Users' Personal Books

This blog entry is related to the poll:What improvement would you like for this site? (Total: 4 posts)

I like a lot what Fred has done with his own personal book:
I would like to extend the concept to all trusted users.

I will make incremental changes so that each regular member can have its own personal book.
The personal books are single-author: each member can have its own.
The personal books are not dated: they can be updated by their author at any time to represent the best that it has to offer.
The personal books are not the place for discussion. Use blog entries for that.
The personal books are here to complement the wiki. Wiki pages are to the community what a personal book page is to a single individual.

Currently, setting a new personal book with a proper outline requires me to set it up manually. So, new members who want a personal book like Fred's or my own should ask me to set one up for them. The plan is for this process to be eventually automated.

Ask any question related to personal books below.


Personal books and discussion

I like the idea of Personal Books. Fred as done a great use of his. I am slowly building mine, and I would like to extend the concept to other trusted members. Commenting has purposefully been disabled on personal books, in order to encourage users to update their books as they receive feedback elsewhere, and to increase the signal/noise ratio.

However, the downside of this is that a book page and the places where discussion regarding the said book page are dis-jointed. They are not directly linked together. I'd like to make it easy for any member to comment on the content of a book page, and for the author of the book page to be made aware of such comments, and for the discussion pages and the book pages to be somehow linked together. I haven't yet decided on how best to implement this, without sacrificing the original goal of increasing the signal/noise ratio.

Making it easy for any member to comment on a book page

Tags:+Political discourse

This is, I think, an important goal. The problem with book pages is that they are assertions, the views of a single individual. As such, they are necessarily flawed.

We know, intuitively, that true knowledge cannot be attained unless assertions are challenged and the underlying concepts examined. In other words, the acquisition of knowledge requires discourse. It is, and must be, a mufti-directional undertaking.

You have mentioned that differences in our views exist. There is an excellent chance that examining these differences will help mold a more rational expression of an idea, but we cannot accomplish that until I know what the differences are.

I have no idea of the technical difficulties of accomplishing this goal, but I hope they are not insurmountable.

A place for everything

Tags:+What improvement would you like for this site?

A reminder of my goals for this site:

The use of specific types of content is a strategic decision towards those goals. Each have their role to play. I have expanded a bit this page:
If you see anywhere where the wording can be improved, don't hesitate to edit the page.

Discussion is the beginning of the process, but it is not the end of it. What matters is the concrete results of the discussion.

I am aware of some of the limitations of the current software and I will continue improve what I can. Regarding my development priorities, I will soon introduce a revamped Emocracy voting implementation. For the rest, I plan to focus on some core development that will take a very long while to complete. It is important for the long term future of this site that I find the time to work on the heart of the system.

Meanwhile, the main building blocks are all in place and we can make do with what we already have:

  1. The ultimate goal is to develop the wiki articles. This is where our collective wisdom will shine. Developing the wiki will necessarily require us to explore our different perspectives.
  2. Use your blog to get feedback on topics you care about. Nothing prevents you to link book pages and blog entries both ways. On a new blog entry, provide a link to a book page and say: "Here is what I just wrote on this topic. What do you think?". On the book page, provide a link to the blog entry where people can discuss. This kind of arrangement may not be the most convenient one; it is only a stop gap measure. But at least the overall arrangement is congruent with the long term goals of the site.
  3. The key step is to extract the most important information from the discussion and feed it back to 1) the Personal Book. 2) the collective wiki. It's up to you to accept the feedback you gain to improve your own book articles, complement them, correct them, expand some sections, clarify some points. And collectively we should improve wiki articles in a similar fashion.

Note that you can suggest new items to improve in the web site and vote accordingly: