[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Re:Reverse documentation

Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>

Magdalena de Hazebrouck writes much that I agree with, on the theme that:

> The library works just as well whether you enter it from the front or back
> door, or climb in a window, as long as you do the work once you get there. 

That is very true.  However, the real danger of reverse documentation is
not the order of the research/crafting phases, but the _motivation_ of the
research.  If someone does the research first, their motivation is to find
out what the medieval thing is, and how to make it, then apply it to their
personal skills and resources in producing a similar object.  That is

But when someone makes the object first, the _motivation_ of their
subsequent research (retro-documentation) is often to see if they can
stretch medieval usage to cover their object.  The key word here is

This is the path of folly.  You can "retro-document" blue jeans -- they
had cotton, they had blue dye, they had rivets, and they had pockets and
flat-felled seams.  Therefore my Levis are period!  But someone who starts
out with an examination of what the medieval person did is NEVER going to
end up with blue jeans as the end product.

Research and knowledge are valuable in and of themselves, regardless of
whether they are acquired before or after a given item is created.

But an artisan who researches and acquires knowledge _before_ creating an
item will always create a better, more medieval item than one who
researches it afterwards.


List Archives, FAQ, FTP:  http://sca.wayfarer.org/merryrose/
            Submissions:  atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
        Admin. requests:  majordomo@atlantia.sca.org