Author Topic: Webadmin: guidance requested: difference between theory and practical boards  (Read 9193 times)

WebAdmin

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Dear All

For myself, and arising from the Bowline discussion over it's proper location, I would like to have concise answers to the following point, so that I can better understand how to serve the Forum:

Quote
For the core of the remaining discussion regarding the move of the Bowline thread - there is obviously room for lively discussion on what constitutes knot theory (in my understanding of this I do not have in mind the purely mathematical theory alone, but also esoteric discussions by afficionados of why a group of knots is defined as it is, and how they are distinguished between, and so on).  I will copy this part of my post as the beginning of a new thread to discuss such matters over on Chit-Chat initially...

- what is the difference between theory and practical when you are investigating the properties of a knot or group of knots?  How can we express the difference clearly enough to give guidelines that are easily understood?

Please feel free to discuss it as much as you like, I'll check in on a weekly basis until you're finished, but rather than my having to wade through everyone's individual opinion and try to work out the final answers, please can someone summarise the final answers concisely for me?  Consider yourselves a temporary sub-committee, if you wish, and nominate someone to give me the answers once you know who's involved in the debate.  This doesn't mean I won't be reading the discussion, just that I want clear, concise guidance.

Thank you,

Glenys
Lesley
WebAdmin

roo

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- what is the difference between theory and practical when you are investigating the properties of a knot or group of knots?  How can we express the difference clearly enough to give guidelines that are easily understood?
The practical arena would be concerned with what a knot can do, what problem it solves, what role it fills and the communication of the specific knot or knots in question.

The theory arena would be more concerned with classes of knots or features, systematic description, exploring definitions & philosophies, and some of the physics behind knots, including the  behavior of knots regardless of their practicality.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 04:08:56 PM by roo »
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DerekSmith

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When we only had ChitChat, we never wasted time discussing if a topic was in the right board, but we had to wade through all the posts to find those which might interest our particular niche of knotting interest.

Now we have more boards, so we have to spend less time wading, but now arguments abound about which topics should be allowed to be posted in which board.  Heaven help us if we come across a topic that spans practical, theory and  decorative - Oh what arguments will abound amongst those of 'Traffic Warden' mentality.

In reality, the purpose of the various boards is to act as nothing more than a crude filter of content - they are not meant to be accurate specifiers of content.  So what if a topic starts off with the expectation that it will be 'Practical' and then generates a strong 'Decorative' or 'Computational' flavour and then someone posts some 'ChitChat' humour along the way?  The boards are only crude segregations - why can't we just live with a crude common sense perspective of what each topic creator thinks is the best fit for his topic and then get on with the discussion in hand?

Derek

roo

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 So what if a topic starts off with the expectation that it will be 'Practical' and then generates a strong 'Decorative' or 'Computational' flavour and then someone posts some 'ChitChat' humour along the way?  

Then you're doing it wrong.  You're supposed to stay on topic.  If you want to go decorative or computational, or whatever, start a new thread in the appropriate place rather than hijacking a thread.

It's a pretty universal concept on internet forums.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 01:28:50 AM by roo »
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xarax

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I personally would prefer to see the Practical Knots described explicitly as "Knots Discussed within the Context of Applications."

  That distinction would be fine for me. From the one hand, a section about "Practical Knots, discussed within the Context of Aplications", and from the other a section about "Practical knots discussed within the Context of their Structure, Form, Function".
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 08:44:54 PM by xarax »
This is not a knot.

KnotMe

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In reality, the purpose of the various boards is to act as nothing more than a crude filter of content - they are not meant to be accurate specifiers of content.  So what if a topic starts off with the expectation that it will be 'Practical' and then generates a strong 'Decorative' or 'Computational' flavour and then someone posts some 'ChitChat' humour along the way?  The boards are only crude segregations - why can't we just live with a crude common sense perspective of what each topic creator thinks is the best fit for his topic and then get on with the discussion in hand?
I'm with Derek.  These forums are fairly low traffic as far as these things go.  Plus, a little cross pollinating never hurt anyone.

