Archives For wikae

Social Documentation

October 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

A long a convoluted series of thought-trains crashed together to give me this idea for a series of sites that I am now working on. It is mostly written in a notebook, but the gist of it is something I call “social documentation”.

It derives from me taking a step back and thinking about what I actually use non-Wikipedia wikae for, and how it is used by others. There are patterns in most wikae software that I like, but as implemented I can’t fit on other patterns that I would like. While I was thinking about this I was also considering how I would write documentation for my increasingly large and diverse client base.

I have a recipe in mind: WordPress + BuddyPress + bbPress + a custom theme + some plugins.

In the past I’ve been dismissive of BuddyPress because I didn’t use those patterns, and critical of bbPress because that software didn’t work the way I expected. Both projects have matured, and my understand of custom post types and the things that can be done with themes and plugins has grown. Now I think I can work with those frameworks.

And of course I am going to make it really complicated, by running my network of networks with multiple instances of social doc sites, which will share logins but have distinct communities (if I may presume that at least one other person will join me…). So there is that. ^_^

The first site that I will (well, should) focus on will be my work support documentation. That is straightforward in that it is easy to imagine what it looks like. If you’ve ever used a site that was titled a “knowledge base”, there you have it, though I endeavor to make it less boring and more helpful than most kb sites I’ve used.

After that, though, documentation changes into something for which I use wikae: aggregate logs of role-playing game sessions, notes and tutorials for video games, deconstructions and commentary on cultural artifacts (me talking about a show I just watched), comprehensive reviews on computing devices, and food recipes. Those are all real examples of what I plan to build, each a different site using a similar format, but distinct enough to power its own groups of users.

Most ideas I have don’t have as much visual/typographical design involved, so I am not practiced in explaining it. But in time it will become clear, because I practice radical transparency, and I will also be looking for suggestions and design patterns to take.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned. ^_^

I thought about it for a day, and decided to set the wiki to only be editable by those with a confirmed email address. The main reason is that I don’t have time to fight spam now, and this may help. It isn’t a permanent decision, though I fear that I may just leave it like that out of frustration.

Eventually I hope to find a different method for combating spam, and if I went ahead with my plans for a wikae cluster and filled it with active communities, it might work. I’ve got to think about this, but I don’t have the energy to do so now.

Bummer.

I notice that a large majority of the bots that publish articles to the wiki only post once. I bet that most of them aren’t equipped to deal with additional pages in the workflow, so I made a very simple new filter. All it does is check if an account has ever edited before:

user_editcount = 0

Then it just pops up a message that says, “Hi! I am glad you are editing the wiki. We pop up this message the first time someone edits the wiki, to throw off the spambots. But you, precious human, should just submit again and we will let ya on your way! ^_^”

So far it seems to be doing a good job so far. ^_^

Thinking in wiki

December 30, 2012 — 2 Comments

I’ve been really into wikae lately, as is apparent by how much I written about it. A wiki is a particular set of features and workflows, and it has its own mindset.

I am thinking in wiki.

This site is becoming more of a journal, where my posts are either about flash in the pan events, or part of longer thought out articulations. The frequency of posts has gone down, because I am doing more mind-mapping in other places, like text files in git repos, and in various wikae.

It has brought a few things to light for me, about how I write, and what I am trying to create. Here are a few examples:

  • Temporality – A lot of the things (most?) I blog about are not important to me after a few months. That means I have old announcement posts and tons of broken links that have no value, but I keep them to provide temporal context. I am not convinced it is that useful.
  • Anti/Social – I think blogging is very important, but it does bother me that blogs are essentially silos. This isn’t really a critique, just that instead of loading up blogs with like buttons and allowing people to leave comments with their social network credentials, it is probably more worthwhile for the majority of bloggers to assess what collaboration looks like for them.
  • Our tools are aging – The software that runs some of the most important spaces on the web, like MediaWiki and WordPress, were developed a long time ago. It is easy to find feature requests from years ago, still being pleaded for. Again, not a critique, just an observation of what popularity does to software, and how dominance affects the culture and motives of the community that supports it.

These aren’t new, obviously. It is just me glancing at the gap between two software projects/workflows (WordPress/blogging and MediaWiki/wiki). Then I think about StatusNet, and how it looks like it could be practically abandoned for other projects. In one sense, that is a bummer, and I’ve invested a lot of time in it. On the other hand, maybe it isn’t so bad for things to get torn down and built back up, especially considering the transient nature of status updates, almost all of which are unimportant to me a few days afterward.

I’ve really pushed MediaWiki hard in the last couple of months. I’ve bumped up against a lot of walls, and some of them stopped me. But overall, I am happy with the result, which is a system to collaborate with those that want to, and a relatively decent way to create bodies of useful content. I am rushing as fast as I can to configure all the extensions I think I will need, so I can eventually just focus on creating. That will be the real test.

Wikae spam

December 28, 2012 — 1 Comment

My wikae are getting spammed, so now I’ve got to step up my game. ^_^

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WYSIAWiki

June 22, 2012 — 1 Comment

Wikimedia Foundation’s prototyping a visual editor. Will that provide a hook for more digital literacy training?

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I am proposing that the plural of # be # (ending pronounced like eye). My basis for this is that wikis is hard for me to pronounce, doesn’t look as cool, and I also habitually pluralize words incorrectly with "eye"-ending sounds. I am going to use this word, and I strongly suggest you do the same. ^_^

One wiki

May 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

I am collapsing all my wikae into a single MediaWiki instance. Awesome.

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