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template:taratasy:rational

A Freeform Wiki in Dokuwiki

Rationale

Taratasy arose out of frustration with traditional hierarchical information databases… why does everyone want to do it that way? I suspect that we end up limiting ourselves due to our material-world experience–folders, in folders, in files; just like a filing cabinet, or paper for that matter. A computer display may fool us into thinking and treating information that way, but in reality we are missing out on the freedom of free-form storage. A computer is simply so good at searching and compiling information, so I'd rather spend my time writing articles and let the machine do the hard work of displaying it in a structured way when needed.

Usage

So the idea has been slowly maturing to make a clear distinction between pages, topics, and (saved-)search lists.

  • Use Topics for structured information:
    • E.g. a table-of-contents for various subjects, or to link related pages together. Topics should mainly consist of links to other pages, with the real content being on the linked pages. Try to avoid the temptation to start creating sub-topic pages; a Topic is just a Table-of-Contents, linking to the real content: pages!
  • Use Pages for content: free-form notes and writing, the stuff of thought and meditation:
    • Then use these to build Topics by means of wiki-links. Pages are stored in simple year-month folders based on their creation date. Once created there should be no need to start moving them for organisation, after all what really matters is the name, what the page is about, not where it is. So choose the name carefully–changing it means changing all links that point to it.
  • Use Subject Index Entries or Tags for grouping pages and topics:
    • They can be inserted anywhere in the page using the {{ entry > ... }} or #tag syntaxes. It's handy way to bring together related information scattered all over on various pages, without having to manually create lists of links, it's a a kind of ad-hoc subject grouping. You can view the entries/tags in a useful “table”, one line per entry/tag, with all matching page links, a great overview of the content of your wiki!
  • Use a PageQuery (e.g. A-Z) to search for a customised list of pages:
    • Search for and present them in many different ways: grouped, sorted, in columns, in lists, whatever takes your fancy! And there you are: structure all bundled up in a tiny one-line package ready to be inserted into any topic or page.
  • A few of other namespaces were added for convenience:
    • Reference, Drafts and Help. Reference is for global reference pages: glossaries, lists, abbreviations, kind of an appendix really; Drafts is a scrapbook: notes and work-in-progress stuff. I sync it with my PDA, where I take most of my notes. Help is just that: the help pages, tutorials, plugin manuals, syntax reference, etc…
    • Use the Glossary to define strange words, abbreviations and phrases. Then a tool-tip will be available every time that word/phrase is used in the wiki.

The whole idea is to focus on content and meaning first. Structure can be added later by simply creating a topic full of page links, a page query list or a tag group. First content, then formatting, then finally structure.

template/taratasy/rational.txt · Last modified: 2012-11-02 19:45 by rikblok