Distilling the forum

Questions and comments
AxelHeyst
Posts: 2243
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Distilling the forum

Post by AxelHeyst »

Context:
jacob wrote:
Sun May 07, 2023 10:13 am
I have noticed how it's getting harder and harder to search the ERE forums using the google trick.

I don't know what the solution to the problem is. Knowledge is both a process of people teaching others and a result of distilling information. Both require [a lot of] effort. Ditto translating between the two. There are currently 259,000 posts on the forum that are mostly in the forum of a process. Translating that into a result in the form of lessons learned is a big job. Ditto is taking such as "results learned" and using it to propagate the learning process on the forum.
I've had a vague idea for a project for about a year and a half that is related to the information distillation issue. Thought I'd loft it and see if anyone has thoughts.

The Project at its simplest is:
1. Trawl the forum, find the best stuff, and collect it. (aka @mathiverse's best of the forum cranked to 11).
2. Organize, edit, and editorialize. Stitch into cohesive frameworks tbd.
3. Format in such a way to be internet readable as well as printable.

One way it could go is to produce multiple volumes, so The Project can be broken into reasonable chunks. BOTEREF (best of the ere forum) v1, v2, etc. Each volume could be themed: The Early Days, semiERE, WLs, emergent renaissance extreme, etc.

Multiple people could contribute pieces (aka pick a topic/subtheme/thread to read, collect, write up, format), and someone(s) could take on task of editing on a volume by volume basis as stoke dictates.

This might be a way to approach distillation in bite size chunks, as opposed to attempting a Principia EREtica, and preserve some of the insane amount of knowledge/wisdom/experience on this forum.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 2243
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by AxelHeyst »

I meant to also say:

Every time I do a deep reread on someone's journal because I'm prepping to interview them (key here, I'm reading in a very focused way because I'm trying to come up with interesting questions/insights from what they've already written and not be a doofus when we go to record), it changes my life because people round here are super interesting and I learn things that I incorporate into my own practice of understanding of the world. I get really profound benefit from the activity.

Participating in a project like this could be a method for rapid learning on one's them of interest. Let's say you're toying with the idea of semiERE and you are a mid 30s American DINK (or whatever). You can trawl all x journals and discussions related to that topic, make a piece on it, and that effort will pay big dividends for you from the insights you'll get from your deep dive.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 16167
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 77
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Mon May 08, 2023 6:30 pm
The Project at its simplest is:
1. Trawl the forum, find the best stuff, and collect it. (aka @mathiverse's best of the forum cranked to 11).
2. Organize, edit, and editorialize. Stitch into cohesive frameworks tbd.
3. Format in such a way to be internet readable as well as printable.

One way it could go is to produce multiple volumes, so The Project can be broken into reasonable chunks. BOTEREF (best of the ere forum) v1, v2, etc. Each volume could be themed: The Early Days, semiERE, WLs, emergent renaissance extreme, etc.

Multiple people could contribute pieces (aka pick a topic/subtheme/thread to read, collect, write up, format), and someone(s) could take on task of editing on a volume by volume basis as stoke dictates.

This might be a way to approach distillation in bite size chunks, as opposed to attempting a Principia EREtica, and preserve some of the insane amount of knowledge/wisdom/experience on this forum.
Well, that would not be the first attempt and the first attempt failed although I think this was partially due to attempting it as a Principia EREtica. The other part was running out of stoke and getting increasingly convinced that "ERE book + ongoing forum" would do the same job as a 700 page manual.

Being much narrower/more clearly defined may work.

I think the primary problem is stoke. I doubt this is going to get finished as a volunteer project. I'm also not sure about collaborations.

What did come to mind yesterday before your second post was the idea of a book of interviews in the style of "here's a bunch of different examples of people living the principles". YMOYL actually has a book like that associated with it. The beauty here is that anyone can write it. Technically it doesn't need to be a book either seeing that the majority of people now prefers to listen instead of read. A series of interviews that are tied together by a common thread---if nothing else the writer commenting on the various airports they went through as they were traveling to talk to the next person is an often used narrative connector---is a very common book format.

