Hah! I've been thinking about this very idea, and wrote up a whole post explaining the concept, only to find that it's already been suggested. Well, here's my expanded proposal anyway, for whatever it's worth. I also created an index for my steamboat Bertrand log.
A proposal for improving build logs: table of contents or index
Build logs on MSW serve two very different and somewhat conflicting purposes: a dynamic account of the build and a static reference for later builders. The problem arises when the interactive community and comment thread (that makes a live log such a worthwhile experience) becomes a hindrance to later readers trying to research or learn from the build (after the fact). It can be very frustrating to wade through tens or even hundreds of pages of comments looking for certain information, techniques, or stages of a build, and a search function will only go so far.
I propose a partial solution: the introduction of a Table of Contents, or Index, to build logs. A builder can plan ahead and include a nascent Index in a very early post of their log, and use the edit function to add to it as the build progresses. This way, a reader arriving at the build later has some sense right away of where in the build different stages happened, and can jump to them without slogging through the entire comment thread.
Now, this will be easier for some builders than others. I don’t propose linking to every post by a builder in the index. My style of logging tends to be a periodic update of specific steps taken, including many photos and discussions in one post, making it easier to produce an Index. Others take a more stream-of-consciousness approach, with many short posts dealing with small steps individually, producing many hundreds (thousands?) of update comments in a long, complex build log. I suggest that builders link to general parts of the build, or any other topic of specific interest; for a very broad example:
· Hull framing (link to first post starting this process)
· Hull planking (link to first post starting this process)
· Decking (link to first post starting this process)
· Discussion of a unique way of shaping masts (link to first post starting this process)
And so on. There could be many comments within those sections, but at least a reader looking for a certain part of the build will know where to start. And a builder can be as detailed in this index as they care to be; the more detail, the more helpful the build log to later readers.
For those who like this idea but already have a log started or completed, there are two options. One, just go back to your first post and use the edit function to build in an Index. Two, especially for finished logs, post an Index at the end of the log, then simply link to it prominently by editing your initial post, i.e. “Here is an index of this build (link to post at end of thread)”. I’m certainly not saying this should be required or expected, but for those who like the idea it’s a way to implement it. For example, I had this idea when I was about 2/3 done with my steamboat Bertrand build, and at that point went back through and created a draft index in a Word file that I kept updated from then on. Now that my build is finished, I just posted that index at the end and linked to it in the beginning. On my next build, I’ll leave space at the beginning, or create a separate comment just for the index, making it easy to maintain as I go.
I’m curious what you all think. Is this crazy? Worthwhile? Discuss.
Edited by Cathead, 29 January 2016 - 02:34 AM.