Moving topic cones

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Moving a topic cone can mean two or three different things:

  1. Placing it somewhere else under its present parent;
  2. Taking it away from its present parent and associating it with another topic; and, maybe,
  3. Leaving it with its present parent but associating it with another topic as well.

Can I drag cones around to re-arrange the order?

"I can't seem to drag cones or pyramids around in the 'Scape. Is it possible to do this, or are they "fixed" in the positions the program places them in? I'd like to be able to set up a layout and see it next time I came to this part of the Topicscape."

(This deals with number 1. on the list above)
If you mean pick up a cone and move it or slide it around, you can't do that because the cones are laid out to show their place in the hierarchy and maximize visibility of cones in the background. But they can be sorted in several ways, and that allows them to be re-organized to your personal needs. Using the sort function (main menu: View | Sorting in 'Scape), you can show cones sorted:

  • by name;
  • by the date/time that the topic was created;
  • by the date/time that the topic was last modified;
  • by the date/time that the topic was last made current; In other words when it was made into the central topic (the one identified by a yellow glow) by a double right-click on it.
  • by the number of occurrences inside each topic.

When there is a need to force a particular sequence, you can prefix numbers to the topic name as shown in the user story about the Topicscape used to plan an MBA paper and then choose to sort by name. In that case, the user numbered the topics according to the sections in his report, so sorting by name presented them in the order of numbering. It's a good idea if you do that starting at 01 instead of 1 or the numbers after 9 won't sort where you want them too.

The reason for the program-controlled layout is that any topic in the Topicscape can be the central, Current Topic. This would mean that Topicscape would potentially have to store thousands of layouts for one Topicscape. Worse, the user would have to specify these layouts and perhaps have additional work to do every time a topic was added. We believe we understand what you want. We may try to think of ways of allowing it, but the underlying grid layout has to be followed to ensure space for the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on. These are calculated in real-time whenever the user requires the Current Topic to be changed.

The immediate parents of the Current Topic - the elongated pyramids - are not sorted. There are deep technical problems in doing that because of the recursive logic used to lay out the 'Scape each time you pick a new topic to be the Current Topic.

Finally, adding new associations allows you to change the layout if you decide that a topic should be the child of another topic (in addition to, or instead of the present one). As you have probably found, if you try to drag a topic, a green dot appears and is dragged instead - this allows you to make (or break) associations.

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