[wiki-standards] Time for a real wiki standard!!!

Janne Jalkanen Janne.Jalkanen at ecyrd.com
Tue Jun 3 19:52:45 CEST 2008


So, let me recap:

You say that "It is time the wiki community realised that the public  
like me are fed up with this shambles".

In other words: "You morons don't know what the real users want, but  
I do!"

Is insulting the people who've managed to create pretty much the only  
markup standard that has been adopted by multiple wikis, really the  
way to build a community around your own pet peeves?  It ain't  
perfect, but nobody has even yet given it a proper chance to prosper.

Look, you're assuming we're morons.  We're not.  We know everything  
there is to know about the cons and benefits of wikimarkup, and the  
problems that the "ubiquitous layman" has with it.

And you know what?  Nobody has so far cared enough about it to drive  
the process to really create a standard.  Every few months, some self- 
righteous fool comes in and screams on the top of his lungs that  
"wiki people are morons who do not understand that users want  
standards".  Then they complain a while and then they go away, never  
to be heard of again.

Christoph and the folks are the first people who actually managed to  
create a community around Creole.   They did the work.  They called  
us all together, and we all sat down and agreed on the basic rules  
and markup.  They contributed WikiCreole filters to many projects.   
They created the wikiwizard, a wysiwyg (kinda) editor for Creole.   
They worked their ass off to help the community.  And you know what?   
People agreed to help.  Whether it sticks or not is a good question;  
at the moment it's just something which lives as yet another markup.   
But it might work.  If people care enough about it.

Wikis are about *communities*.  Anybody can create a spec, and wave  
it around and say that people should adopt it.  But that does not  
make it so.  Nobody can force anybody else to adopt anything.  There  
is no "wiki community" that thinks or acts in one voice, has leaders,  
or can make any decisions.  We are regular people, who just work on  
something we love (or get paid to do, or both), and being a pompous  
ass is not the way to gain favours.

Remember this, please.

(And I'm not even going to touch your "wikis are anti-rules" rant.   
You have obviously no open source experience.)

(Personally I think the public wants free sex and less taxes, but  
that's about all I what I  can say what the public wants.  If the  
public really wanted better editing, why is it not paying to  
companies to provide it?  No wait, they *are* paying.  Ever seen  
Google Docs?  Or SocialText? WYSIWYG all around.

I think any attempt at creating a better standard than Creole is  
about as sane as the cavalry trying to agree on a new signal flag  
language right before the tanks roll in.)

/Janne

On Jun 3, 2008, at 13:48 , Mike Haseler wrote:

> I was just looking up some information on wikipedia (to which I  
> have contributed a lot) and having worked on the creole parser,  
> tried to enter two lots of text as bold as **Well done**.
>
> The first use was just stars, the second turned into a series of  
> bullet points.
>
> So, I entered '''Well done''' and it was italic, so I entered  
> ''Well done'' and it worked (or was it the other way around?).
>
> The point I'm trying to make is that even the simplest text cannot  
> be entered into a wiki without running into these stupid problems,  
> and what should have been a one minute helping to improve the  
> article, ended up being three edits simply to get the formatting  
> right ... and in future I just won't bother!
>
> The primary reason I've never got a wiki going on my own site (I  
> can't run wikipedia) is that every wiki seems to be full of  
> perverse oddities which I can't remember so how on earth can I  
> expect those with less interest to bother to learn.
>
> The first thing I looked at when evaluating wikis was: "Could I  
> understand the mark up ... ".
>
> It is time the wiki community realised that the public like me are  
> fed up with this shambles. We don't care what character we have to  
> use to make bold, italic, etc. etc. so long it is easy remember and  
> the same where ever we have to use it.
>
> Why when I go to PHPBB do I have to enter [b] or whatever it is,  
> when I go to wikipedia it is ''' when I go somewhere else it is  
> **Bold,  __bold or ...
>
> Even Creole doesn't specify whether there can be a space between  
> the **Bold** or ** bold ** when it seems obvious to me that ** on  
> its own is an ambiguous character whereas **bold is not!!!
>
> What the public like me wants the wiki/blog/bulletin board  
> community to do, is to agree a standard, not a "wouldn't it be nice  
> if" thing like creole which seems intent on avoiding upsetting  
> anyone and in doing so will satisfy nobody, but a tough standard  
> where there are clear rules as to what is, and what is not compliant.
>
> What the public really wants is something like the W3C compatible  
> symbol on website that says this blog, newsgroup, wiki is "KIRK  
> compatible" so that they know how to **boldly go**.
>
> I know that I am pissing into the wind, because getting wikis to be  
> compatible is like herding cats ... and the reason wikis are all  
> different is that wikis are fundamentally anti-rules, ...
>
> What I would like to know is there anybody else out there who would  
> be willing to actually develop a clear mandatory and user-centric  
> specification?
>
> Mike
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