440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

August 3, 1999

04 00069 61 99080301

Mr. Dan Palanza
Dan Palanza and NSF

Subject: NSF Proposal #9961176
Communication Metrics
Context Management, Pattern Language, Accountability

Dear Dan,

First, thanks for dealing with the language.

On fear of accountability, see the work on 980405

This fear is overwhelming, and needs to be treated constructively, because it reflects biological drives that are not going away. It is compounded, or reinforced, in organizations through culture. In my view, it needs to be addressed by education along the lines of your explanations for network bookkeeping. Your writing is very powerful in this regard.

We, also, need opportunities to let people experience using "intelligence." This takes credibility, something larger than life, like a parent to a child learning to swim, that says "its okay to jump in the water." NSF is a shot. We need lots of shots, otherwise it will take another 600 years before application is normalized, as with accounting and the alphabet.

Changing from documents, which have been around for 5000 years, to an automated knowledge stream which has been around for 1 year, is a tougher sell than, say, the shift from horses to cars, because people cannot see "intelligence," -- it works on automatic pilot in the human mind -- so the deliverable at first seems like just more paperwork.  Lots of words and no action.  But, since communication is a predicate to action, adding intelligence makes the actions work better over time.  Gaining experience with this cause and effect, builds confidence and faith to overcome fear of accountability, as people get credit for doing a good job.

If you have a source for pattern language and possibly an example of how it would implement organic subject structure, this would help me grasp your goal. 

From my perspective, SDS applies what you have in mind, but maybe not. See for example the listing under "SUBJECTS" in the link above.  Explore a bit moving the screen up and down with the scroll bar, and notice how the record is segmented by blocks of "SUBJECTS." I use a code structure (it is filtered out in the online version of the record, so you don't see it) to define subjects and differentiate levels of structure, as occurs in accounting and cost control, but with much greater detail, which emulates structuring that occurs in human intelligence, and is essentially  limitless.  So, I think we are close on this issue.  If there is a better implementation, a way to refine the design, that should be considered carefully.

This may not be a big priority, but I am curious from your experience as a general contractor about your take on Common Administration, as explained on 990328 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This letter is an example of conventional email -- the way everyone is working now using the "document" paradigm.  The letters I send on the web, strive to employ a concept of clear, concise, complete communication in Knowledge Space, explained in the record on 990419.  If time permits, you might comment on comparative utility.



Rod Welch