The purpose of this guide is to clarify the fundamental ideas required for efficient communication.
What is efficient communication?
- Faster symbol processing
- Complete comprehension of intended ideas
- Deeper second-order idea connections
- Correct mapping to useful/actionable personal-relevance
Ideas and Symbols
What is an idea?
An idea is a mental representation or model of reality.
It is a meaningful fragment of information.
It is the interpretation of something.
It can be abstract or concrete, real or imaginary.
What is a symbol?
A symbol is a physical representation of an idea.
A symbol is observed then interpreted as an idea.
Symbols are usually a compact pattern of distinct, standardized elements (ex. alphabet) constrained by a communication method (ex. writing, speaking).
Symbols connect to ideas through the interpretation-logic of the observer.
Symbols are usually defined universally (common words) for repeated use across a community, but they can be defined for single-use (ex. temporary codenames).
Symbols can express ideas that are unintended, ambiguous, incomplete, ... Be careful.
This is the communication sequence.
I think ideas to ideas. I connect ideas to symbols. I write those symbols.
You read those symbols. You connect symbols to ideas. You think ideas to ideas.
Quality and Understanding
Text and Keywords
Text is an effective category of symbols.
Text is compact. It requires less data-size (per idea) than pictures, videos, and audio clips. It can be written quickly.
Text is portable. It can be copy/pasted quickly and easily.
Text is compatible. It can be written with a simple pen or standard keyboard. It can be conveyed by vision, audio, and touch (ex. braille) in various ways (ex. books, websites).
Keywords are textual words and phrases that convey an important idea.
Example, "from" is a normal word, "energy" is a keyword.
Our Communication Standard
We like using the comma for concise sentences that retain clear separation of ideas. Example, this sentence. Flow worse, speed/size better.
We like using dash-symbols to clearly communicate the unity of multiple words to mean a single idea. Especially valuable for clarity in complex or otherwise-ambiguous sentences.
We like basic-keywords and their short-combinations over new words with low-marginal-meaning. Example, words like "beautiful" and "handsome" are all replaced by "looks good".
We like efficient sentences packed with important ideas and spaced across short paragraphs.
There exists a subconscious toolbox of ideas (and their respective keywords) that one accumulates through their mastery of a language.
Just as the general-learning-curve combines familiar ideas to understand new ones, the most basic keywords are the ingredients to complex ideas and mental-models.
Conscious consideration of the basic toolbox supports to-the-point communication and sharper idea-to-idea awareness.
- What happened? Tell me the good news then the bad news.
- This option has better reliability and worse ergonomics.
- I think the best plan is to stay here for tonight.
Basic ideas often exist as sets of 3. Within a 3-set, one idea has absolute meaning and forms a spectrum for the other two to mean opposing directions. Example, temperature-hotter-colder.
Basic 3-sets can substitute the opposing-direction idea-pair with a contextual-value idea-pair. Example, texture-smooth-rough. The range of values for smooth/rough are relative, therefore dependent on context (general human touch vs precision machine friction).
A controlled vocabulary is a list of standard keywords typically used to simplify knowledge-management processes such as tagging and searching. Furthermore, it offers better clarity for the reading experience but causes repetition that worsens nuance/engagement.
Without a controlled vocabulary, knowledge-management is complex and error-prone with needlessly scattered or ambiguous words such as with synonyms and homonyms. For example, suppose you search your files for a certain document using the "NOTES" tag, but unable to find it because it was actually tagged with the word "ESSAY" instead.
For example, we like simple keywords for goodness.
- GOOD, NEUTRAL, BAD
- BETTER, WORST
- BEST, WORST