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 Post subject: Re: Reviews here, reviews elsewhere...
Post #61 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:40 am 
Tengen

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HermanHiddema wrote:
SL search is pretty powerful, in fact.


I have made my experience: Google search on SL is much better than SL search.

In particular, SL search does not even put pages with the correct page title in front of the list.

Quote:
Try these. Put into the search box in the top right the word "Chess" or "Theory" or "Iwamoto" and click search.

How quickly did you find my page on comparing Chess and Go, Dieter's page on Go Theory, Bill's page on his game with Iwamoto?


It is less difficult to find something if the right keywords in the right spelling are already given.

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Post #62 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:45 am 
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John, my profile links to my website which includes my real name, and my KGS account includes my real name.

Many people of my generation are accustomed to using handles, even where they do not disguise their real names. In part that's path dependence, from our teenage years, and part of that is a product of social spaces where one couldn't register one's real name (back on AIM in the late 90s, every "ordinary" English name was taken). On a smaller space like L19, you can register your real name--but you then end up with your name in some places, and your handle elsewhere.

A handle is often a more consistent way of locating an individual's activities than a proper name--many people don't have a high enough profile for searching their name to provide anything of value.
John Fairbairn wrote:
Even as simple a thing as a name being around a long time may be useful - at least that person hasn't yet been run off by the go community.
A nice touch: this point about longevity is obviously applicable to handles.

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Post #63 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:02 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
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Respect the volunteers.

If you can't respect the people who have been around for a lot longer than you and have done a lot more, you have a problem.


I am respectful of knowledge whereever I find it, and I stated on several occasions spread over years how much the Go community owes to you in particular and I am willing to repeat it once more, that I am still aware of it.

This, however, does not make each of your proposals a wise one. All the technical fixes ventured in these discussions (even if they were beneficial, of which I am not sure at all) imply a large amount of routine work, which generally goes unnotified. Herman pointed this out already. (Who is going to program it, who is going to maintain it, who is going to decide on expertise of contributors, who is going to spent their time with user rights management?) While some of these tasks do not need as much expertise as content production they are necessary as well. For this reason, as I know my limited ability to contribute quality content, I spent most of my time on SL with those tasks. You wrote about incentives earlier, did you ever think about what the incentives of those who are to assist the expert authors by doing the dull work may be? In my humble not-so-strong-player opinion any responsible proposal should include some thought on the amount of routine, library work it implies. You showed yourself extraordinarily sensitive to that issue when it came to the EGC and European high-dan players, but less so here. And, I am honestly disappointed that in a thread asking for nothing more than a little cooperation, you turned up to actively discourage participation in SL unless your terms are met.

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Post #64 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:10 am 
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hyperpape wrote:
kirkmc wrote:
But that's a lot of work, and I get the feeling that one of the attitudes behind SL is "Let's not do too much work."

No, and a bit brash when you yourself are not a contributor.


All I'm trying to do is explain why I don't contribute, and, by way of this, why I do contribute to Wikipedia. One particular Wikipedia article I'm spending a lot of time on is an author who I greatly appreciate, and whose life and works I'm currently researching, and whose Wikipedia page was severely lacking in quality. So I felt that since I was doing the research, why not share it?

But that's one of a half-dozen pages I'm contributing to on WP. I can't see that I have enough go knowledge to contribute much useful information to SL on any page. As I've said before....

I think you should be careful not to criticize those who don't contribute, but rather find out why they don't and try and see if there is a way to get more people to contribute. I'm one of those people who believes in the community aspect of the internet, and, for that reason, contribute to a lot of crowd-sourced projects; I think such contributions are important.

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Post #65 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:28 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
HermanHiddema wrote:
SL search is pretty powerful, in fact.


I have made my experience: Google search on SL is much better than SL search.

In particular, SL search does not even put pages with the correct page title in front of the list.


Try the title search.

Quote:
Quote:
Try these. Put into the search box in the top right the word "Chess" or "Theory" or "Iwamoto" and click search.

How quickly did you find my page on comparing Chess and Go, Dieter's page on Go Theory, Bill's page on his game with Iwamoto?


It is less difficult to find something if the right keywords in the right spelling are already given.


Please, show me an example of any search engine that will find the right results for the wrong keywords. :scratch:

But really, have you heard about something called "Shifting the goalposts"?

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Post #66 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:44 am 
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HermanHiddema wrote:
show me an example of any search engine that will find the right results for the wrong keywords.


When the search engine fails, then one must find via links from related topic pages. See above.

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Post #67 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:51 am 
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I wonder if that's the problem: title search vs. full text search. Title search is great, while full text search is...not.

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Post #68 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:54 am 
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tapir, I don't think what SL requires does in fact require a huge amount of work. As regards the special case of programming a new structure, Arno has already offered to do that, as I understand it. He simply wants to know what structure is required. Comments since then have largely been in response to his request, and a certainly not a list of "demands" by rebels. The discussion on SL petered out, and that very fact may be symptomatic of SL's major underlying problems.

But while that programming may involve substantial work, normally the work involved in effecting improvements is trivial.

First, less work would be a good idea. If certain people were less inclined to interfere with already well written pages, such as the cases Bill mentioned, the "interferer" would save himself some work he could usefully divert to still important tasks he could do satisfactorily. The lack of interference would also mean much less work for a later master editor.

Second, a very small improvement in standards could eliminate inaccuracies, clutter, garbling, etc - and also make later editing a cinch. It just so happens that a few moments ago I came across a very typical example. As it happens to involve me I can speak on it with authority.

Someone (I looked but couldn't see who - not even a handle) added the following to the Go Seigen page.

Quote:
Go Seigen played black. John Fairbairn presents a thorough analysis of this game and the surrounding situation in "The New Fuseki Game", soon to be published by Slate & Shell.


I am grateful for the mention, of course, and I do, really do, understand that the poster is trying to be helpful. But an accretion of this sort of thing is what makes pages messy and hard to edit. A little more care here - a tiny, tiny effort - would make life easier for editors and pages more useful for readers.

First, unless the editor here knows something I don't, the title of the book is not "The New Fuseki Game". The title on the manuscript I sent to Slate & Shell was "The Old versus New Fuseki Game: Honinbo Shusai versus Go Seigen". Apart from being quite different and creating the likelihood of future searches failing (I largely agree with Robert's points about SL searches, incidentally), in the context of the full paragraph on SL, this creates a totally wrong impression. It was not the New Fuseki game, and it obscures the point about it being a clash of old and new. Again laying down a quagmire for a future editor to fall into.

The second problem with the post is the word "soon". When I was working as a journalist, we naturally had to employ new recruits from time to time. This involved a test - writing a 50-words imaginary news story as a reporter. We could always tell at once who was fitted to be a journo and who wasn't. Those who omitted the date and place were ruled out at once. The date is just so basic. This applies on SL, too. On page after page you find words like "soon" or "future" or "next". This implies huge extra work for a future editor and gives the reader no clue as to how up-to-date the page is. It really is a trivial, no-work change to write instead "as of February 2011" (as is done for another paragraph lower down, so the model was already there). Proper dating also has the spin-off of helping with structure.

A combination of editorial restraint and adding clarity and structure with names and dates is the very opposite of expecting volunteers to do extra work. And even if a little extra effort were needed to, say, check a date, the total work saved at the future master editing stage far outweighs that.

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Post #69 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:09 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
HermanHiddema wrote:
show me an example of any search engine that will find the right results for the wrong keywords.


When the search engine fails, then one must find via links from related topic pages. See above.


Oh, I know! Maybe we should add a mechanism to SL where users can add links to pages? :blackeye:

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Post #70 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:22 am 
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John, perhaps some of the work would involve getting these editorial standards to trickle down to the average editor? The programming may be simple. But the human effort involved in propogating a new way of doing things is almost never that way.

