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Last post Author Topic: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning  (Read 15058 times)

mouser

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Ok I've set up the GOE 2009 section.

Let's get a volunteer or two who is willing to run this year's "experiment" and help guide us in a journey of productivity improvements.

Previous Years:

40hz

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2009, 04:32:29 PM »
'scuze me for sounding dumb but how exactly does this experiment work. :-[

techidave

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2009, 09:17:42 PM »
What happened to 2008?   :D

Paul Keith

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2009, 10:08:58 PM »
'scuze me for sounding dumb but how exactly does this experiment work. :-[

Same question here.

Edit: Also if it's not too imposing of them, I'd like to vote app and nudone's name in. I think many sites often lack that sort of anti-productivity goal as part of the community and it often becomes an issue on what the latest video or the latest program is about. I think as a whole the productivity movement "died" and killed it's own tale after the few early Gina Trapani and Merlin Mann articles. After that it became hijacked and taken for granted. Too much GTD, too much to-do lists and project management apps, too much business-centric perspective...

I'd rather risk destroying this experiment through people like them criticizing everything than have it become just another "advertise our product" and "if someone criticizes it, they don't understand" like some artsy fartsy group. I don't think they even have to take time out of their hands. I just feel they are the type of people who's willing to point out that the Emperor has no New Clothes and their past trauma and troubles are key to progressing productivity because they're the ones who don't just settle for dissing any system/program or trick. Right now there's almost none of that (or at least none that is really well known) in the blogosphere doing that and it's becoming more and more the reverse.

For example, Lifehacker just again recently wasted an article on the Top 5 Mindmapping tools even though there are other Mapping tools already but I suspect the words "Mindmap" is just more sales friendly. Hell, is it any surprise that Freemind wins it again?

http://lifehacker.co...ng-software-freemind

As the commentors even pointed out here, there's not even a mention of PersonalBrain and while I'm not using that program, as a person who's lurked lifehacker topics before, that article is extremely sloppy. They could have easily made that article in the past. (I even thought they made that article in the past already.)

http://lifehacker.co...mapping-applications
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 10:26:11 PM by Paul Keith »

mouser

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2009, 12:08:37 AM »
Let me take a shot at this.

The "Getting Organized Experiment" was basically an umbrella term to describe a month-long group exercise in trying to improve our individual productivity.

That is.. A bunch of us who were interested in becoming more efficient and more productive got together with the idea that there would be some benefit from focusing on efficiency at the same time, to get some benefit from group support, encouragement, camaraderie.

I don't think there are any other real "rules" to the experiment.  The specifics can change depending on who is leading it and what the participants want.

In 2006 we had a very structured scheduled tour of a bunch of formal productivity "systems".  Some of us got some real benefits from that, others nearly had mental breakdowns.

2007 was much less of a scheduled production, and more of a focus on productivity software, and creating new utilities, and talking about what worked for us since the last year.

2008.. nothing happened.

So what form would a new GOE take?

That's up to those who want to participate, and as importantly, up to any 1 or 2 people who want to sort of spearhead and organize it..

Paul Keith

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2009, 01:54:29 AM »
Thanks mouser. Any idea why it seemed the 2006 version got more replies than the 2007? Was it only because productivity was a fad or were there some legitimate concerns and ideas as to starting it?

It seemed that if many had mental breakdowns in the 2006 version then there must have been a major reason for why people were willing to go through that extent in the first place.

Edit: btw how was both versions of GOE organized in the past?

« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 01:59:02 AM by Paul Keith »

mouser

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2009, 02:57:24 AM »
Quote
Any idea why it seemed the 2006 version got more replies than the 2007?  Edit: btw how was both versions of GOE organized in the past?

Well if you look at 2006 you'll see it was a pretty big production with a lot of work.. we did podcasts and actually did long audio interviews with both David Allen (author of GTD books) and Mark Forster.  I had some help but it was a *lot* of work and i don't think i have it in me again.  It was an attempt to provide a very structured framework for people to get involved in the project and follow along.

In 2007 we took a different turn, and it was more everyone for themselves.. the focus on coding new utilities led to some very cool applications, but basically i think the participants were mainly 2006 people who wanted to explore a few more ideas.