While I understand roo's feelings, as long as the initial poster selected the more or less correct forum and the drifting is not deliberate and malicious, then let things mutate organically.

xarax

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   First things first. There is only one Knot theory, and it is a subject of Mathematics. The "Knot Theory" term used in the forum is a misnomer.  
    So, let us not do this elementary mistake, and start calling this thing we have in mind as a "Practical Knot theory." Or, as "Theoretical aspects of Practical Knots". Because it is something that has to do with Practical Knots, not Decorative Knots. Decorative knots belong to art, although there are some practical uses of them as well. But there can not be any "Theory of Decorative Knots", because there is no "Theory of a work of Art". Theory is analytic, Art is synthetic.  
    At present, there in not any viable "Theory of Practical Knots", but there s no doubt that, eventually, there will be one, when the computer simulation of the complex physical characteristics of the practical knots will advance, and enable us to study the subject analytically.
    What is a theory ? A theory is not a mere analytical description of an object, in terms of relations between elementary parts. A theory should be able to make predictions, and also to be falsifiable - that is, to allow us to prove or disprove it, by some experiments. For the time being, there is no such thing about any practical knot, not even about the most simple overhand knot.
    There are people that fear and hate any analytical examination of an object, because they are incapable of the detailed quantitative reasoning. It is exactly these people that do not know what a theory is, because they do not care. So, everything that they do not "like", everything that they feel iit is beyond their analytical powers, they label it as "theoretical ", "pure theory", confusing the term with the "speculative", "artificial", "thin-air talk", "robotic" , etc.. I think that those people are the same that fear and hate mathematics in general, and this might have something to do with the structure of the human brain. Horses for courses. The same people may be superb in many other activities of life, and have the same, or even more, probabilities to create useful things during their lives, thrive and help their fellow human beings thrive as well. Most of the things we meet and do in life are not mathematical, and the attitude of trying to explain all complex things of life with mathematics, is oftentimes more dangerous than beneficial for its practitioners.  
    The previous paragraph was written on purpose, to make the reader more careful when he uses the word "theory". He should not be driven to wrong conclusions, based upon his oun attitude in relation with the analytical examination of an object, in general, and with the examination of the physical object/machine defined as a knot, in particular.
    So, there are two distinct ways a knot can be involved in our lives.
   1). We can use it in a application, to solve a knotting problem. We have the problem, and we try to solve it by using knots, to figure out which knot(s) we will use, and how exactly we are going to use them. Or, we have a knot, and we try to think its possible applications, which problem it might solve, and how exactly it will solve them.
   2) We can study it as a machine, as a tool that function in a certain way. We can study its structure and/or form, and compare it with the structures and/or forms of other similar knots. We can try to classify it, and define which knot should be named with a specific name, and be classified in a specific group of similar knots. Also, we can try to represent it by means of some abstract notation or image, that will help us communicate it to other people in an unambiguous way.
    I think that those two ways we can approach a practical knot are different enough, to justify two sub-sections of the Practical knots section, or even a split of his section in two parts. This division has only a very remote relation with the classic Act (praxis, practical) - Theory division. It has more to do with the Use - Study division. ( With "Study", I  mean the examination of the structure, form or function of the mechanical/physical characteristics of the object defined as "a practical knot". The examination of Decorative knots is better described with other terms, because we have an object of art there, not a machine.)
   If there is a need and will to divide the Practical Knots section, we should be careful how we are going to label the two parts. A division between a "Practical knots" section and a "Theory of (Practical) knots", section, is completely misleading, wrong and dangerous, It reduces the "Practical Knots" section to  half of its value, the part that has to do only with the applications/uses of Practical knots. It implies that the "Theory" section is not about the same, practical knots, but about some abstract things that have little or nothing to do with the everyday life knots as we know them. And it is proposed by the people that hate and fear any theory, and wish to expel the analytical study of the practical knots that they confuse as a pure "speculative", thin air "talk", to a place far away their "real" "tangible" territory. That attitude is catastrophic for the Practical knots Forum, and will reduce the quality of the discussions there to a very low level.
    That is my opinion, of what is worth. I fear the hate, and I hate the fear. I know the power of both, and I believe the whole issue proved that those forces are alive and well into us, and we should try to limit their dark power, using the calm crystalline power of reason.  

  
  
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 06:02:34 AM by xarax »
This is not a knot.

DerekSmith

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 So what if a topic starts off with the expectation that it will be 'Practical' and then generates a strong 'Decorative' or 'Computational' flavour and then someone posts some 'ChitChat' humour along the way?  

Then you're doing it wrong.  You're supposed to stay on topic.  If you want to go decorative or computational, or whatever, start a new thread in the appropriate place rather than hijacking a thread.

It's a pretty universal concept on internet forums.

