THEOLOGY GUIDE NEEDS WORK

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This post has 66 Replies | 6 Followers

Posts 1103
Sean | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Jan 21 2019 5:25 PM

Attn: Faithlife Staff

I’ve posted in various threads on this before, but I think it deserves its own now.

Logos 8 was rushed out the door at the end of October, 2018. One of the prominent new features advertised for it was the Theology Guide, for which you claim:

Get diverse perspectives on theological topics

The theology guide draws on the diverse theological resources included in your Logos library. Get quick links to where your topic is treated in your systematic theologies and other resources.

https://www.logos.com/theology-guide

In reality, it does nothing of the sort. To date (January 21, 2019) only 5 very conservative North American theologies are searchable with the Guide. I have 124 resources in my library tagged as “Systematic Theologies”; the Guide does nothing to help me navigate them (unless they’re listed in the extremely random bibliographies of the LSTO). And frankly, while it’s reasonable to initially work with clearly structured and better-selling theologies, no one should need a tool like this just to navigate a work like Berkhof’s.

Christmas is a busy time for everyone in our line of work, so I gave some allowances for the holiday slowing work down. I was very disappointed to see that the update to the datasets released today did not include any enhancement to the one behind this tool (at least not in English!)

Faithlife, we know how you operate; no one is expecting a complete, fully polished product at the rollout of a new version. This, however, goes well beyond “we need a little more time to work out all the bugs and finish all the features.” The Theology Guide can only be described as barely started and not really useful for anyone other than a beginner in the field.

This is unacceptable. Upgraders have already paid this feature, but it has not been released in a state that can reasonably be considered functional. We need to see steady and regular development taking place and not just assurances that it will happen “someday”.

Posts 3013
David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 21 2019 6:11 PM

This has been a source of disappointment to me as well.

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Posts 1095
Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 7:26 AM

I rarely, if ever, voice my disappointments about Logos, but I must agree here. I had hoped to see much improvement with this feature. Hopefully they are working on this behind the scenes and just have not made us aware of that yet. One can only hope.

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College
Mac OS 10.13.6 High Sierra, Mid 2015 iMac, 2.5GHz i7, 32 gbRAM, 1tbSSD

Posts 688
Kevin A Lewis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 8:35 AM

Kingdom of God/Heaven within this also is a disappointment - it is assumed to be eschatological only - when there is a consider body of opinion that has it being announced with Christ, presaged in this age and only coming to fulfilment in the future.

Shalom

Posts 459
J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 8:56 AM

Kevin A Lewis:

Kingdom of God/Heaven within this also is a disappointment - it is assumed to be eschatological only - when there is a consider body of opinion that has it being announced with Christ, presaged in this age and only coming to fulfilment in the future.

Shalom

I'm not sure exactly what the complaint is here. The 'already' aspect of the kingdom wouldn't make it not-eschatological, would it? The recommended readings suggest Scot McKnight, Geerhardus Vos, Herman Ridderbos, etc. Who or what perspective would you like to see?

Posts 332
Steve Farson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 8:57 AM

Yes... The Theology Guide,

Over advertised,

because

under developed.

Posts 688
Kevin A Lewis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 9:04 AM

Probably the weakness of systematic theology to give a topic a primary home - rather simplifying the structure typical of 'systematics'. Theology is always far more nuanced that that. I am not arguing for it not be eschatological - it is not to be categorised 'beneath' eschatological' which strongly implies it is ALL future.

Shalom

Posts 754
LogosEmployee
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 9:08 AM

I'm sorry our Theology Guide coverage hasn't increased more quickly. As mentioned here and here, we're committed to eventually indexing the widest possible selection of systematic theology resources in Logos. The process we used for curating the initial set of resources won't scale well to this many resources, so we've had to step back and build some new tooling to help. I'm hopeful that we'll see additional resources aligned in the next month or two.

Posts 754
LogosEmployee
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 9:32 AM

Kevin A Lewis:

Kingdom of God/Heaven within this also is a disappointment - it is assumed to be eschatological only - when there is a consider body of opinion that has it being announced with Christ, presaged in this age and only coming to fulfilment in the future.

Shalom

While the article does say "The eschatological dimension of the kingdom is prominent in the New Testament.", I believe it also addresses the current presence of the Kingdom: "On the most basic level, we may say the kingdom of God is present wherever the king is to be found." As a survey, the treatment of the different dimensions of each subject are necessarily brief.

If you have other suggestions for how to improve the coverage of this article, I would encourage you to share them on the Faithlife group we've created for discussion of the content of the survey: https://beta.faithlife.com/lexham-survey-of-theology/activity.

Posts 10177
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 9:47 AM

Sean Boisen:

... The process we used for curating the initial set of resources won't scale well to this many resources, so we've had to step back and build some new tooling to help. I'm hopeful that we'll see additional resources aligned in the next month or two.

Goodness, the forum has always been a theological hornets nest. This is not going to be pretty.

I wonder if the 'tooling' is what Bob talked about using high-end discussion-locating.


Posts 3068
Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 1:43 PM

yeah I'd like to weigh in here.

Absolutely the Theo/Guide needs works. I can do a better search with out it. However, and for me this is the Big However. All three of the theological, Bible theme and Topical Sermon Workflows are outstanding. 

Where were these before?!

FL? Fantastic job on the WF's mentioned above. Thanks.

Now on to a better (?) Theo/Guide as Sean B has mentioned.

mm.

mm.

Posts 1103
Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 3:58 PM

Sean Boisen:

I'm sorry our Theology Guide coverage hasn't increased more quickly. As mentioned here and here, we're committed to eventually indexing the widest possible selection of systematic theology resources in Logos. The process we used for curating the initial set of resources won't scale well to this many resources, so we've had to step back and build some new tooling to help. I'm hopeful that we'll see additional resources aligned in the next month or two.

