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Dissertation

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  • Félix Zaniboni
    What does Herding Cats mean? Félix
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 30 8:19 AM
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      What does Herding Cats mean?


      Félix
    • Vance Stevens
      ... This is kind of a joke with Webheads, like Chaos Navigation. To herd animals means to keep them together and move them from place to place. A shepherd
      Message 2 of 3 , May 1, 2002
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        Félix Zaniboni wrote:

        > What does Herding Cats mean?
        >
        > Félix

        This is kind of a joke with Webheads, like Chaos Navigation.

        To 'herd' animals means to keep them together and move them from place to
        place. A shepherd for example herds sheep (and shepherd = sheep + herd). It
        is possible to herd sheep and cows because these animals like to stick
        together, and since herders can predict their reactions, they can use dogs
        and horses to keep the animals moving in the desired direction.

        Cats are completely different. Cats are not predictable, and cats are
        notorious for doing whatever they please. Can you imagine trying to 'herd'
        cats, that is keep them together and move them in the same direction?

        To me, the same applies to people who meet together online. In a classroom,
        teachers can keep students moving in the same direction because they have
        authority to control the students, and because the students usually come to
        the class having paid for a course which they all expect the teacher to
        deliver. Online is completely different. You never know who will show up or
        when, and each participant seems to have his or her own agenda and reason for
        being there.

        So I've been telling people that trying to keep a group of online students,
        or conference participants, together is like trying to herd cats. You need
        special skills and perhaps a special situation where the participants have
        agreed in advance to cooperate in a certain way. Webheads is not like that
        (either that or I lack the special skills).

        Fortunately however, I like cats, and I like Webheads, and I enjoy chaos
        navigation <;-(>)

        What about you?

        Vance
      • dk
        ... Felix, Cats are supposed to be too independent to herd like cattle. Cowboys, ranchers or gauchos sometimes have to move the cattle from place to place.
        Message 3 of 3 , May 2, 2002
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          > What does Herding Cats mean?


          Felix,

          Cats are supposed to be too independent to 'herd' like cattle.
          Cowboys, ranchers or gauchos sometimes have to move the cattle
          from place to place. Unlike cats, cattle have a natural tendency
          to gather together. So sometimes we say that something that is
          difficult or impossible is 'like herding cats.'

          Dave
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