- Jun 2022
Third, sharing our ideas with others introduces a major element ofserendipity. When you present an idea to another person, theirreaction is inherently unpredictable. They will often be completelyuninterested in an aspect you think is utterly fascinating; they aren’tnecessarily right or wrong, but you can use that information eitherway. The reverse can also happen. You might think something isobvious, while they find it mind-blowing. That is also usefulinformation. Others might point out aspects of an idea you neverconsidered, suggest looking at sources you never knew existed, orcontribute their own ideas to make it better. All these forms offeedback are ways of drawing on not only your first and SecondBrains, but the brains of others as well.
I like that he touches on one of the important parts of the gardens and streams portion of online digital gardens here, though he doesn't tacitly frame it this way.
It would lack a unique personality or an “alter ego,” which is what Luhmann’s system aimed to create. (9)
Is there evidence that Luhmann's system aimed to create anything from the start in a sort of autopoietic sense? Or is it (more likely) the case that Luhmann saw this sort of "alter ego" emerging over time and described it after-the-fact?
Based on his experiences and note takers and zettelkasten users might expect this outcome now.
Are there examples of prior commonplace book users or note takers seeing or describing this sort of experience in the historical record?
Related to this is the idea that a reader might have a conversation with another author by reading and writing their own notes from a particular text.
The only real difference here is that one's notes and the ability to link them to other ideas or topical headings in a commonplace book or zettelkasten means that the reader/writer has an infinitely growable perfect memory.
- May 2022
a constellation already described in 1805 by Heinrich von Kleist in his fascinat-ing analysis of the “Midwifery of Thought”: “If you want to know something and cannotfind it through meditation, I advise you, my dear, clever friend, to speak about it withthe next acquaintance who bumps into you.” 43 The positive tension that such a conversa-tion immediately elicits through the expectations of the Other obliges one to producenew thought in the conversation. The idea develops during speech. There, the sheeravailability of such a counterpart, who must do nothing further (i.e., offer additionalstimulus through keen contradiction of the speaker) is already enough; “There is a specialsource of excitement, for him who speaks, in the human face across from him; and agaze which already announces a half-expressed thought to be understood often givesexpression to the entire other half.”44
- Heinrich von Kleist, “Ü ber die allm ä hliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden,” in Sämtliche Werke und Briefe. Zweiter Band, ed. Helmut Sembdner (M ü nchen: dtv, 1805/2001), 319 – 324, at 319.
- Ibid., 320.
in 1805 Heinrich von Kleist noted that one can use conversation with another person, even when that person is silent, to come up with solutions or ideas they may not have done on their own.
This phenomena is borne out in modern practices like the so-called "rubber duck debugging", where a programmer can talk to any imagined listener, often framed as a rubber duck sitting on their desk, and talk through the problem in their code. Invariably, talking through all the steps of the problem will often result in the person realizing what the problem is and allow them to fix it.
This method of verbal "conversation" obviously was a tool which indigenous oral cultures frequently used despite the fact that they didn't have literacy as a tool to fall back on.
- Apr 2022
it starts with 00:32:31 this one kind of thing called single finger and these are all just variations or practice styles [Music] 00:32:45 and then octave double stop skills [Music] and you know just down the list but you know these things are all developed 00:32:59 through the practice the daily practice but then once once they've been developed then i can just plug them into songs and and create so that's just i'm really excited about this form like the fiddle wrong is because
Jason Kleinberg takes basic tunes and then has a list of variations of practice styles which he runs through with each one (eg. single-finger, octave double stops scale, old-time, polkafy, blues, etc.) and he plays those tunes in these modified styles not only to practice, but to take these "musical conversations" and translate them into his own words. This is a clever way of generating new music and potentially even new styles by mixing those which have come before. To a great sense, he's having a musical conversation with prior composers and musicians in the same way that an annotator will have a conversation in the margins with an author. It's also an example of the sort of combinatorial creativity suggested by Raymond Llull's work.
solo thinking isrooted in our lifelong experience of social interaction; linguists and cognitivescientists theorize that the constant patter we carry on in our heads is a kind ofinternalized conversation. Our brains evolved to think with people: to teachthem, to argue with them, to exchange stories with them. Human thought isexquisitely sensitive to context, and one of the most powerful contexts of all isthe presence of other people. As a consequence, when we think socially, wethink differently—and often better—than when we think non-socially.
