This is the old discussion page which is archived here as it had an interesting effect on the wiki. If you want to raise new points please use EarthWikiDiscussion.
- I think this wiki is a failure.
Or at least it feels that way. I guess I must have some idealism left in me because I thought that in some way people might see this as an interesting thing, you know, somewhere you can add your own content and improve the existing content. I definitely used to be more idealistic after all I thought AcronymExpansions was a good idea (see the top of that page) once but I can see it really isn't now.
It's a bit like the FAQ I started for Parinux based on questions asked (and asked again) on the Linux mailing list. That FAQ may have helped people but I certainly never got the feedback for it that I thought I would. Feedback would have been useful to improve it but eventually I grew less interested in it and didn't have time to summarise questions on the list. Somehow I believed that having somewhere which was easier to edit would help people contribute and I fell in love with wikis. The wiki has been useful and groups have used it in the past effectively but often only for one page or a subset of pages without venturing outside. (e.g. EarthlingsInfo, NottLUG - mostly just the members list, OxLUG - mostly for the installfest stuff, the DebianExpoList)
I can't force people to use it nor would I want to but it's a shame to see it not really being used to its full potential. I guess earthlings are the people (besides me) who use it most. I think what I would really consider a success is when I look at RecentChanges and the top changes aren't me and aren't spam. I don't really know what that means. I guess I feel that CategoryComputingTips could be a lot more useful - there is after all a lot more knowledge out there - but that I don't really know how to make it so and without other people helping lack the motivation after all if no one is participating surely no one can be reading and yet there are people reading (well according to the webstats) and they can't all be just me.
Equally I'm not sure why people would add information here. I mean, I don't know what this wiki has over others (apart from the earthling/nottlug/oxlug connections) and I don't have an idea of a particular category of information that people would be very likely to add to either. I'm lacking a killer sales pitch. Maybe we could start a tradition that for every page you view you have to add some interesting comment somewhere a bit like an ObHack. But that's a little too structured really.
I don't mean to say that this is going away (though if you think it should feel free to say so ) and I also don't mean to be ungrateful for those that have contributed. Various friends of mine have added their bits or made existing pages better which is much appreciated. It just feels slightly as though there's this great potential here that is going unharnessed. Maybe that's my idealism again.
I can see what you mean, and I have quite often set things up with the idealistic impression that everyone will find them useful. Mostly it's been stuff to do with Crossfire, namely a couple of attempts to get a discussion list running and, more recently, seeing if people were interested in forums. Even the forums on my own site only really get used when I set up a topic and tell people about it - it doesn't just get looked at. I also know that Graham set up some forums for ex-Jubilee campus (one campus of Uni of Nottingham) but that they don't really get many hits.
I guess, as you say, all these things lack a major selling point. Maybe we need some help from a marketing guru
Having said that, I found that my blog along with others I host, have been rather successful. Although I kind of ran blogs on old websites, it was never the focus. I guess that's the major selling point for that isn't it? Think I might use my blog to advertise my forums a bit more
Anyway, just my thoughts and empathisations (is that a word?!)
you are definitely limiting your market share to those people who have have clue about what wiki's are and what you do with them, which i don't think is many people but might be the only people you are interested in i suppose. i don't think this site has much structure either. you might want it to all be random, but a bit too random and it becomes confused and people don't know what they could add to it anyway. i don't really know though. maybe that's why it seems confused to me.
so will this just appear on the page then?
Yes Susie, it'll just appear I don't honestly believe it's that hard. If you want to find out how to add content then you will. I did after all. Your comments about structure are interesting though. I think people need to know:
- to click on the title of a page
- to use the text search
- to get over their fear and just click! Go on you can do it!
"Wikis wock" I just think they're ahead of their time a bit to be honest. That and the fact that people won't really /want/ to change the content of a site that isn't theirs, because that's a bit like trespassing. Add that to the fact that there are MIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIOOONNNNNNNNS of people's webshites out there and what you have is something that should stick out but probably doesn't to anyone other than those who know you *and* know of your wiki. That narrows the number down somewhat I would imagine.
But wikis have been around for like years. Since 1995 at least (cf WikiHistory). I can understand the trespassing point but I'm not sure how to undo that. I guess the real issue is maybe that people don't have a lot of any worth to say and that they know that if they add rubbish it'll be deleted. Still even rubbish can be valuable in starting a discussion as it can be refactored.
i like that you can just doodle all over someone else's website, maybe because it feels a bit naughty (ooer). my problem is that once i have got here i have no idea what to put. most people have their own blogs now and so will put all their random poo in that and people will post comments if they want a discussion about it. maybe a wiki is just not different enough from blogs/forums/news to warrant lots of attention.
then again, this discussion page seems to be working quite well.
(i'm sorry huggiebun, you'll prolly get lots of emails now because i kept doing things wrong and having to save changes over and over again).
