Following up on Eric's comment, a physicist friend of mine did an
interesting experiment along the lines of the computational quantified
self. He and some collaborators were using version control software to
write up a paper. He wrote some scripts to auto-generate daily graphs of
the number of lines of writing committed by each participant, and email it
to all participants.
Looking at the graphs was fun --- who was contributing became very
Two students in the collaboration got very competitive, racing one another
on lines committed. But my favorite thing was a senior physicist in the
collaboration, who didn't contribute anything to the paper --- his graph
was a flat line --- until one day he actually bother to look at the graph.
He then spent the next 48 hours working furiously on the paper, getting
his line count up into respectable territory.
There's loads of ways this idea could be misused, of course, but for that
collaboration it worked pretty well at keeping people honest with
On Fri, 16 Mar 2012, Eric Boyd wrote:
> I'm super interested in this idea of computational quantified self, having
> systems that automatically gather and analyze data about us, which we can
> then use to help make better (or different) decisions. Even just what
> Wolfram has now - a bunch of systems that email him at the end of each day
> with productivity-associated numbers, is super cool. I bet I'd get more done
> if I knew that at the end of each day I'd be getting an email about how much
> I did...
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