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Are multiple views a good thing?

uh, is the description/definition of MultipleViews hidden in some other view?

It's tempting to make views parameterisable, and if we take this to extremes we get where each user has a unique experience of the site. Might this not be damaging to the "community"?

In the UK for a long while we only had 4 TV channels. That meant you could talk to your mates about what was on last night, and they probably saw it too. It's much harder to talk that way about books because people read different ones, and even when they read the same ones they do it at different times, so there's no topicality or community of experience.

It happens to a lesser extent with films. Someone who saw the Directors Cut of BladeRunner? or Terminator 2 had a different experience to someone who saw the original. They cannot really discuss the film because they saw different films.

If a site's content is republished in a myriad of different edited forms, the same thing will happen only more so. We will have less basis for communication, less common ground; we will become more isolated.

(This is just putting one side of the issue, DevilsAdvocate-fashion.)

(Playing SaintsAdvocate?) It could be bad because it limits CommonContext, but if the views were all on the same information, probably not. After all, we all consume different media, but we end up communicating by finding the common context. It may also provide different perspectives to the community, which is healthy. Consider your BBC example; in the States, cable massively outdid the networks because the shows were more finely targetted towards people's individual tastes. So, even though the shows were poorer quality, they were more interesting. -- SunirShah

"Community be damned." --CliffordAdams

I should probably explain that statement. Communities are models and tools for human interactions, and are not valuable unless they are of benefit to people. Communities offer both benefits and limits to individuals. Sometimes the limits are necessary, or a "least evil" solution. In online forums, however, very few community limits are necessary. While one may accept limits on building one's physical house, one's "home page" does not (generally) interfere with others.

Human attention is the most limited resource for most online forums. Arguments like Wiki:AppropriateWikiTopics, and situations like Wiki:TragedyOfTheCommons occur because nearly all attention is focused on RecentChanges. (Indeed, people occasionally complain about too-frequent "home page" updates, or even housekeeping improvements if they degrade the usefulness of RecentChanges.)

If one writes good material, one would like to share it with the rest of the community. The community may not share one's enthusiasm, however. In ViewPoint, rather than trying to limit the inputs to the forum, I want to see people work on filters and referral systems to fit their interests. The "raw" inputs would not be subject to criticism. If you don't like some content then it is your responsibility to avoid it. More positively, I hope that people will recommend/refer good content.

I hope that communities of common interests will emerge in ViewPoint. For instance, a group might collect and edit good submissions on "software development". One difference will be that communities may be based on other communities. For instance, suppose you liked a "simple XP" group, but you thought they were too quick to exclude criticism. You will be able to create a kind of "overlay" community, perhaps called "Simple XP (more critics)" which would mostly consist of the base content (the "simple XP" pages), but would also include the extra criticism. Alternately, "supplemental" pages would be similar to "see also" links. More on this later in ViewPointStructure?.

In the end, however, most people do not want to work hard at customizing their experience. In ViewPoint I suspect that a few well-maintained general views will be most popular, with a larger number of more focused views for particular interests. (I also suspect the community will do whatever it wants, regardless of my wishes. ;-) --CliffordAdams

I read this partly as agreeing that the extreme multiple views model is bad, and that you hope to avoid the extremes. -- DaveHarris

From PersonalCategories: "consensus should not be forced"

It's true that online, very few community limits are necessary, but that doesn't answer the question of whether they are desirable.

FormLiberates?. I think much of the value of WardsWiki comes from the fact that there is only one version of each page, so that a consensus of sorts has to be hammered out. This obliges us to think through our ideas, respond to criticism, compromise where necessary, decide what really matters, extract the essense. Theses and antithesis are resolved in synthesis. Ego is supressed and wisdom emerges. (At least, when it works right.)

MultipleViews is about ego. It is about everyone having their own version of events. In the most extreme form there is no communual BarnRaising; each person builds their own barn as a solo effort. -- DaveHarris

True, the extreme form of MultipleViews would have every individual writing completely separate views. Some of these views would exist because of honest disagreement, while others would be more purely ego-driven separation. It may even be a good thing for some people to voluntarily separate their work from the community (rather than having the community delete or mangle their work).

Communities also have ego issues. One of the most difficult ones in WardsWiki is the issue of rewriting or deleting signed content. Some people have declared that they don't mind editing, others have said "delete but don't alter", and some have strongly resisted any deletion. (To an extreme, some people question whether the original author should be able to delete their own signed words. See Wiki:WikiMindWipe and Wiki:TrustAndResponsibility for more on this view and its opponents.)

Creating a synthesis is often hard work. For example, I tried several times to alter Wiki:WhyChooseMicrosoftAndVb to be less offensive. After significant discussions, the initial harsh anti-VB paragraph was slightly altered to be less offensive.

Later, on the same page, I added a (surprising!) supportive comment from Linus (of Linux fame). My quote was quickly changed to add a nearby quote (not a good programming language) that didn't support the main point. I deleted it. It was re-added. I nearly deleted the entire quote, but decided to move the second point away from the excerpt I had chosen. The material was moved back into my version. Finally, I put the second point right after the first, and added the full context. (This is the version that remains today.) I probably would have given up if my edits were undone again--the damage was already done.

Given the large struggles needed for minimal gains, I think most people's time is better spent creating new content than trying to create syntheses. Even the synthesists will probably do better by writing a new summary on top rather than altering ThreadMode. In a sense, single/multiple view conflict is similar to the document/threadmode controversy. Although a few influential people (like Ward) have argued strongly for DocumentMode pages, on WardsWiki much (most?) multi-author interaction is ThreadMode. --CliffordAdams

[Cliff plans to reply to more of the discussion above later.]

The recent addition to Wiki:DeletionInWiki by Wiki:TomStambaugh has an interesting description of multiple views in the Hebrew Scriptures.



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