Do you have an idea of how this is to be done?

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Post #71 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:25 am 
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I think we should to distinguish between elements of information/opinions and discussion. Searching for information ( Rules, The meaning of "Hane" and "Tesuji" ) is a basic task. And like Spam it is a basic problem that i get more "information" than i needed. Information may be not perfect. But it should be the task of discussions to point errors in elements that we should consider as information.
When i am reading the 24th edition of encyclopedia, i hope that I read evolved information that is the result of a discussion by experts. The point is that when i opened such a book, i wasn't interested in the discussion but in the result of the discussion.
Personally i used Sensei's Library in the beginning very often as dictionary for special terms like kikashi. But some gems like experiences as an insei were hidden very well. But i never felt that it would be natural to open there a discussion. It is good thing to know the beginning and the history of discussion. A discussion on senseis however can end as self-modifying code that runs in a loop. (When a moderator doesn’t interfere.)
Preserving the history is a feature of a forum like this. But the fact that not all book reviews can be found in the section "book reviews", that many discussion are not related strongly to the headline of a thread points out that even this forum has some drawbacks. But it is difficult to decide if more structure would be useful or just an overhead.

I think i would think about two categories for single posts and threads:
opinion and discussion.

An opinion thread should have the following features:
A reply to an opinion-thread is tagged by default as "opinion". Additionally a single user is only allowed to make one single post in this thread.
Example: The Sub-Forum "Book reviews" should only contain opinion-threads.
That should have the effect that a thread about a book collects only several opinions but not opinions about opinions and should prevent users from mixing their opinions with other discussions which are not related to the headline of the thread anymore.

A discussion thread should work exactly like the threads in this forum. Their major feature is that they allow multiple posts from a single user which are tagged with "discussion" by default. When it should be really necessary to discuss an opinion, there should be a button like "Open new linked discussion thread" or "Join discussion thread" when such a linked discussion already exists. And there should be a link in every thread for switching easily between an opinion and the related discussion-thread.
It would be very useful when i could search for the term "Reading" and can switch on the box "opinions" in the search mask. If it would be also possible to rate opinions, i have no doubts it would be much easier to find useful information than interesting, but useless discussions.
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Post #72 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:29 am 
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John, perhaps some of the work would involve getting these editorial standards to trickle down to the average editor? The programming may be simple. But the human effort involved in propogating a new way of doing things is almost never that way. Do you have an idea of how this is to be done?


I think the bulk of the answer is already there: templates. But I think they need a fresh eye. Personally I wouldn't opt for a rigid or tricky template that requires, for example, a (largely useless?) CJK box in the corner, or for one that insists you have to include an Introduction then a History/Background then a whatever (though by all means offer such as a guide). To me the big improvement to that would be an incorporated checklist that asks the page creator to ensure certain actions are taken: e.g. some already mentioned by other here - ask if this page is really necessary, do the links actually work, are dates given, is it signed, is there a copyright problem.... By including this checklist in the blank template (thus requiring actual deletion) you are ensuring that the page creator sees it, and also that he is made aware that certain minimum standards are expected. This is more reliable than a separate style guide.

More controversially, I think the work of new contributors could be eased by clearing away much of the weedy underbrush. For example, the page that came up recently (15 Feb?) on Recent Changes, kamenoitte, could usefully be eliminated entirely. Being ruthlessl with this and all those old pages on (I think) avatar groups or the like would help a cleaner and more manageable structure to emerge. I also wonder whether homepages are really worthwhile in these days of blogs.

I'd like to repeat that I don't think extra work is what is really needed. We mainly need more restraint and self discipline. We must occasionally stop and challenge the notion that just because we can store everything on the internet, we must. Or that just because we can let everyone "democratically" stick a grubby finger in the pie, we must.

