Author Topic: Reviving the Wiki  (Read 12762 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline CAD

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
  • I've got my eye on you!
    • View Profile
Reviving the Wiki
« on: September 01, 2010, 02:01:30 pm »
As I have already said, I have had great success running a wiki in my work environment.
It is designed more as a web page with editable content.

I have thrown together a rough version usinging tikiwiki. (by no means professional but gives an indication of how it could work)
http://www.nimidia.com/pvd_wiki/tiki-index.php?page=UserPagecadishere
 
As nostra is administrator of wiki and PVD is his baby, i'll leave the decision up to him whether a wiki redesign is ok.
three fingered salutation

Offline rick.ca

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3241
  • "I'm willing to shoot you!"
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2010, 09:35:16 pm »
Quote
As nostra is administrator of wiki and PVD is his baby, i'll leave the decision up to him whether a wiki redesign is ok.

That's not how a wiki is supposed to work. I'm also an administrator of the wiki, so I'll answer for nostra. If you have an idea for improving the wiki, go ahead and do it. It's administrators are not editors—users are the editors. That's what makes a wiki a wiki. If an administrator or another user doesn't like your changes, they can easily undo them or make their own changes.

It's the common assumption that a wiki is maintained by "someone else" that causes a wiki to fail. I believe my proposal for an Integrated Help Forum naturally overcomes the barrier this faulty assumption creates. Seeing a help topic being discussed and revised in very same thread in which it's being read makes it obvious it's user-created and maintained documentation.

Offline patch

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2010, 10:53:46 pm »
I have thrown together a rough version usinging tikiwiki. (by no means professional but gives an indication of how it could work)
http://www.nimidia.com/pvd_wiki/tiki-index.php?page=UserPagecadishere
imo the content of your home page is better than the existing one so I would be in favour of replacing it with yours. Well done.

Offline CAD

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
  • I've got my eye on you!
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 08:09:53 am »
Quote
imo the content of your home page is better than the existing one so I would be in favour of replacing it with yours. Well done.
Thanks Patch.
I've asked rick for edit access to home page. if he gives me access I will modify it to be more like   
http://www.nimidia.com/pvd_wiki/tiki-index.php?page=UserPagecadishere
(hopefully better)  ;D

Quote
That's not how a wiki is supposed to work.
It doesn't have to be something that is super dynamic and content changes a lot.
My experience is that the pages are fairly static (especially how it is used now).

I would think that if it was laid out nicely and had a few simple "how to do stuff" guides that are clear and concise.
New users could go there and have a "getting started guide". Anything more complex would be through the forums.

Quote
It's the common assumption that a wiki is maintained by "someone else" that causes a wiki to fail.

This may true, but there is no indication that it has failed.  Is there a hit counter on the wiki? Maybe users go there read the content and it is enough for them to do what they want to. Just because it is not updated does not mean its not working. Probably the opposite. If it is getting hits, it probably means the content is good and doesn't need to be updated.

My experience is they fail because the design does not meet the needs of the users.

Quote
I believe my proposal for an Integrated Help Forum naturally overcomes the barrier this faulty assumption creates.
Maybe... there is no reason why they can't co-exist and complement each other in ways we haven't thought of.
 
three fingered salutation

Offline patch

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 01:00:47 pm »
Is there a hit counter on the wiki? Maybe users go there read the content and it is enough for them to do what they want to. Just because it is not updated does not mean its not working. Probably the opposite. If it is getting hits, it probably means the content is good and doesn't need to be updated.

There is a hit counter on each page see the page list

btw I quite like a table of contents which shows most of the available pages, the uniform hierarchy display as shown in the semi automatic contents is also good imo.

Not to say a linked contents could not also be used, I'm just not convinced I would like to use it yet.
Links from each PVD "menu option" / "menu bar option" straight to the relevant wiki page could be good though.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 01:03:02 pm by patch »

Offline CAD

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
  • I've got my eye on you!
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 03:28:12 pm »
Page list is good.

I've not had much luck with table of contents. It is too hard to order contents easily.
I have found wiki trails work quite well to provide a logical order and can be used to create a table of contents automatically.

I don't know if tikiwiki has the functionality to do this. Unfortunately the mark up language is a lot different to what I use at work (pmwiki) and i'm still trying to work out its quirks. Im also trying to figure out what its feature set.

Quote
Links from each PVD "menu option" / "menu bar option" straight to the relevant wiki page could be good though.
This is coming - I have done it using pmwiki and it is really good.
http://www.videodb.info/forum_en/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=1692.0;attach=480
was created with pmwiki and dynamically created. Click "create pdf" button and it gathers all the pages in it "breadcrumb trail" and created a dynamic page, with links to different sections. Makes it easy to create a user manual.

