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Wiki control

Richard Watkins

NAWCC Fellow
May 2, 2004
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I have noticed some discussion (I can't remember where) on the philosophy of a Wiki; this concerned credited or anonymous articles.

For a Wiki to work it is essential that it is strictly limited to factual information presented in a encyclopedic style. This means, amongst other things:

Anonymous articles: Because articles can and should be edited by a number of people, attributing authorship is neither practical nor useful. As a consequence, articles must be impersonal articles with no use of personal pronouns.

No emotive text: Articles cannot be emotive. For example, in "Switching" there are phrases such as "self proclaimed experts," and "certain so-called experts". Such may occur in a message board thread, but they have no place at all in a Wiki.
 

John Hubby

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This is not WikiPedia, but VaultWiki for the NAWCC MB.
Sam, that is no reason for the NAWCC VaultWiki to be totally unstructured as it is developing. I agree with Richard that it will very rapidly become unusable unless some real thought is put into the structure and that is put in place. Richard's point about having a separate place or forum where the problems can be worked out, or where tutorials can be provided, is also on target.
 

Richard Watkins

NAWCC Fellow
May 2, 2004
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Sure! And YOU are going to set this STANDARD up and enforce it?
Sam, sorry this will be long.

There are a number of points raised by your question.

First, I do not believe members would consider me to be the right person to exercise dictatorial control. Either someone else or a committee is needed. But if you think I am the right person then I will consider doing it (but see below). That will, of course, require administrative powers over the wiki base; the administrator(s) have to be able to do tasks such as change categories, change structures, change article titles, move articles, and even delete articles.

Second, I do not know anything about the software driving the wiki. I do not know what documentation came with it. I do not know what support is provided (I am aware of 2 faults in the software that need to be corrected). Most importantly, as far as I am aware there is no documentation on the category structure and how multi-level categories can be created, or even if they can. (And I do not know if the vault wiki menu can be changed to include different items.) Basically I have no idea of the potential or otherwise of the wiki.

Third, as far as I know no-one has worked out a statement of purpose for the wiki. You noted "This is not WikiPedia, but VaultWiki for the NAWCC MB." But that does not answer the important questions such as: Who is it for, members or the general public or both? If the public are included then how do the access it? I would assume we would rather the public be directed to the wiki rather than the day-by-day chatter on the MB. What material is acceptable and what is not? Should stub articles (with only a couple of lines of information) be allowed, or should the authors be made to produce something worth reading before it is accepted into the wiki? Should there be a number of moderators to supervise different categories? And so on. At present there are no guidelines, no-body is checking articles etc (go to special pages and see that almost all articles and pictures have not be placed into categories) ....

Most important is: what is the relationship between the MB wiki and wikipedia? And what should it be? These are absolutely vital questions. At the moment the MB wiki is so new and has so little information in that wikipedia is without doubt the preferred place to go for horological information. So when the MB wiki developed what will it contain to make it a viable alternative? What should we do about the wikipedia articles which have dubious content? Change it or simply put the corrected information in the MB wiki?

I think there is a real danger that the MB wiki will simply become a repository for the personal writings of MB members and it will not serve a useful purpose. If it does no more that mirror the existing MB thread structure then I very much doubt that it will achieve anything useful and it will never, ever compete with wikipedia.

Without some serious attempt to establish policies for purpose, content and structure it is quite possible that, after the first flush of excitement, people will cease contributing. I myself am hesitant to put much effort into it because I suspect contributing to wikipedia may be much more effective, especially from the point of view of public education.
 

kirxklox

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Richard: I have had myself placed as Temporary Moderator. There is a lot of WORK needed to be done.

Thank you for throwing your name in the HAT.

We are looking for unbiased moderators to assist you.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Aug 24, 2000
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I think we want to make the message board wiki the best resource it can be.

Since our members are largely non-Wikipedia users, they are not familiar with the social context of the wikis that generally exist both on Wikipedia and in other contexts.

The Wiki must be multi-author to reach its potential, in my opinion. To me that means largely anonymous. Contributors names can and will appear, but they are not prominent or particularly important. The content is what is important.

We have a blog facility that can be used by those that want to post editorial content. I would encourage anyone with strong opinions on what is right and wrong to use the blogs.

We also have Social Group discussions where folks with a particular mindset can rail against all those things that annoy them or, for that matter, please them as a group.

It is perfectly OK in my mind to post opinions as comments on a wiki article, but the wiki article itself should strive to have the personality of the message board, not any individual and it should also avoid expressing opinions other than those of the NAWCC reached by some consensus process.

Once we get the wiki staff in place, we will need a general cleanup and organization effort. I hope that those who have posted material in good faith, that is not appropriate will not be offended when it is changed.

The history facility will always allow one to go back and look at the article as it was originally created, or indeed, before any particular edit took place.

I think we have an opportunity here to do something very good. I hope we do not let old feuds and disagreements get in the way.
 

Richard Watkins

NAWCC Fellow
May 2, 2004
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www.watkinsr.id.au
Richard: I have had myself placed as Temporary Moderator. There is a lot of WORK needed to be done.

We are looking for unbiased moderators to assist you.
Sam, at the moment I am still an outsider, an ordinary user. I know you and Tom are doing a lot of work - are you a committee? Some of the work needed is setting some basic principles/guidelines so everyone, including moderators and admin, have a clear basis to work on.
 

Ray Fanchamps

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Richard you extended an offer which we would like to accept.
Sam, Tom and I will work with you to get things moving forward. We are at this time in a "holding pattern" until we can have someone (like you) in place to lead the project forward.
Currently there is no committee, the new wiki administrator will put a team together and build from there.
 

kirxklox

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Dec 17, 2002
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Richard: I am just a Temporary Moderator and Tom is the Lead Project Manager for the Wiki. Ray is the overall Admin of this system.

As soon as someone can take over as the Wiki Coordinator (?), I will step back and do what I enjoy as a Technical Designer and Advisor.
 

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