My general attitude to these kind of projects is that I'd love to see derivative works of ERE (with some credit where due) but that I personally lack the stoke to repeat stuff I last thought about 5-10-15 years ago. At least it's been my experience that I'm far more productive as a writer when I initially learn a subject. When it comes to the four stages of competence, I write most productively at stage 2.5 whereas stage 4 is like pulling teeth; rather than just repeat what works I'm compelled to find a new exciting [to me] way to say it. Another me-issue is that I tend to find some of my old stuff, certain blog posts, for example to be ... uhh... not that great. Since others still tell me they are, I suspect I now lack the perspective, fresh-eyes, excitement to appreciate much of the early ERE material having already processed those thoughts hundreds and hundreds of times.

rref
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 12:24 pm

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by rref »

I am hoping a GPT service finetuned on the book, blog and forums will be able to do something like this in the near future.

OutOfTheBlue
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2022 9:59 am

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by OutOfTheBlue »

I'm currently listening to Jung's "Memories, Dreams, Reflections", and… not very constructive, but this passage made me chuckle:

The chapter entitled “The Work,” with its brief survey of the genesis of Jung’s most important writings, is fragmentary. How could this be otherwise, when his collected works comprise nearly twenty volumes? Moreover, Jung never felt any disposition to offer a summary of his ideas—either in conversation or in writing. When he was asked to do so, he replied in his characteristic, rather drastic fashion, “That sort of thing lies totally outside my range. I see no sense in publishing a condensation of papers in which I went to so much trouble to discuss the subject in detail. I should have to omit all my evidence and rely on a type of categorical statement which would not make my results any easier to understand. The characteristic ruminant activity of ungulate animals, which consists in the regurgitation of what has already been chewed over, is anything but stimulating to my appetite.…”

avalok
Posts: 281
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by avalok »

This would be one heck of a project, but awesome nonetheless. The thematic volumes sound like a great idea, more focused and curated than a Wiki which, as Jacob pointed out, might mean it's more likely to succeed.

Once the forum has been trawled sufficiently, an MVP could be to link to journals and threads, grouped by theme. So, AH your journal could be linked to for semiERE and VLCOL volumes, for example. This would lend some structure before going onto better curate each section by pulling parts out from the linked threads and adding more detail.

daylen
Posts: 2548
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am
Location: Lawrence, KS

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by daylen »

Using an LLM or several seems to make the most sense. Otherwise we run into library categorization and organization problems that may require many lengthy discussions. Discussions that could end up rivaling the information density of that which the discussions are about!

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 16167
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 77
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by jacob »

daylen wrote:
Sat May 13, 2023 9:12 am
Using an LLM or several seems to make the most sense. Otherwise we run into library categorization and organization problems that may require many lengthy discussions. Discussions that could end up rivaling the information density of that which the discussions are about!
That's always going to be a problem, but I've come to think of that [problem] as more of a feature than a bug. John Michael Greer (and I might be adding some of my own perspectives here too) critiqued Lovelock's idea of a "techno bible for the end of the world". For example, eventual readers might well interpret "the scientific method" as a ritual to be performed without understanding the principle behind it. The document would essentially be dead. Compare this to a university which propagates information in a "live" way by applying the actual principles and not just performing them.

From that perspective, a lengthy discussion is actually an end in itself rather than just the means to a terminal end. This is why I think the forum format is actually a very good one. The only downside is that those of us who have been here for a while tend to experience a certain bit of repetition and that sometimes a discussion is not as good as we remember that a previous one was except we can't find it. This seems no different than a teaching career where some years are better than others.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 2243
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by AxelHeyst »

jacob wrote:
Sat May 13, 2023 1:26 pm
From that perspective, a lengthy discussion is actually an end in itself rather than just the means to a terminal end. This is why I think the forum format is actually a very good one.
I completely agree with this. The problems a 'forum journal volumes 1-N' solves for is
1. What if the forum gets hit by a bus?
2. Greater understanding for the authors of the pieces, as it requires them to dive deep and think critically in order to prepare and editorialize the pieces.

Arguably some volumes might help spread ERE ideas to wider audiences as a journal might be more accessible for some and e.g. introduce people to ideas like semiERE or ere2 or whatever... but all roads would have to lead back to the forum assuming it still exists.

It would be quite easy for this project to have an unintentional consequence of diminishing forum participation in a similar but different way that the MMGs did.

With these points in mind I'm not at all sure this project is a good idea while the forum is still healthy.

@jacob what are the failure possibilities of the information contained on the forum? Are there backups? If an EMP hits Chicago, is there a way for others to grab an archive of everything?

