Heh, don’t know about pattern catalogs… ?! nonetheless, please don’t get discouraged or distracted by what I said in the CSC Agora, that I categorized the GameStop event as emergent and BitCoin/crypto-currencies less so (for example), just a choice arbitrarily made up. Here’s my line of thinking:
Emergent events have a timely/urgent component to it, as they’re unfolding in real-time, and the sensemaking tries to understand and make sense of them as they’re happening. Typically, what’s actually going on would not be known/knowable by any party, no matter if it’s simple events with unknown/unknowable aspects/factors or if it’s a complex situation, some of which could be understood in theory but the complexity prevents observers to get a clear picture of enough of the processes, or alternatively because of the complexity, the processes are not known or their interplay understood in the first place, even if all the facts and measurements were known.
So the challenge here is to make sense quickly, with incomplete, false and/or conflicting information. During the emergence, new information might arrive, which changes the entire interpretation and sense made so far. You have to be careful as some news might simply be misleading, false, or deliberate attempts to fool observers. You probably want to be able to support/entertain multiple interpretations/scenarios/perspectives at the same time, as you can’t know which, if any, is accurate, and update them frequently/quickly as you learn/research more about them, while incorporating and adapting to incoming updates. There might be many reports, news outlets and experts discussing the situation, and you can’t know if and in which regard they’re right, as well as who’s a credible authority in their field and who isn’t, plus many regular people might equally know and contribute important details, as well as in good faith offer interpretations that are based on outdated/superseeded information, or missing important factors. Also, there might be parties who know more, but hold back or only selectively supply updates, or only with a certain spin/narrative.
Doing this well is not that easy without some training/exercise I assume; also, one will always make many mistakes, so no point in going for perfection, it’s worth a lot doing it better than others. For that reason, you want to be able to update, correct and retract as well as expand earlier sensemaking very explicitly, also maintain top-level overview and the amount/degree of changes, while also being able to drill into the details as all of them might matter, or change in their relevance. Good to have decent tools handy, good to keep an audit trail to review during the exercise or later that interpretations were made in good faith, considering and reflecting the information available at the time, not only if there’s allegations/liability, but also to improve the sensemaking process for the next emergent event, to learn from mistakes and get a sense about how these things tend to go.
On the benefits, you get a good deal of insight and learning about a certain topic in short time for gratis, with the attention of many people swarming the particular problem domain, where otherwise and usually nobody really looks or cares. The material you collect and compile can be used later, with the downside that it may take a generation or two until the event is entirely forgotten and only then repeats again. Then I wonder what the purpose would be, because doing so as a commercial service already leads to trouble of potential conflict of interest and liability if it’s not according to journalistic standards if someone bases decisions on it, and it’s a bit stressy trying to track things in almost/near real-time (also, is everybody in the same timezone, what about the night, is it with actors/effects spread over the globe?).
Would assume that this is common practice in newsrooms and war-rooms. Emergency responders and especially the military try to always maintain situational awareness in an incomplete, complex, changing, potentially chaotic situation, and still manage to do a best-effort attempt. Sometimes, lifes may depend on it.
If the Guild/team pool on standby decides to go on a sensemaking Quest on an emergent topic, would assume there’s some Roles to split up the work and specialize somewhat (separation of concern), and also then some coordination role(s) for integration or even independent monitoring (to avoid getting too deep into the weeds or cluttered up and subsequently missing to track the bigger picture or sources/indicators of low visibility, or to also digg into contrarian interpretations/hypothesis).
Examples could be the Wikipedia article on Fukushima, which is famous for being more complete and up-to-date than most of the news reporting, because the crowd of many people contributed way more insight than a newscast could gather and condense on this unknown/complex case. “The Disk: the real story of MPs’ Expenses” had its urgency from the scoop leaking to competing newspapers, while they had to scan a lot of documents in short time. Oroville dam, with lots of reporting on current measurements of how much water runs down the spillway(s) and what the weather is or will be and how much water is in the lake, but you also would need to research a bit about dam collapses and especially earthen dams, and then think about watching the dam at night, when indeed things can happen no matter if you can or can’t see anything and consider question whether or not to evacuate.
Counter-examples for less-emergent topics are probably those that aren’t that urgent, or not developing in real-time at last, so there’s more time to read up on them, usually they’re already well researched/discussed/explained, more of the effort to read up on all the known stuff and condense it into an understanding/model that makes some sense. Can easily happen that important details or main factors are omitted or not much visible, by being “obvious” or under-reported or of little previous/assumed interest/relevance, or they’re much over-done in too many detail so that the noise/clutter obstructs a clear view, etc. etc.