentation.

Contrast this with the idea of the SpaghettiWiki, which is more about a place to toss back and forth half-baked ideas. That is also extremely valuable. I have a belief people should BuildJunk?, and should just be able to shoot ideas off the hip, because that's how new ideas get born.

The only trouble is that Meatball Spaghetti Wiki does not seem to work well in practice as the solidification of ideas and the rapid generation of ideas interfere with each other as processes, even if they fit together like yin and yang. As a community, not a particular medium, you need both. I also do not think that wikis are very good for idea generation, since it is incredibly hard to use half formed ideas to build a PatternLanguage.

P.S. I should also mention that there is a half-formed StyleGuide.


JamBaltine -- Wed Aug 26 20:32:32 2009

Sorry if this is naive, I'm new to WikiForum. Instead of separate Talk pages, why not embed the conversation in each page as needed? Could you use <conversation>..</conversation>? Instead of fixing the discussion at the foot of the page, this would allow multiple discussions, and possibly nesting, and easily switch back to DocumentMode.


SunirShah -- Wed Aug 26 20:43:14 2009

Comments should always be separated from the thing being commented on. Consider blogs.


LionKimbro -- Wed Aug 26 22:44:59 2009

Sunir, I believe I understand your goal now, but I don't see that your actions and judgments are aligned yet with it.

Specifically, I don't understand how all of us talking and yammering away out here OffTopic helps you reform Meatball to what you have in mind. Building junk, making a mess, I agree -- these are invaluable beginnings; But we are like monkeys running all over the place, and show no signs of converging towards your aim. If you give me an aim, I can begin making a mess towards that aim. But without that direction, I have a hard time making a meaningful contribution.

I disagree with what you said about wiki not being good for idea generation -- to have a PatternLanguage always struck me as something that appears at the end of the development process, not at the beginning. I think you set the bar too high. But it is a small, minor point, compared to the importance of the aims of MeatballWiki.


JamBaltine -- Wed Aug 26 23:14:25 2009

OK, I misunderstood the term WikiForum. I thought it was the use of a WikiEngine to create WikiPedia:Internet_forums!

This arrangement of MeatBall (with the article at the top and a separate discussion at the bottom) is structured just like a blog, but the discussion does not necessarily relate to the entire page (it could relate to a collection of pages, or just a specific paragraph). Flexible positioning of discussions would make it clear that the discussion is supposed to be reduced down to a single addition or change at that specific point. The current talk page encourages us to raise ever more interesting arguments, but the conversation-boxes could be more focussed -- Perhaps an explicit reason should be given for creating a discussion at that position in the page. Then eventually it can be factored out, or turned into a few annotations, and they'd be easier to integrate into the main text if they were already in the most relevant place.


JamBaltine -- Wed Aug 26 23:16:07 2009

Also, if we have an explicit reason for starting a ConversationMode discussion, then we can more easily check if it is rambling off topic.


FridemarPache -- Thu Aug 27 18:11:13 2009

Sunir, meanwhile I see converging different goals. Timestamped, automatic "discussion" contributions, can actually be friendly and constructive conversations instead of discutting (sic!) each other. So I am glad, that your wiki innovation makes interactive contributions even more comfortable as the MediaWiki engine does, where each contributor has to type 4 Tildes to get the same effect.

Suggestion: What about replacing "discussing" in the RecentChanges by "on" after "... /Talk". So it would read for this page:

 ConversationMode/Talk on ConversationMode  instead of
 ConversationMode/Talk discussing ConversationMode

Reason:

Example:

Although there is a friendly Talk on: Compare this:

 HelmutLeitner/Talk on HelmutLeitner 
 HelmutLeitner/Talk discussing HelmutLeitner

I think nobody wants to "be discussed" ...

Note: The Comment Section makes it easier to organize one's Wiki mail .. Meanwhile I would prefer Nathaniel's newest suggestion as even a better one: [UserNameSummaries]


RadomirDopieralski -- Thu Aug 27 21:32:02 2009

I think that a wiki community is a community of people working with/on a common thing, an information artifact that is wiki. As a community, they need to communicate. One way of communicating is ant-like, leaving your traces on the wiki for others to follow. But this is often a very narrow channel of communication, and it's hard to build trust and acceptation that is often needed. So a different means of communication develops. Often the "core" of the community are people who already know each other from real life, forums, discussion groups, each other's web pages and blogs, etc. Sooner or later people who work on the same wiki will also start e-mailing each other, chatting on IRC or using instant messaging, even meet in person. I think this is important and cannot be replaced with discussion on the wiki pages directly, which destroys those pages. Separating that communication to "Talk" pages looks like one solution, but I'm not sure if the discussions should really connected to wiki pages.

