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On Fri, 15 Sep 2000, Chris Withers wrote:

> Ken Manheimer wrote:
> > Convenient for what?  If you've ever tried to support a community
> > through a mailling list, you'll quickly notice that questions, and
> > their corresponding answers, repeat.  A lot.  The problem is that
> > while maillists are great for keeping people up-to-date on the
> > business of the community, and for disseminating dialogue, they are
> > not so good for building structures - for organizing content so
> > related pieces of a story are appropriately connected.
> The counter that this is that Wikis, in my experience (and maybe mine
> only ;-), are not a good medium for discussions. There's no threading,
> notfication or subscription, for starters...

Clearly, i agree that the absence of those things in the wiki is a problem
- i state that directly in the "problems to be addressed" section! *The*
thing to understand here is that we're currently in a position where
neither wikis nor maillists, in themselves, provide what we need.  We
need to do *something* in the meanwhile, if only to bootstrap the
process so we can get to the point where we have that integration.
(You'd have to ask brian and the dev folk, but i think the reason
we're going with wiki is because otherwise all this talk gets **lost**
- noone has the time to do the transcribing, etc.  At least with wikis 
you can preserve your thoughts and then email interested parties!)

My proposal is all about getting there - i yearn to get the time to do
some of what's necessary - at least ZClass-ification so i can do the
notification stuff in a clean way, because we're suffering without
notification - and i'm hoping there will be a window in not too long.
I think this discussion is evidence of the need, not of flaws in the

> > Wikis, as they stand, are not bad for organizing stories. 
> ..agreed, but a lot of Wikis are not being used for this. It's a
> difficult problem. You need a decent medium for discussion, like a
> mailing list, which needs to automatically (and that seems _very_ hard
> to me) extract the necessary 'story' bits and store them in a decent
> story-building medium...

Yes - it seems _much_ easier to me to have people annotate the existing
wiki (restricted, perhaps, to only adding text, not changing existing
text - that's easy to implement, though we'll have to go to some
effort to make it user friendly).  From the WikiNG proposal:

       For discussion, i can see two applications of a wiki document
       option that allows commentators (non-authors) to only add text,
       not change existing text.  (Zope would diff the new revision
       and reject it if it contains changes to existing text.)
       Simplest application would be accepting changes only at the end
       - weblog style.  Next simplest would be one that allows
       insertions anywhere, for comments next to subject lines.  (Zope
       could offer readers knobs for controlling visibility of
       annotations.)  The document authors could have the privilege of
       editing any text, to consolidate and refine.  Both applications
       would be useful for different kinds of discussions.

Wouldn't that be cool - with notifications to interested parties,
perhaps including diffs that showed the annotations, and a bit of
context?  (A further alluring step would be to allow notification
subscription options for getting the entire changed document, and
enable the email recipients to add their annotations in standard
email-citation style, and send them back to zope, for it to
incorporate the edits.  But that would take some authentication
provisions, as well as better email integration...)

> >  We all sorely
> > miss change notifications and ownership attribution, a preview button, etc
> > - but they're better, even as they currently stand, for building
> > longstanding artifacts than are mailling lists.  And hopefully, in not too
> > long, we'll be able to improve them, or provide something else, to do the
> > job right.
> Well, the WikiDot idea is starting to crop up in my brain a bit more now ;-)
> And since that'd be a Swishdot skin, it'd work with the PTK, and
> everyone's happy and focussed on what they want to be :-)

Well, this is, tangentially, a particularly interesting point for me.

I've been challenged with how to fit the WikiNG proposal into the PTK
- since the PTK is a prime digital creations content management focus,
management doesn't want to dilute resource assignments with other (eg,
WikiNG) content-management-oriented efforts.  So i have to figure out
how it would fit in that frame work - maybe this suggests a way.  I'm
having trouble fitting my mind around it, though.  Sigh.


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