[Zope3-dev] Re: Development methodology (Re: Future CMF) (rant)

Simon Michael zope3-dev@zope.org
Thu, 10 Oct 2002 19:04:04 -0700

Guido van Rossum <guido@python.org> writes:
> Wikis often wither on the vine: we recently had a semi-disaster in the
> Python community with Wikis, where a Wiki was proposed and created for
> communications regarding backporting of fixes to Python 2.2.2, and then
> left mostly unused.  The few people who did use the Wiki found their
> bugs being ignored; most people who backported bugs didn't bother
> updating the Wiki.

Chris Withers <chrisw@nipltd.com> writes:
> I've long had the feeling that Wiki's appear to bve a very nice solution
> to this class of problems but just don't work in practice :-(
> How do other people feel about this?

I think they can work very well here. They're a versatile tool and like
anything else you've got to set them up right and use them effectively.
This can take some practice.

Some ways to reduce wiki deadness:

1. have a fast clutter-free page layout. Surfing the wiki must be fast and
content should not be diluted with irrelevant extras.

2. integrate the wiki seamlessly with email. People should be able to
monitor discussion and participate fully from their mail client.

3. do not make people register to participate.

4. make changes visible. Email integration as above, a FastChanges when
RecentChanges gets too slow, automated queries on the front page to
highlight key changes, stats, etc..

5. maintain the wiki. Keep the page hierarchy meaningful (surprisingly
easy); delete test and insufficiently useful pages; keep control of
ThreadMode (discussion) by channeling it to a single discussion page, and
summarizing or just deleting old comments elsewhere. This can be done by
one person or many, but it should get done. It's like refactoring a code
base to keep it clean. 

6. few, bigger wikis can be more efficient to maintain and to use than
many, smaller wikis

To explore these notions you could take a look at zwiki.org, where some of
these things have been prototyped.

For the record, I too like the idea of bringing a simpler PEP-like
approach into the zope dev process. The internet has RFC's. Scheme has
SRFIs. It's a good pattern. Zwiki has tracker issues[1], which are
numbered (and named); I use these both for bug reports and as
mini-PEPs. So I see no problem with emulating PEPs in a wiki.

Generally I feel that most of you are having a sub-optimal wiki
experience. It's my hope that eventually, or sooner, the community will be
using wikis which are leaner, meaner, and taking care of business.


..[1] http://zwiki.org/ZwikiTracker