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Sig - nobody could accuse you of straying off-message!

Why do you imply that rankings *aren't* the primary purpose of tree structures? The earliest model I can think of is the Roman army, divided into 1000's, 100's and 10's to enable command and control - still the primary purpose of corporate hierarchies. They are self-perpetuating too - in my comment on the previous post, I mentioned diversity. In most hierarchies, the diversity of opinion reduces as you get closer to the pointy end, effectively leaving the person at the top surrounded by yes-men and opinions which match their own.


Hehe, yep, have to be consistent :)

Good point about hierarchies... and I agree when it comes to hierarchies, a sub-specie of tree structures with ranking added - commnad and control is a main purpose there.

The thing about tree structures in general though, is that it can easily lead to ranking, even unwanted ranking: Race theories as was practiced early last century certainly smacked of ranking...

Think file system, root "feels" a bit superior...

One thing I'm pretty convinced of is still that the two (other) main purposes - enabling us to find and supplying knowledge - are less than good.
So whatever we decide, tree structures can be seen as bad at two-thirds (the useful stuff) and good at one-third (the sometimes useful stuff but still dangerous stuff).

Did I mention what that command and control requirement in organisations could be replaced with? Seems more repetitive chirping and on-flow-message posts coming up ;)


I agree with your main point, although I should point out that things like the phylogenic tree are the perfect way to explain certain phenomena and don't exist for the purpose of creating ranking.

Linnaeus's work was actually pretty cool, in that he created a taxonomy of species which was later recapitulated by the phylogenic tree. Speciation does in fact start with a root and then branch.

Susanna K. Hutcheson


Why is it that people in organizations, armies and the like tend to feel the need of this sort of structure? I have always been an individualist and I find structure of this sort confining and stupid.

I guess there's a place for it. And people in the feed chain in organizations feel the need to pay for their keep so they make these stupid charts.

I say get rid of them.

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