Refining discovery, exploration, making

Continuing the discussion from Time to quest!:

I’ve been reducing the idea of the quest board down to the essential, the experiment itself. And it is one piece of a larger mechanism.

Okay, so here’s the thing about me: all information fractals out for me. You know a “wiki hole”, where you just keep clicking links on Wikipedia until the day star beckons you to flee? I have that, but with knowledge. Yep, maiki is in a permanent k-hole. And it is not k-rad!

So I keep notes. So many notes. But they also multiply… even with the paperless systems I’ve developed, I can’t keep it in order, and because any given system is so damn novel, I know more about organizing information than, you know, organizing information.

I’ve gotten slower, and that helps. On all levels, but particularly with seeing patterns that assist me with the direction of my work, which itself provides a meta-framework for living slowly and accomplishing more.

The digest of this is how I define the keywords in the #quest-board:

  • Discover
  • Explore
  • Make

Here’s what they mean to me.


To discover something means to find out the basic information of a thing. The facts, interesting aspects, and any information that makes it useful for people. Imagine a book, which has a title, publishing info, descriptors, all that.

This is a useful pattern because we basically tag information with metadata that relates to all these concepts, such as books, games, people, orgs, words, places, etc. But I don’t want to just related those nodes of information by keyword; I want to provide a factual, useful resource for humans.

This pattern works by sharing the cognitive load with the public, and capturing ideas as they are referenced. For instance, if I reference some artifact that has multiple people attached to it, I can create a quest for each one, to “discover” them. Folks will discover them as we need, and we have the quest to leave references so we know how much content is connecting to the objects of our research.

So, in this way a discovery quest should end in one or more documents that provide useful information to people.


Exploring a topic is more involved than just knowing about a thing, it is diving into the tapestry of a thing, where it’s been, where it’s going.

Exploring is a way of discovering more basic ideas, each potentially needing their own discovery.

An exploration is also about connecting a concept to the others. How do we create meaningful connections for future reference? What does this tell us about our species, which story is being told.

This is a quest that asks more questions than can be answered, but attempts to anyhow. And with as many people as possible. Why? Because my perspective, while spectacular and weird, is only mine. Exploring is a combination of perspectives, a wonderfully collaborative and deeply critical experience that teaches us all something.

It is also the time to serious curate the affiliated cultural artifacts involved with the thing. I’m particularly interested gathering examples of secondary creation, such as fan fiction, soundtracks, indie games acting as homage or parody. In this way we give a broader and deeper view of the subject, and both promote our lovely creators, but also invite them into the project, to create something accessible for the future.

What I mean is: throwing keywords at a doc is an easy, and lazy, way to “categorize” information. But it hardly ever stops there, ne? I think maybe folks should try using the Dewey Decimal system to get a sense of what knowledge searching means. Finding a keyword was the first step.

I fear that folks are training themselves to be distracted, but accepting the first or second source of an idea, and accept it without any other thought or research. SEO and advertising make keyword-laden posts the most populous.

When we “tag” things, we are actually portraying to another person: hey, each of these words will link to a list of other docs with that tag. Instead we should say: here is a list of links, each to a page that explains the basic of the term, because we are providing a complete path of knowledge, not a cognitive hall of mirrors.

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Having begun the process of questing, further refinement is required, but it is based on results from the process, so that’s good.

Because Discover and Explore modes easily blend into each other, I’m going to experiment with setting goals on Discover quests, as I engage with them. And we ought to close Discover quests faster, because I want a database of interests to build upon, and that helps during Exploration quests.

My thinking about this is a gradual show of interest and momentum, but in slow scale.

I loaded 900 games in here. Some of them, even the ones I bought, are gonna be crap. Or won’t install. Or starts fires. And we will want to note that and move on. Discovery is updating Wikidata and creating a static doc somewhere to assist humans. Exploring is contributing to the corpus of thought around a thing, many docs. Making (have I yet to explain that…?) is about stepping forward and making a thing better. Slowness is the gear shifting from Discover -> Explore -> Make, where we don’t lose thoughts, we just store them for later, maybe for someone else, to do something with.

Interesting question, ne?

I’m making this stuff up as I go, but I think you get a sense of what we are dealing with: how do we split these up in a meaningful way? I think Play is a fine description. I nest that under Discover, since in order to understand a game, to catalog it, it should be played (or attempted).

FYI everyone, if I move on What is a game page? I’ll be able to crunch through quests a lot faster! And I’m getting there, but real life stuff. :slight_smile:

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if Discover is more on the “only get into a little bit of this topic’s complexity” side of things and Explore is more on the “look into this topic’s complexity” side, then does Play, for a game, fall between them?

maybe Play can just be the first play-through, and if the game is interesting, we can make a separate Explore quest for it. or it can become an Explore quest. in this way of looking at it, i’m using Play as a more specialized form of Discover just for games. which i guess is what you just said about nesting. =)

I consider “discover” to be the catch-all verb for doing the thing. We play the games, watch the shows, listen to the music, ride a train, etc.

I’m fine with however folks name them. This is one of those emergent taxonomy questions: what are the good ways to name stuff?

Also, consider what a quest is: how does one complete a play? Do we use the quest thread to discuss the play through? Probably one or more new topics in Gaming. In my head if I say, “Discover the $game!”, that means “playing” it is an activity to accomplish a quest, be it a discovery, exploration, or making something. Think about that! How much fiction will be generated from say, a game of lexicon; we could have a quest: Make a lexicon of The Crocodile Travels, and playing is the action of completing it, not the thing itself.

Okay, but that’s in my head. Let’s collaborate on this a bit more: what are useful descriptors? Why are we saying it this way? Could we just tag things in a standardized way using the Discourse tags-per-category validation lists? Is games the same as Gaming? :slight_smile: