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Over on the blog, Charlie Clingen wrote:
Let me ask in a slightly different way a question that has been raised above. There is a vast and rapidly growing collection of books, papers, articles, seminars, articles, etc. related to the topics targeted by Azimuth. There is a growing community of intelligent, technically articulate scientific experts in those areas as well; but each of them is probably incompetent (in the non-pejorative sense) in many of the areas being covered. Experience has taught me that effective human communication is probably the most difficult “technical” problem of all. Confronted with all that, now fast-forward two years. Wave the magic wand and assume that all roadblocks in pursuit of the ideal Azimuth outcome are instantly removed – funding, no problem; blog technology, solved; hours in the day to do the work, infinite; enthusiasm and acceptance within the target community, A+. In that idealistic world, what would the perfect outcome of Azimuth be? A carefully classified and well-structured (whatever that means) bibliography of everything ever written and otherwise recorded on the topic. A central archive for all relevant publications and activities, provided to the scientific community at large? A place where the top areas of contention are highlighted, with pro’s and con’s carefully articulated with comments on work being done to resolve the disagreements? A clearing house where scientists come before being interviewed by the press on what the latest progress is?
I’m just trying to get a fairly concrete picture of “the” ideal outcome of this ambitious and exciting new enterprise – not so much how it will function on a day-to-day basis, but rather what it will look like when one logs in two years from now. Of course, in the real world, nothing will work out as we expect, and the ideal outcome will change every few months. So these types of questions will have to be revisited often. But nevertheless, it is still important to have a fairly concrete target in mind for a major project such as this, even though we all know that the requirements will change, the budget will be exceeded, the schedule will slip, and the product will ship late. But that’s OK – the potential value of the outcome is worth the effort. Perhaps in the new blog, there should be a place for “Today’s View of the Perfect Outcome”, with a history of all the previous views available, just so we can see how all of this evolves as time goes on.