Reinventing Status Reports

I've promoted federated wiki as a better corporate wiki. Here I consider how a burst of creativity might be recalled and then documented based on wiki's recent-changes. I'll call this form a "reflection".

See Status Interpretation for more recent thinking.

See Status Deployment Report for work in progress.

This reflection was originally cast as an email to a colleague. It began, "First let me tell you how I spent the first hour of my day."

Tim O'Reilly mentioned the Madison project on Twitter. I followed his link and read just enough to know that the project deserved a paragraph in my list of sites related to my own work. I do lots of this sort of intelligence. I think you do too.

Then a series of interesting things happened:

1. I rewrote their summary paragraph removing 3/4 of their words. I learned more about the project by deleting their fluff words than I could by reading through the fluff over and over.

2. I noticed that my login had expired over night so the server had thrown some errors and my nice paragraph wasn't saved. Yikes. I grabbed it, logged in, and then repeated the edit. I'm thinking, this has got to be fixed.

3. I realize I can dodge all kinds of lost content errors if I just save pages to browser local storage when anything goes wrong: credential timeout, server overload, network interruption. I note that in my high-priority to-do list: Wants and Needs.

Uploaded image

4. I tap Recent Changes to see if everything is ok. It is. Whew. Then I'm looking at that page's heading structure and I think: I've got to do something like that for search results too.

5. I try some searches. What I really notice is not so much a need for sections as a need to consolidate duplicates. There will be lots of duplicates in the federation. I wonder, can I tell a duplicate from a name collision? Sure I can. I grab the first paragraph as the synopsis, if the synopsis of two pages share the same random id, then they must be duplicates. Good idea. Write it down.

6. I'm adding a paragraph about merging search results in the project page for search. Most everything there is checked off but there is a right place for merge down with stuff about prioritizing results. I realize while typing: when I merge a bunch of pages they will all be from different sites so I should show those sites by including multiple flags in the reference: a new idea.

7. If I put multiple sites in a reference then hover will show the site name associated with the flag. Good. And clicking any one of the flags will go to the corresponding site. Good. And any synopsis will do, they all have the same id. Not Good. A page like Welcome Visitors is copied all over and the welcome customized for the visitors. Ah, just show the synopsis for the flag. Good idea. I capture it and one more variation in 24 words.

8. I'm feeling productive. I tap Recent Changes to see why that might be true. It shows the morning's work and the last things I've done the night before. I think: not bad for a status report. I wonder how many of these Bjorn would read on a daily basis? Ten? Twenty? Hard to say. I think I'll ask. I take a screenshot and start this email.

Here is the thing: if you'd called this morning and asked what I'd been up to I would have just said "reading twitter".

This stuff goes through my mind so fast I can remember what problem I was solving just ten minutes before. It's exhilarating but also very private just because it happens too fast to put into words. (the chatter while pair-programming overcomes this but isn't scalable the way you need.)

Recent Changes is the wake I leave behind as I plow thought my creative space. They are my thoughts because this is my site for this thinking: just one place for one subject in the federation.

You can read my thoughts on recent changes and then follow links or use search to learn how I talk to myself. The less I say the better it is for both me and you. I just have to say it in a context that is meaningful for both of us. And building that context is the management challenge we're facing.

In the history of computing we have struggled to have something more powerful than a file, more integrated than a document. It's been tough going. I think I'm making progress.

Try browsing my space if you'd like: .

I'll make this the subject of today's Federated Wiki video chat which starts at 10am. .