Incremental reading is useless

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From: E. R
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 10:15 AM
To: Piotr Wozniak
Subject: Supermemo is NOT Perfect

Here are the reasons why you program is very imperfect:

1.Information on the internet is often unreliable

2.It will take a lot of time to find a 100% reliable information on the web

3.The slow internet connection augments the amount of squandered time dramatically

4.Software maintenance wastes more time

5.It can be used only when there is a computer awailable - mostly at home.

I believe that my method is better than what you propose:

1.Read a book that has been proven excellent by time and by ratings of others who have spent THEIR time exploring the book.

2. Instead of some software and internet, use a pen and a notebook to scan the book for important information and copy down for later examination/memorization.

Also, copy down the source and the date so that when creativity comes, the sources are reliable - it will be a disaster to waste plethora of time on a research only to find out in the end that the sources did not have any statistical significance. Magazines like Nature and Science already publish the worthiest of all research articles. Books by Feynman, Borh, Dirac, and Einstein are already the best in the field. Thus, my letter is a cogent polemic that refutes supermemo. If you value your time so much, realize the time it takes for you to write down the solutions for bugs in memo and for the "geniuses" to read those solutions is considerable.

Emil K.

Reply 2005

It seems the polemic is not with incremental reading but with the efficiency of the use of software, computers and the Internet in general. Your (Emil's) method can be combined with the techniques that make incremental reading. You can read Bohr or Dirac incrementally too.

Those two points have been debated endlessly elsewhere:

  1. information on the internet is often unreliable (e.g. see Freedom of information)
  2. it will take a lot of time to find perfectly reliable information on the web

Speed of Internet connections and access to computers get better everyday.

The strongest point is about the waste of time on learning software, security, backups, etc. But these also get better with passing years.

Reply 2017

See: Disadvantages of incremental reading

Reply from TomD

Emil K., if you value your time so much, why wasting it to point out perceived imperfections in Supermemo. There must be some reason why you don't want waste time learning with it, but happily waste time in polemics about it?

Every person is different, different ways work for different people. Do what works for you, and leave many happy users of Supermemo to do what works for them. No flaming intended - I mean it as I write it, I have full respect for your preferred way of learning.

See also