In the SL context, restraint of course means not messing with other people's contributions and not posting just for the sake of saying "look at me, me, me". But it also means keeping discussions in their right place, even if that means having to write a few introductory words to show what point elsewhere you are referring to. Inserting remarks directly into articles may be easier for you, but makes life hard for an awful lot of other people. En passant, I also think the quote function could be used far less liberally on L19, and the scatterbrain response to e-mails paragraph by paragraph is also not conducive to good thinking. If you take the trouble to summarise a little, you clarify your own thoughts and you show the original poster you are not just responding to him but are listening to him. However, that's by the by.

I fancy there used to be (still is?) a section on SL that was intended for discussions (Coffee Break, Coffee Machines, Water Fountain?). Somewhere on the way someone thought it a good idea to introduce discussion pages for each item. I think that turned out to be a bad idea (people still lazily inserted comments on the main page, to avoid having to write a few words of reference). It just spread the mess around and the coffee forum was also forgotten. By eliminating the possibility of creating new discussion pages, could we not force discussion back into the coffee forum (or L19 failing that)? This would also have what I see as the major benefit of making people self disciplined, having to be careful to show what they are referring to instead of lazily inserting in situ. If this discourages some people from contributing to a discussion, I'm inclined to think they are the type who wouldn't be much missed - and we'd end up with a cleaner structure. Leaner and fitter.

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Post #73 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:38 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
The second problem with the post is the word "soon". When I was working as a journalist, we naturally had to employ new recruits from time to time. This involved a test - writing a 50-words imaginary news story as a reporter. We could always tell at once who was fitted to be a journo and who wasn't. Those who omitted the date and place were ruled out at once. The date is just so basic. This applies on SL, too. On page after page you find words like "soon" or "future" or "next". This implies huge extra work for a future editor and gives the reader no clue as to how up-to-date the page is. It really is a trivial, no-work change to write instead "as of February 2011" (as is done for another paragraph lower down, so the model was already there). Proper dating also has the spin-off of helping with structure.

A combination of editorial restraint and adding clarity and structure with names and dates is the very opposite of expecting volunteers to do extra work. And even if a little extra effort were needed to, say, check a date, the total work saved at the future master editing stage far outweighs that.


Oh, I 100% agree on this. But editorial restraint, focus on clarity and structure with names and dates do not need a new structure, it needs a consensus and awareness of editors, leadership by example and some work to improve on those pages that still feature words as "soon" or "currently". Look for "currently" on SL, people are aware of this problem.

Name vs. handle: Giving the KGS handle may be (in my case) much more enlightening (because more frequently used) than a link to my recent tournament performances. I am happy to share my name with anybody interested to know me, but there is an issue about leaving a digital fingerprint that includes your IP, location, daily schedule, preferences on many things connected to your name and easily searchable by Google by anyone. I once had a person setting up a hate page, personally directed at me and a friend because I dared to moderate a mailing list, which I initially created unmoderated. I don't want this to happen again, but if it happens, I don't want to give free access to too much information about myself. I suppose this is understandable after all.

See also: http://senseis.xmp.net/?posting=8308

P.S. There still is this section, indeed there are several places. CoffeeMachine is one, MetaDiscussion another one.

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Post #74 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:12 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
In the SL context, restraint of course means not messing with other people's contributions and not posting just for the sake of saying "look at me, me, me".


I think you hit on an important point, here. I absolutely agree that wikis are not about "me, me, me," or "you, you, you." They are, in a way, social experiments, and are about a community of contributors. This is extremely important: if a potential contributor wants ownership over his or her contributions, they simply should not use a wiki. A contributor of substantive content to a wiki can "leave it and forget it" (that is, submit the content and leave the community to deal with it), or the contributor can monitor and maintain it--which can be a lot of work.

