When You Hear Hoofbeats… – Post

When You Hear Hoofbeats… Bob Carpenter is learning C++ and has no difficulty getting error messages, but is having difficulty discovering the causes of those error messages.

Bob describes his need as one of proceeding from a known error message, to one or more possible causes. A “reverse index” in his words.

I suspect that would be a very useful thing to have for any number of programming languages, not to mention shells, utilities and the like.

It occurs to me that topic maps, via associations, could be the very mechanism that Bob is looking for.

At least in terms of the mechanics, filling it with content would be another matter entirely.

Thoughts on how to structure such a topic map?

Or on how to best organize a project to populate it?

Perhaps harvesting “error messages” from posts/blogs/etc. with pointers back to the same and offering the opportunity to specify the possible cause?

With some recognition mechanism for those contributing the most often recognized by other contributors causes?

Has the issue commonly found in topic map projects:

  1. Data harvesting
  2. Interfaces
  3. Management of the map
  4. Subject Identity
  5. etc.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

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