Another reference to information or knowledge annealing.
"Information annealing" is a concept championed by Neil Larson, the owner of a smallish, West-coast company named, MaxThink. Neil's company produces a line of software products that are used to capture, organize, and present information and knowledge. MaxThink's products make interesting use of hypertext concepts. For more information on MaxThink, please visit their Website - http://www.maxthink.com
I have also come across the following reference.
http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Papers/StructuringKnowledge.html This paper discusses "meta-structures" which is a core concept within Larsen's "knowledge annealing" process.
I have not checked either of these sites yet, so make no guarantees about how useful the reference is. -- PeterMurchland
Well, maybe Maxthink is still in business (at least the site exists), but it only contains information on pre-web historical hypertext stuff, nothing of interest. The paper is also old (1991), but may be interesting for historical purposes and its generic classification (reproduced below), though I wouldn't recommend it as reading -- ChristopheVermeulen
time\generality general specific stable class object temporary property situation instantaneous change event
I'm not certain I see the analogy. What, on a WikiWikiWeb, represents heat? What metric suggests the information here is a "global near optimum"? We have a great many diverse opinions here, and what results is very much a movable feast; nothing suggests that the wiki is stabilizing. Moreover it's growing, something heated metal doesn't often do. I'd suggest that what you're seeing as annealing is more like ConstructiveInterference. --PeterMerel
Since I only copied the material, I don't really feel qualified to answer your question, but my response would be that the flurry of postings, of modifications to postings, of creation of positions and responses, the "warming up of a debate" would equate to the heat.
I'm afraid I can't answer the question about GlobalNearOptimum?. Nor do I seek to defend the suggestion that annealing is occurring here. I am simply here because DenhamGrey suggested this tool might be effective in supporting annealing and felt I would contribute by providing a starting point to defining annealing. -- PeterMurchland
Ah, then please tap DenhamGrey on the shoulder and ask him to come and anneal with us :-) As to the "warming up of a debate", we certainly do see this happen on individual pages, but I think the causal relationship is reversed; when content is controversial or polarized (though still possibly accessible and high quality - different correspondents have different metrics ...) then that causes debate here to become animated. As consensus is achieved, the debate cools. When a new correspondent arrives with a very different outlook/quality metric then debate rekindles. So pages seem to co-evolve rather than anneal.
Worth noting that SimulatedAnnealing used to be a popular search technique a few years ago (and still is in fields like XrayCrystallography), before GA stole its thunder. Perhaps there is also a GA approach to KnowledgeManagement?--PeterMerel
Not exactly sure of the protocol here, but will jump in anyway. While I think that there are many arguments that would support the idea that this whole site is an example of an "annealing process," I would be guilty of a sin that I preach against: "The metaphor *is not* the message."
The "annealing" in "Information Annealing" is a metaphor (or a simile if you prefer). It was coined to describe a process for organizing information through using procedures in an environment with similar features as this one. I believe Denham and Peter are suggesting that this environmental type/interface could be effectively used to carry out the concepts of NeilLarson of MaxThink. -- WardBell
I think there is confusion over what is being annealed and the granularity. The important element in the annealing process here is not the text but the semantics, the meaning. The idea is, that as we interact with a body of text we gradually come to a state of similar meaning. The target is the individual page or concept rather than the entire site and the concern that the length of text grows is not central to the process.
There are many advantages that I see here, attribution is not mandated by the system, this releases us from strong (visual) attachments to our individual identities and texts, assisting the melding process. There is the freedom to alter a piece of existing text without the major contortions of creating an anonymous ID necessary on most other web conferencing systems. We can delete, insert, correct, append and annihilate, all in the interests of making common meaning (or trying to dominate, subjugate, encourage, support).
The editorial freedom leaves more room for the development of social protocols, which I have a hunch, are more important for creating common understanding and meaning.
What is interesting is the urge to produce order, to replicate the very controls this environment does away with. My bent is to go with the flow here, "when in Rome....."
How much does this kind of approach depend on total cooperation among all of the various contributors to the web? In the absence of software-defined ground rules there can be people who come in and scribble on other contributions and mess up the results. -- EdwardVielmetti