Consider what is often being discussed:

I think none of these actually belong to any particular page. They either talk about the whole wiki, a number of pages (existing or not) on the wiki, or simply part of the community. You can rarely tell in advance to which pages they belong to exactly when starting the discussion too.

Discussions also have different technical requirements than wiki pages -- they are sequential, you often want to refer or reply to particular messages or direct your messages to particular people (while being read by others). You have little need for tracking the history of changes or editing previous messages. It doesn't even have to be kept forever. All this doesn't have to built in into the wiki itself -- there already other, much older and better developed solutions for communication. Maybe what would be nice is easy linking from and to the wiki, but URLs are not really that horrible for that.

Anyways, maybe the wiki doesn't need talk pages, just the community needs more than a wiki?


FridemarPache -- Thu Aug 27 23:08:54 2009

Radomir, inspired by your socializing "small talk", I added and extended the intro by a second alternative view, allowing the view to see ConversationMode in wikis as a superior Twitter thing.


LionKimbro -- Fri Aug 28 00:48:36 2009

Radomir, What you say makes a lot of sense to me.

Chatter and threads really are very easy things.

My wishlist would have:


LionKimbro -- Fri Aug 28 00:52:10 2009

Perhaps the answer to Sunir's frustration with ThreadMess is a discipline of maintaining something like minutes, or a discipline of keeping agenda on discussion.

It seems to me that threading is a fact of reason -- that it cannot be wished or willed away. The thread hops from topic to topic to topic to topic in a rightly done conversation. What is in DocumentMode are things like conclusions, recurring models, recurring explanations. But the actual discourse seems intrinsicly and unavoidably thread-moded. I do not see how to have a conversation, a dialectic, in the DocumentMode itself.

I think if I imagined harder, I could come up with some ideas, but I am skeptical right now.


LionKimbro -- Fri Aug 28 00:59:09 2009

One of the things we tried on CommunityWiki was CommunityWiki:BulletSummaryBlock. The idea was that each post would have a bullet summary block that was skimmable, and ideally, aggregable. That is, the person who is summarizing the discourse just looks at the bullet points, and figures out what to do from there. This addresses CommunityWiki:LackOfReworking F-1x problems: "Reworking is hard." But it does not answer reworking tasking, prioritizing, and social risk problems.


SunirShah -- Fri Aug 28 05:41:31 2009

Lion, minutes would not ultimately satisfy. The goal is to make MeatballWiki a reference resource for non-participating readers, not a discussion salon. There are better tools for discussion salons. I could install ScoopEngine for instance.

Minutes would be a good interim step, but they are ephemeral as they are only of meaning to the participants in the particular conversation in time. Wikis are best written as if they are timeless.

It's a common misperception that documents are dead documents--conclusions rather than something dynamic. That is not the case. Rather, if you look through the levels of discourse of history that moved the world forward, it was always formalized as well reasoned arguments. It's much easier to build on a document than banter.

Conversations are important mostly to create PersonalRelationships. That's critical, but not utlimately useful to readers who do not wish to form a PersonalRelationship with the participants in order to enjoy the text.


LionKimbro -- Fri Aug 28 06:05:28 2009

Sunir, I am at your command.

The goal is clear.

What is the plan?


SunirShah -- Fri Aug 28 13:40:30 2009

First thing for me to ask you is what can I do to support your fast paced idea generation mode which is fun. That goes for everyone else. If we can separate but not cleave ConversationMode we could hopefully be ten times more sexy as a community. You had experience at CommunityWiki. Any obvious things to do?


JamBaltine -- Fri Aug 28 14:35:58 2009

Sunir, it wasn't clear to me that: "The goal is to make MeatballWiki a reference resource for non-participating readers, not a discussion salon."

When I read WikiForum for example, it says: "You are currently reading one page of a WikiForum, the MeatballWiki Forum..."


