Version 24 of A possible system for Ask and you shall be given questions

Updated 2004-10-31 03:41:34

Robert Abitbol

Perhaps in the spirit of keeping the established independent pages system at Wikit, we could try the following system:

1. When a question will have been answered on any one of the "Ask and you shall be given" pages, the question will be pasted into a new page with its category written on the bottom the same way it has always been done here.

Ex: a page called Detecting the sort of files in an Oracle Console Category: Database

This way: the system at Wikit will be uniform. A page per item.

See for example: Proof of concept: Detecting the sort of files in an Oracle Console

2. A few index pages could be created giving a complete list with comments of all pages related to a subject.

See for an example: Proof of concept: Index Page: Databases

This is the in my view the simplest way to process the questions on the "Ask and you shall be given" pages and it's also the best way to keep the uniform system of one subject per page established here at Wikit.


MAK First of all, for the love of Tcl, please stop creating a bazillion pages on the same topic and leaving poo all over the place. There are now at least seven pages just for arguing on the same thread alone, not to mention the arguing on other pages. I've followed some of your links to other wikis and you seem to do the same thing and make people grumpy in the same way at the others too. If you want to experiment, how about setting your own separate Wikit installation for "proof of concept" instead of leaving permanent junk all over this one?

Secondly, the majority problems you are trying to solve are technological, not methodical. Things like index pages and links to edit/recent changes/etc. at the top of pages are ones issues for the Wikit software, not for page editing. Perhaps you don't realize that where you've seen some of these things you've seen in other Wikis (like heirarchical categorization/indexing and UseModWiki's SubPage features) that you're trying to manually crowbar into this one are features of the software and not editing style, I don't know, but in many cases they are. If you want "edit this page" and "recent changes" etc. links at the top of the page too, then why don't you instead argue for the software to add them? I happen to think heirarchical categorization and index pages are a good idea in general, but writing them manually is totally the wrong approach and just creates more maintenance headaches. Instead of doing this stuff by hand and creating more work for other people, why not argue that the certain features of other wiki software that aren't available in Wikit should be incorporated into it?

Sigh. I keep trying to stay out of this but I couldn't bite my tongue anymore. I'm sure you'll keep bulldozing along no matter what I or anyone else says.

(P.S. please, don't create a page to argue with me about this or go spreading out even more to my personal page. Thank you.)

Robert Abitbol

Thanks for your edit.

Any comments on the system explained above?

CMcC I have some.

I suggest that the person or people answering the question would also be the best equipped to decide how it should be integrated with the rest of the Wiki.

I have reviewed some of the pages created recently to hold Q&A, and the most worrying thing I have noticed is that the Q&A are being shunted to completely inappropriate pages, grouped and 'indexed' completely the wrong way because (this is a general principle:) nobody in the community is qualified or sufficiently expert in every aspect of the technology to be able to categorise all possible questions and answers

Since this is a collaborative project, and most of us operate from a position of mutual respect, it follows that we should be in a position to respect one another's expertise. I think that if the person asking the question trusts the person answering it to give them information, it is incumbent upon us as a community to respect the answerer's best efforts in integrating the question with the rest of the Wiki.

So I would modify the 'possible system' to remain just that - one possible, but not mandatory system which the answerer of a question could use to integrate the Q&A.

I don't believe that any one system represents the best way to integrate Q&A into the Wiki, nor can it. I don't believe that anyone has the expertise to categorise Q&A better than the person who finally chooses to answer a Q, and that categorisation includes the choice of optimal disposition/integration approaches.

I suggest that RA put up a template for this possible method, and people in a position to know will choose it when it's appropriate.

I think it would be worthwhile, here and now, to enumerate some of the possible systems for disposition and integration of Q&A:

  1. put the Q&A in an RA-supplied template (to be written)
  2. delete the Q&A
  3. leave the Q&A where it is.
  4. copy the Q&A exactly as it is, to an established page
  5. rearrange the Q&A and distribute it among one or several pages
  6. create a new topic page built around the question
  7. anything else that seems best to the answerer of the question.

I would find any of the above acceptable actions on the part of a person sufficiently clued to answer the question in the first place. I would find none of the above acceptable on the part of someone not sufficiently clued to answer the question.

Robert Abitbol

I could give you an answer right away.

