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Personal directories in PhysicsOverflow

After a rather quiet period, here comes some good news about a nice new feature which will hopefully be useful to everybody 🙂

The following text is taken from Arnold Neumaier’s corresponding announcement on PhysicsOverflow:


Due to the nature of research, answers to research questions may come quite late. Old questions and answers on PhysicsOverflow may have a much longer lifetime than on other question & answer sites. However, with the standard Q2A software, it is difficult to trace questions visited – they tend to get drowned in the mass of posts, and are quickly dominated by what happens in currently active threads.

Due to the efforts of our system developer polarkernel, registered users of PhysicsOverflow with positive reputation are now offered a place to organize content of PO in a personalized, permanent, and arbitrarily detailed way.

This is achieved by associated to each registered user a personal directory, accessible only to the user owning it. The personal directory can be managed like a directory (folder) in any file system. The only difference to a file system is that the targets are not files but shortcuts – primarily links to PO posts (individual questions, answers, and comments) and links to external web addresses. These texts can  be arbitrarily nested to get fine-grained access to the content.

The purpose of the external links is to reference related papers (e.g., from the ArXiv) or personal notes on a PO-related subject, e.g., sketches of material for a future answer. However, the system also allows for shortcuts, one-line notes that appear directly in the personal directory.

PO posts are added to the personal directory by a click on a button under the post (”remember post”)  which then changes to ”post remembered”, and are managed either by clicking on ”post remembered” or by accessing the personal directory from the user’s profile page. The interface (together with its built-in help) should be self-explaining – if not, please ask on meta.

As already mentioned, the intended use is to organize content related to PO. For example, one can index in one folder posts read, adding key words why they were interesting. Another folder may contain the
posts that require further attention, together with a short reason why. Links to posts can act as a subfolder in which to store related arxiv URLs or bibtex files, or key words for potential later answers
or comments. The personal directory can also be used to group PO posts according to preferences not accounted for by the public tag system. One can use the one-line notes also to add priority information or time stamps. Creative users will find other useful ways to exploit the facility offered.

 

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