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Re: [Orgmode] outline-agenda sorting consistency

From: Samuel Wales
Subject: Re: [Orgmode] outline-agenda sorting consistency
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2009 21:09:20 -0700

Hi Carsten,

On Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 12:22, Carsten Dominik <address@hidden> wrote:
>> 1) priority faces are settable in the agenda.  perhaps
>>   they could be so in the outline also.
> This seems more confusing than useful to me.  In the agenda,
> all the tasks are together, so it does make some sense to
> change fonts.  In the outline, I would find it confusing.
> Are there any other opinions on this?

I'll try to provide more detail for at least my case.

I would not set the face for the whole headline, just the
priority tag itself.  I actually find the agenda faces,
which often set the entire headline, to be confusing.[1]

I would not propose to change the default.

For me [#C] and [#A] look alike and it is hard to
distinguish them based on the single letter.  I basically
stopped using C because I kept (mis)perceiving it as
important.  (I don't use B because it is the same as blank.)

What I would do is set C to show in something like (but not
the same as) the done todo kw face, and A to show in
something like the todo face.  This tells me to pay
attention less and more, respectively.  Others would
semioticize (so to speak) differently.

>> 2) sorting strategy is settable in the agenda.  perhaps it
>>   could be settable in the outline also.  they could
>>   share code.
> To be honest, I never sort the outline, except in rare cases.
> I would be interested how people use this to get a better case
> for changing this.

I would use it to keep high urgency and -priority tasks at
the top and done tasks at the bottom.

Also, I sometimes have a large list of disorganized tasks.
The tasks need todo state specification, tagging, priority
setting, refiling, turning into a plain list, etc.; and
sorting seems the best way to focus the organizing.  I can
only do a little at a time, and can't predict when I can do
it, so having it sorted allows me to immediately see gaps.
Like "this is too urgent to be among the non-urgent tasks".
Then I can return to it later without having to
refamiliarize myself with the whole list.

I can more easily isolate the high priority and high urgency
stuff that isn't done, then organize only that.  After
dealing with metadata, I can make the hierarchy deeper by

Having it work like org-agenda-sorting-strategy would allow
the same sorting in both places.

Here is how I might do it, were the facility to exist:

  - done-ish and unimportant stuff at the bottom, important
    stuff at the top, and uncategorized nodes (i.e. blank
    todo state, no priority, no urgency) in the middle.
  - alphabetical order for nodes with the same weight
  - to calculate the weight of a node:
    1) priority a is worth +1000
    2) urgent tag gets +1000
    3) now tag gets +500
    4) todo-ish states (todo, next) get +100
    5) /blank todo state/ gets 0
    6) zombie states (wait etc.) get -100
    7) someday tag gets -500
    8) priority c gets -1000
    9) done-ish states (done, moot) get -3000
  - example: an urgent todo would have a weight of 1100.
    when it is marked done, it would have a weight of -2000.

This is especially useful for long confusing lists.

> One of the basic principles in Org is that in the notes files,
> tasks are in context.  In the agenda, things are re-arranged
> and sorted.  That is why there is a complex sorting strategy
> in the agenda, but not in the outline.

The agenda is wonderful for other stuff, but for me it is
not an editing mode per se.  I have never been able to use
the agenda for full control over the org file, as some
people are able to do.  For me (at least on my computer) it
is slow.  Arbitrary editing is not possible.  The keys that
work are often different from the ones I use in the outline.
If I define a key in the outline, I have to figure out how
to define it in the agenda (haven't yet).  I find
manipulating windows to be cumbersome, especially since for
accessibility reasons I have no option but to use very large
fonts that make split windows show very few lines (I
typically never split windows).  I usually can't see all the
tags in the agenda because there are not enough columns.  I
can't scroll the other window in follow mode.  Extra
keystrokes are required to organize things.  I can't easily
create an arbitrary outline view of all tasks under a node
with it.  I can't rearrange and sort as I would in the

So for me, while the agenda is indispensable, it is only for
showing an agenda view and occasionally jumping to a place.
Not for arbitrary sorting and organizing.

Just a different perspective / user experience.  I hope it's
useful in some way at least.

[1] Especially since some elements get recolored
(refaced) from the way they are in the outline.  e.g. done
todo kw showing up as todo face or tags being recolored.
Might be bugs or might be overloading (because there is
deadline and scheduled information being added to the
information that is already in the headline).  A possible
solution is to reface just the category, or to have a single
column for status, or something like that.  I haven't
thought about it deeply enough to comment further.

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