Element parameters dialog box

If you choose Edit parameters on the element pop-up menu, press Ctrl+Shift+P, or double click the empty area to the right of learning buttons at the bottom of the element window, a dialog box with editable element parameters will open.

This dialog provides the following fields:

  • Element title - title of the element
  • Element number - it is the physical position of the element in the collection
  • Interval - the interval between the last repetition and the next repetition (in days)
  • Next repetition - date of the next repetition
  • A-factor - current A-factor associated with the element. A-factors reflect element difficulty. A-factors are interpreted differently for items and for topics (or tasks). Understanding A-factors is pivotal for efficient control of incremental reading. Modify A-factors to affect the flow of articles in the reading process. You cannot change A-factors associated with items. These are determined solely by the repetition spacing algorithm (Algorithm SM-8)
  • Ordinal - current ordinal number assigned to the element. You can use ordinals to sort the pending queue. This is particularly useful if you plan to release your own collection for use by others (e.g. via SuperMemo Library)
  • Forgetting index - current forgetting index requested for the element. Forgetting index will determine how well you remember the element. Forgetting index is not used by topics or tasks, but will take effect once you change the element type to item or generate new items from the topic (e.g. with Remember cloze)
  • Category - field that makes it possible to move the element to another category (i.e. different location in the contents window)
  • Comment - field that displays the comment associated with the element. If you want to write a multiline comment, use Ctrl+Enter to being a new line (Enter will accept the setting and close the dialog box)
  • buttons at the bottom of the dialog window:
    • History - button for displaying the window with the element's repetition history
    • Difficulty - display the difficulty of the element and its components
    • OK - accept changes to element parameters
    • Cancel - discard changes to element parameters
    • Help - get this page of help

You are most likely to use the element parameters dialog box in the following circumstances:

  1. Changing element's A-factor in incremental reading. Set A-Factor to 1.01 if you want your article to come up often in incremental reading. Set it to 2 if the article is of lower priority
  2. Changing element's ordinal (open the dialog and type in the new ordinal). You can also change individual ordinals by editing them in the element data window
  3. Changing element's forgetting index (open the dialog, press Alt+F, and type in the new forgetting index). You can also change individual forgetting indices by editing them in the element data window
  4. Moving the element to another contents category (open the dialog, choose another category in the Category field, and click OK)
  5. Changing element's type (e.g. to put back a topic-article on your reading list)
  6. Adding a comment (type it in the Comment field)
  7. Viewing the history of repetitions for a given element (click History). You can also view the history of repetitions by double-clicking the element data window
  8. Viewing the details of difficulty estimation for a given element (click Difficulty)

Elements that are tasks have the Task tab enabled in the element parameters dialog box:

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The Task page includes the following task parameters (this page is inactive for items and topics):

  • Tasklist - the tasklist to which the displayed task belongs. You can move the task to another tasklist by selecting the new tasklist in this combo box. You can edit tasklists using the tasklist manager
  • Description - description of the task that will be displayed in the tasklist manager. This description is also used by default as the title of the task element and as the initial contents of the rich text component that is used to describe the task in details. If you want to write a multiline description, use Ctrl+Enter to being a new line (Enter will accept the setting and close the dialog box)
  • Value - value of the task
  • Time - time needed to execute the task
  • Priority - task priority expressed in value earned in unit time (priority=value/time). Note that the deadline function may modify the actual value of Priority on a given day
  • Max - maximum priority, i.e. priority without considering the deadline function. This value is not used in sorting the tasklist
  • Introduced - the date on which the task has been introduced into the collection
  • Deadline - the deadline for executing the task (see Deadline function below)
  • Half-Time - the time at which the priority of the task will reach half of its maximum value before reaching the maximum on the deadline date (see Deadline function below)
  • Deadline function - the function that determines how the priority of the task changes with passing time
    • None - Priority is always equal its maximum value displayed as Max. This function is typical for reading lists where there are no reading deadlines
    • Standard - standard deadline function in which the priority increases gradually to reach Max/2 at Half-Time and Max at Deadline. If there is a deadline for a task, usually it becomes truly urgent only directly before the deadline. Your phone bill payment might be a typical example of standard deadline function
    • Post-Date - priority is zero until the Deadline and Max after the deadline. This function is useful for tasks that cannot be done before a certain date or which make no sense before a date. An example of post-date task might be buying a ticket that will become available only on a certain date
    • Decline - priority declines gradually from its peak value of Max to Max/2 at Half-Time. This function can be used for tasks that gradually decline in value. Responding to an e-mail is often subject to declining priority. Very often, the older the e-mail the less sense it makes to respond to it
    • Post-Decline - priority declines gradually from its peak value of Max at Deadline to Max/2 at Half-Time. This function can be used for tasks that gradually decline in value after some date. An example of a post-decline tasks is sending congratulations on the occasion of an appointment to a new position. It does not make sense before the position is actually taken over and it gradually becomes obsolete after the fact