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Outlines as Study Notes (2019-03-09)

From JFA Wiki
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
By Greg Fuller 2019-03-09


The original idea behind outlines as implemented on, was that they could be a good way to study and commit information to memory. The nodes could be structured in such a way that each parent would be an implied question with the answers in the child notes. This is a little abstract, so an example is provided below.

Over time, I started moving away from this idea in an effort to streamline content creation and have the outline associated with an article echo the structure of the article, diminishing its utility as a study mechanism.

Separating the Outline from the Article

If we separate outlines from the article, and have outlines in their own section and content type, we will have more freedom in structuring the nodes in the outline to be useful study notes. Not all nodes of an outline can be structured to be implied questions and answers, but many can.

Migration and Beyond

For now, as I migrate the articles, I'm archiving their associated outlines into a separate namespace called, you guessed it, "outlines." Once the articles are migrated, I hope to restructure the outlines to become useful study tools. Some outlines, like the one associated with the Introduction to Veganism, will be broken into smaller outlines.

In addition to restructuring, there are some technical needs as well. The optimum situation would be the ability to export outlines to OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language), and import outlines from OPML. This way, the outlines could be edited and manipulated with external outlining software such as Dynalist and Omni Outliner. This can be done now with a manual process, but it is cumbersome.

There are other challenges as well, but I'm not inclined to take the time to discuss them here. I think they are solvable, and I'll be working on solutions. When these problems get solved, we can include them back into the main namespace as study notes.

An Example

I still believe that outlines can be very useful in helping us become better spokespersons for the movement, by facilitating learning and helping to commit information to memory. It may be a little vague as to how an outline works in this capacity, so I'm including an example here.

Assume for the moment, that you wish to be more conversant about how large established medical organizations embrace a vegan diet as not only adequate, but advantageous to human health.

The first implied question is "What organizations?" If you study the first level of the outline below, you will have your answer. If you wish to quiz yourself, click on "Collapse All" then see if you can name the organizations. Then click on "First Level" to expand the outline to the first level and see how well you did.

This alone is useful information. If you tell someone that the major health organizations embrace a vegan diet, and they ask you who, then you can answer, "Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Harvard Public Health" etc—a pretty impressive list.

But you can go further and learn something about these organizations and what they said about the topic. Under "Who they are" is information that shows their credentials and expertise—why what they say matters. By expanding and collapsing the nodes of the outline, you can continue this process and obtain whatever depth of knowledge you wish to obtain.

You will be well-prepared to answer questions and discuss the topic with confidence.

Outline: Prominent Medical Organizations Embrace a Vegan Diet

This is an abbreviated list for puposes of illustration.

  • Harvard Medical School
    • Who they are
      • HMS has a faculty of over eleven thousand [1] and are consistently ranked the number one research medical school in the United States.[2]
    • What they say
      • Quote: "Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses."[3]
  • Mayo Clinic
    • Who they are
      • Mayo Clinic is the "largest integrated, not-for-profit medical group practice in the world"[4] with over four thousand five hundred physicians and scientists.[5]
    • What they say
      • Quote: "A well-planned vegetarian diet [defined to include a vegan diet] is a healthy way to meet your nutritional needs."[6]
  • Cleveland Clinic
    • Who they are
      • Cleveland Clinic is a highly regarded medical system with one thousand seven hundred staff physicians representing one hundred twenty medical specialties, and it helps patients from all over the world.[7]
    • What they say
      • Quote: "There really are no disadvantages to a herbivorous diet! A plant-based diet has many health benefits, including lowering the risk for heart disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. It can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, plus maintain weight and bone health."[8]
  • Kaiser Permanente
    • Who They Are
      • Kaiser Permanente is one the United States' largest nonprofit health plans, with over eleven million members.[9]
    • What they say
      • Quote: "Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods."
      • Quote: "Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity. Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates."
      • Source[10]
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)
    • Who they are
      • Formerly known as the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the "world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals" with "over 100,000 credentialed practitioners."[11]
    • Formal Position Statement
      • Quote: "It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."
      • Quote: "These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes."
      • Quote: "Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage."
      • Quote: "Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity."
      • Source[12]