🪴 Scaling Synthesis

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Q- What is the data structure of a graph built to facilitate decentralized knowledge synthesis

Last updated May 23, 2022

Authored By:: P- Rob Haisfield

A primary goal of this research is to uncover a data structure that facilitates synthesis. Synthesis is not always within the academic context. Here we see it in product development:

Let’s say that I’m trying to figure out the onboarding for a tricky app like GuidedTrack. I need to bring together a ton of potentially conflicting information! User interviews, papers I’ve read, stakeholder beliefs, emails… By default, this is difficult to synthesize because there is simply too much to read.

A helpful architecture might enable me figure out what the main questions are, find claims related to those questions, follow the evidence supporting and opposing the claims I identify as interesting, and then rearrange those claims to form a fitting answer.

Then, 2 months later when the onboarding plan is built and it does not perform well in usability tests, I would be able to track down the reasoning that led to the incorrect decision, re-evaluate the pillars with new evidence, and finally update the decision.

In order to facilitate synthesis, the data structure of the discourse graph needs:

For more challenges awaiting synthesizers, see R- Knowledge Synthesis- a conceptual model and practical guide.

We certainly do not have all of the answers to this question yet. It will be an active area of discovery over the coming months as we learn more about Q- What workflows and behaviors facilitate synthesis and Q- What user behaviors are people doing already that imply structure that is not being instantiated into a literal structure.

For now, we believe a decentralized discourse graph will require support for:

Some initial beliefs: