I wanna Wiki!

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Monty

Monty
Corporate Member
I've been lurking the vbulletin sites here and there, hoping to find a good solution for something I've been wanting to do. Cathy mentioned a few weeks ago the idea of having a sort of "reference" sticky thread for each of the major themes of this site (like scroll saws, table saws, finishing, etc). I think that's a good idea but it would be impractical. Each thread would quickly become confusing and you might miss critical information buried in the 3rd page of replies, etc. At this point there is no simple solution within vbulletin that I know of to really deal with this problem.

I think that what we need is Wiki. As I understand it, Wiki is simply a way to create an "article" that others can edit, add to, correct mistakes, elaborate, etc (there are other features, but that's a big one). Take for example my recent thread on using the hollow chisel mortiser. That thread provides some basic tips, but I am sure there are plenty of people who saw that thread who know of things they would like to add. Like machine setup & tuneup, how to sharpen the chisels, etc. If instead of making that post, I had created a Wiki article, then others could have edited my text to add their contribution. Someone might post a sentence that's confusing or poorly worded, but someone else can edit it so it makes more sense. Someone might post a typo or mistake but someone else could correct it. Over time that little article could turn out to be an all-inclusive reference on the subject, and you wouldn't have to rely on reading through multiple replies to put it all together.

Today I found this thread on vBulletin.org. It references integration of PmWiki with vbulletin, so a user has to have a vbulletin id/password to edit a page. I figure we might be able to make a Wiki page as a custom page within this site, so it looks integrated with the site. There is not a formal vbulletin add-on for this, as far as I know. It would take some tweaking to make it work, and it may not even be feasible (Steve???).

This is just an idea I'm kicking around... I'm just looking for feedback from the team. If there is a better solution I'd like to know about it.
 

SteveColes

Steve
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have never used a wiki except to look up stuff, never for collaboration or anything else.

I also am not clear on the problem we are trying to solve.

But from my initial reading integrating any wiki is not a trivial problem.

So if you are looking for me to take this on, I will be happy to.

But first I need a few things from you guys.

1. I need a much clearer definition of the problem and/or service we are trying to provide. That way I can look for a solution for our problem rather than force fit a solution. If we decide that a wiki is the way to go than I'll take it on.
2. I need to know what its priority is. Where does it stand compared to other things like the Help Desk which I'm just getting started on.
 

Monty

Monty
Corporate Member
Steve, I'm not asking you to take anything on... I'm just throwing out the idea. Instead of having a generic post for "Hollow chisel mortisers", and then having people post replies, just let people add to and/or make corrections to the posted article. It would wind up reading like a book chapter... one that we all write! 8)

It would be ideal if we could create a post like an FAQ that ANY member has privileges to edit. But nothing like that exists that I have been able to find. Wiki will let you do that. The only problem with Wiki is that ANYONE on the net can edit, not just forum members. The fact that this guy (see link) was able to force users to be logged in to VB to be able to edit the Wiki page seem to fix that issue.

I can play around with it on my other site to see how it works... maybe it's a waste of time, but I think it may be worth a try.
 
M

McRabbet

Sounds a little difficult to control permissions... Not as high a priority in my estimation as the Help Desk items ....
Rob
 
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D L Ames

New User
D L Ames
I like the Wiki concept but like Rob I have concerns with the permission issues. Also, their is a potential issue of a contributing author getting their feathers ruffled if some their input was edited or deleted. Just food for thought.

D L
 

Monty

Monty
Corporate Member
Well, the whole concept is that ANY member can edit the content... so there are NO permissions. (or would that be ALL permissions?) The only limit I would propose would be forum members only. Ruffled feathers? Who knows? I would hope that people would be very circumspect about removing content... I think people would mostly just correct errors and add their own content to what's already posted.
 

SteveColes

Steve
Staff member
Corporate Member
Steve, I'm not asking you to take anything on.
Sorry, I said that wrong.

I am trying to understand what "problem" we are trying to solve or functionality that we should add. I never understood it when it was first brought up by Cathy in another thread . So please humor this old brain and somebody try to explain it to me further.
 

SteveColes

Steve
Staff member
Corporate Member
While I'm waiting for a definition of the problem we are trying to solve, I'm installing pmwiki. It's already there but you can't see it yet. Probably tonight I will configure it and then you guys can play with it
 

Monty

Monty
Corporate Member
I don't want to put a lot of emphasis on this. This is definitely a back-burner item. But I'll try to explain the concept - maybe you know of a better way to accomplish this, and I'll keep thinking about it.

Cathy brought up (as I understand it) the idea of having a "reference sticky thread" for each forum as I recall. Like in the scroll saw forums, have a stick thread there about scroll saws. Maybe an FAQ or maybe a tips & tricks or maybe something that reads like a magazine article. That would be nice, but you can't have more than one or two stickies per forum (imagine how many there would be in the power tools forum for example). A bigger problem is that each thread would probably become cumbersome because updates/clarifications, questions/answers, and contributions from other users would get buried in a string of replies. What you want is a "reference" that reads like an article, but you want everyone to be able to contribute to it. If you could do that, the end result would be the definitive reference including all of the input from all the forum members who have something to contribute, and it would read like an article or book chapter.

What I thought about was having a separate forum for articles like these, and somehow set permissions so that ANY member can edit ANY post in that forum, instead of just posting a reply. But I can't find a way to set the permissions like that for a particular forum or thread, unless you give every member moderator permissions, which you certainly don't want to do!

Take a look at this web site: LuxuryWiki.com That is a test site for someone who is developing a mediawiki/vb bridge. That site is slow, and I don't know if it's a software issue. There are other simpler Wiki's available like PMWiki that I linked to in the opening thread. It can be set so that only forum members are allowed to edit the articles - this has been done, but there is not a vb mod for it yet. Anyway I envision maybe having a page sort of like that, with major topics listed sort of like the Cars category listing (we could put whatever articles we want in there).

There are not any other examples of this that I am aware of. This would be something very unique!
 

chris99z71

New User
Chris
FWIW, I think that this is an awesome idea with incredible potential! This should make it much, much easier for new members to answer the typical questions like "what should I look for when buying a tablesaw?".
 

Ray Martin

New User
Ray
I do like the idea of a wiki or something that fills that function. I think it would make for a terrific reference for all the members. There is a consideration for site management though. Any wiki entry has to be moderated just like any other posting. We do have to consider that egos and opinions are always in play. I think this kind of addition would work best if it is limited to reference material, how-to type articles, and the like.

Ray
 

Monty

Monty
Corporate Member
Yea I agree with that. All edits are logged, and users with admin permissions can see the changes that have been made and who made them. I think just a simple statement saying that differences in opinion need to be expressed with diplomacy would do the trick.
 

Monty

Monty
Corporate Member
By the way, for those who don't know what Wiki is, check out this link. That is just a test wiki I set up on my web site, nothing permanent. It's just intended to let ya'll see how wiki works. You can edit anything you see on those pages, including the menus. Feel free to experiment and see how ya'll like it.
 

SteveColes

Steve
Staff member
Corporate Member
By the way, for those who don't know what Wiki is, check out this link. That is just a test wiki I set up on my web site, nothing permanent. It's just intended to let ya'll see how wiki works. You can edit anything you see on those pages, including the menus. Feel free to experiment and see how ya'll like it.
I added something. See sidebar
 

Monty

Monty
Corporate Member
Ray, click on that link. He added a section for NC Woodworker Comments in the sidebar of my Wiki page. Click on that comments link if you have any comments to add. Also, click on the sandbox link to go to a "practice" area where you can learn wiki. You can see what Steve and I have added there already.
 

NCPete

New User
Pete Davio
Yeah, I thought Steve meant that he added something here, too. found it on Monty's page.
 
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