Note that I'm not at all criticizing people who don't contribute--I haven't contributed to SL myself (I may have made some small spelling/grammar changes, or perhaps I just thought about doing so and never did). Moreover, wikis aren't inherently good, and non-wikis (everything else) are not inherently bad or inferior. There is something to be said for a controlled, moderated, closed-contribution system--it just isn't a wiki.

The complaints/arguments here seem to fall into two categories: (1) Sensei's should be something other than a wiki, and (2) Sensei's as a wiki is fine, but there are not enough active maintainers.

Both arguments have their merits, but I think it is important not to pretend an argument is something other than what it is. Otherwise, we could end up with a mutated wiki-like system in which no one is happy.

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Post #75 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:23 am 
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HermanHiddema wrote:
Oh, I know! Maybe we should add a mechanism to SL where users can add links to pages? :blackeye:


Unfortunately, users do not make enough use of that capability. Shorter pages with more links would make good use of the hypertext capability of SL. :)

Example: http://senseis.xmp.net/?TimeLimits

That page is on version 65! But look how uncluttered it is, how the information is readily available, with links for more detail and related info. :) If all of SL were as well organized, I think we would be getting fewer complaints.

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Post #76 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:55 am 
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judicata wrote:
John Fairbairn wrote:
In the SL context, restraint of course means not messing with other people's contributions and not posting just for the sake of saying "look at me, me, me".
....This is extremely important: if a potential contributor wants ownership over his or her contributions, they simply should not use a wiki.
I'm not so sure you're agreeing. John is pushing for signed contributions. That's one form of ownership you won't find in a wiki, as they were originally conceived. Similarly, saying people shouldn't mess with the contributions that are already in place gives authors a kind of ownership. Ownership is just somewhat different from saying "look at me, me, me".

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Post #77 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:01 am 
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hyperpape wrote:
I'm not so sure you're agreeing. John is pushing for signed contributions. That's one form of ownership you won't find in a wiki, as they were originally conceived. Similarly, saying people shouldn't mess with the contributions that are already in place gives authors a kind of ownership. Ownership is just somewhat different from saying "look at me, me, me".


I don't think I agreed or disagreed. I was saying that a site that employs those things you describe (signed contributions, limited editorial control, ownership over contributions) is simply not a wiki. It is something else--for better or worse.

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Post #78 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:47 am 
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hyperpape wrote:
judicata wrote:
John Fairbairn wrote:
In the SL context, restraint of course means not messing with other people's contributions and not posting just for the sake of saying "look at me, me, me".
....This is extremely important: if a potential contributor wants ownership over his or her contributions, they simply should not use a wiki.
I'm not so sure you're agreeing. John is pushing for signed contributions. That's one form of ownership you won't find in a wiki, as they were originally conceived. Similarly, saying people shouldn't mess with the contributions that are already in place gives authors a kind of ownership. Ownership is just somewhat different from saying "look at me, me, me".


First, SL started out with signed contributions, FWIW. Maybe SL has never been a wiki, I don't know.

Second, as a reader, I agree with John. Reputation matters. If something on SL is not signed, I do not trust it. I also think that unsigned material sounds authoritative: This is how it is. Maybe readers are not misled, but I suspect that many are. Compare SL with, say, a wiki about a programming language. I expect that most of the editors of the programming language wiki are expert programmers in the language. But no pros contribute to SL. If they did, the reputation of unsigned material on SL would go up, IMO.

Third, as for messing with others' contributions, the way that was done in the beginning of SL was through Wiki Master Edits, which were community affairs. Nobody's material was protected, even though it was signed. After the WME, all contributors' names were affixed at the bottom. Perhaps that was not how a Wiki should work in theory, but that's how it worked on SL at the time. And, IMO, it worked pretty well. :)

Fourth, I think that people want SL to be a reference on go, at least in part. Good reference requires citations and, because of the relative lack of English material on go, particularly high level material, SL becomes the end point for a lot of users. And, because no pros contribute to SL, IMO it is not good enough to rely upon the reputation of SL. But if something on SL is signed by John Fairbairn or by Robert Jasiek, I can rely upon their reputations.

