Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!

<-- Previous | Newer --> | Current: 983451792 OprgaG at Thu, 01 Mar 2001 13:03:12 +0000.


I don't want to be a wet blanket, but I don't think a wiki is appropriate for a project like this. If your emphasis is on fast growth of the page database, you totally break all the existing structural systems of the wiki. For instance, RecentChanges is no longer functional. Secondly, wikis exist in a very [ long now]. You have time to consider what you add. A repository of information should be like this, I think. Encyclopaedia were invented by the Romans to summarize what the Greeks had taken centuries to come up with. Indeed, the Romans didn't derive much new; just bad summaries. Meanwhile, the Greeks were still chugging along deriving new things. 

It's more interesting to layer in more information, not just collect it, and then interpret the information. Wikis help you to '''collate''' the information into a reasonable order, and '''connect''' the information to '''derive''' new insights. These are valuable contributions--mere collection can be achieved through Google. But it takes time to resolve information. So, you have to move slower.

Quality is better than quantity. In my opinion, anyway. -- SunirShah


Too late!  We've already started!  :-)

I personally am very sympathetic with what you say here; I think quality is very important.  But if you look around, you'll see that quite a few pages here are of surprisingly good quality.  This suprises even me and I'm the one who pushed Jimbo to set up this wiki, and I am promoting it on NuPedia.  Perhaps you should have a look at NuPedia and see if that's more along the lines of what you would like to see; I suspect so.

One could plausibly argue against the substance of what you have to say above, though: the best way toward quality is, indeed, to open things wide and let many people participate and improve what's here.  Personally, I don't know if that's a very good argument; it's an empirical question, whether this sort of thing can work in the long run.  But I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Actually, we're just having fun, or I am.  WikiPedia is sort of a break from the more serious business of NuPedia for me.  But it might end up being a very valuable resource in itself.  Frankly, it doesn't much matter if it doesn't turn out to be a very valuable resource!  Regardless, we will have taught each other quite a lot.  I mean, I've already learned a fair bit just reading other people's articles! -- LarrySanger

I think NuPedia is really good. I can see what you mean about this being a play area, though, but I think you might also benefit from a few other things that you can propogate back to NuPedia, like maybe MeatBall:BackLink""ing, MeatBall:AccidentalLink""ing, MeatBall:SoftSecurity, etc. That would be really cool. -- SunirShah

Personally, I think wiki is a perfect tool for collection information, if only because of the ease of editing text.  That way information can go in quickly, and get validated or added to as necessary, without a lot of overhead.

I would say that SunirShah is wrong about this breaking the structure of wiki.  Rather, I think what it does is break the ''culture'' of wiki, and thus the old structure can't serve properly in their old roles.  But there's nothing to stop WikiPedia from developing its own style, with things like RecentChanges filling different niches.  And in fact, as much as I like wiki, I would say that's a good thing.

Admittedly, though, Sunir has a lot more experience with wiki than I do. -- JoshuaGrosse

I think that the rhythm will settle down in a few months. Right now, the excitement has outstripped the technology, as you have noticed from the UgLy links that are being made. Free-form linking may not be a bad idea here, but more thinking about NamingConventions may be better.

I've been thinking lately about the differences between the technology of the wiki, the culture of a wiki, and the medium of a wiki. I'm fairly certain the culture of a wiki is necessary to keep it stable. Hence, MeatBall:SoftSecurity. But I'm interested in other successful models. Right now, I'm certain what's happening here is not good. It will hurt you in a year.

One thing to keep in mind. There are two audiences to write for on a wiki: the one today and the one five years from now. -- SunirShah
I think you're a bit jealous, Sunir.  :-)  Who and what will be hurt in a year?  Suppose no one is interested in WikiPedia in one year.  So what?  Who cares? -- LarrySanger

Seconded!  In fact, I think it is almost necessary that this early growth should be unsustainable.  The first thing that should happen to an encyclopedia is a filling in of all the easy, broad topics, and obviously that can't continue indefinitely.  Nor should it.  Once a competent review of physics appears, it makes ''sense'' that writing in that field should die off, even though it was really fun to those who participated in it.

After that wikipedia might settle in to a long, slow expansion, where new topics are mostly things like biographies and book reviews.  At that point people might lose interest.  But by then they'd already have surveyed out most of the simple topics, hopefully enjoying themselves and creating some text of value.  I don't think its any great tragedy the community doesn't last beyond the stated goals of wikipedia. -- JoshuaGrosse

Yeah, I think you're right. I think the freeform linking may be the thing you need. Most of the cruft comes from the poor choice of a LinkPattern (suited best to""s). -- SunirShah