BTW i have updated wiki home - completely ripped off forum home page (sorry). :-[
three fingered salutation

Offline rick.ca

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3241
  • "I'm willing to shoot you!"
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2010, 08:54:41 pm »
Quote
BTW i have updated wiki home - completely ripped off forum home page (sorry).

That's not appropriate. This is the "home" of PVD. The home page of the wiki should be doing nothing to confuse that fact. Probably the most effective home page for the wiki would be a completed, properly organized table of contents. It could have a concise statement at the top that the site is the wiki for PVD, and that the home is here. There should also be an acknowledgement of the original creator and host of the wiki. That could be at the bottom of that page or in a separate "About the Wiki" page linked to the top of the table of contents.

Also make sure whatever changes you make do not adversely affect Russian users.

Offline patch

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 10:58:49 pm »
i have updated wiki home - completely ripped off forum home page (sorry). :-[
I liked your previous home page, what happened to that.

Actually having two official PVD support sites is confusing which I think is the larger issue
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 11:05:18 pm by patch »

Offline CAD

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
  • I've got my eye on you!
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 12:27:37 am »
Quote
That's not appropriate. This is the "home" of PVD.
No probs i'll change it.
just trying to get some content up in a format that shows the potential.

I wanted one of the menu bars on left or right side to act as TOC.
That would probably need someone with admin right to do it.
three fingered salutation

Offline rick.ca

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3241
  • "I'm willing to shoot you!"
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 01:42:46 am »
Quote
I wanted one of the menu bars on left or right side to act as TOC.

You can't do a proper TOC like this one in a menu bar, nor is that the purpose of it. If the home page is primarily a TOC, there can be no mistaking what is or what it is for. It's the sort of thing a user would expect to see when clicking a "wiki" link on an integrated site. Newcomers entering the wiki directly should be sent back here to learn about the software. The wiki is for those who are already users of the software.

If at all possible, any link on the wiki that directly or indirectly suggests home ("Home", "Personal Video Database," "PVD," etc.) should link back here. Similarly, any link that suggests a function already existing here (downloads, support, feature requests, etc.) should link directly back here. The wiki should be made to look and act—to the extent practical—as it were an extension of this site.

Offline CAD

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
  • I've got my eye on you!
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 03:22:23 am »
Quote
You can't do a proper TOC like this one in a menu bar,
i like what you've done. Just what i had in mind. - Links to high level content.

Quote
any link on the wiki that directly or indirectly suggests home ("Home", "Personal Video Database," "PVD," etc.) should link back here
Already does. any that i missed - let me know and i can (or you can)  ;) fix.

Quote
The wiki is for those who are already users of the software.
I don't entirely agree - i think wiki would be for new users learning about the software, features  what it can do, learning the basics etc.
Those who have used it for a while and have questions come here to the forums.
three fingered salutation

Offline rick.ca

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3241
  • "I'm willing to shoot you!"
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 04:36:24 am »
Quote
I don't entirely agree - i think wiki would be for new users learning about the software, features  what it can do, learning the basics etc. Those who have used it for a while and have questions come here to the forums.

If they are "new users learning about..." then they're users, aren't they? And it's up to them to decide where they want to be. My point is the wiki must not pretend to be a second home for PVD. It's sole purpose is to provide help documentation for users of PVD. Users of PVD don't need a second introduction or sales pitch. Give them what they're looking for—without the bullshit.

If a non-user's first introduction to the software is the wiki, they deserve to know it's limited purpose, and where to find the actual "home" of the application. Some will stay, as reviewing help documentation is often a good way to determine whether a program will suit one's needs, while also giving a indication of it's quality. So all the more reason to keep the wiki clean, professional and focused on it's purpose.

I've made a few minor changes to the wiki that are, more or less, based on this idea. I put links to "PVD Home" and "PVD Support" at the top of the menu list. I don't care if they stay there, if there's a better way to "integrate" the two sites. I removed a few of the "fluff" features that add nothing to it's main function. I was tempted to remove the forum as well, but editors may want to use that to communicate with one another on wiki matters.

A great illustration of why I'm fussy about this...The wiki originally hosted the program installation file. This was an extraordinarily bad idea. If it wasn't a perfect mirror of what was here (and I don't believe it was) it could only be a source of potential trouble. Even if a new user got a good file, they would be deprived of the knowledge of the location of the official file archive (here). My fix for this was very simple—I removed the file hosting capability of the wiki.

Quote
i like what you've done. Just what i had in mind. - Links to high level content.

What did I do? My suggestion was to use a TOC as the main component of the wiki home page. That's something functional that every visitor needs. So cut the bullshit and give it to them!