LionKimbro -- Fri Aug 28 14:45:18 2009

(I am shaking my head.)

I cannot think of anything obvious.

At CommunityWiki, our explicit mission statement (CommunityWiki:MissionStatement) is (basically) to be a jam session; So what works (towards different aims) at CW won't work here.

I think that installing Scoop is a fine idea; It would work as a channel like RadomirDopieralski suggested above.


FridemarPache -- Fri Aug 28 17:37:03 2009

Sunir, due to information overload you may have missed my suggestion of replacing the string "discussing" by "on" in your newest Wiki engine code update for Meatball. See "FridemarPache -- Thu Aug 27 18:11:13 2009". As wikis are also a work of community art, ... and we can again breathe a sigh of relief, why not increasing happiness by responding ... provided, there is accord in the community.


SunirShah -- Fri Aug 28 19:06:41 2009

Hey Fridemar, thanks. Yes, there are a lot of responses flying around and I only have partial awareness. I'll think about it. "on" doesn't describe what's happening to the casual observer. What's the problem with 'discussing'? Too long?

Thanks Sunir, yes too long, too much separation. On the other hand the shorter string flows with Talk

 Topic/Talk on Topic ... 
I think the redundancy for the casual observer is not necessary:
 Topic/Talk discussing Topic
It would really increase (not only) my happiness. Besides that: Imagine the following:
 SunirShah/Talk discussing SunirShah
I think nobody would feel fine, to be discussed; it would look like a tribunal for me: In my above example I put the name HelmutLeitner in it.

So for fairness, here is my substitution, to meditate about it:

 FridemarPache/Talk discussing FridemarPache
Hey, this would make me feel sick; and you? and the others?


SunirShah -- Fri Aug 28 21:04:42 2009

Good points, Fridemar. Here's a more compact and logical design. RecentChanges should show 'Comment(s) on LinkPattern' where Comment(s) is pluralized if necessary and links to LinkPattern#_discussion which jumps straight to the comments section. Perhaps even just the comment. The whole /Talk business is non-sense to anyone but me, the developer.

Sunir, of course, it would be great to make each comment adressable [ConversationMode/Talk#SuggestionReplacingDiscussionByOn? like this](and translate it to a visible talk graph, like Google:Debategraph, or even a flash-plugin like [SharePoint]). After all each comment title has a unique URI thanks to the timestamp. I think however that the fruit of one solved koan makes already a lot of sense .. this low hanging fruit is simply editing a tiny string. Sunir, we should enjoy together the (what is now a) low hanging fruit, it's imho for the benefit of all, here and now, before tackling the Spaghetti Problem. -- Fridemar.

PS.: What about

 Talk on WikiPage
instead of
 Talk discussing WikiPage
with Talk as a link to the interactive part of the more static Document part of the WikiPage.

Or simply

 Meta > WikiPage

Or even more simple:

 <Icon> WikiPage

Or the character C

 C WikiPage

standing for Conversation, Call for Construction, Convergent thinking (could also be a shortcut for discussion)

userdefined by marking the

WikiPage for D or C respective

D standing for

 Discourse, Discussion, Divergent Thinking  

Or

 C D  WikiPage

with a sorted C and a D part if both are marked.

 ...

NathanielThurston -- Sat Aug 29 12:32:36 2009

Fridemar, what do you think of:

ConversationMode/Talk about ConversationMode

?


NathanielThurston -- Sat Aug 29 13:18:31 2009

Sunir, what do you think of the following idea for the digest summary of comments:

  1. add a field, "Summary", just to the left of the UserName. It should be blank unless modified
  2. append the string "[Talk: <summary>]" to the digest summary as each comment is made
  3. truncate the early part of the digest summary if it gets longer than <N> characters

This would have two effects: first, we'd have a way to "filter out" talk from recent changes, and be able to focus just on the presumably-more-important changes to real pages; and second, there would be useful information in the digest summary for "talk" pages, and people who edit the Talk pages directly would be able to summarize.


FridemarPache -- Sat Aug 29 14:12:02 2009

Nathaniel, your suggestion to replace the suggestion "on" by "about" even sounds friendlier to me. Besides that it also reduces duplication, and it also flows with Talk. "discussing" feels to me like a remnant of old days; most communities I know, use meanwhile the friendlier wording "conversation". The emotional appeal (at least to me) is like "discutting the baby", baby standing for mind child.