Roo,

Going 'Off Topic' is like breaking into a topic on Bowline definition and asking for a vote on which board the topic should be on - there is no aspect of the topic title that suggests discussion on board maintenance is wanted.  However, the 'Bowline Definition' topic was a potentially very broad subject and (given time and interest) might have quite properly spanned its full spectrum.

Say for example I start a thread titled "What can I do with a Carrick", and because I have used the phrase 'do with' I have naturally placed it into the 'Practical Knots' board.  Then just about any answer is appropriate and is not going off topic, even 'Print it on a T shirt' or 'model its force vectors'.

The topic Author would quite rightly be pretty peeved if members posted "I can think of a dozen other things you could do with a Carrick (as your title requested), but we cant discuss them here because this is the 'Practical Knots' board and discussing those sort of things is not permitted  "If you want to go decorative or computational, or whatever, start a new thread in the appropriate place"

Life is just too short Roo to be that mean minded - come on - let's just enjoy any aspect of knots that 'floats our boats' and to hell with "It's a pretty universal concept on internet forums."

Derek

DerekSmith

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General distinction between the boards -


Practical means making it and holding or using it.

while

Theoretical means thinking about it (i.e. making / using it in your minds eye)

and

Computational means writing miles of meaningless gibberish that somehow (magicall'e' makes some aspect of knotting appear on a computer screen)

while

Decorative means making it, but it is useless for anything but art or adornment.

and

ChitChat means lets talk about holidays or cooking or my dog or your dog or ... ... ... ...

Feedback means 'tell us about what you love or hate about the IGKT web site. '

and

Announcements means 'this is where the controllers tell the rest of us how to behave'



Derek

roo

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Roo,

Going 'Off Topic' is like breaking into a topic on Bowline definition and asking for a vote on which board the topic should be on - there is no aspect of the topic title that suggests discussion on board maintenance is wanted.  However, the 'Bowline Definition' topic was a potentially very broad subject and (given time and interest) might have quite properly spanned its full spectrum.
And YOU agreed that posting a link to the Feedback Forum was less disruptive.  How quickly you forget.
Quote
Say for example I start a thread titled "What can I do with a Carrick", and because I have used the phrase 'do with' I have naturally placed it into the 'Practical Knots' board.  Then just about any answer is appropriate and is not going off topic, even 'Print it on a T shirt' or 'model its force vectors'.
I would be more inclined to agree if this hypothetical thread was placed in the anything-goes Chit Chat forum.

Quote
Life is just too short Roo to be that mean minded
On the contrary, the kind-minded option is to not hijack someone's thread or a forum category.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 03:14:44 PM by roo »
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xarax

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  Hi Derek,

  I would like to comment on your interesting definitions, and see if we can find some common ground this time  :).

Practical means making it and holding or using it.

No! Making is not the only to handle a rope, and to make a tangible thing, a knot.
"Making", is also "conceiving" and studying something before you act upon something.
So, I would only agree that practical means use, and also application.
("Practical" comes from praxis, that means action, in the only language I know well... :) )

Theoretical means thinking about it (i.e. making / using it in your minds eye)

   Nice definition, but I am afraid it diminishes the thinking that is also needed for use and application. We have to think in order to act, and while we are acting. Sometimes we do not understand how much thinking is involved in acting, but that is changing now. When people are programming robots, they understand the amount of information that has to be edited by the robot s "brain", in order to act, and during the prcedure of this action.
   There is a whole segment of philosophy, called epistemology, that has defined what a "theory" is, before us !  Do not forget that a theory worth its salt should be able to make predictions, and should be, potentially, falsifiable by experiment.

Computational means writing miles of meaningless gibberish that somehow (magical' makes some aspect of knotting appear on a computer screen)

No! This is just the necessary means to represent a 3-D object in a 2-D display, or making a 3-D copy of the representation with the use of a 3-D printer.
"Computational" means to make a computer simulation of an object, to make an abstract representation of a concrete, tangible physical object, by using a computer.

Decorative means making it, but it is useless for anything but art or adornment.

No! You have killed the Decorative knots ! :)
"Decorative" means something that satisfies higher human needs, is more a work of Art than a useful tool/machine. May be the world we live in is just a decoration of the otherwise empty Universe... :) "Gods" were feeling lonely and made the world as a decoration of the void.  :)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 02:43:52 AM by xarax »
This is not a knot.

knot4u

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The Knot Theory & Computing Forum is "for those who want to get the knot between their teeth and shake it apart, either figuratively, or binarily."  That is the current description, and it's fine.

