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#1 2011-07-21 11:27:28

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
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[wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

Is it just me or have all the images in the front-side of the wiki gone bye-bye? (Those that were uploaded and used on main content.) And when did the gallery end up like this?

You know… fuck it! Here’s a radical idea…

What if we turned textpattern.net into a Tag Reference only (ditching the wiki), and separated out the rest of the UI user pages (which are a little bloated anyway), and rewrote them (against the style guide) as a concise set of Google docs. The writing environment would be considerably easier to use, for one thing, and there would be no server or system maintenance overhead to worry about anymore (at least not MW).

Wasn’t Bert developing a Tag Reference in Txp? That could go in there instead of MW, which would still allow for customized code styling. I would take responsibility of rebuilding the rest of the docs in Google or something and we could re-establish authors that are currently dedicated to the cause (there are a lot of unused accounts in the wiki, no doubt).

Let’s face it. The MW installation has had it’s share of problems over the years—both technically and user-related—and it still has some that need to go away. The images thumbnailing has a been a problem for a long time (with no solution in sight). Plus just updating the system seems to be off everybody’s radar, and that suggests a new process is needed under the current manpower. A simpler process. One that won’t get corrupt every time Joyent does a server change.

The only issues I expect people would raise are:

  1. Existing links to documentation
  2. Translation efforts

I’m as concerned about these as anyone, but let’s be honest, again. Sometimes you just have to break what’s not working to make it better. I’ve seen the same thing said (in the Txp blog) about dev work towards TXP 5 too, and it’s a valid notion.

As for the wiki, we can leave the wiki in place as the new docs are built and nudge people over there gradually. Maybe an elaborate robots.txt file or something too. Whatever, but it can be done, and if a few links fall through and get broken, so what? The wiki is full of outdated information where the URL is pointless anyway. It might be a good time to clear that up with a new slate.

As for translation…Jukka already said it in the style guide thread, it’s far from being very effective as originally designed. Few translation efforts exist or are very organized. Most pages are so outdated against the English versions that starting clean elsewhere wouldn’t matter anyway. For those languages that are rather active (like Chinese, I think), we should be able to work something out in the new location.

But frankly, translation efforts just need to own themselves better. I.e., there is an English docs project that is the focus on Txp. Boom. And if a local community wants to translate it (which is great), they do it when, where, and how they want independent of the English editorial process. That wouldn’t be much different than it is now, except they could use whatever platform they want rather than try and manage it as mirror pages to the English version. That’s clearly a failed exercise. Again, some things get a little broken at first to make them better later.

How’s that for a radical idea? :)

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#2 2011-07-21 12:06:03

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

Radical idea aside, and getting back to the present…

It looks like not all images are gone, but a lot of them are, such as Basic prefs seems to indicate. Or has that always just been missing images?

Lots-o-work to do, and the platform is not making it easy anymore.

I suppose new images should be held off anyway until we have a new default admin-theme, and then use that.

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#3 2011-07-21 12:16:39

ruud
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

That’s what happens when someone without inside knowledge of a domain has to migrate it ;)
I’ll have a look tonight when I get home from work.

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#4 2011-07-21 12:43:50

Destry
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

Ruud,

Sorry, I wasn’t implying it was you. In fact, my memory was slow in coming back to the images problem, which goes back to 2008 (trace back from here). I now recall it just seemed like a dead end. If we could get that fixed, that would be one step in the right direction. Though I honestly can’t recall about the gallery falling apart. Another thing I just noticed are the empty gray boxes at the bottom of all the pages now. Maybe it’s a presentational thing only. I could help look into that.

Reference to the Joyent changes also has old roots. Don’t know if you recall when they updated the MySQL and it corrupted all content using language characters. What a mess that was. There’s still wiki content with that problem here and there, I’m sure. Stuff like that is what I meant.

Other wiki Admins,

Another thing needing done, undoubtedly, is an upgrade on the wiki. It’s several versions behind, I think. That is part of my reason for the radical idea, because wiki upgrades just don’t seem to be exciting. I can’t be doing everything for the wiki. If I have to choose something, it’s editorial, which should be evident to people at this point. There are several people with admin access in the wiki and to the server; somebody could take the role of being the “upgrader”. That would be helpful.

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#5 2011-07-21 13:23:12

gaekwad
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

Destry wrote:

What if we turned textpattern.net into a Tag Reference only (ditching the wiki), and separated out the rest of the UI user pages (which are a little bloated anyway), and rewrote them (against the style guide) as a concise set of Google docs. The writing environment would be considerably easier to use, for one thing, and there would be no server or system maintenance overhead to worry about anymore (at least not MW).

I have mixed feelings about this. I am very fond of Google Docs (the second best thing Google have ever done), but it could be misinterpreted as being a bit ‘low rent’ when viewed alongside a professional, stable CMS like Textpattern. Plus, the hyperlink format would be a mess, which increases the risk of someone getting it wrong and ending up at a dead stop…they get mad, complain online, it reflects badly on Textpattern.

