[Foundation-l] Stategic planning : Sharing textbook knowledge

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Thu May 7 21:33:49 UTC 2009

A howto comes closest.  A bunch of howtos would sometimes be combined
into a cyclopedia.  (see
 --  I'd love to see more of this on wikisource for ready reference
throughout the projects.
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Index:Household_Cyclopedia_1881.djvu )

And some textbooks are layered and flexible enough to be good at this
bootstrapping as well.  Note that WikiHow hasn't managed to be this
sort of resource, and each entry is much more standalone.  And WP
likewise tends to avoid this sort of straight bootstrapping, offering
narrative and history and context instead.*

But to traverse this sort of work would involve following links to
processes and subprocesses until you got all the way down to the
tools, skills, and rsources you have available.  So it is much better
suited to hypertext than a linear book, and it's not so surprising
that it hasn't emerged as its own named work-type before.

A narrowly limited version of this is sometimes devised to quickly get
from one concept to another.  A stripped-down version might be a
sequence of lemmas that proves some major theorem [it's less
convincing and empowering when you magically are told what steps will
lead to an understanding; not clear how to prove something similar].
An unrealistic one is 'technology trees' in civilisation games.

The canonical bootstrapping problem is "I want to do complicated thing
A, and have {B}.  what's a reasonably short Tool/Training/Concept
progression that will get me there, and what else will that enable me
to do?"

To make a good bootstrapping work, you don't need to cover every
possible T/T/C tree, but enough commonly shared ones to make a decent
stab at it.

 You want to teach a bright 8-yr old fourier analysis.
 The river keeps flooding, and needs to be stabilized.
 We need to bridge a ravine between two wooded hills.
 I have an acre of rocky scrub to cultivate to feed a community of 40.
 They want to make peace with a community that speaks a different language.


* Of course this could be boiled down to "part of a good comprehensive
article on Wikipedia" in the same way that all wikiprojects could be
merged into WP if one were so inclined...

On Thu, May 7, 2009 at 4:35 PM, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/5/7 Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com>:
>> I think that the "cheatsheet / overview / bootstrapping" version of
>> information about a topic is quite valuable and useful, and that few
>> people create such materials today [we don't have a good noun for that
>> kind of work, for instance].
> The rough guide? The Cliff's Notes? The HOWTO? The FAQ?
> - d.
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