[ZWeb] proposal: one Zope wiki

Simon Michael simon@joyful.com
Sun, 19 Jan 2003 12:16:29 -0800

>> I'm just a little concerned with "free-form".  Structure is good.
>> Organisation is better, Nazi is bad.
> I dont know exactly what Simon meant by free-form here, but It sounded
> like something cool :)

I didn't mean anything special, it's just a hand-waving word there.

I think there's a misapprehension that wikis must lack structure and
organization. A wiki can become as highly organized as the community cares
to make it.

> Free form is anti-narrative.  

Perhaps I shouldn't have used that word there. "collaborative" would
probably have been better.

> It took me a long long long long long time to be able to figure out
> ZPatterns, even though it has a comprehensive Wiki.  Many small
> documents (some large ones), so I was constantly clicking on things to
> get their definition and losing my context of trying to understand the
> whole.

Totally valid point, we are seeing the same problems.  I wrote a little
about narrative docs at http://zwiki.org/GuidePages . The parent page
(http://zwiki.org/ZwikiDocs) might be of interest, it distinguishes a
couple of different kinds of wiki docs.

> My personal opinion is that there's a lot of Wiki data that would be
> better to un-wikify (or is so out of date that it should be destroyed
> altogether).

I feel the same way, though I usually prefer to
destroy/refactor/condense/update than un-wikify.  Anything I un-wikify,
I'll have to maintain and there's a good chance it will molder. As long as
others can modify it, it will get maintained whenever the need grows
strong enough. The world scales better than I do.  Also note
"un-wikifying" can be as simple as unchecking a permission.

> Let it be a central wiki with this one admonition - PLEASE let there be
> little or no pages of bulleted lists of wiki names without some
> description (this pattern is very common on many Zope.org wikis, which
> contributes to my perception of them being more of a dumping ground than
> useful documentation).

I agree, that's quickest & least useful kind of link list.  Adding
descriptions makes them much more useful, and more so when descriptions
are updated.

These are pleas for higher-quality wiki docs, which is my concern too.

> By the way - is this proposal to unify all the Wikis on current
> Zope.org?  I was under the impression that it was how the NZO wiki
> situation should be dealt with.

I'm proposing that those interested in zope wiki content collaborate in
one central wiki, hosted somewhere.natural.on.zope.org, running up-to-date
software and UI. Right now I'm proposing "one central zope wiki", not
"only one zope wiki".

As soon as it's reliably up and accessible to the community, NZO is
probably the place to do this, since it will replace zope.org and has
current zwiki.  Until that time, no reason we can't continue developing
content on zwiki.org, and to some extent, zope.org's wikicentral.

Final note: I read your "never had a positive experience with wiki" report
and found it interesting (I think you will eventually. What about
wikipedia.org, don't you think that's worked well ?). I don't propose that
anyone in particular use wiki for anything in particular.  I personally
think it's a killer documentation tool, and if so this will be
demonstrated by results.  This need not interfere with other efforts.

If any of the following result from the central zope wiki, we have a win!

- we get a central area for collaborative zope documentation that's easier
  for readers to find and maintainers to work on

- we get an update of the wikicentral list

- we gather some scattered content from the zope.org wikis or elsewhere
  into one place

- we make some of those wikis unnecessary and we delete them

- we start a community-driven zope FAQ (somebody correct me if I'm wrong,
  but in 2003 we have no real zope FAQ)

- we generate source material and provide a better working area for people
  working on non-wiki docs

- we develop a highly organized, cooperatively maintained, valuable
  central repository of zope documentation

- etc.