in reply to A wiki for Perl

Argh. There are too many Perl Wikis. Only a few (perhaps a dozen) are large enough that their maintainers could take a vacation and have the community keep the Wiki propped up. Most of them are just the result of endless fragmentation, and there isn't enough attention going around to read them.

Phoenix.PM.org's TinyWiki has a small selection of Perl related Wikis. Feel free to add others. Perl Design Patterns itself has a list of resources which is quite large. Some of the links are Wikis.

I've seen this happen with MUD, too. When I started 'netting back in 1990, there were about 30 LPMuds (multi user dungeons). It was hard to get on the 'net at all, and when you did, it was probably on a vt220 dumb terminal attached to a VAX. It was almost impossible to get permission to run one from shell on a machine. There was very little recreation on the 'net aside from net news at this time. The many people who played all played the few games out there. They hated the MUD management, they were all convinced they could do a better job, they had big plans and no clue how to implement them but absolute confidence they could figure it out.

When commercial Internet access became available and you could purchase a shell account from a place like Eskimo North (eskimo.com), suddenly, the number of MUDs exploded. All of these people that wanted to start a MUD were suddenly able to. The result was more MUDs than players! Every player had their own MUD, or even two! No longer were people having a good time on a crowded server dispising the management, they were spinning their wheels reinventing wheels that no one would ever see. MUD fragmented and died. Ever Quest came and mopped the floor with MUD. Heck, ICQ mopped the floor with MUD. People want to see all of their friends in one virtual place.

If there were a great demand for Perl Wikis, then people besides myself would actually do things on perldesignpatterns.com, but they don't. I've hit 10,000 hits on the table of contents page, but about a dozen pages have been touched by hands other than mine. Which leads me to my second point in this rant: doing anything like this is an incomprehensiably huge amount of work. All of those people who desperetely wanted to start a MUD? They duplicated effort with each other, which would have required thousands of tens of thousands of hours, which they weren't really willing to put in. They just thought they were.

If you haven't reached this conclusion on your own, I'll hand it to you: if you have a hankering to do something Perl-Wiki related, work on metawiki technology. Sunir created a meta-Wiki search that searches numerous Wikis. Ward's Wiki, the original, is playing with sister sites. TinyWiki (Perl Design Patterns) is playing with automated sister-sites, where links are automatically returned. This is the tip of the iceburg. A huge amount of work needs to be done. InterWiki is gaining momentum, but the interlists are manually maintained. De ja vu, LPMud had "intermud" lists that were automatically maintained, that lessons should be learned from. This should be generated automatically, from crawling. Rather than replicate content or link offsite, RSS feeds hold a lot of promise, and OddMuse is playing with this - a page from another Wiki could be included automatically, in cases where there is overlap in subject matter (frequent). Decentralizing navigation is a much harder topic.

If for some reason you find this interesting, I wrote a piece a while back on PDP's Wiki and what makes a good forum in response to another thread about improving the EverythingEngine. My conclusion was going all-out on Wiki isn't the correct solution, but rather, a solid commitment to ongoing editing and refactoring and summerizing of the site.

I don't read here, so if you really want to discuss this with me in particular, email me. scott@slowass.net.

-scott

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Re: Was, a Wiki for Perl
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Jul 09, 2003 at 00:02 UTC
    If there were a great demand for Perl Wikis, then people besides myself would actually do things on perldesignpatterns.com, but they don't.

    Perhaps people aren't interested in Perl design patterns, or don't feel comfortable contributing to them.

Re: Was, a Wiki for Perl
by adrianh (Chancellor) on Jul 09, 2003 at 12:06 UTC
    Argh. There are too many Perl Wikis. Only a few (perhaps a dozen) are large enough that their maintainers could take a vacation and have the community keep the Wiki propped up. Most of them are just the result of endless fragmentation, and there isn't enough attention going around to read them.

    I like it that way. I keep an eye on the Wiki's I'm interested in. I avoid the ones I don't. Public Wiki's are community tools - if there isn't enough community interest to maintain them then they're not going to get a lot of contributions.

    This isn't related to the number of Wiki's - it's related to whether people are actually interested in the topic, and whether they feel qualified to contribute. The large numbers of Wiki's out there don't stop new focussed Wiki's being effective. To pick two recent examples the Echo Wiki and Kwiki Wiki are both getting lots of contributions.

    Everquest is successful because it's better that the MUDs. Otherwise how would it have attracted its initial base of users. Now it's a large community that community itself is an attractor - but it had to be doing something new and interesting initially.

    Personally I don't think there is a large active Perl Wiki because there are existing well established locations for the Perl online community (perlmonks, perl.com, clpm, etc.) A new Wiki doesn't stand a chance of supplanting these existing communities - it doesn't offer enough benefit.

    Not to say that the meta-Wiki stuff isn't fascinating ;-)