- Well I think the point is that the content here shouldn't really be just another blog. It's not really designed to be blog like anyway. The content is more likely to be HOWTOs or tips or factual information which can be made richer by the wide variety of people visiting some of whom can add something relevant to a particular page. I think a wiki is
or should be different from blogs. See http://www.wikipedia.org/ for instance.
I think structured wikis may be a better way to go. wikis like these are useful for random scratch pads (as you mentioned things like the OxLUG/earthlings pages are the only things that have really been used widely) because it's not all things to all people, and I don't think it suits a replacement for your web page, which is what you /seem/ to want. Actually I said to myself that I'd never end up running a wiki because I didn't think I'd ever care enough about them, but the Oxford Guide has enthused me - because it ends up being a structured guide that can be used as a normal web site. I was even thinking about the possibility of having some magic to make it into a printable guide book - now that's about as far from a traditional wiki as you can get! -- Dom
- I don't see what's different about that wiki particularly apart from good use of categories and reasonably strong structure which has come from this use of categories. Is that your point? Also I'm not sure where you thought that I wanted to have the wiki replace my webpage. I don't really see how that would work. A wiki shouldn't just be authored by one person after all. If your point is that this wiki doesn't have enough structure then feel free to add some.
-- SimonHuggins Having reread what I wrote, it actually makes more sense if you s/structure/topic/, I think. As far as adding to this wiki in a meaningful way (as opposed to using it as a "messageboard" which is what I'm doing, well, life is too short, I'm afraid.
Some real-life photos of the earthlings (not just South-Park style caricatures, nice as they are) would be nice, (though preferably not photos of alleged earthling initiation rites).
- There are pictures of earthlings in various photo archives around the web already though.
My amzingly well laid out ones (now I'm not using photopub any more ) are at http://the.earth.li/~huggie/cgi-bin/album.pl
Hmmm. I've had a squiz at MonthCalendar and it could have potential. I think there'd need to be a DayCalendar with time divisions and then you could hoover data out of that and export it via iCalendar so I could subscribe Mozilla Calendar to the Wiki calendar.
What sort of content do you want here ?
- Anything people in the UK are interested in ?
- Linux information (global) ?
- tips for setting up and maintaining a web server ? (ColoFAQ)
There are lots of wiki listed on SwitchWiki. I have an idea about something I want to write about, Imagine I'm paging through SwitchWiki for just the right wiki to stick it in.
I see yours listed at
Is this the one ?
There's no comment, nothing to draw people in, so I guess not. Moving on...
I have a wiki of my own, so I sympathize.
- I want content that is relevant to the people that are visiting. I guess that means mostly UK geeks though the role-playing contingent are slowly taking over a corner of it which can only be a good thing. I didn't create that entry at worldwidewiki - I think I created one on the moin wiki somewhere. The strong points are that it is used by UK Debian people for organisation quite a lot and it does have some other unique content which is interesting. I guess it's not an abject failure I just had hoped it would draw more people in to refactor and add content and such.
Then again if Debian can't do it with the debian wiki and all those potential users perhaps I shouldn't be ashamed
Simon, just jumping in here. Forgive me for intruding, but I have some advice. As you know, there is nothing intrinsic about wikis that will attract people to write on them. You need to build the social organization yourself through time honoured techniques, like marketing, organizing, leading, and teaching. However, coming to the site myself, there is no immediate GuidePost that directs me to what its purpose is and whether or not I align with it. The wiki is called "Stuff and Things" whose WikiMission is, "This is a fairly random group of pages which hopefully make some sort of sense." I don't know what to make of that. Do I belong or not? Deference of course goes to the latter (unless you're a good for nothing spammer).
What is our SuperordinateGoal? What CommonContext do you and I both share? What barn are we supposed to be raising together (cf. BarnRaising)? If you state these explicitly, then I'll bet your TeethToTailRatio would improve. Then you have to proselytize the wiki to others whom you think might share your goal. I personally don't think that wikis are really ahead of their time as was suggested; after all, you can teach the technology--it's not that complicated. The first step, if I may suggest, is generating interest.
That is basically restating what was said above, but with hyperlinks to MeatballWiki. One more thing I would suggest is that your initial topic should be more specific than "what the people want." You can expand your mission to fit what the people want after you have attracted them. You should select your target market, determine what they want (or at least one thing they want), and then focus on that for a while until you have enough momentum to expand your scope.
- It makes sense I guess. I went through a bit of an identity crisis given it used to be called Huggie Wiki when really I don't
think wikis should necessarily be owned by someone hence the confusion in the name but I think your points are valid (if peppered with rather more random links back to MB than I might have expected ). I'll have a look at working out what it could be and make it a bit more obvious.
I must admit I didn't realise you read stuff here. Scared now. -- SimonHuggins