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Fri, 04 Jan 2019 13:00:45 -0800

This is a long thread, with a somewhat confusing first post.  One of
the core ideas I can pull out of it, is along the lines of: "we should
have more dynamically variable content for different audiences/needs".
I.e. For any given topic: Some people want the 10 word version, Some
people want the 2 sentence version, Some people want the 2 paragraph
version, Some people want the 2,000 word version, Some people want the
20,000 word version, and Some people want the n-subarticles version.

This is a broad set of ideas that has come up regularly over our
history. It has obvious connections to Wiktionary and Wikidata for the
shortest "versions". It has obvious connections to the spectrum of
Mergism to Seperatism.[1] It has obvious connections to manual of
style guidelines about intro/lead-sections.[2] It has obvious
connections to Simple Wikipedia and the various
adapted-for-kids/schools versions (WikiJunior, Vikidia, and many
more). It has obvious connections to different display/consumption
types (widescreen vs tablet vs phone vs audio).

The first two version-types have been proposed, or implemented, in
various forms many times. A few years ago I made a summary table of
the existing variations, in an attempt to stop the

Making complex content be /dynamically variable/ in length, has also
been tried externally before. As I wrote in an earlier Strategy
"For example, The Encyclopedia of Life had an interesting "complexity
slider" interface in their early versions, that let readers set how
complex or scientific/formal they wanted their content [See ancient
screencast at youtube - (30 seconds worth)
and the preferences panel that let the reader restrict the content to
"Authoritative sources only" youtube - (40 seconds)]. -- A
10 year old person doesn't (always/often) benefit from the same
content as a PhD, and we want to help both. The books The Diamond Age
and Ender's Game contained the idea of software that auto-adapted to
suit the educational needs of the user. To me that's the final goal,
and it's a long way off, but we can make steps and experiments towards

Sadly, EoL removed that feature and I don't know why; perhaps due to
software complexity or perhaps due to the complexity for authors of
writing different versions. I do think dynamic content is an
incredibly important goal that we should work towards, but I also
think we're already in midst of many incredibly important and vastly
complex goals and I suspect we don't have the capacity to scale to
encompass many more simultaneously. However, Eventualism is
(generally) what got us to where we are, and is likely what will get
us to where we want/need to be.

TLDR: I hope some people collaborate on a wikipage to write down the
various ways a dynamic content system might technically work, so that
we can analyze the pros/cons of each method more efficiently than in a
tangent-filled email thread. I hope we eventually have a glorious
scifi future where the computers automagically adapt content,
neutrally(!), to best fit our individual needs in the moment. I hope
we can figure out a smooth transition path to move everyone happily
towards that long-term future goal, perhaps as part of the Strategy
discussions. I hope nobody attempts to get it all done too soon. ;-)

[1] free online betting and
[2] and related sections
within other pages.


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