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 6435
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by Ego »

Peter Zeihan's model is a good one. Short explainer videos on very targeted, specific aspects of complex topics. The videos can be quote-tweeted, quote-insta-ed, quote tic-toked and act as a thousand points of entry to the broader topic.

avalok
Posts: 281
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by avalok »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sat May 13, 2023 1:33 pm
It would be quite easy for this project to have an unintentional consequence of diminishing forum participation in a similar but different way that the MMGs did.
Maybe I'm being optimistic here, but I would hope the forum would remain the disorganized bleeding-edge of ERE. The newest answers and lifeways are posted here, but one is expected to do some digging to find this info. The volumes would comprise the more stable, tried and tested patterns that have worked for people over the past fifteen years. Stuff can be moved into a volume once it is considered mature enough. The forum would be higher turnover, hopefully, with the volumes worked on more slowly. This ignores the upfront effort of setting up a project such as this, which would certainly take some members away for a time.

xmj
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:26 am

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by xmj »

Would it help if we started with an index of the most valuable threads by category and their references not on the ERE Wiki (or the Best-Of thread) but on something like notion / webhosted org-mode/Logseq/Obsidian ?

The bidirectional links is the killer-feature that will be very helpful with this project imho

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 16167
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 77
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sat May 13, 2023 1:33 pm
@jacob what are the failure possibilities of the information contained on the forum? Are there backups? If an EMP hits Chicago, is there a way for others to grab an archive of everything?
I think the real question is: If an EMP actually hits Chicago, how many will spend the next 5-10 years reading through the ERE archives before someone creates a more timely source of information for a post-EMP world. The quick answer is that the forum data exists in NYC and Chicago but that an actual EMP attack would damage the ability to access both, perhaps permanently. It's not like I keep backups in Faraday cages. How many maintain their hardware in their Faraday cages to re-establish HTTP connections? Exactly!

In terms of the long game "strategery", I prefer to distinguish between information, knowledge, and wisdom.

Information is the words that are spread out over 260,000 posts on the forum.
Knowledge is how these words are structured into ideas as people read through the words and think about them. (part of the process)
Wisdom comes only from personally applying the knowledge generated above and developing the experience to differentiate between what knowledge is more important and what knowledge is less important.

FWIW, I don't think "information" is actually worth that much. As far as most humans are concerned, the value of the world's libraries is about the heat or entertainment that burning the paper provides. Knowledge is somewhat better but knowledge only has value insofar enough people care about it. As far as I'm concerned, the real value is wisdom. I think the lessons of what's important and what's not is what should be preserved. However, this is likely to be a consequence of my "been there, done that" perspective. Also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Abides

I do have a-one practical proposal:
The ERE Fest provides an opportunity to interview 10+ about their ERE journey's and produce a book or a podcast about it. Likely this can be done at many different kinds of WLs. Given the Lindy effect (and the resistance of paper when it comes to EMPs), it may be worthwhile to create a paper version. Thus a people/story oriented person might have the stoke to make this happen. I'd be happy to write the foreword or even serve as an interviewee, but I don't want to be the driver, since that is not my orientation.

User avatar
mountainFrugal
Posts: 1194
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:26 pm

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by mountainFrugal »

jacob wrote:
Tue May 16, 2023 11:20 am
I do have a-one practical proposal:
The ERE Fest provides an opportunity to interview 10+ about their ERE journey's and produce a book or a podcast about it. Likely this can be done at many different kinds of WLs. Given the Lindy effect (and the resistance of paper when it comes to EMPs), it may be worthwhile to create a paper version. Thus a people/story oriented person might have the stoke to make this happen. I'd be happy to write the foreword or even serve as an interviewee, but I don't want to be the driver, since that is not my orientation.
I would be willing to help @AH (or someone else with audio skills) organize something like this if there was other interest. I think it might be up to if people would actually want to be interviewed or not. I am sure that some people would. Maybe we have a pool of questions that everyone there might be curious about the other forumites as a way to crowd source the questions. My guess is that the audio equipment (and technical ability to record quality) is going to be the limiting factor with only a few days. This might put a large burden on @AH that he may not want, but if we spread out the basics it could work. Also there is a decent amount of post production that would have to be accounted for. It is not just about recording, but I may be overthinking it.

Also, if this is the deciding factor if @jacob becomes a live interviewee at the fest this year then I am really keen to help make it happen :).