Now in 2009 we have i think a new batch of people who are interested in productivity and have different backgrounds, etc.  I think it's probably unreasonable to try to do another big structured/scheduled production like we did in 2006.

I think where we are now is exploring what kind of theme and flavor and content would be useful to people for a month-long GOE 2009.  And who feels ready to "lead" that project and take responsibility for keeping it on track throughout the month -- whatever it is.

Paul Keith

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2009, 03:37:35 AM »
Hmm...I see. Thanks for clarifying all that.

Paul Keith

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2009, 04:06:06 PM »
Ok, because I pretty much bombarded the last GOE topic, I feel I'm partially responsible for this so I'll take a gander:

Getting Yourself Disorganized Theme

Why Disorganized?

Contrary to what most productivity systems do, they don't organize you without messing up your life. What happens then is that they end up not organizing people who are either content or disorganized but only organize those whom are already organized already (but haven't put it all together). I'm talking about the random alcoholic or smoker who just wants to get rid of their addiction, corporate types who afford David Allen to coach them, planner people who already use to-do lists but are just looking for materials and your average productivity blogger trying to create a niche.

Worse? If you somehow end up at that middle phase. If you somehow do not at least finish one productivity system, they will eat you alive because you just spent time basically putting stuff you normally wouldn't put in there and now you're screwed; not because you are disorganized already, but because now you have something to organize and you have a half-baked habit to shrug off.

What a load of crock, you still have to organize something even if you create a disorganization system.

Exactly. The difference here would be that it is a productivity experiment not to make you expect that you will be productive at the end but to make you expect that you will be just as disorganized at the end. Most productivty fanatics would say that this is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy but I say, I don't care. I'd rather throw trash away than throw a bunch of expensive doodled canvas away that I payed lots of time for because that would just cause me to fear throwing them away or try to salvage the materials. But I'm disorganized so what would end up really happening is I will wait until the items melt away.

Unfortunately it sounds like a joke and it's not cool enough nor am I charismatic enough to inspire people so this is why I hesitated to even mention the idea. I even planned to combine GOE 2006's structure and GOE 2007's loose structure minus the podcast but mouser did say it took a lot of energy from him so I don't really know where to go from here. I've never organized an event ever but I might as well get the ball rolling.

You write long posts and you're a new member, no one will pay attention if you're the organizer.

That's why I never volunteered and recommended app and nudone. Not that I even have aspirations of leading the charge. When it comes to needing to flood this forum with short posts or making one long forum topic to contribute to this theme, I can do it but forget about anything else. Here's more things I have problems with:

1) I'm not a programmer
2) I'm betting I'm way more disorganized than anyone here
3) I didn't start out using a to-do list
4) I don't work and am unemployed and have never worked in a cubicle
5) I don't have any friends to help me with.
6) I'm a new guy
7) I'm not a copywriter
8) I'm not an artist

Ok, Mr. Narcissist. We get you're not the right guy for the job.

Yeah, to be honest I didn't know how to approach this post. I just thought if I highlighted my weakness than it could give anyone who's never been part of the past GOE, a clue as to what I think this new one needs even if I too wasn't in the past GOEs. Also, I really feel guilty that I could write long posts explaining the breakdowns of the others in the other GOE threads but when it came here, I wasn't even the first one to suggest anything so here it is.



« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 04:08:32 PM by Paul Keith »

SKesselman

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2009, 02:03:55 AM »
It seems that the general consensus is that systems don't work as they are; yet at least a few of us have learned from those systems what does (or doesn't) work for us and why.  I presume that the participants would be sharing these ideas with others, along with their own ideas?

I looked at the 2007 GOE, but honestly, I didn't see that it was really "led" by anyone - it was how mouser described it: really unstructured.
I haven't yet taken a look at 2006, but I will.

So my question is, do you really need leaders? Perhaps the participants could add the kind of structure needed to really make it a great GOE.
All mouser would have to do is create simple goals and set deadlines, like a teacher, and the participants could work together, like students doing a group project. This way, everybody contributes either a skill they excel in, or something  they enjoy, and everyone gets to learn something too. And, as participants, they have a little more responsibility - being self-governing, but accountable - to make it more challenging and more fun - something in between '06 and '07.