Fridemar, I like to be ruthless with my own "mind children", and to have others be ruthless with them -- I find that in this way, only the best ideas survive, and that those ideas grow stronger and more beautiful in the process. I have even enjoyed being ruthless with myself, and have preferred people to be open with their critique of me, for the same reason (I have mellowed on these last two, as part of finding balance within my mind). So, while I agree with your conclusion that "discussion" may be off-putting, I don't think I agree with your reasoning. -- NathanielThurston

FridemarPache -- Sat Aug 29 18:26:48 2009

Nathaniel, your latest suggestion [UserNameSummaries] appears to me superior, especially due to its easy filtering capability (similar to [CopyEdit:..]). To be in accord with the earlier style, and to save Screen estate, RecentChanges could use the forname part only, stripping off the surname part, as long as there are no doublettes. Thanks for co-thinking.


RadomirDopieralski -- Sun Aug 30 08:54:10 2009

Fridemar, I see you have a lot of excellent ideas about fine details of user interface. Perhaps you should download the source of UseMod wiki engine and try them out yourself?

Radomir, 12 years ago, I downloaded Ward's perl script, played a bit with it, adapted it for my (meanwhile no more available) HyperMall? cgi directory and put it in a second wiki on c2 for collaborative development (and as a second intended side effect, conversational learning perl by doing) As nobody showed interest for a CommunityProgrammableWiki, I left it there as a remnant. (Don't know the link at moment). Since then, I have never touched Perl again. Thank you anyhow for the link: http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?UseModWiki/Download . I'll have a look at it. As it is GPL'ed, I ask, is some wiki provider interested to have it on their wiki for community based learning, pondering, modifying?


JuanmaMP -- Sun Aug 30 18:52:06 2009

I think the conversation mode in a separate Talk space makes the site still more active.

 This is like having a pure wiki in WikiNow mode for  
 documentation building and 
 another space, where we can freely talk about it. 

So it serves two purposes at once without the need for collaborating on an external channel. Now we have something better than just a dividing line. As the changes of both 'sections' show up separately in RecentChanges, so this could even admit advanced IndexingSchemes.

FridemarPache: Juanma, in the spirit of combined mutual inter-language- plus -concept-building support, my last working on your text was inspired by ViewPoint.


SunirShah -- Sun Aug 30 23:25:55 2009

Lion writes,

The thread hops from topic to topic to topic to topic in a rightly done conversation.

I think that statement describes the problematic difference between the two of our perspectives that I am working to resolve here.

In my view, a rightly (now, that word exposes some bias doesn't it?) done conversation does not wander. Effective collaboration requires a definite and tangible end goal that is shared by all parties. When faced with a definite problem, begin by divergent thinking where generating a large number of ideas and potential solutions is the goal. Then, at some point, begin convergent thinking to reduce the number of ideas and potential solutions towards a final, hopefully correct solutions (I recommend Buxton, 2007; Sketching User Experience -- [reviewed]).

I would also add an iterative method of experimentation, feedback, and adaptation. Ideas never validated against real data and experience are actively harmful as they cloud future decision making.

In the instance of MeatballWiki, I originally set the purported common goal to be that each participant is expected to be actively building an online community or hypermedia project, and these project or community leaders are collaborating on building a guidebook of practice and case studies based on their experience. Where good approaches are not known, MeatballWiki was to be a central place to discuss the issues.

Of course, I would be the first to admit that MeatballWiki's sense of purpose has become fuzzier over time, not the least because of my efforts. I'm not sure I could legitimately demand that MeatballWiki should be a tightly focused space any more (if I even wanted that), but I could certainly help clean up the information architecture around here to allow the more focused kind of collaboration to reemerge. It's important to support the different personalities that have come here to interact in a positive and constructive manner.


SunirShah -- Mon Aug 31 02:07:18 2009

Radomir writes,

maybe the wiki doesn't need talk pages, just the community needs more than a wiki?

Perhaps. No, I would say definitely. I'm interested in this experiment as a way of teasing out the various perspectives. I hope it's now becoming clear to everyone that there are different personalities with different needs converging on this space, and thankfully this discussion.