Add: @AH "free" content as your carrot.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 2243
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by AxelHeyst »

I like the idea. We'd have to come up with a different workflow, since at the moment I spend between 3 and 8 hours of prep, two hours to record, and 6-12hrs in post. And I doubt I'd be able to 'show up' as a present and engaged interviewer for that many conversations in such a short amount of time. That's 20hrs of recording in a weekend. I'd have to ask y'all how the weekend went afterwards. :lol:

The engineer in me likes the idea of crowdsourcing questions and even building a template... but the non-engineer winces at the idea of feeding people into an optimized assembly line for a media project. I have concerns that I/we'd be able to attain authentic human connection, and if that goes out the window then we have nothing.

A modification to the idea: spend ERE fest focused on irl serendipitous human engagement, and (incidentally) use that experience as a foundation for doing mostly zoom interviews with as many people as are stoked to do so, at a slower pace. That also gives space for people to reflect and speak about their experience meeting a bunch of other ERE people out in the desert after having processed it a bit, which you wouldn't be able to get if we interview people who are inside of the experience.

So: I'm leery of stuffing a bunch of interviews into EREfest, but I'm completely on board with taking a bunch of interviews recorded over time and collaborating with people to get them turned into a book format. I'm psyched on also being the person who writes the thing (takes the audio content and synthesizes it into book format). Also... I've got 4 forumite interviews and 2 ERE lurker interviews already in the bag. More than halfway there. Getting 10 interviews in seems like a good number to then get an interview with you Jacob. :D

Also, not all interviews have to be recorded. I'm sure there are forumites who'd be willing to do a text 'interview' but not an audio one, which obviously would fit well into the book format.

ETA: An idea that might work at EREfest is to set up a studio that can act like a 'photo booth'. We can collaboratively generate a script of questions, distributed beforehand, and anyone who wants can go in 'the studio' and record their story. Low pressure, everyone has veto power over what gets made public, and a lot of cool content could be generated quickly.
Last edited by AxelHeyst on Tue May 16, 2023 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 2243
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by AxelHeyst »

xmj wrote:
Tue May 16, 2023 4:44 am
Would it help if we started with an index of the most valuable threads by category and their references not on the ERE Wiki (or the Best-Of thread) but on something like notion / webhosted org-mode/Logseq/Obsidian ?

The bidirectional links is the killer-feature that will be very helpful with this project imho
I like this idea. My thought is that it can work if one individual is stoked on the idea and owns it and starts building it. If it has legs, it'll go. If it doesn't, it'll die (but that individual will almost certainly have seriously improved their mental model of ERE, so it wouldn't be a waste for them).

My feeling towards all of these ideas is that if someone is psyched enough to be willing to act on an idea, they should just get after it (assuming Jacob doesn't think it's too dangerous of an idea, in which case his view should be respected. Like seeding ERE themed cat memes on 4chan I'm guessing would get his veto). None of these projects will get off the ground without stoke, and the more people get added to the project in early stages the more likely it is to die in responsibility-diffusion purgatory.

But as multiple solo projects sprout wings and prove themselves, opportunities abound for them to cross pollinate, sync up, collaborate, etc.

User avatar
mountainFrugal
Posts: 1194
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:26 pm

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by mountainFrugal »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Tue May 16, 2023 7:14 pm
ETA: An idea that might work at EREfest is to set up a studio that can act like a 'photo booth'. We can collaboratively generate a script of questions, distributed beforehand, and anyone who wants can go in 'the studio' and record their story. Low pressure, everyone has veto power over what gets made public, and a lot of cool content could be generated quickly.
This is a great idea. It would take the pressure off and have people be present at the fest with one another... which is sort of the point of meeting up in person.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 2243
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by AxelHeyst »

Okay cool it's happening then. And we can definitely do two, maybe three full on interview recordings before friday or after sunday. I'd love to do that with anyone up for it.

rref
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 12:24 pm

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by rref »

rref wrote:
Tue May 09, 2023 9:51 am
I am hoping a GPT service finetuned on the book, blog and forums will be able to do something like this in the near future.
This is now possible via ChatGPT + plugins.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 16167
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 77
Contact:

Re: Distilling the forum

Post by jacob »

rref wrote:
Sun May 28, 2023 4:28 am
This is now possible via ChatGPT + plugins.
Please don't do this. I'll be spending the rest of my life fending off "but chatGPT said"-type research from lazy humans.

I blame the humanGPT that is reddit aka "tl;dr-have opinion anyway" for continually having to explain why I don't hate index funds or live off of lentils. There are people on the internet who think I "still live in an RV in San Francisco" because they just skimmed the blog or heard from someone else ...

Post Reply