Why a PIMS needs Publishing

Publishing isn't traditionally considered part of a PIMS (Personal Info Management System). However, without frictionless publishing, info intended for public consumption clogs the personal parts of the PIMS. This causes classic affordance overload problems.

Therefore, Cyborganize includes a publishing system: Pubmind.

If you can take a shower, you can write a book

Writing is famously difficult, as The War of Art attests. Creators attribute this to psychological and spiritual causes, and prescribe similar cures.

I disagree. The problem is mechanical.

Dealing with the stress and failure generated by a broken process is what creates psychological and spiritual problems. A working writing system has the opposite effect: Like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), it heals the soul.

The problem is that the human mind is not large enough to write a book easily without help from a technological process. Similarly, the human body is not strong enough to easily tote enough water for a 30-minute shower.

Before the invention of plumbing, humans spent lots of energy carrying water from the well daily. In this analogy, writing an email is like filling a cup of water. Anyone can do it. But filling a bath? That is a rare feat. And a 30-minute shower? Forget it. Writing a book is like toting enough water, and then chopping enough wood, for a nice hot 30-minute shower.

After the invention of plumbing, anyone can afford a shower. After the invention of Pubmind, anyone can write a book.

The three content tiers

Pubmind divides publishing into three tiers, like city tiers:

  1. Complete, focused, polished works: books, speeches, films, etc.

  2. Pages edited multiple times and arranged into a rational hierarchy or other intentional publishing scheme

  3. Rough drafts posted with minimal editing, the product of a single session

Publishing toolchain

Here is the toolchain I use for each tier:

  1. TBD; varies. Wordpress and Neuron possible.

  2. Hugo blog, Learn theme*, compose in Org, refactor with Treefactor, Git VC, publish to Git-Annex for binary assets planned.

  3. Ghost blog, default theme. Twitter and Gab. Discord.

*Note that I use a variant of the Hugo Learn theme. I pull from this repo. Otherwise the menu won't autofold.

Frictionless refactoring at T2

Tiers 1 and 3 of Pubmind are not unusual. Ghost is a reliable workhorse for its role, much better than Wordpress, but this by itself hardly merits declaring a "publishing system". Tier 1 and 3 deliver remarkable performance due to the magic that happens at tier 2.

Refactoring Hugo Learn's Org headings with Treefactor means that the T2 site is frictionlessly scalable. As a site grows, its contents need reorganization. Normally this kills sites such as Wordpress, due to the onerousness of refactoring text locked in the CMS database. But Treefactor combines the body headings of each page into a meta-outline. Refactoring Hugo is only slightly higher friction than refactoring native Org.

The extra friction comes from having to edit the front-matter of files, and any relative links. The latter can fail and be caught by community edits. The small extra effort required to deal with the former is worthwhile for the added benefit of publication. Top-level categories change slowly by the time info has reached T2, so the churn is manageable.

Collaboration tools

  1. Wikis, Git Forge, etc

  2. Discourse forum, Git Forge, etc

  3. Discord, other chat, email, Twitter, Gab, etc