If the MediaWiki install is old and/or broken, and updating/troubleshooting would fix some of the problems, I say fix it.

The docs site has so much potential, whether it’s a wiki or some other platform. I would be more than happy to contribute time and energy do re-writes, wikignoming and whatever else is required. I can’t code PHP, and I have no real wish to learn, so this is one way I can give something back.

Destry wrote:

The only issues I expect people would raise are:

  1. Existing links to documentation
  2. Translation efforts

Links can be rewritten with an .htaccess fix, that’s easy enough (if a little time-consuming to build, initially).

Translation efforts will, presumably, depend on the demand for translated versions and the quality of source material. If the writing quality is horsepoop, it’s probably lower on the translation agenda. In some ways, the forum is popular enough that it’s the de facto place to start looking before the wiki.

I am absolutely in favour of an overhaul of the documentation wiki, but my gut feeling is that a wiki is the right way to do it, even with a spring clean of users/content/etc.

(With all that said, I’m a flexible guy and I’ll go with whatever is decided…)

Last edited by gaekwad (2011-07-21 13:23:37)

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#6 2011-07-21 13:37:56

Destry
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

Thanks for the thoughts, Pete.

As most people will know, I’ve been a proponent of the wiki since day 1. A long time now. I’ve argued heavily for it even when it seemed nobody else wanted it. In fact, a lot of people are probably looking at my head post here and thinking, ‘what the fack?!’

So, I’m happy to stay with the wiki too, and I do think it’s a good tool for the job. But wiki’s are great when maintaining them is shared, both in administration and content development. If either of those two things becomes a burden, which I sense the admin part of things kind of is, then you have to wonder if it’s the right tool anymore, or if it’s getting in the way of keeping the content current and good. That’s where our use of a wiki has been a bit dismal. I won’t say horrible, just a bit laborious because few people are really on it and everyone is busy. Me too.

I think we have a lot in motion right now, so a move out of MW probably isn’t practical in the near future. Kicking the wiki into shape is the reasonable thing for now.

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#7 2011-07-21 14:05:11

gaekwad
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

Destry wrote:

I do think it’s a good tool for the job. But wiki’s are great when maintaining them is shared, both in administration and content development. If either of those two things becomes a burden, which I sense the admin part of things kind of is, then you have to wonder if it’s the right tool anymore, or if it’s getting in the way of keeping the content current and good.

I see this whole process as a positive step. The style guide(s) will define best practices and perhaps the best way to capitalise on that is to have a relaunch of the docs wiki, with some new/updated content and a call for assistance in the forum. I will, of course, help out where I can, and if you have grunt jobs that need doing to a bunch of pages and don’t have them time, please by all means pass them on to me :)

If the admin part of things isn’t working out, and I fully appreciate time is precious, then perhaps an alternate wiki could be constructed and populated elsewhere, then flip the textpattern.net DNS over to it when the dudes and dudettes in charge feel it’s reached an appropriate tipping point. Alternatively, a hosted wiki service might be an option – that way the administration of the server isn’t left to busy developers with 101 other things to do.

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#8 2011-07-21 14:44:18

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

gaekwad wrote:

I will, of course, help out where I can, and if you have grunt jobs that need doing to a bunch of pages and don’t have them time, please by all means pass them on to me :)

There are a few things we can get working on, not all terribly grunt-ish, either. (And some get interesting because they relate back to the .com site.) I’ll start a list in another thread sometime soon. But one thing, besides getting images fixed, is making the copy on any given page more concise. This is not only good writing practice, and benefits reader understanding, but MW has a content limit per page, and some of the pages (like in the Admin-side docs) are maxing out. Frankly, the maxes are a good thing, it’s a built-in sign saying, ‘hey, improve your content!’.

perhaps an alternate wiki could be constructed and populated elsewhere…

This is an old point of discussion (going back years). One of the arguments I’ve always made (alluded to in my defense of the wiki), is that if a wiki is used at all, MW is the best bet. That’s because it provides a lot of interesting functionality (e.g., extensions) over most other install wikis, and better customization over web-based. I don’t want to rehash all that, but my feelings are still the same: Either MW, if a wiki, or no wiki at all and something more “document management” oriented. A lot of people would make the argument for using Txp itself, and that could be done if we restricted authoring considerably, but that’s completely the other way from collaborative authoring.

In the end, I think we just need to be better on the administration side of the current kitty.

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#9 2011-07-21 14:48:30

gaekwad
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

Apologies for raking up old coals or opening cans of worms, that was not my intention. For what it’s worth, I’ll help out where and when I can – and I’ll sit tight until then.

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#10 2011-07-21 14:54:33

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
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Posts: 2,365
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Re: [wiki] [RESOLVED] Wiki images...gone? The wiki gone?

Oh, no worries. I was just sharing some history. Your input is excellent! Heck, technology improves with time. Maybe there is a good wiki alternative out there now. Frankly, I’d be in favor of something cloud-based if we had good (standards) control over presentation (theming).

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