I guess what I've seen so far is just too fuzzy for me to understand. I, for one, certainly have the time and inclination to participate, but as a leader I wouldn't have a clue as to what my duties would be.

Anybody else feel the same way?

 :)

-Sarah

tomos

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2009, 04:39:22 AM »
my favourite idea from the other thread is still:

each individual would pick a "theme" or two - maybe a problem point or something they want to improve. Or they could even choose to try out a system - e.g. Forsters new Autofocus system. Whatever.
They start a thread about it where they announce their plans and discuss. Others can chip in with comments, help, ideas and the thread is used to record progress :) (or lack of same :().

It's practical, requires minimum organisation, doesnt even require theory lol
How many people would be willing to commit themselves to doing something like this?

I think it's a good idea to focus on specifics, but it should be up to each participant which specifics that should be. For instance, email or my physical desktop are pretty much the only things that I don't consider a mess... ok, a bit of an overstatement, but you get the idea ;)

A better idea, IMHO, would be for each participant to publicly list which specifics he/she would like to focus on and maybe make regular posts about the progress. How often? I don't know, but let's say an update every week or so. Obviously you're not responsible for this to anyone but yourself, but I imagine that for me at least, it would be an extra incentive to get things done if I'll have reveal my progress. It's not too cool seeing everyone else making huge strides towards getting organized if I still can't get anything done. This way, we can also give each other tips and ideas along the way.

 :feedback:
my list (themes) would be something along these lines
clearing backlog - mostly stuff in boxes ;)
à la my post above - expectation/sense of obligation -> procrastination (avoiding/reacting because of pressure from self or others)
Again, I cant remember the third ... (organisation comes to mind as another theme!)

And because it would be individual projects it really doesnt matter how many or how few get involved - obviously nicer to have a bunch of people involved though
Tom

nudone

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2009, 05:04:13 AM »
whatever happens. i think Paul Keith should be leading it. no one else on the forum has shown as much interest in the GOE (at least, not recently).

but, Paul, if you do lead it, you must do shorter posts - maybe more of them, just shorter. the long ones even frighten me away and i'm used to such things.

also, you could well be the perfect choice. you say you are disorganised - you should be the one that solves the riddle to that. show us the way. i'm waiting for you to start the march.

Paul Keith

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2009, 03:17:05 PM »
Thanks nudone but even if I do shorter posts, I need someone who can communicate it for me. If I felt I could portray a post shorter, I would have done so already. Especially in this case where length is less of a problem but trying to make my ideas sound less gimmicky is, especially when I don't have the "guru" excuse.

Also SKesselman and tomos have a point, sometimes unstructured works. My criticism of it though is that the concept is turning a month only project into a productivity forum and that can confuse and stress people posting because no one knows if it's just a productivity forum or a monthly exercise so even their trial of systems might feel like another make it a habit in 30 days or your money back.

At best, it can reinvigorate interest in programming productivity apps but that's really more like the Making Productivity Toys experiment.

tomos

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2009, 04:01:59 PM »
My criticism of it though is that the concept is turning a month only project into a productivity forum and that can confuse and stress people posting because no one knows if it's just a productivity forum or a monthly exercise so even their trial of systems might feel like another make it a habit in 30 days or your money back.

well let's make it an open-ended ongoing thing/forum - I mean it might not last anyway but why limit it?

how about we look at things this way:
if you have a criticism, you/we look for a simple solution -> GOE 2009

I dont really have time (or interest?) in theoretical or in whether things were done good or bad, then or now - I realise straight away that that's a weakness .... but one can get bogged down in all that stuff just as much as any other (GOE, etc.) stuff

currently I'm thinking: I'm going to try and do my own personal GOE 2009 - I may or may not post here
[and I make no commitments as to when I'll begin it (lol)]

How about this
-
what would YOU [anyone] want from a "Getting Organised Experiment" ??
(Just in case: saying 'getting organised' doesnt qualify as a good enough answer)
Tom

