In this generality the answer is obviously "yes", so what am I really
asking? Well, imagine a node shows up in the new writeups
You click and soon you are perusing the definition.
Let's assume that you already know a little about the subject,
you have some context
Then (always supposing the writeup
is correct, and properly written)
it's possible, and even likely, that you will learn
things. All you
have to do to follow links to the small number of terms you were not
previously familiar with and Eureka!
But now assume that the node addresses issues about which
you have very little prior
knowledge. This time you have to follow almost all the links to get some
context, and in the links you follow, you again have to follow almost all
links. Pretty soon you have 100 browser windows open, and you have somehow
found your way to people like that are the reason why monkeys throw their poop.
In the first case we see a hyperlinked database in its best possible
light and in the second, it worst. If you have some knowledge then boosting
it can be quite easy and what's more there is always the possibility
of surprising and unexpected connections!
But if you have very little knowledge then information
overload quickly beckons.
So how do you learn about a subject when you are completely new
Traditionally, one learns in a linear way, by reading a book, or
attending a lecture course. A teacher or an author steers you through,
on a single path. On everything you have to choose your own path,
and worse, because of the nonlinear nature of hyperlinks, you are soon
following many different paths. How confusing!
So what is the answer to this? Perhaps people who have specialist
knowledge in some area might think about creating nodes (or perhaps
sequences of nodes) that give a "first course" in a particular
subject. Notice that I am not talking about metanodes, not merely a list
of nodes to look at, but a sensible order,
some discussion around the nodes, and some extra examples to illustrate.
Of course, this is a lot of work!
I would be very interested to see a discussion on this issue.
So what do you think?