And I believe that it's an important aspect of what makes those fields develop more rapidly and be more accessible to newcomers
West Coast Swing is almost entirely lacking this culture and I think the community would benefit from adopting more aspects of it.
The aspect of thinking in public that I think would be most immediately relevant for most readers is "Learning in Public". You can think of it as a habit of creating a "learning exhaust".
After you've learned/understood something - sharing your understanding in a new format, using different words, etc. Create something that you of 3 months ago wish existed!
ask/answer things on Reddit or community spaces you're part of
make youtube videos
As far as I can tell this is basically not a thing in WCS community 😿
This corner of digital garden is an attempt to remedy that!
Why does it benefit community?
having different explanations of a concept using a variety of mediums and models is great, as more people can find the explanation that works well for them
there is generally a lack of publicly available well-structured explanatory WCS material out there
Why does it benefit you?
Refining your understanding through feedback
Levels of refinement
The concepts are often taught in multiple layers of refinement, so sometimes it'd be the case that you've learned the skill at a certain level of refinement, but may be still missing some understanding from higher levels of refinement.
I believe it's a good idea to do learning in public at each step along that path
It's valuable to have more & better explanation at each level of refinement, as-well as a sense for progression between them
Sometimes you won't realize that there are higher levels of refinement - learning in public will help you find out. Transforming unknown unknowns into known unknowns 🙂
when you are explaining a concept in your own words - it's easy to see where your understanding is fuzzy - prompting you to refine it
Developing better conceptual models of how dance works
Initially as you develop a movement skill you often have an implicit model of how it works/should feel like.
When you recognize this - there is often a value in creating an explicit model of how things work, which allows you to refine your technique and apply the skill more broadly.
And makes it easier to communicate the skill to other people.
It's a fake example because I don't actually know if things happened in this ways specificially, but hopefully it serves to illustrate the idea
I imagine at some point someone noticed that it feels "more natural" to lead patterns to the right of you if you've ended up offset to the left side of the slot at the end of the previous pattern
And with some additional experimentation discovered that you can also project pitch, rotation, etc.
Figuring out good wcs/feedback loops that allow one to progress faster
In all the cases above - iteration, refinement and collaboration with other dancers are the core part of the process.
Thinking in public allows you to get feedback on your ideas faster and to increase the diversity of perspectives you have the access to.
Which helps you to refine your ideas faster and to see them extended to places you did not anticipate.
Importantly for community, it creates more information about the concept along the way. Both allowing people to better grasp the final result and to see history of development which often exposes implicit thinking models that allow you to understand the final result better.
A related thing that is also missing from WCS community is any large effort to crowdsource existing knowledge into a coherent and accessible form
In other words there is no WCS wiki out there where people would add things like
also for both concepts and drills I often encounter things like:
A says X
B says X is outdated and Y is actually a better way to conceptualize a thing
Also, sometimes A agrees that X is outdated now, but they told X to C in the past and C continues to teach X
having a common repository of knowledge would help you solve this conflicts
and even where there is no consensus on a topic it can allow you to see the state of the discussion - what are the opinions and reasoning behind them
arguably discovery doesn't happen in wikis
I expect a wiki to be a synthesis medium - where ideas that stood the test of time/criticism are aggregated
or the state of the discussion is displayed
it's an evolving/developing dance so information would become outdated over time
ideally one wants a living set of documents that change as the dance changes, but with history available to view
it’s not evolving at a fast enough pace that maintaining things would be too challenging
software is notoriously fast evolving and yet thinking in public & wikis works really well
Against most instructional material being video-only
Most of the instructional WCS content available out there are the video demonstrations. And I believe that is bad.
You, of course, want to have the video demonstrations.
But it's a bad medium to present a coherent overview of the topic
you can't search the videos
and you can't find relevant videos based on the content with something like web-search, so they are not very discoverable
you can't link to an explanation of related concept as you mention it in the video
it's hard to lay out an overall structure of a topic in a video, as it doesn't afford for non-linear exploration
It also doesn't quite afford for the same depth of discussion of conceptual material, compared to a written piece
What I think you want instead is a hypermedia piece: a text scaffolding that creates a broad structure and goes deep, but is also liberally peppered with video demonstrations and other visual aids
Why is this not more of a thing in WCS?
is it a technology problem?
people are not writing crappy wikis that can be better
or talking using old forum software that can be upgraded to something like Forum Magnum
culture >> technology
though technology can enable things
Would having more publicly available educational materials interfere with pro's ability to earn a living?
I don't believe so
Won't replace private lessons
personalized feedback is invaluable
has a potential to make private lessons better, it's common for me to ask a teacher - is there a place I can read up more on a concept they are talking about to understand it better and the answer is usually - 🤷♂️
Not aware of online platform that does exactly this
Pro's online platform - premium content
in SW world paid premium courses successfully co-exist with a lot of public knowledge
In as much as this is able to lower the barrier for entry for new people - it'd create more demand for pro's time
How can we do better?
go start a blog
when you find a resource that is helpful
contribute to a wiki
post on r/wcs
when you hear contradictory information from different people
start discussion on r/wcs to get clarity
and do more wiki things
that aggregate links to great explanations/etc created by above processes
creating a community space dedicated to this
I keep coming back to running a Forum Magnum instance as a thing that address many points here if people would actually use it.
I'm happy they exist, and I learned a lot by reading through them!
What is the good discovery process for resources like this?
usual is smth like people post on reddit?
but no one ever posted a blogpost link for the last year I was subscribed to subreddit 😅
pls remedy that!
(just posted a link to a recent post of Aris'es that I liked)