When you’re researching stuff on the web, it makes sense to keep notes.
…in short, there are all these places you can keep notes, as you learn about something.
This page is about using wiki as places to keep notes, as you learn.
Whenever you want to learn something, (1) find the best explanation on the web, (2) understand it, (3) improve it. You, as a beginner, are perhaps the best person to rework it: BeginnersReworking is sometimes the most useful for thing for other beginners.
Obviously, you can’t do step 3 if it’s not a wiki. So, in that case, find a wiki to keep your notes on the topic. Unfortunately, there are still TooFewWiki. But we’re working on that.
If there is no such wiki, you can make a deeper commitment: create one, and network it in via WikiNodes.
As a society, we are used to learning and research being a mostly individual thing. You get a few good web pages, a few good books, get some notebook paper, and start teaching yourself.
With wiki, we can learn together.
First, you find a wiki about the the subject you’re interested in. If there isn’t one already, you might have to make it yourself.
Then, you start making page names about the parts of the thing that you are learning about. As you research, you collect your notes on the page. Save the contents of the page about once every two hours, so that you don’t lose them if your computer crashes, or whatever. After you have a bunch of notes, see if you can write a coherent DocumentMode text at the top of the page.
Then, integrate your notes into the main body of work. If text is about the things you’ve researched, link the text to the page you’ve made.
If the wiki is well traveled, then you’ll notice people correcting you where you are wrong. You’ll learn a lot. And others will learn a lot.
The basic ideas here- collecting notes, rephrasing in your own words, integrating ideas- are good ideas whether you do it alone, or socially. So why not do it socially? Others can correct you, and others can learn from you.
This is true on any collaborative writing medium. Including fiction and art and poetry, as well as fact.
You are both right to me … People don’t care about knowing the meaning of meta-communication … Yet, to be doing something new or different from their CommonSense they need to understand what the use of their doing is… Maybe they need to be shown what meta-communication is ??
I wonder if making a distintiction between journal and wiki use would help … say, meta-communication = journal - wiki …
See what it might mean ?
I’m very confused; What do you mean by meta-communication?
(I would think: “Talking about talking.” But that doesn’t seem to substitute well into what you just said, so I’m wondering.)
One of the simple definitions Google finds says: communication about the situation in which interaction takes place, is called metacommunication, same as “Talking about talking” … but …
system interoperability is achieved via metacommunication … and how systems do that is transparent to their users
… i have developed an interest in this from working in system and user support roles … and what made me aware of my interest was something i read in my son thesis on interpersonal communication … where it said that metacommunication is forbidden in (hierarchical) social organizations …
so i’m still finding clues that metacommunication among human beings might be worth considering … (and implementing in some transparent way ?) … however … i have no directions with regard to how that should be done … and i’m prepared to drop the subject … if it is perceived as unimportant … or confusing.
WoW?! What a neat insight!
And then you get into the weirdness of, “Gee, I wish people would do more than just what their job calls for; Why aren’t they talking to us? Why don’t people just extend themselves, and see beyond their particular problems?” being communicated at the same time as “Did we ask you to do that? No? We didn’t? Did you get authorization before you tried that?” “Does anyone else have any ideas?” “No? Good! Then you all consent. The group has spoken, it’s the will of the group.”
Yeah, yeah, I dig it. Totally. I think it’s an interesting point.
Maybe write up SubversiveMetaCommunication?, or TalkingAboutTalkingIsForbidden?, or TalkingAboutTalkingAsAnIndicator?, or something. MetaCommunication suggests itself, but I feel- we talk a lot about software here, and I don’t think we mean to walk on that space.
No, that’s a really interesting idea. I hadn’t noticed it explicitly.
And now, I think I’m tying it in to what you were saying before. You’re saying that perhaps most people aren’t used to meta-communications.
I remember going to an activist meeting for the first time, and then it very quickly came to me that 50% of the group was speaking a very different language. I mean, it was all English, but- the assumptions that surfaced, and the kinds of arguments that formed- were very different than I’d seen before in a group setting. These people were smart about the way groups organized, and the things that were needed to get into some sort of motion. I had wished I had a nice graphical handbook.
(So, I went to work online, since we’re building great explanations online for everything.)
What’s interesting here is that many of us didn’t know. Many of us, maybe 50%, weren’t accustomed to the type of group interactions that were at work, and consensus process, and stuff like that. Surely we’ve all talked about talking before, but not on such a large scale, and with particular goals in mind.