People have evolved as social animals and this extends to thinking and interacting. We think better when we think socially (in groups) as opposed to thinking alone.
This in part may be why solo reading and annotating improves one's thinking because it is a form of social annotation between the lone annotator and the author. Actual social annotation amongst groups may add additonal power to this method.
I personally annotate alone, though I typically do so in a publicly discoverable fashion within Hypothes.is. While the audience of my annotations may be exceedingly low, there is at least a perceived public for my output. Thus my thinking, though done alone, is accelerated and improved by the potential social context in which it's done. (Hello, dear reader! 🥰) I can artificially take advantage of the social learning effects even if the social circle may mathematically approach the limit of an audience of one (me).
A 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy ofSciences supports Wieman’s hunch. Tracking the intellectual advancement ofseveral hundred graduate students in the sciences over the course of four years,its authors found that the development of crucial skills such as generatinghypotheses, designing experiments, and analyzing data was closely related to thestudents’ engagement with their peers in the lab, and not to the guidance theyreceived from their faculty mentors.
Learning has been shown to be linked to engagement with peers in social situations over guidance from faculty mentors.
Cross reference: David F. Feldon et al., “Postdocs’ Lab Engagement Predicts Trajectories of PhD Students’ Skill Development,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116 (October 2019): 20910–16
Are there areas where this is not the case? Are there areas where this is more the case than not?
Is it our evolution as social animals that has heightened this effect? How could this be shown? (Link this to prior note about social evolution.)
Is it the ability to scaffold out questions and answers and find their way by slowly building up experience with each other that facilitates this effect?
Could this effect be seen in annotating texts as well? If one's annotations become a conversation with the author, is there a learning benefit even when the author can't respond? By trying out writing about one's understanding of a text and seeing where the gaps are and then revisiting the text to fill them in, do we gain this same sort of peer engagement? How can we encourage students to ask questions to the author and/or themselves in the margins? How can we encourage them to further think about and explore these questions? Answer these questions over time?
A key part of the solution is not just writing the annotations down in the first place, but keeping them, reviewing over them, linking them together, revisiting them and slowly providing answers and building solutions for both themselves and, by writing them down, hopefully for others as well.
3. Who are you annotating with? Learning usually needs a certain degree of protection, a safe space. Groups can provide that, but public space often less so. In Hypothes.is who are you annotating with? Everybody? Specific groups of learners? Just yourself and one or two others? All of that, depending on the text you’re annotating? How granular is your control over the sharing with groups, so that you can choose your level of learning safety?
This is a great question and I ask it frequently with many different answers.
I've not seen specific numbers, but I suspect that the majority of Hypothes.is users are annotating in small private groups/classes using their learning management system (LMS) integrations through their university. As a result, using it and hoping for a big social experience is going to be discouraging for most.
Of course this doesn't mean that no one is out there. After all, here you are following my RSS feed of annotations and asking these questions!
I'd say that 95+% or more of my annotations are ultimately for my own learning and ends. If others stumble upon them and find them interesting, then great! But I'm not really here for them.
As more people have begun using Hypothes.is over the past few years I have slowly but surely run into people hiding in the margins of texts and quietly interacted with them and begun to know some of them. Often they're also on Twitter or have their own websites too which only adds to the social glue. It has been one of the slowest social media experiences I've ever had (even in comparison to old school blogging where discovery is much higher in general use). There has been a small uptick (anecdotally) in Hypothes.is use by some in the note taking application space (Obsidian, Roam Research, Logseq, etc.), so I've seen some of them from time to time.
I can only think of one time in the last five or so years in which I happened to be "in a text" and a total stranger was coincidentally reading and annotating at the same time. There have been a few times I've specifically been in a shared text with a small group annotating simultaneously. Other than this it's all been asynchronous experiences.
@peterhagen Has built an alternate interface for the main Hypothes.is feed that adds some additional discovery dimensions you might find interesting. It highlights some frequent annotators and provide a more visual feed of what's happening on the public Hypothes.is timeline as well as data from HackerNews.
@flancian maintains anagora.org, which is like a planet of wikis and related applications, where he keeps a list of annotations on Hypothes.is by members of the collective at https://anagora.org/latest
@remikalir has a nice little tool https://crowdlaaers.org/ for looking at documents with lots of annotations.