BTW, you may want to clarify the likely future of the wiki with nostra before investing a lot of time in it. It's currently running like a ghost ship—hosted by someone we've had no contact with (AFAIK) for over a year. I would want to know what would happen to the wiki if the plug were pulled. I think it would be rather presumptuous to assume nostra would recreate it elsewhere. Aside from finding it ineffective and a PITA to maintain, this is why I was trying to discuss an alternative.

Offline patch

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 08:39:40 am »
Quote
I don't entirely agree - i think wiki would be for new users learning about the software, features  what it can do, learning the basics etc. Those who have used it for a while and have questions come here to the forums.

If they are "new users learning about..." then they're users, aren't they? And it's up to them to decide where they want to be. My point is the wiki must not pretend to be a second home for PVD. It's sole purpose is to provide help documentation for users of PVD. Users of PVD don't need a second introduction or sales pitch. Give them what they're looking for—without the bullshit.
A wiki is a community maintained reference document. Ideally suite to cover basic and advance features of software.
Putting various forms of help documentation is sensible. Help documentation would normally start with a program overview so that could be added as well. Basically anything the community could reasonably expect to maintain.

Of course breaking copyright without permission is unwise, especially with nostra.

Quote
I've made a few minor changes to the wiki that are, more or less, based on this idea. I put links to "PVD Home" and "PVD Support" at the top of the menu list. I don't care if they stay there, if there's a better way to "integrate" the two sites. I removed a few of the "fluff" features that add nothing to it's main function. I was tempted to remove the forum as well, but editors may want to use that to communicate with one another on wiki matters.

Four links on the wiki home page to http://www.videodb.info/forum_en/ is just silly.

imo we do not need 2 PVD forum. wiki suport can be done here. While it is true the multi lingual support is better with the wiki software that applies to all PVD communication.

BTW, you may want to clarify the likely future of the wiki with nostra before investing a lot of time in it. It's currently running like a ghost ship—hosted by someone we've had no contact with (AFAIK) for over a year. I would want to know what would happen to the wiki if the plug were pulled. I think it would be rather presumptuous to assume nostra would recreate it elsewhere. Aside from finding it ineffective and a PITA to maintain, this is why I was trying to discuss an alternative.

Yep we know you do not like the wiki rick and would like it to die.
However your Integrated Help Forum is not an alternative. Sure it will give the moderators / thread originators power trip but it will do nothing to encourage community participation in the arduous documentation task, and users will be left to wade through crap to find their answers. Forums and wiki have different strengths and weaknesses. They can compliment each other well.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 06:20:03 am by patch »

buah

  • Guest
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 10:17:59 am »
What we miss at the moment in any form is what I call "Undocumented or "hidden" but very powerful PVD features". Maybe it would be good to establish a separate board for this, just for the start?

And I mean here on things like keyboard shortcuts, multiple editing, working with operators in advanced search, various commands in context menus, etc, etc...

Offline rick.ca

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3241
  • "I'm willing to shoot you!"
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2010, 10:37:34 am »
Quote
A wiki is a community maintained reference document. Ideally suite to cover basic and advance features of software.
Putting various forms of help documentation is sensible. Help documentation would normally start with a program overview so that could be added as well. Basically anything the community could reasonably expect to maintain.

I think we all know what a wiki is. What has this got to do with the simple point I was making?

Quote
Of course breaking copyright without permission is unwise, especially with nostra.

What are you talking about? Where is the copyright issue in this?

Quote
Four links on the wiki home page to http://www.videodb.info/forum_en/ is just silly.

Are you suggesting I delete CAD's work while it's in progress? As I explained, I made a few simple changes to the menu to illustrate a possibility. I suppose as the "wiki-hater" I should stay out of it, but it's something only an administrator can do.

Quote
imo we do not need 2 PVD forum. wiki suport can be done here.

Fortunately for those who may need it, I don't listen to your advice.

Quote
Yep we know you do not like the wiki rick and would like it to die.

My, how pathetically judgmental of you. ::)

Quote
Sure it will give the moderators / thread originators power trip but it will do nothing to encourage community participation in the arduous documentation task, and users will be left to wade through crap to find their answers.

Nonsense. I presented a perfectly sound proposal of which encouraging community participation and making the whole process easier and more efficient were the cornerstones. You made this silly claims before, and then failed to support them. It seemed you couldn't even be bothered to read what I had written. It's a proposal for an alternative to the wiki. You don't have to agree with it. I'm not sure I do. But there are very good reasons for considering alternatives. All you're demonstrating here is that you don't have the capacity to consider such things.