I can think of three systems and that's about it:

1) Peter's system is the best in order to find information quickly in a very structured and organized setting. The same question can be put in two or three different places if need be. This is a very professional way to sort and present information.

2) The system I have explained above: putting each answered question in an independent pages and having a list of categories (the old category system) plus perhaps road maps, index pages. This is roughly how the system works here now. Of course having a super index page that could list all the pages here and would put them in a sort of order would be the best. Call it WikiT Index Page. One click and we could see all the pages here classified (they would be classified by hand).

3) A sort of database system with two fields: a title for a page on the first field and a category in the second field. By clicking on the top of the second field, we could have all pages related to a subject. Could we put many titles for a page? Eqasy. By repeating the same record and giving it many categories.

2) and 3) could easily work together.

That's basically as far as I can go with my suggestions.

But hey! If you find anything else, I'd be happy to try it and give you my honest-to-God opinion. As you have seen I am not trying to promote my ideas for the system put in place was entirely designed by Peter and not by me and I am promoting it anyway. I have as I said only put a bold here and there, done cosmetic work essentially, window dressing. Peter is the architect.

CMcC I think that you have missed the point. It is not up to you or me to impose a system on the answerer of a question, but perhaps to provide an array of choices.

RA Believe me I know my ideas, I have known them for 52 years :-) so if someone comes with a better system, I'd love to hear it! At least I would have learned something new and who knows? this could open the door to many other discoveries (following a principle called "Standing on the shoulder of giants"). By rehashing my old ideas I don't learn much!

CMcC I have suggested a better procedure - leave it to the person who has the expertise to answer the question to dispose of the question in the manner that seems fit to them. You have ignored it. Thus, you would not 'love to hear it', you simply do not seem to hear it.

RA While we are on the subject, let me say that Peter's work is very useful for no matter what you guys decide, putting a title and a category is work that would have had to be done anyway.

CMcC it is worse than useless, as his categorisation is (in the small sample I've taken) completely wrong most of the time. To undo the mess will take work. What is needed is not expertise in some putatively useful system of formatting a document, what is needed is domain expertise, which I don't think Peter would lay claim to.

RA So saying that Peter creates mess is not fair for his work is far from being messy. I would say it is tremendously useful.

CMcC It may be useful to you, depending on your agenda. It's useless in terms of accurately classifying information.

RA Plus I have overextended my welcome here. I am a new-comer and I don't see it very appropriate for me to take so much importance. I must keep my place... I am a discreet man despite the appearances and I am not interested in leadership despite the appearances.

CMcC You're no longer a newcomer, you're very much a known quantity.

RA I have said what needed to be said and you guys decide what is best for wikit.

CMcC The Wiki will probably heal itself. It's just taking people off other jobs that they might have thought were more important, to serve your agenda.

What has come out of it that I think is useful is the principle that a person who answers a question has more right to decide how to dispose of it than anyone else. I don't think RA accepts that principle.

RA Meanwhile if Peter could be kind enough to continue his excellent work the same way he has done it since a few days, I could say proudly: we're on the right track.

CMcC I disagree. I think it should be removed pending consultation and consensus.

Robert Abitbol Well you might think (stupidly) that Peter did shit, that he created a mess but you speak for yourself obviously.

People don't share your point of view.

Peter has taken upon himself to create a great system, he has spent countless hours working on the project while you sat on your ass doing nothing and you come and you call his work shit!

You got a lot of nerve and you are a real demotivator!

Not only do you do nothing but you come and you criticize those who work! Amazing!

I surely could understand it if Peter would stop right there. But he would disappoint all of us who think his work is excellent just because a guy who does not know what he is talking about told him his work was shit.

I suggest you make a list of what Peter has done wrong instead of babbling away and always criticizing and never doing anything and I'm sure you won't find two mistakes.

All you have been doing since 2 days is open your big mouth and use all kinds of words no one understood and criticize others. You never brought a single constructive element to the debate: just personal attacks and negative criticism.

Well it's time you did something to show you are just not a talker and you can be also a doer.

As far as I'm concerned I have no respect for people like you but I have the utmost respect for people like Peter Newman. It is thanks to people like him if work gets accomplished and thanks to people like him if we are where we are now.

He is a doer and you're a whiner. A passive whiner.

I am not interested in doing any sort of work with you. You do your stuff and don't get me involved.

I don't think any team would be going anywhere by having you in its ranks so I'll pass.