Fifth, although Wikipedia has a rule, I believe, against posting personal research, to have such a rule at SL would be counterproductive. (Does not having that rule make SL less of a Wiki? So be it.) I was originally invited to contribute to SL because of one of my endgame problems that still has a page there. And a great deal of SL is the result of original research. unkx80 has contributed many wonderful problems, for instance. :) He does not sign his problems. I do sign my original research on SL. Do I want to take credit for it? Sure, why not? But the main value of signing it, IMO, has to do with reputation. People can judge its worth in part by who wrote it. That may affect whether they even bother to read it. People can also find it by searching for my name. :)

Sixth, I disagree with John Fairbairn about handles. I have been online since 1983 and have used a number of handles. Handles acquire reputations, as well as names. For instance, unkx80 has an excellent reputation. I use my real name here and on SL because I already had a reputation in the go world beforehand. :)

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Post #79 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:37 am 
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Bill, thanks for the background on how SL began (I mean that sincerely - forums don't allow for tone of voice, and I don't want to be misinterpreted).

When I say that certain things aren't characteristic of a wiki, I'm not saying that SL should be Wikipedia (something SL expressly disclaims). And perhaps I overstated some points--the definition of "wiki" is fluid, and wikis are, in large part, whatever the community determines them to be. But the problem with signed contributions (admitting that I might misunderstand what people have in mind), while adding credibility, is that people become attached to their work, and others are hesitant to edit it.

I think, although original research is basically indispensable if SL is to have any content, substantive issues should be worked out in talk/discussion pages/subpages/forums/etc., (although such discussions will be reflected in edits to an article, issues should not be literally discussed there). I'm not saying that an entry shouldn't exist until all issues are worked out--would we even be able to post a page on "atari"?--but that articles should be viewed as community works in progress.

Also, maybe I don't understand what everyone means by "signed contributions." I think it would be consistent with a wiki in principle to include footnotes with sources of the information--including if the source is the original editor (e.g. "Information about ____ was provided by Bill Spight"), and perhaps link to any discussion that exists on the topic. But I do not think a single person should be responsible for an article, paragraph, or sentence.


And while the contours of what is a "wiki" are fluid, a wiki's essence is still open contributions with no ownership. Rather than "a wiki is only as strong as its strongest contributor," it is "a wiki is only as strong as its community."

I want to reiterate that I'm not saying SL should or should not be a wiki (or is or is not a wiki). But if you take a wiki-based platform (open editing, community contributions) and try to shoe-horn in controlled content and limited contributions, you will end up with more frustrations than either adopting or rejecting the wiki concept wholesale.


Aside: It is funny, because I would bet good money that 90% of SL's traffic is from the most basic pages like common definitions and concepts, and those pages convey the information the reader seeks. A majority of the time there is a dispute (obviously not all the time), people get bent out of shape about some minor point that most people don't find essential to an article.

No matter the system, if there is community involvement there will be disputes and most contributors of substantive content will get upset about a contribution at some point. It is just the nature of such projects.

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 Post subject: Re: Reviews here, reviews elsewhere...
Post #80 Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:37 am 
Tengen

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The internet is not just a place to gain reputation but there I also learned to improve my skills for researching and teaching. So I don't really understand why quite some people are that afraid of showing real names. Surely there is data collection abuse but I am not afraid of Google knowing when I am online or what I have written. Write things you can be proud of and you will impress the data collectors rather than offer them sources of harm. If you write valuable things, then you will impress people and they know it is you and not just some pseudonym. Are you afraid of being a beginner with a real name? You can still impress everybody by posing cute questions! Surprise everybody of learning from the answers! I see only one regular reason to hide oneself in Go communities: A child might need protection against its own inexperience meeting the world's dangers.

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