Offline rick.ca

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3241
  • "I'm willing to shoot you!"
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2010, 10:58:17 am »
What we miss at the moment in any form is what I call "Undocumented or "hidden" but very powerful PVD features". Maybe it would be good to establish a separate board for this, just for the start?

You're welcome to post whatever you like to the Support forum. Your topic might be on one such feature, or a group of them according to some theme. If they're good, we'll make them sticky. If there's many of them, we can move them to a new forum.

You're also welcome to add whatever you like to the wiki. The original author did an amazing job of covering most of the obvious topics, many holes remain unfilled. And those tend to be the more advanced ones that users really need help on. Also lacking are the "how to" type topics that actually explain how to do something complex and may require the use of many different program features—as well as external tools. For example, how to get started, import data from an existing database, mass import different meta data from a variety of sources, design a work flow for adding videos on a regular basis, etc.

Offline patch

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2010, 07:29:39 am »
I've not had much luck with table of contents. It is too hard to order contents easily.
I have found wiki trails work quite well to provide a logical order and can be used to create a table of contents automatically.

I don't know if tikiwiki has the functionality to do this. Unfortunately the mark up language is a lot different to what I use at work (pmwiki) and i'm still trying to work out its quirks. Im also trying to figure out what its feature set.

Where has everyone been looking to work out how to use "structures" which I think is what is behind the toc?

This tiki wiki structure manual page looks interesting
Problems with structure order is discussed here

btw, Like the header they have on the tiki wiki site and the all documentation page. I wonder how they do it. Makes me wonder if we could put the equivalent of the http://www.videodb.info header to increase integration and provide uniform navigation buttons.

The integration will be limited by having to maintain 2 logins and associated profiles however imo it could be a step in the right direction.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 07:43:23 am by patch »

Offline CAD

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
  • I've got my eye on you!
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2010, 08:45:04 am »
Quote
want to clarify the likely future of the wiki with nostra before investing a lot of time in it.
This is a good point - I don't want to invest a lot of effort in this if it is going to be dumped
Nostra?  :)

I guess i have shown that there is potential outside of simple wiki.

Quote
Where has everyone been looking to work out how to use "structures" which I think is what is behind the toc?
i really don't know enough about tikiwiki markup yet.

I know pmwiki well and  TOC / structures type stuff was really hard to get working well.
I ended up dropping it in favour of wikilinks. - one page links to another creating an index trail.
Im not sure if tikiwiki has this or some sort of equivalent.

i'll probably have install it locally to find out all its quirks, and then get rick or nostra to make admin changes or get them to grant me admin privileges if i needed.

Headers etc are good. was planning to groovy every thing up a bit as i figure out how :)

Quote
The integration will be limited by having to maintain 2 logins and associated profiles however imo it could be a step in the right direction.
I don't understand this??


three fingered salutation

Offline patch

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2010, 12:38:03 pm »
Quote
The integration will be limited by having to maintain 2 logins and associated profiles however imo it could be a step in the right direction.
I don't understand this??

In an ideal world we could fully integrate the wiki and the forum.
I think nostra looked at it when the wiki was first proposed and decided the time investment it would take him to move the forum to a platform which supported a wiki would be too demanding on his time. So the wiki was hosted on different software, by a PVD supportive user. (Actually there were separate English and Russian wiki if I remember correctly which were then combined into one.) If this was to be reconsidered I have no idea what software would be used as the forum in tiki wiki looks inferior to what is currently used here.

A way of making the wiki appear to be part of http://www.videodb.info would be to make the home pages identical.
Most of the links on the wiki home page would then direct the user to http://www.videodb.info pages, except of course the wiki tab.
Where this fails though is the logins/registration are separate between the different sites/software.

None the less, a wiki home page which looks and feels similar to http://www.videodb.info/forum_en/index.php and mostly links to www.videodb.info has merit imo from an integration perspective. Nostra would have to not object of course.

The alternative is we just make it as good as we can make it in its own way. Nostra would then be able to later move new useful functionality back here later if he thought some new features had merit.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 12:52:51 pm by patch »

Offline CAD

  • Power User
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
  • I've got my eye on you!
    • View Profile
Re: Reviving the Wiki
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2010, 03:29:25 pm »
Quote
In an ideal world we could fully integrate the wiki and the forum.
ok - get it.

look and feel should be technical feasible.
Look is based on css of smf forum software. I don't know if this is subject to copyright etc.

i am happy to try and get it as good as it gets at this (early) stage.
for me content, in a an accessible, logical format comes first - bells and whistles second.
+ there is the learning curve of making it happen.

I think what i have done so far is a good start and should make it a bit easier for users to find stuff.
 
three fingered salutation

 

anything