The Practical Knots forum should be "for discussing knots within a stated practical application that is beyond merely decoration."  It is the duty of the original poster to state at least one practical application.  Then, peer review may work efficiently.  Instead of walking around in the desert, peers may immediately test the knot within the stated application, and maybe test the knot within other applications.  Peers may also suggest a knot, that may be unfamiliar, simpler and better suited for the stated application.  The original poster should want the knot to be tested thoroughly by others for the stated application.  If there really is no application, then we are chit chatting or discussing theory.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 09:28:51 PM by knot4u »

xarax

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The Knot Theory  ...is the current description, and it's fine.


   It is a misnomer, because Knot Theory is a subject of Mathematics, it explores the mathematical abstract objects called knots, and not the actual, physical knots.
   It is not only not-fine, it reveals illiteracy and indifference to what the whole world means with a term. Of course. people that fear and so hate any "Theory", do not care if they use a wong word for a subject that they fear and hate, or not. We, in this forum, should do better.

The Practical Knots forum should be "for discussing knots within a stated practical application
 
  
   Absolutely wrong and narrow view. Does a bend has to be presented with "a stated practical application" ?  :) A end-of-the-line loop ?
   The "Practical knots forum should be "for discussing knots that are now, or can be proven to be in the future, of some practical use or application. "
  
Then, peer review peers may immediately test the knot within the stated application, and maybe test the knot within other applications.


 :) Are YOU going to serve as a peer reviewer ? If yes, I agree ! Because here we have the problem that almost nobody ties the knots other people are proposing ! ( I would say, they do not even have a look at the pictures, as I know very well out of personal experience...) So, you think that they will TEST those knots , IMMEDIATELLY ?  :)
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 05:55:59 PM by xarax »
This is not a knot.

knot4u

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It's rather arrogant to post a new knot without an application and then expect others to embrace the knot as being obviously useful.

The Practical Knots forum should be "for discussing knots within a stated practical application
 
  
   Absolutely wrong and narrow view. Does a bend has to be presented with "a stated practical application" ?  :) A end-of-the-line loop ?
   The "Practical knots forum should be "for discussing knots that are now, or can be proven to be in the future, of some practical use or application. "
  

Stating an application makes things too narrow for you?  Therein lies the problem here and the basis for this issue we are having.

Then, peer review peers may immediately test the knot within the stated application, and maybe test the knot within other applications.


 :) Are YOU going to serve as a peer reviewer ? If yes, I agree ! Because here we have the problem that almost nobody ties the knots other people are proposing ! ( I would say, they do not even have a look at the pictures, as I know very well out of personal experience...) So, you think that they will TEST those knots , IMMEDIATELLY ?  :)

I'll try to say this as simply as possible:  State the application.  I'll tie the knot within that application.  Undoubtedly, I'll also test related applications.  If you don't provide an application, then I have no motivation to tie the knot.  I probably have more than enough knots in my library to handle my needs, but maybe I'm wrong.  I'm open to hearing about applications for new knots, or new applications for old knots.  If I want to go around tying random knots without an application, then I'd rather fool around with a decorative knot, which would basically be the same thing.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 06:29:01 PM by knot4u »

xarax

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 Stating an application makes things too narrow for you?
  If you don't provide an application, then I have no motivation to tie the knot.


  I have posted many "bends" that you probably never tied. You say it was because I had not stated an application for them. Well, I can obey to your "rule", and just write in the start of any thread:
"This knot can be used to attach the end of one rope to the end of another rope", or :
" I have this rope, and this rope, and I want to join them. This knot is a solution to this problem".
   Will you then have " a stated aplication", and the motivation to tie this knot ?  :)
   How can you possibly know, in advance, that a certain simple knot is not going to be usefull in a new application after some years, when we will have other materials ?

If I want to go around tying random knots without an application, then I'd rather fool around with a decorative knot, which would basically be the same thing.

  I admitt that I do not know what a "random knot" is, and I suspect you do not know either... I would be glad if I have tied even one random knot in my life, just for a change... :) Could you discover a random knot that I have tied, without knowing it ?  :)

  Do not underestimate the value of Decorative knots...People that tie Decorative knots, as Ashley, for example, do not "fool around"...( The ABoK is a book about Decorative knots. more than a book about Practical knots .)
   I do not expect the average knot users to tie my knots, but I hope that the knot tyers will, now or in the future. Are you an average person that wants only to "handle his needs", or a knot tyer ?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 08:45:29 PM by xarax »
This is not a knot.