Right now, I'm also in an Obsidian-based book club run by Dan Allosso in which some of us are actively annotating the two books using Hypothes.is and dovetailing some of this with activity in a shared Obsidian vault. see: https://boffosocko.com/2022/03/24/55803196/. While there is a small private group for our annotations a few of us are still annotating the books in public. Perhaps if I had a group of people who were heavily interested in keeping a group going on a regular basis, I might find the value in it, but until then public is better and I'm more likely to come across and see more of what's happening out there.
I've got a collection of odd Hypothes.is related quirks, off label use cases, and experiments: https://boffosocko.com/tag/hypothes.is/ including a list of those I frequently follow: https://boffosocko.com/about/following/#Hypothesis%20Feeds
Like good annotations and notes, you've got to put some work into finding the social portion what's happening in this fun little space. My best recommendation to find your "tribe" is to do some targeted tag searches in their search box to see who's annotating things in which you're interested.
Where annotation is not an individual activity, jotting down marginalia in solitude, but a dialogue between multiple annotators in the now, or incrementally adding to annotators from the past.
My first view, even before any of the potential social annotation angle, is that in annotating or taking notes, I'm simultaneously having a conversation with the author of the work and/or my own thoughts on the topic at hand. Anything beyond that for me is "gravy".
I occasionally find that if I'm writing as I go that I'll have questions and take a stab only to find that the author provides an answer a few paragraphs or pages on. I can then look back at my thought to see where I got things right, where I may have missed or where to go from there. Sometimes I'll find holes that both the author and I missed. Almost always I'm glad that I spent the time thinking about the idea critically and got to the place myself with or without the author's help. I'm not sure that most others always do this, but it's a habit I've picked up from reading mathematics texts which frequently say things like "we'll leave it to the reader to verify or fill in the gaps" or "this is left as an exercise". Most readers won't/don't do this, but my view is that it's almost always where the actual engagement and learning from the material stems.
Sometimes I may be writing out pieces to clarify them for myself and solidify my understanding while other times, I'm using the text as a prompt for my own writing. My intention most often is to add my own thoughts in a significantly well-thought out manner such that I can in the near future reuse these annotations/notes in essays or other writing. Some of this comes from broad experience of keeping a commonplace book for quite a while, and some of it has been influenced on reading about the history of note taking practices by others. One of the best summations of the overall practice I've seen thus far is Sönke Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes (Create Space, 2017), though I find there are some practical steps missing that can only be found by actually practicing his methods in a dedicated fashion for several months before one sees changes in their thought patterns, the questions they ask, and the work that stems from it all. And by work, I mean just that. The whole enterprise is a fair amount of work, though I find it quite fun and very productive over time.
In my youth, I'd read passages and come up with some brilliant ideas. I might have underlined the passage and written something like "revisit this and expand", but I found I almost never did and upon revisiting it I couldn't capture the spark of the brilliant idea I had managed to see before. Now I just take the time out to write out the entire thing then and there with the knowledge that I can then later revise it and work it into something bigger later. Doing the work right now has been one of the biggest differences in my practice, and I'm finding that projects I want to make progress on are moving forward much more rapidly than they ever did.
- personal learning network
- off label use cases
- Sönke Ahrens
- note taking
- conversations with the text
- social annotation
- social media
- Mar 2022
Put Eidsheim 2015 and O'Callaghan 2007 in dialogue with each other.
Brandon Lewis seems to be talking about actively taking two papers and placing them "in dialogue with each other" potentially by reading, annotating, and writing about them with himself as an intermediary.
- Feb 2022
If you now think: “That’s ridiculous. Who would want to read andpretend to learn just for the illusion of learning and understanding?”please look up the statistics: The majority of students chooses everyday not to test themselves in any way. Instead, they apply the verymethod research has shown again (Karpicke, Butler, and Roediger2009) and again (Brown 2014, ch. 1) to be almost completelyuseless: rereading and underlining sentences for later rereading.And most of them choose that method, even if they are taught thatthey don’t work.
Even when taught that some methods of learning don't work, students will still actively use and focus on them.
Are those using social annotation purposely helping students to steer clear of these methods? is there evidence that the social part of some of these related annotation or conversational practices with both the text and one's colleagues helpful? Do they need to be taken out of the text and done in a more explicit manner in a lecture/discussion section or in a book club like setting similar to that of Dan Allossso's or even within a shared space like the Obsidian book club to have more value?