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2009, 04:10:50 PM »
Speaking purely for myself, i would be interested in refining the hybrid system that i've cobbled together, and expanding it to use additional processes.
Or to put it differently, i'm interested in the practical aspect of trying to hammer out some habits and techniques i can add to my repertoire.. and perhaps even try to more formalize my own kind of system.

app103

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2009, 04:48:17 PM »
my favourite idea from the other thread is still:

each individual would pick a "theme" or two - maybe a problem point or something they want to improve. Or they could even choose to try out a system - e.g. Forsters new Autofocus system. Whatever.
They start a thread about it where they announce their plans and discuss. Others can chip in with comments, help, ideas and the thread is used to record progress :) (or lack of same :().

It's practical, requires minimum organisation, doesnt even require theory lol
How many people would be willing to commit themselves to doing something like this?

I think I could do that, without getting myself into more trouble. That is probably the best idea I have heard yet.

If this is the way you want to do it this time, you can count me in. If this is not how you want to do it, I may just go it alone in this manner, somewhere else, perhaps on my blog or one one of the social networks I am a part of.

If you want something more organized and structured with "assignments" I am going to have to pass, though. I really don't need another mental meltdown from trying to be someone else and organizing my life by someone else's rules.

But I would be very interested in posting my journey of regaining who I was before the first GOE. I think that would be helpful to me, and how I do it may be of benefit to others. You might get some ideas from some of the things I do, that you might really like and might work for you.

mouser

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2009, 04:59:30 PM »
Quote
If you want something more organized and structured with "assignments" I am going to have to pass, though.

i agree that we shouldn't do "assignments".

Maybe this year's experiment could simply consist of a group of us saying: we are going to spend the next month trying to get more organized/efficient/productive, in whatever ways we can fathom, and post regular updates (each on our own thread) about our progress and what we're discovering, with the expectation of posting a summary at the end of the month about what worked and didn't?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 05:40:31 PM by mouser »

SKesselman

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2009, 05:19:10 PM »
I vote for that one.
-Sarah

mouser

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2009, 05:42:05 PM »
And of course, everyone can discuss on the various threads any ideas they might have, and if people are interested in getting started with this kind of thing but don't know where to start, maybe they can get some inspiration from reading someone else's approach.

app103

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2009, 05:44:38 PM »
And of course, everyone can discuss on the various threads any ideas they might have, and if people are interested in getting started with this kind of thing but don't know where to start, maybe they can get some inspiration from reading someone else's approach.

Yup, that's the idea.  :)

And making the public commitment of self-improvement can go a long way towards helping it actually happen.

mouser

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2009, 06:10:59 PM »
If we do go with this.. then it may make sense to try to get one person willing to volunteer to read all of the threads and post occasional summaries of people's different methods, and encourage everyone participating, etc.

Paul Keith

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2009, 06:18:29 PM »
If we do go with this.. then it may make sense to try to get one person willing to volunteer to read all of the threads and post occasional summaries of people's different methods, and encourage everyone participating, etc.

I can do the "read all" part since I basically am doing that with the old GOE threads anyway. (though because I'm a major procrastinator, I haven't finished them)

The summary part I can also do if no one minds me being heavily critical though I can just keep that part of the post to myself.

Encouragement, no, not me.

No idea what etc. stands for.

SKesselman

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2009, 08:13:01 PM »
If we do go with this.. then it may make sense to try to get one person willing to volunteer to read all of the threads and post occasional summaries of people's different methods, and encourage everyone participating, etc.
The summary part I can also do if no one minds me being heavily critical though I can just keep that part of the post to myself.

Any particular reason to be heavily critical? Don't you think you might scare some potential participants away?
-Sarah

Paul Keith

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2009, 09:36:04 PM »
Any particular reason to be heavily critical? Don't you think you might scare some potential participants away?

Experimental formatting to test whether this makes my last reply more readable:

True but judging by the ratio of productivity forums/articles/etc. over the net, it is the critic of productivity systems that is under-represented and while I'm not a guru, come on, I'm not blind. You just hear one story of app's breakdown and you just think to yourself: Damn..is that the kind of state we want people who fail productivity systems to be at?