So it is reasonable to believe that people don’t know how to wiki, don’t know how to organize, don’t know how to interact in these different ways.
Maybe I’m just going off into my own pocket universe, but I think I am understanding what you mean.
Transparency in our communications would be LinkLanguage and HyperText, words that explain themselves to readers. (Even the ability and knowing to google, to a degree.) VisualLanguage is really helpful as well, though that’s difficult right now.
The meaning of making metacommunication transparent could be easier to understand - i wonder - if we can describe it as an attempt to induce change in CommonSense without making it perceived as disruptive …
to make this clearer - and see if it may open a way forward (or .. start a HubAndSpokeWikis “bud”) - some clues might emerge from the (progress pending) TranslationGateway page … in the MultilingualExperiment cluster …
.. hopefully ..
I’ve been hanging out in #rdfig asking questions and asking people to help me understand ideas. They’ve also checked what I’ve written on the wiki, and offered suggestions.
I am convinced that the way to learn is to learn socially. And that the thing to do is to construct documents (construct as in “constructivist” and even “constructionist”- not just recreating models in your head, but creating actual things in the world) as you learn. This helps both yourself, others, and people who just wanted some clarification and a reference.
The big difference here is actually talking with people, and documenting as you talk. It can be a little frustrating, but even if you only get a few main ideas down, that’s much better than nothing.
So the combination of IRC + realtime wiki-ing is magical. When we have a “real time edit plane” made out of individually addressible real-time documents, this’ll be so much more powerful.
I believe this is related to TeachingByPairProgramming.
I keep coming back to this in my mind, again and again.
“This is the way.”
And I keep wondering: “Why aren’t people doing this?”
I saw something that I thought was hilareous:
For some reason, it has not occured to this person to just perform his notes and thought, on the ESW wiki.
Let’s consider the advantages this person would obtain from doing so:
I wonder, “Why aren’t people doing this?”
I’m really starting to think: People just haven’t thought to do it.
So, I’m wondering: “How do I get people to do this? How do I raise awareness about this?”
To a degree, I think that I don’t have to. As our communications technology gets better, I think people will have an easier time finding and approaching one another and all that stuff. It’ll be a super-social world. The Internet’ll be overflowing with people. It’s going to rock. One big continuous party. We’ll stop calling it the Internet- we’ll just call it the Festival.
But- you know, that day is somewhat distant. And things need to happen to get there.
I’m thinking of engaging someone, like, and walking them through learning about something with wiki.
That’ll give me some 1st-hand insight into the obstacles people have with learning by wiki. I’ll see- first hand- their objections to posting (“are you sure this is okay?” …I am anticipating), their confusion about how to hook in pages (“Now we do a search…”), and I’ll be able to watch their thought processes as they go.
Then I think I’ll have a much better idea on how to proliferate this concept of WikiAsYouLearn.
Because- I mean, I really see this as the way to go. It’s beneficial to everyone. I can’t see anything wrong with it, at all.
Yes, I agree it’s a good idea. I also agree with your diagnosis of why this doesn’t happen more, but would add two more factors:
I try to do this, and I like to do it, and I do do it fairly often, but the time factor is still a bottleneck for me. I have more to write down than I have time to write.
I don’t think second factor will change, and I don’t think the third factor needs to change (if only the people interested in teaching did this, a ton of stuff would be written).
I also agree that it will naturally happen more as people use technologies for online collaboration (such as wiki) more.
Note: if everyone does this alot, we’ll run into the MetaContentRecursionProblem. But, as I noted there, I think wikis are good at dealing with that.
MartinHarper and I were talking in IRC, and found an important distinction in the conversation:
The first request (a “support” request) is best answered by friends who know cars.
The second (learning together) is ideal for WikiAsYouLearn.
Raymond Lee responded to my question, “Why did you write on your notebook, and not on ESW?”
He said 3 things:
Obviously, I disagree that any of these items is an obstacle, except the 2nd. In the future, there will be wiki for everything, so that isn’t an issue. As for the first, he just doesn’t know better: There’s no conflict between learning for yourself, and accidentally teaching others. As for the third, it doesn’t take any labor at all- in fact, you can just leave that little labor to other people. In fact, when you’re writing in the wiki, you get a LinkLanguage for free. You didn’t have to build it, other people built it for you. It makes your own notes clearer for yourself.
