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Keeping up with discussions - categories

In another discussion, Tim van Beek wrote:

A meta point: I have a daily time budget of ca. 30 minutes for Azimuth topics. This can only work if I restrict myself to one specific topic, simply put: There isn't enough time to discuss all topics that may be of interest to Azimuth.

and John Baez added:

Even though I can spend more time on Azimuth, I already have more things to do than fit into that time.

The problem of where to spend one's time will only continue to grow as the Azimuth Project grows and becomes more active. So we ought to think about ways to make sure that those who are active can stay active, producing content, and helping rather than just reading to keep up with what is being done here on the forum. The project won't move forward if it ends up being a bunch of discussion on the forum, but no action on the Wiki because we've all used up our free time for the forum.

I know I've added considerably to the reading required in the last couple of weeks. This ought to slow down as we're covering many of the macro level issues that will make their way onto the Wiki so new people in the future won't have to learn them. So I apologize for making it harder in the short term, hopefully this will be a one-time cost.

How can we make this easier in the future for everyone?

It looks like the nForum has some protocols for making it easier for people to focus on specific types of conversations based on the use of forum categories that seems to work for them. This could work here. Nevertheless, our problem in the Azimuth Project will be larger because the problems we are tackling are necessarily going to involve many more disciplines and areas of potential interest.

Keeping up with discussions outside of one's interests will be pretty hard if we don't have finer granularity in the discussion categories. For example, I could see many people who are interested in climate issues but don't want to follow transportation issues, some will be more interesting in the math side, while others in the science, and others in the applied science/engineering end of things.

So I suggest that we ought to start thinking about how to do this now, so we don't cause those who have been working hard to lose interest because the forum becomes too noisy because of new people (like me) coming in, asking questions, discussing new domains, making suggestions, etc.

What do you think? Should we create some more sub-catetories?

Comments

  • 1.
    Hi Curtis,

    I think the Azimuth Project (blog, wiki, forum) today likely bears little to no resemblance to what John envisioned 6 months ago and 6 months from now it will not resemble what any of you envision today.

    It is more important to avoid putting up barriers to evolution and letting things develop organically than trying new ideas that don't work out. So when I see a question like, "should we try...?", my reaction is, "by all means." If it is a good idea, it will stick. If not, you will find out soon enough. But part of that involves selfishness. Only do things you think would help you. If it does not help you it is unlikely to help others no matter how good the intentions.
    Comment Source:Hi Curtis, I think the Azimuth Project (blog, wiki, forum) today likely bears little to no resemblance to what John envisioned 6 months ago and 6 months from now it will not resemble what any of you envision today. It is more important to avoid putting up barriers to evolution and letting things develop organically than trying new ideas that don't work out. So when I see a question like, "should we try...?", my reaction is, "by all means." If it is a good idea, it will stick. If not, you will find out soon enough. But part of that involves selfishness. Only do things you think would help you. If it does not help you it is unlikely to help others no matter how good the intentions.
  • 2.
    edited January 2011

    So when I see a question like, "should we try...?", my reaction is, "by all means." If it is a good idea, it will stick. If not, you will find out soon enough. But part of that involves selfishness. Only do things you think would help you.

    I agree. I'm always encouraging everyone here to go ahead and do things, and then tell us you did them. Talking about "things we might do" can easily dissipate energy that would better be spent actually doing something. At least that's my attitude - I've never been very good at "meetings", "committees" and the like. If the Azimuth Project ever grows to the point where lots of committees are necessary, I'll consider it a success, step back, and try to limit my role to doing things I actually enjoy.

    However: at present, only I can make new discussion categories on the Azimuth Forum. So, Curtis had to ask if it's a good idea - he couldn't just go ahead and do it. Someday, I hope soon, I'll feel willing to give more people more power to do more things like this. But not right this second.

    Right now most Azimuth Forum conversations occur in the category Latest Changes. So, maybe this is the category that most needs to be broken down into subcategories.

    Here's one easy way: each of the "categories" of Azimuth Project pages listed here could also become a subcategory of Latest Changes here on the Forum.

    So, for example, on days when Tim van Beek only has time to read about software and climate pages, he can skip conversations about biodiversity and ecology.

    One downside is that right now there are pages that lie in multiple categories.

    Should I go ahead and try to do this, folks?

    Comment Source:> So when I see a question like, "should we try...?", my reaction is, "by all means." If it is a good idea, it will stick. If not, you will find out soon enough. But part of that involves selfishness. Only do things you think would help you. I agree. I'm always encouraging everyone here to **go ahead and do things, and then tell us you did them**. Talking about "things we might do" can easily dissipate energy that would better be spent actually doing something. At least that's my attitude - I've never been very good at "meetings", "committees" and the like. If the Azimuth Project ever grows to the point where lots of committees are necessary, I'll consider it a success, step back, and try to limit my role to doing things I actually enjoy. However: at present, only I can make new discussion categories on the Azimuth Forum. So, Curtis had to ask if it's a good idea - he couldn't just go ahead and do it. Someday, I hope soon, I'll feel willing to give more people more power to do more things like this. But not right this second. Right now most Azimuth Forum conversations occur in the category Latest Changes. So, maybe this is the category that most needs to be broken down into subcategories. Here's one easy way: each of the "categories" of Azimuth Project pages listed [here](http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/list/) could also become a subcategory of Latest Changes here on the Forum. So, for example, on days when Tim van Beek only has time to read about [software](http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/list/software) and [climate](http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/list/climate) pages, he can skip conversations about [biodiversity](http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/list/biodiversity) and [ecology](http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/list/ecology). One downside is that right now there are pages that lie in multiple categories. Should I go ahead and try to do this, folks?
  • 3.

    As always, Curtis, I've taken the title of this discussion and changed it so only the first letter is capitalized.

    Comment Source:As always, Curtis, I've taken the title of this discussion and changed it so only the first letter is capitalized.
  • 4.
    I see. So YOU are the barrier to organic evolution by controlling the categories :)

    What's the point of doing that?

    One thing that has always frustrated me about nStuff is the impression that the nForum is there simply to support the wiki when the forum is extremely valuable (maybe more value) by itself.

    I would allow anyone to create categories so that Curtis and others can go ahead, be selfish, and do whatever improves the process for themselves. You've got enough serious people involved here now it should be pretty much self policing at this stage.
    Comment Source:I see. So YOU are the barrier to organic evolution by controlling the categories :) What's the point of doing that? One thing that has always frustrated me about nStuff is the impression that the nForum is there simply to support the wiki when the forum is extremely valuable (maybe more value) by itself. I would allow anyone to create categories so that Curtis and others can go ahead, be selfish, and do whatever improves the process for themselves. You've got enough serious people involved here now it should be pretty much self policing at this stage.
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