Reaching into the Past

Voice Card  -  Volume 3  -  John Card Number 16  -  Thu, Dec 22, 1988 1:48 AM

This is ONE OF 2 responses to volume 3, Paul Card Number 11 ("Responding Across Volumes")...


I agree that only being able to respond to the most recent volume is a nasty limitation, but we may have to live with it. Here's why:

Whenever you respond to an existing card, you not only create a new card, but you also modify the original card (that is, you add a response link). Even worse, if there are multiple responses (as is frequently the case), you modify all cards which have links to the original card (those pesky little hand buttons). And whenever a card is modified, the entire volume must be re-released. So theoretically, if we could respond as far back as we wished, a single response could trigger a chain reaction which would force me to re-release a half dozen different volumes. Multiply this possibility by the number of responses and the number of members and you arrive at an unworkable situation.

Of course I could devise a procedure that would allow me to distribute only those cards which have actually been modified, but this would require that all members would have to run a special program at the beginning of each session. And as the number of volumes increases, many members may choose to store older volumes away on floppies. Thus this modification procedure would become a major nuisance, would be unevenly applied, and we would lose the simplicity and reliability of the current arrangement.

And there are some advantages to the current restriction. It yields a simple binary tree structure and keeps the conversation focused on the present.

Even so, I wish we could find a simple, reliable way of overcoming this restriction. I am open to suggestions.