I learned a lot by working over the ESW wiki, and I didn’t feel that the integration effort was any trouble. You read a page, and you attach your thoughts at the bottom. It’s not difficult. Or, you make a new page, and use the LinkLanguage that you learned from looking at the other pages. If you screw it up, who cares? Someone else who cares can correct it.
It seems to me that there is a direct parallel between wiki learning and open software development, something I have tried to articulate with the concept of the WeldingProcess. In both education (for yourself, for others, regardless-) and open software development, we are welding things together. Errors are caught early on, under the scrutiny of many eyes.
Our destination, which we will reach (there’s not any doubt in my mind about it,) is that learning will be social. The concept of learning “for yourself” may well be done away with. “What does that even mean?” people will ask, in the future. “You mean, you don’t ask people questions?” “You don’t want other people to see you as you learn? How else are people going to point things out to you?” We’ve already reached a point where it’s considered near insane to not want your site to be indexed by Google. I believe this feeling will penetrate deeper: As the OneBigSoup of SocialSoftware develops, and it starts to be very clear when we are under the eyes of many people, or when we are off in the dark somewhere, and we see the benefits that come to the people who work in the sunlight- When these things happen, people will move more and more towards SocialLearning?, and it’ll be a great big party of learning.
I think that many people have experienced:
On the other hand, a few people have experienced
My point is … what was my point ?
2004-12-11: Anyone mind if I try to cut out the “metacommunication” stuff from this page and move it to MetaCommunication ?
Not at all.
Shoot; I need to go. Well, I’ll just check-point my changes in the middle.
I want to remove the old story, and add a “how to” section, explaining how to do this, how it works, for newcommers to the concept.
Damn, I wish we had some notation for intelligently presenting outlines, from the EmacsWiki:OutlineMode.
The true problem is that the cost of WikiAsYouLearn is very high. Not so high that it’s insurmountable. Low enough that some people do it. But it’s still: very high.
Further, the benefits are not clear, to most people, since you don’t get dollars issued back to you. If you do receive dollars, it’s only indirectly. AlternativeCurrency or obscene wealth may allow for wiki communities to issue dollars, and MicroCurrency? may allow for the issue and receipt of currency more generally (charge per page-view, say.) This may cause more public contribution. That said, those relationships that form would be very different, and the character of the thing would be very different.
Is there something that could happen, more immediately?
The cheapest, easiest, most basic way to reduce costs, is to simply make a social convention of accepting all contributions, most any contributions, in the roughest, most readily uploadable form.
The next thing after that, to facilitate it, and to contain it, is to make special technology that eases the receipt of the rough content. Accept emailed content. Make it easy to tack content to a page.
And then specially mark that content as “rough.” You don’t want to harm the benefit of the positive reputation, after all; You want to make the good readily distinguished from the rough, after all. And you want to point people (search-engine priority!) to the good stuff.
See also the experiment of:
Note, however, that there was significant personal benefit from posting this: Word got around. I got to see, and be part of, a larger conversation. I received some substantial emails in my personal in-box, in response to posting it.
Another note: Synchronization costs are very comparable to reworking costs (see ReworkingEconomy.)
I also believe I see a tension point around Outlining. But it’s not really “outlining.” (Don’t tell Dave.) Because we’d really like to be able to make graphs, webs, not just hierarchies, …
Look at the form of TechnicalSupportForReworking: it’s an outline.
I didn’t understand before about how outlines were connected with our problem, but it’s clearer to me now: When content is little “nodes” that are relatively easy to reposition and rearrange, then you don’t have the “smooth-flow” problem that essays have. (That is, essays, as a form, require smooth and linear conceptual flow from paragraph to paragraph. It’s rare that you can pull a paragraph, and step it a paragraph up. In outlines, you can frequently reposition points, within a level.) Then again, we must consider context, no? And context is mostly (but definitely not completely..!) hierarchical.
It’s more costly to read, but it seems by far easier to rework, as long as reworks respect the same structure.
Another note of interest, in the outline, is the ability to open and close the point. You can conceal it, and then reveal it. We don’t have this here on this wiki, unfortunately. The closest to it is the ability to go to, or away from a page.
But diagrams do not only have an advantage that they don’t need a logical textual stream, it is also a disadvantage at the same time. Graphical layouts always look more compelling than they really are. They often quite successfully hide a lack of completeness, consistency and thoughtfulness. But thats not the the topic of this page. I find it interesting to use wiki as a verb. What means “to wiki” (ToWiki) really?
Thank you for pointing out “Kings Road” – nice parable.