LionKimbro -- Mon Aug 31 22:30:48 2009

No, Sunir; Conversations rightly understood (it's a judgment, not a bias,) are theatres of total intellectual freedom. Further, conversations feature fault lines of intensity, and those fault lines usually cross through multiple subjects, which are visited, and often reveal emergent architectures. Hence ThreadMode.

What you're describing is collaboration. Building a house, a spaceship, or collaborating on a book. Very different than conversation.

Unless we're authoring a wiki, and the two are intrinsically interwoven.

But do you intend to author a wiki?


SunirShah -- Mon Aug 31 23:19:57 2009

Lion, first, you're playing a dangerous game and I'm going to call you on it and ask you to be more careful in how you construct your contributions. You cannot redefine the words that form the basis of this discussion. By doing so, you will pull the carpet out from under everyone's feet. That path can only turn into a flame war. To be specific, you redefined five words in your last comment:

Let's not get into a unterminable war of defining words, since that is a hopeless pursuit when people disagree. Given that we're trying to decide how to build our common house here, let's start on solid foundations.

I will try respond to your actual viewpoint, as best as I can understand it.

You want a theatre of total intellectual freedom. I have always completely supported you in that, but as I have repeatedly mentioned over the years, MeatballWiki is not the place for that since it is disruptive to other people here trying to accomplish focused work. Often this work is how they make their living, so it's important to approach this wiki with due respect. Wikis are barrier free environments, and so they require a large amount of social discipline in order to operate.

It's just like a classroom. If you tried to monopolize the classroom's time with endless unfocused questions, the professor will stop you so the lesson can continue. I'm guided by lesson I was once taught, "Talking is an act of selfishness." Exploring your own intellectual freedom is all about your needs, but it adds little to negative value for other people and their needs, and therefore is best served on personal spaces (like blogs) rather than common spaces (like wikis).

A reasonable option for Meatball is to create a DiaryCollective?. The ScoopEngine facilitates this style of interaction, for instance.


LionKimbro -- Tue Sep 1 00:37:44 2009

It's not about redefining words, Sunir, as it is about giving them particular meaning, so that you can say something consequential; At some point you find that the King's English can only say so much.

In my case, I wanted to say something about the nature of reason and conversation and how it naturally leads to ThreadMode. That is, there was a conversation about whether it is possible to communicate purely in DocumentMode or not, and I came to the conclusion that "No, one can't," because at some point, people come to a disagreement, and they need to talk about it. And that conversation will go many places (provided it's not just something like, "Do we put a period or a semicolon there?"), because...

...it's endemic to the very nature of reason.

How you missed that (and then, somehow, radically construed that (paraphrasing:) "Lion says he wants Meatball a theatre of total intellectual freedom") is utterly beyond me.

You're going to have to be more careful in how you construe my contributions if you're going to work with me in the building of our house here.

Or when you wrote "our," did you not really mean "our" ..?


SunirShah -- Tue Sep 1 03:53:43 2009

As you wrote, Lion, "Conversations rightly understood (it's a judgment, not a bias,) are theatres of total intellectual freedom," which is how I came to make a guess you were arguing that "Lion says he wants Meatball a theatre of total intellectual freedom". Since you are arguing in jabs rather than in details, you leave me too much room to draw conclusions you may not intend.

However, I will readily admit, I don't mean "our" since I do not like working with you. Five years of history has demonstrated that nothing good comes out of our interaction. As owner and host of Meatball, I ask politely that you find your way elsewhere. I think as adults we can agree to disagree, and understand that if we cannot work well together our energy is best placed towards advancing our passions separately rather than harming each other.


LionKimbro -- Tue Sep 1 05:19:07 2009

You are in my karass, or at least so it seems to me. Neither of us asked for it, but that's how it happened.

I agree, our converesation seems limited to overhearing.

You can find me "way over there" at CommunityWiki.

I will read your project regularly, though, because I love what you make.


HelmutLeitner -- Tue Sep 1 08:19:59 2009

I think this controversy can't be understood by readers and therefore it feels somehow wrong. So I write to the reader.

