[squeak-dev] Squeakapedia?

Chris Muller asqueaker at gmail.com
Sat Jun 19 20:40:02 UTC 2010

But I still find the irony to be that nearly all of the complaints
about the swiki seem to originate from the human-side of the equation.
 You are not the only one to refer to it "as a mess" but I hope you
agree this is not a swiki technical problem.  We humans were provided
with a flexible, dynamic, hyperlinkable document structure.  We are
able to make a complex class-hierarchy and running code system called
our "Smalltalk image" but this hyper-linked _documentation_,
apparently is too much for us, as a community..

It would be relatively easy to straighten out...    I just went to
http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/1 and... really doesn't look that
"messy" to me, but then I'm sure I'm at a lower-standard than you..
:)  When I don't want to navigate, I just use the "Search" button, it

> If I then find out its relevant but need a change I'm unsure if I can change
> without interfering with other peoples work and references.

Well, you should not be unsure, because the swiki was designed from
the very beginning to be a "community maintained documentation".
Anyone who creates a page may password protect it, thereby
establishing their "ownership" if they wished.  Even if they forgot to
password protect it, every page also has version history, so if there
was "inteference" it could be trivially rolled back.

> Then I wonder if its worth the effort to change stuff because the swiki is
> not relevant anymore...
> For me the reasons for not using the Squeak swiki are mostly structure,
> versioning, ownership and the swikis relevance.
> The swiki is quite a mess and a hard to navigate so it's hard to find stuff.
> When I look at stuff, I hardly never know what version of Squeak this
> is describing and if it's still relevant.
> ugh...
> Karl

I think you have succinctly articulated the negative feedback loop the
swiki finds itself in, whether deserved or not..   :-/

> On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 10:06 PM, Chris Muller <asqueaker at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I, too, an fascinated by this question:  _Why_ has the wiki "fallen
>> out of favor?"
>> I am skeptical that it is because there are multiple versions of
>> Squeak and the inherent out-of-dateness that creates.  This is
>> something that all forms of documentation face, even internal ones
>> that are versioned with the code.  Just look at how often code
>> comments are found to be out of of date.
>> The value of documentation is all about what we *decide* to put into it.
>> So why, oh why, have we "decided" to not update the wiki?
>> IMO, we, as a community, are stuck in this feedback loop; where
>> something that isn't "new and sexy", does not deserve our time or
>> attention.  The lack of attention causes bit-rot, further
>> deteriorating the image of the "old thing".
>> But the irony is, one of the "new sexy things" (depending on one's
>> perceptions, of course) is just an electronic version of something
>> much older than the wiki.  The Pharo community are making on-line
>> "books", much more old-fashioned than a wiki.  The Squeak wiki, to me,
>> seems much more dynamic, hyper-linked, and "finer-grained".  It also
>> *designed*, originally, for this medium known as The World Wide
>> Web....   :)
>> This is not a criticism of Pharo or the electronic-book format; I like
>> books and their more linear nature bodes well for tutorials.  I just
>> think another great resource, the wiki, sits right under right our
>> nose, and the only real "deficiency" it suffers as a tool for
>> documentation is that it doesn't have sexy colors or buttons, thus
>> leading to provoking our psychotic feedback loop..
>>  - Chris
>> On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 5:13 AM, Ralph Johnson <johnson at cs.uiuc.edu>
>> wrote:
>> > I've used lots of wikis over the years, starting with the original
>> > c2.com wiki.    While each had its unique features that made it
>> > interesting, basically they were all good.  Wikis are cool and, when
>> > there is a community behind them, can be very powerful.
>> >
>> > The squeak wiki has fallen out of favor.  It used to be extremely
>> > useful and was used a lot, it isn't used as much now.  I don't think
>> > that its problems have much to do with the platform it is running on.
>> > While Mediawiki is certainly a very nice wiki, I think the problems of
>> > the Squeak wiki would be unchanged if it were a Mediawiki.
>> >
>> > So, what is wrong with the Squeak wiki?  Why isn't it used as much?
>> >
>> > In my opinion, the problem is that, from a documentation point of
>> > view, there is no such thing as Squeak, rather, there are many
>> > versions of Squeak.  Although there are some things they all have in
>> > common, they differ in some ways.  If you make a separate wiki for
>> > each version, you fragment your community and have no way of dealing
>> > with duplicate pages.  If you make a single wiki for them all, like
>> > the Squeak wiki did, you end up with lots of information that is still
>> > true for older versions but is no longer true for the latest.  And
>> > since a lot of people are still running the older versions, you don't
>> > want to get rid of that information.
>> >
>> > The new way for making documentation, which is to treat it as source
>> > and to version it like source, solves these problems.  It probably
>> > introduces some problems of its own, but I think it is probably the
>> > best alternative for creating good, long-lasting documentation for
>> > Squeak.
>> >
>> > -Ralph
>> >
>> >

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