Star Structured vs. Tree Structured Conferencing
Although Notes has evolved in many ways over the years, one thing
that has never changed is the star structure of its notesfiles.
One or two PLATO users wrote experimental versions of Notes using
tree-structured (or "threaded") notesfiles, but most people who
tried them found them hard to use and the idea did not catch on.
My own feeling is that a star structure is much more conducive to
ongoing discussion. Human conversation is inherently
disorganized, and a tree structure attempts to impose too much
discipline. Conversations often tend to fragment and dissipate
quickly in a tree. Some people seem at home with a tree
structure, but in my experience more people find it rather
foreign and overly complex.
With a star structure, each base note and its chain of responses
resembles a conversation that we might have with a group of
people gathered around a table. The conversation might drift or
develop multiple threads, but if that becomes a problem, it is
easily dealt with by simply starting new base notes to carry on
divergent threads. A notesfile director can suggest this, but
often the participants do it themselves.
Copyright © 1994 by David R. Woolley
Copyright (c) 1996 - 2006 Elizabeth Mattijsen
I appreciate comments, suggestions and bug-reports.
Please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org.