There is an old antagonism and difference in method (which led years ago into the split of the Meatball and CommunityWiki, that may have been beneficial or not). I think this antagonism is revived, not so much by Lion but by Fridemar who seems to propagate economic concepts without connecting to reality. There are a number of new contributors and it is not clear whether they will respect that Meatball tradition to clearly describe what we observe, feel, plan or work on - in a down-to-the-earth way, in a search for knowledge. If we have ideas, visions, vague ideas, Meatball has the tradition to name them such not sell these as more than they are.

First, I think that intellectual freedom is not a question of place, but part of the autonomy of each person. One can not take it away. In German there is an old song that starts with (translated) "thoughts are free". I always experienced this freedom at Meatball and it exists in the MeatballMission in the concept of pluralism. But, of course, this means that if the intellectual freedom is not met with responsibility, there will be criticism or a controversy. Meatball is a place for innovation but not a place for constructivism. It is boring to meet and read propaganda. It is not boring to have knowledge enhanced by observations, experiences, associations, stories. It is great when people share their opinions and new ideas.

Second, I think that Meatball has - like all other public collaboration systems - the quality of a stage. I very much appreciate the writings of ErvingGoffman who analyzed human interactions better than anyone else I know. In his book "The presentation of self in everyday life" - the more descriptive German title is (translated back) "we all play theatre" or less word-by-word "we all act on stages"- he builds a model of social situations, consisting of actors and audience, of stage and backstage. This model seems valid and - if anything - this has just been proven using a load of pathos.

So, in words I agree almost with Lion, I think that meatball is a stage and it offers intellectual freedom. Perhaps the only offensive thing is, that he assumes not-existence of these qualities by "it should", and that he restricts and focuses these qualities on ConversationMode, is if these were something new, or not possible in e. g. DocumentMode.

There is a kind of intellectual honesty that is important in real life, that you name an X an X. If a journalist writes about a visit to Iraq, then we expect that he tells us what he perceives as best as he can. If an author writes an invented story, then we expect that he labels it a "novel" or "fiction" so that we can recognize that. Both is not a restriction of intellectual freedom.

FridemarPache: Helmut, please reconsider your statement ".. but by Fridemar who seems to propagate economic concepts without connecting to reality". As we currently have a thunderstorm in my geo- place, I must shut down my computer.


JuanmaMP -- Tue Sep 1 23:05:41 2009

I would like to make a development about a subject in this point (wikinomics and Self), but due to my limitations with English, I need to know something before, please, about the online characterization of Fridemar and Helmut (Fridemar and Helmut due to latest comments) in regard to wikinomics and other -nomics online. Is it correct to say than Fridemar, in somehow, is more impelled for the possibility of online economy in online communities, let's say, more enthusiastic than other participants?, or in other words, there're participants, more "cold" about it?. Fridemar or Helmut (in alphabetic order), yes?


HelmutLeitner -- Wed Sep 2 03:50:20 2009

Juanma, I earn my living as an indepent software developer and consultant. I've written the ProWiki engine part-time in the intention to sell/rent/use it as a tool for various projects and purposes. I've earned money with wiki, although not so much as I would have liked. Wiki never gave me more than of 20-30% of my income, nowadays less than 10%. Any way to make profitable use of wiki by me or my customers is interesting to me. But this doesn't mean that I jump enthusiastically on every idea that turns up. Enthusiasm seems to me no basis for business, I prefer sound calculations and planning. Does this answer your question?


HelmutLeitner -- Wed Sep 2 03:57:55 2009

Fridemar, what can you offer a person who comes to you and says: "Hi Fridemar, I've got 10-20 hours of spare time during the next few weeks and I know how to wiki. How much money can I earn using WikiNomics? What method do you suggest? Can you name a person who testifies that it has worked for her?"