Proof of Criticisms in the Community:

...and it's not like criticisms don't get raised. It happens all the time. Forster went against the GOE in the DC podcast in a half-hearted manner. David Allen does it in a half-hearted manner when calling most productivity software as toys...hell, app went at it in a half-hearted manner here. Well, from my experience as an unproductive person, reading those words didn't help my productivity much either. (I still don't know for example ALL of the productivity software David Allen thinks as toys and why.)

On the Notion of Scaring Away Users:
To me it makes no sense to think that seekers of productivity aren't supposed to be scared away. IMO, if a system is at least decent enough to work for someone, and that someone wants to be productive, they will try it. (Hell, in their mind, they MUST try it) If they are just participating, chances are they don't need to be productive enough but even worse, they might not approach the system as a flawed system at all. They'll just run into it as much as possible and if they break through the wall than it's "teh best" and if they don't then "all/most of these don't work".

Then if that's not bad enough, you have the reverse: People scaring people into doing a productivity system and making the person look like there's something wrong with them as opposed to the system.

I mean come on, just because someone's stating it in a polite manner and not criticizing you, doesn't mean they can't scare you into a system. If you're going to ruin people's lives that way anyway, why should that be better than someone who openly addresses his criticisms.

Quote from:
Political Analogy
I'm just sick and tired of both camps. It's like the Democrats and Republicans of productivity theory. One side from time to time just dropping by and saying most productivity systems don't work because they are burned by it and over-complicated by it. The other side always trying to conform and rationalizing that the other side is just not doing it right or they have the wrong mindset or some other things to make the other side feel that it's the people and not the system that's wrong.

Focusing on the Victims:

Who is the victim in all of this? The unproductive people. Why? Cause both sides are playing good cop, bad cop unintentionally. They're attacking the people behind the other side instead of focusing on the goal and that is to be productive or make a productivity system work for people "who actually WANTS it."

Quote
Sports Analogy:
I mean think to a successful sports coach or trainer. Sure, drill sergeant training isn't the best but you don't see them going "either you do it my way or you go out". Some of the best coaches are those that can be flexible yet at the same time have the guts to say their minds and call you out if you're doing something wrong or you're doing something right, but the play and strategy is wrong and isn't that what all productivity systems strive to be? A system that's so good that even a player who only has a taste of it, can know it's the right thing to do. I'm not saying a system should be perfect but come on, the little criticisms help built the pantheon of systems like The Triangle in basketball or The Sprawl and Brawl in MMA.

At some point, I feel as a person seeking to be productive, you have to be brave enough to say something negative or else you risk not being brave enough to do something positive and you have to be around an environment that also applies the same belief otherwise, it's like being around a wall. It's just going to kill those who really need it and leaving those who need it less. I'm not saying let's all call each other stupid but all of us have to be brave enough to say "Hey, you're doing this wrong because so and so" and not just stop at "this isn't for you" "you have the wrong mindset" "You're wrong I have success with it so everyone else should too cause I'm the gutter of the gutter" At some point, a person who wants to experiment must actually "experiment", not "protect" both the system and the people from harshness. No one great grows without that so why should we expect productivity systems to become better without that level of harshness too?

Compromise:
...at the same time, like I said, I get that not everyone sees it that way and at some point we also are hugely helped by lots more people participating and no one ruining the fun so I'll just keep it to myself as much as possible.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 11:32:54 PM by Paul Keith »

tomos

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Re: The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 - Preliminary Planning
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2009, 03:45:02 AM »
Paul,
I take your point about criticism, but I'll ask:
does being critical rule out being encouraging? Criticism, if delivered fairly, can obviously be something helpful - as you say if Allen was more specific in his criticism we would now know a bit more about the topic. I'm not trying to force you into an encouraging role !! just throwing it out there

I dont think we're trying to change the world of productivity or whatever it's called. You keep focusing on that world and it's problems. Again, I'm not saying all that stuff isnt important - I'm just saying it's only one aspect.

I'm curious - what is it you would want from a GOE ?
I mean - not what you dont want !
(apologies if you've said that somewhere already & I've missed it - just redirect me!)
Tom