I hope that you're able to develop tools and processes that help you do this quickly. Really, though, as a business you need to stop advertising and selling products in such an unfinished state. You know many of us are locked into Logos as our primary Bible study/research tool. We're not really left with any option but to sit back and wait X number of months/years until the product eventually does what it was initially advertised as doing.

Please accelerate this process.

Posts 26492
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 4:32 PM

Sean:
Please accelerate this process.

As someone who reports far more than my fair share of data errors and anomalies, I strongly disagree. I want them to take the time to do it right rather than rush it through with their usual "good enough for what it's for" approach. Mind you, I know they use machine assistance to strictly machine coding so I do not expect perfection. Depending upon what is being coded, I expect accuracy within the mid-to-high ninety percents and a recognizable pattern in the errors. I am disappointed that they didn't find and report the scaling problem earlier.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1103
Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 5:34 PM

MJ. Smith:

Sean:
Please accelerate this process.

As someone who reports far more than my fair share of data errors and anomalies, I strongly disagree. I want them to take the time to do it right rather than rush it through with their usual "good enough for what it's for" approach. Mind you, I know they use machine assistance to strictly machine coding so I do not expect perfection. Depending upon what is being coded, I expect accuracy within the mid-to-high ninety percents and a recognizable pattern in the errors. I am disappointed that they didn't find and report the scaling problem earlier.

This task primarily involves tying sections/reading ranges to topics to the LSTO. I cannot believe that in 3 months they could not complete this properly and accurately for at least 2-3 resources to include them with yesterday's dataset update. They have definitely the time and the ability to make at least some progress; what I question is the will.

Posts 26492
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 5:47 PM

Sean:
They have definitely the time and the ability to make at least some progress

You did understand that Sean B. said they did not have a satisfactory method ... without knowing how to do it, you cannot make progress. And because they did not use a representative sample but rather used a coherent subset for their original links, I am not surprised. Big error in their original planning.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1103
Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 6:25 PM

MJ. Smith:

Sean:
They have definitely the time and the ability to make at least some progress

You did understand that Sean B. said they did not have a satisfactory method ... without knowing how to do it, you cannot make progress. And because they did not use a representative sample but rather used a coherent subset for their original links, I am not surprised. Big error in their original planning.

That I definitely agree with. As someone who did this sort of thing, albeit manually, for seminary students for a number of years, my sympathy here is rather limited.

Last month's FBotM were works in systematic theology that should have been fairly easy to integrate into this system. It would have been a good opportunity to show off the utility of this Guide if they'd been added.

Posts 28
David Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 7 2019 1:39 PM

Hi, I have the same frustration - it seems like a very powerful tool that is stuck in first gear... it's a great idea - please deliver on it soon!  Thank you!

Posts 2820
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 7 2019 3:23 PM

Sean:
Faithlife, we know how you operate; no one is expecting a complete, fully polished product at the rollout of a new version.

I've decided the name, "Faithlife" was chosen because that's what the customer needs to stay engaged...a lot of 'faith' in their 'life' that the programmers will eventually deliver on what the marketing people promised.

I will disagree with you on one point: On the contrary, I *do* expect a complete, or almost complete, product at rollout. That's very different from, 'just started.' Part of the problem we have is our patient willingness to put up with so-called vaporware in terms of promised features. If we (customers) weren't so willing to tolerate it, the company would be forced to change or it wouldn't sell any product.

This approach has been too consistent to expect it to change, and it isn't the fault of the good folks doing the grunt work; it is a management philosophy issue. All we can do is make sure prospective buyers are aware of what they are getting in to, which I now do. As another post noted, we are locked in...we can either throw our invested money away or keep dealing with unmet expectations from the marketing hype.

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 10177
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 7 2019 6:46 PM

Doc B:
This approach has been too consistent to expect it to change, and it isn't the fault of the good folks doing the grunt work; it is a management philosophy issue. All we can do is make sure prospective buyers are aware of what they are getting in to, which I now do. As another post noted, we are locked in...we can either throw our invested money away or keep dealing with unmet expectations from the marketing hype.

I think I have L8, but I'm on L7 until I decide I need a new computer. But, it's interesting to be presented on L7 with 'this still doesn't work' and 'that doesn't work'. And I'm fully confident my (?) L8 has the same issues.

But, I do wonder ... no offense meant to FL. But the individuals have to know that deliverables are not there. As noted, pretty consistently.  No word to decently honest customers (not me, of course). I'd be uncomfortable in that situation.


Posts 1826
LogosEmployee
Phil Gons (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 12 2019 2:38 PM

This is just coming to my attention, and I'd like to apologize for how we did a poor job of setting your expectations for what to expect with the Theology Guide. The priority was to deliver the ST dataset, survey resource, and media, knowing that we'd not deliver the alignment with the full ST catalog that we or our users ultimately want. But we didn't have the capacity to do both. Somewhere internally there was a miscommunication or misunderstanding between the people who built the Theology Guide and the people who described it on the website. We didn't do a good enough job reviewing the materials to make sure they accurately reflected the state of things as they were at launch rather than what we'd like them to be in the future. This was not an attempt to mislead but a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing. I'm sorry for that.

I'm working with the teams to revise the communication to make sure it's accurate and sets the right expectations for users and to make sure we have better systems in place to catch these kinds of things before they make it outside the building in the future.

I'm also working to accelerate alignment for the rest of our ST catalog. We did the first small batch internally. Our external team is now trained and beginning to work through the long list of STs. We should have many more showing up within a month or so, if all goes according to plan.

I'm sorry for how we failed to communicate well and set your expectations for what to expect and for the slow progress in getting more STs aligned.

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