Juanma, Helmut, I "earned" my living long ago from teaching at the University Dortmund, apart from the regular income as an Wiss. Ass. with 3 project-groups (each three semesters, each including a special lecture (Spezialvorlesung), seminar and advanced programming practice in Simula). Afterwards I did some programming and consulting outside the university. My life was not aimed to "make a career", although I had first-class degrees; instead of this I was on the way to live a life within a spiritual community, like an Ashram. Economically speaking, I "wasted" my life with helping other people, enjoyed "silly" things, as e.g. accompanying old people, record a 97 year old woman to walk in a forest, singing with them folk songs, playing on the piano or similar "luxuries". When my father fell seriously ill (cancer), I joined my parents, to help out. After my father died, I sold my house and lived in the house of my parents with my mother for 18 years until her end, single as bramacharia (celebacy), giving her the necessary personal 7/24 support, each one of us may need in old age. I am now 65 (some people around me guess my age 20 years younger), and earn per month 429 € plus monthly life insurance pay-outs that sum up together to an amount below the income (wealth-) threshold, so that no taxes are to be paid. Giving you my personal background, you can understand that I am very sensitized to problems of poor people. Nevertheless, in the spirit of "blissful union of the opposites" I appreciate and love in the same way SocialModeWarrenBuffet as I do SocialModeMotherTheresa. My definition of wealth locates at [AboutusOrg:wealth]; the real world capital, I am willing to share (by SocialDomaining) is placed at [AboutusOrg:FridemarsPublicDomainPortfolio]. All transactions in connection with this are made transparent at [AboutusOrg:FridemarsPublicTransactions]. If this social experiment (Similar to the UltimatumGame) is successful, it can be taken as another income model for the poor CreativeCommons, if not I leave it as a seed idea, for which the time has not yet come. -- FridemarPache


NathanielThurston -- Wed Sep 2 09:33:00 2009

I noticed an issue with deleted pages and talk -- if DeletedPage: is put at the start of a /Talk page, it will wind up deleting all future comments if the discussion pauses for two weeks. Deleting /Talk pages after a period of time might be a good thing, but if we choose to go this route, I'd suggest:

  1. Making the deletion automatic, without requiring the DeletedPage key
  2. Increasing the delete period to something more like a year

In addition, it might be a good idea for completely empty pages to have an implicit "DeletedPage" marker.


JuanmaMP -- Wed Sep 2 19:43:04 2009

(Sorry for my English).

First, thank you for your answers. I asked a question without giving too many clues to the why, but both have extended the hand of generosity and transparency with their answers. I wouldn't want my words to be interpreted as direct references to people but more as what inspires me to understand archetypes online. Not for me to talk about people here; it is a question of respect, I am seeing characters online (with a person behind, of course).

Here there is a trait, characterized by practicality, analytical sense, with usual references based on the offline world, that avoids unnecessary creation of concepts online (reminds me much of Occam's razor). On the other side, there is an experimenter character, very emotional, able to live the online world, as a new territory, as a new frontier.

It's like night and day. Different views based on different experiences and ways of experiencing. Even the vocabulary chosen by each side is very different, conceptually different.

I am here, I am writing because, there was a trigger inside me, reading about "being disconnected from reality" and his subsequent request for to be removed. There are great values in these two comments: they reflect, in the first one conviction (clarity of ideas); in the second one, high sensitivity. Sadly, I noticed that this situation accidentally caused pain.

Why not thinking that we all are connected and disconnected from reality at once? We live mostly connected to our reality, and largely disconnected from the reality of the other, in a sense of inner experience.

Let me quote the Buddha, when he says truth is that what gives results. There's another beautiful text by Khalil Gibran that begins saying: No man can reveal to us anything, except what is already half asleep in the dawn of our understanding. The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, surrounded by his disciples, nothing gives of his wisdom, but yes of his faith and tenderness. Khalil Gibran.

Your responses have impressed me (both); you two, have much in common: generosity, openness, authenticity and integrity.

Sincerely hope it helps.


FridemarPache: Thank you Juanma and Helmut for mutual help.

Fridemar, you were always my personal translator, is the least I can do ... --JuanmaMP

HelmutLeitner -- Wed Sep 2 21:19:14 2009

Fridemar, thank you for your openness to describe your situation. It helps me to understand you better and to appreciate you even more. I do not see the difference like day and night, that Juanma states, more the difference of the left and right eye that see different pictures and can create an additional dimension when their views are integrated. Hopefully we can do that and build on that.

Juanma, it feels good to have you near.

Helmut, thanks for your pleasant words. --JuanmaMP


SunirShah -- Sun Sep 27 18:27:55 2009

I opted to not keep a running tally of who commented when and just provide a simple summary. I also now require a UserName that has been welcomed by the community. In honour of the change, I have changed the discussion area's background colour to papayaWhip.


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