What about extending the wiki...?

Jeroen Coumans jeroen at linuxfromscratch.org
Sat Mar 13 03:26:53 PST 2004

Anderson Lizardo said the following on 03/12/04 19:59:
> On Sex, 12 Mar 2004 18:29:39 +0100, Jeroen Coumans wrote:
>>I think the best course of action, should we proceed, would be to 
>>install the new version on the testsite so the regular wiki isn't 
>>interrupted. Installation is relatively simple, just needs a database.
> If this database can be MySQL, we already have one specially for tests.

Yep. Can we backup the Drupal site in case the Wiki fails? I haven't 
heard from Nicholas (the other Wiki maintainer) but he's MIA for a 
while. Shall we proceed with a test installation of PHPWiki-1.3.7?

> IMHO it's a little difficult to compare Wiki with a CMS, as they allow
> different levels of "freedom". Wiki is designed to allow free editing,
> that's why access control is not advanced nor essential.  OTOH, Drupal
> (or any other CMS) was designed for management of content, which include
> controlling who can edit what.
> This way, the choice of which tool to use rely mainly on how much
> freedom/autonomy we want for the website maintenance.
> Look how Jeroen's time to maintain the website and the FAQ got reduced,
> we must take into account that with a Wiki it will be a lot easy to the
> visitor itself fix a typo or a mirror maintainer fix his entry on the
> mirrors list. That is, we from the website team will be "freed" from
> trivial changes.

The idea is indeed to put the burden of adding and maintaining good 
content on the community, as it should be. What if both myself and you 
disappear from the community? Currently I'm not sure who's able to fill 
the gap. I'm looking for a permanent solution which is community-based 
so it needs the least possible administration. A wiki is the natural choice.

And I have enough trust in our userbase that they will do a great job of 
self-regulation. Also, this is a chance for the community to become more 
involved into the writing in a more permanent way, just as the hints 
have encouraged people. A Wiki could even absorb the hints project (and 
perhaps the patches too). In fact, in the long run, I think it should. I 
think the Wiki is the next logical step to sustain, evolve, progress and 
consolidate our community and its knowledge more efficiently. Take the 
following bottom-to-top communication channels (bottom=user, top=leaders)

- IRC: very fast, one-to-many communication "no" archives. Excellent for 
quickies & support
- Mailinglist & newsgroups: low-barrier, one-to-many communication with 
archives. Excellent for extending community knowledge & discussion. 
Archives are badly navigatable though, thus community knowledge quickly 
disappears and every newcomer has to relearn everything.
- Wiki: low-barrier, one-to-many & many-to-one communication with 
archives & easily navigatable. Excellent for extending community 
knowledge in a permanent way. Combined with the hints & patches project

Some information can be considered fixed and should be guarded 
carefully, for example via an ownership model which I've proposed. Each 
projectleader would regularly check his pages for accuracy.

> A CMS, althought is indeed more flexible than our current CVS/manual
> editting, still is a maintainance burden, because we need to keep track
> of user management, give different roles to the users allowing them or
> not to post a news item or modify static pages. But then "fine-grained
> permission control" is actually a feature of a CMS.

I think that by the time our Wiki will be abused as much as the 
mailinglists, we have decent user auth in our Wiki. PHPWiki-development 
is active lately, so we have decent prospects for a great succes of this 

Jeroen Coumans (jeroen at linuxfromscratch.org)
FAQ and Website Maintainer

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