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newspages quotability and wikis

4 May 2012

#motivation

for quite some time i use a wiki at lastlog.de, a mediawiki to be precise, and i wonder why there is no wide adaptation towards the wiki principle. with that i don’t mean collaborative editing but, somehow in contrast, the principle to be quotable.

lately, out of curiosity, i scrolled through my diploma thesis and checked the overall link stability. some were broken. however, all wikipedia links worked. as stated in the document itself, i explicitly link to the wikipedia because of its link stability. if i would have liked i could have even linked to a certain revision. but i decided not to, as the reader always has the option to look at an older revision, based on date and time.

the more interesting aspect, that is why i linked to wikipedia articles, is that i don’t want to waste time describing something when there is a different place doing so already. if someone is smart enough to follow my ideas in my diploma thesis i assume the same when it comes to judging about the quality of wikipedia articles. and before linking a keyword (like ‘package manager’) to a certain wikipedia article, which should describe it, i always read the article. the idea is twofold: first i like to see if my conception or understanding matches with what is in the article. second, if that is the case, i would simply link it and forget about the whole thing. but if my understanding does not match with the article i can evaluate my or their version as being better and pick what fits best.

for some online articles i had to link, i wasn’t even able to provide a direct link and therefore added a google search link into the document.

wiki editing has so many benefits, like being able to rollback to a previous version. do collaborative work. why is there no wiki like support, say when editing libre office/word documents? maybe because back in time that was considered a waste of bits&bytes but using compression that can’t be an argument today.

here is a use-case where that would be great: say you write a document and you pass it to someone else for review and corrections. often i would like the other person doing whatever change he wants to do and later be able to rollback this or that change. with a wiki like document structure this would be very easy.

if you don’t follow, just have a look at this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Linux&diff=490431450&oldid=489027763

and about link stability: this link might even work when this blog is long gone. 

i see so many benefits by using wikis and wiki like concepts but despite of the wiki-web principle and decentralized VCSs there seems to be no wide use of it.

IMHO i think a webpage, even this wordpress blog, which does not implement a wiki principle, is kind of stupid as one can never be certain what is going on. one could say such a page is schizophrenic to some degree.

hopefully this will change in the future.

update: 11.5.2012

it would be desirable if the mentioned link stability would be independent of a strict TLD (top level domain). for example: if i move this blog to a different location, say to invalidmagic.de then all the articles here stop working and the links from other pages into this article will fail.