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The INTP, the INTJ, and How Differences in Taxonomy May Vary by Personality

Wednesday May 1, 2019

Working with taxonomies, categorization, and tags a lot in my other, tech-oriented business, I generally find a philosophical taxonomy-thinking split across INTP and INTJ developer personalities, like so:

  • INTP developers don’t generally enjoy the idea of a single taxonomy and categorization system for a given body of information. Instead they prefer to develop those only as needed. In my opinion, the technology we refer to as “tagging” evolved from the Ne-Ti mindset: “Anything can be an anything. Don’t limit me. And, precisely speaking, a “doohickey” is also a word that ends with y, in addition to being a word that starts with d. Tags naturally suggest themselves.”
  • INTJ developers don’t generally enjoy using tagging systems without also developing a firm categorization, or a way in which the information ought to be consumed. We can be pretty didactic in that way. However, a typical INTJ has, or likes to think they have, a natural intuitive sense for the type of presentation that would benefit people using the system, and this often involves a firm information hierarchy. The INTJ prepares an interface for the foreseen best-outcome, and if some of the outliers have to look a bit harder to find what they want, so be it.

It has helped me greatly to be able to walk into a meeting with a client and get an idea of the ratio of those preferences, one to the other.

And these days, a lot of developers would say: ¿Por qué no los dos? However, one thought system usually takes priority in the overall scheme.

[Aside: Wading into philosophy a bit deeper, you might say the is-ought problem reflects a key perspective of the INTP psychology, and is related to this blog post’s question of ought information structure vs. is information structure.]

Well, thus & therefore one of my intuitive visions for this blog has always been the integration of a menu system which goes into topic and sub-topic, as opposed to only reverse-chronological content and loose tags. Because dammit, let’s get some structure around here!

I generally hate using blogging software for websites that will need that kind of topic & sub-topic formal taxonomy. But this blog evolved pretty organically on purpose, and one of my outcomes was, “this time I’ll fix it and make adjustments as I go along, for fun, which will get me on the road faster.” So far, it’s worked. The tech is really easy to manage with regard to presentation.

However, this menu system thing—getting that on the road could take a bit of thinking and it’s tempting to make the thinking pretty grandiose. Which is kind of the opposite philosophy, as compared to what got us this far.

There’s quite a breadth to the information I’ve shared here, and also a certain depth, and this (my head is expanding by the second) gets us into some pretty nerdy layout possibilities. I hate to say it, but I’m almost thinking we could really benefit from three columns or more for the wider screens here, guys. :-) We’ll see. In my personal projects I’ve been up to five columns where it made sense.

The important part, I’ve learned, is to keep gardening. Where I used to abandon sensory projects like this after a few weeks or months when form didn’t match vision, I’ve learned to kind of let them take their own shape over time, with adjustments made on an ongoing basis. I started this blog as a humble study blog, just a place to keep myself accountable and enjoy yet another secret blog where I could tool around.

One way of keeping it humble and avoiding a near-certain, raging, late-night design session is to start keeping a simple log regarding my thinking on the blog design. And so I’ve started a simple log, next to all of my other logs on topics from keeping a houseplant to birthday shopping for my wife.

I’ve also looked backward into this blog’s past a bit, and reviewed some old notes. INTJs are generally the type of people to hesitate to look back at the early phases of their projects because it makes them cringe, but after studying SJs for so long, I’ve learned that when you write the story you almost always end up celebrating the history. There’s a lot to that, and it does feel good to be able to stabilize the project in that way. Otherwise it’s simply never good enough—it never just is what it is, and that’s kind of a bummer.

Well: I’m looking forward to my next 100 years of blogging, as various progeny take up the task of keeping the dream alive, family relationships are strained, feuds are started, wars are waged, and incantations listing the hex color values of favorite pixels are chanted in between furious exchanges of laser fire.

[OR: You may see some big changes here, or you may not. This depends on how busy I am—the busier I am, the more procrastinating I do, the more changes you will likely see here.]

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