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RE: [Axiom-developer] Front page esthetic

From: Bill Page
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Front page esthetic
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2006 12:11:30 -0400


On August 1, 2006 12:40 AM you wrote:
> ... 
> Why is having the front-page as wiki a plus?
> For all I know, only a handful of people can actually modify 
> that page.

Although the FrontPage is the FrontPage of the Axiom Wiki, unlike
other pages on the wiki, we decided not to let visitors modify it,
otherwise we might be just a little to open to vandalism. So for the
Axiom Wiki FrontPage it is true that only a handful of people can
actually modify it.

> For other pages, due to irritating spams, the system has made it
> complicated for good citizens to contribute changes.

Why do you think it is "complicated for good citizens to contribute
changes"? I think it is very very significant (and disappointing to
me) that you perceive the Axiom Wiki this way. What can we do to
assure everyone that it fact that it is easy to contribute changes?
Afterall, that is the main reason that it is a Wiki.

> I don't see a difference between that and maintaining the website
> files as part of the SVN or CVS repository.  The latter seems
> simpler to me -- but I'm not proposing it.  Just observing.
> ...

This is another very important observation. I have to admit that
contrary to my "great expectations" it seems to me that so far we
have gained very little benefit from trying to maintain the Axiom
website as a wiki. It is true (for the most part) that the maintenance
of the contents of the Axiom web site (with the obvious exception of
the live Axiom and Reduce interface) could have been done using CVS
on Savannah or SourceForge. Contrary to the intent of the wiki, it
seems that almost all of the contributions to the Axiom web site
have been by people who are also active Axiom developers and are
quite familiar with using tools like CVS.

As I have said several times already, I am quite disappointed by
the lack of active contributions to the Axiom Wiki. Perhaps people
just do not have time or the motivation? I would be very surprised
if the reason was because they found it difficult to do, although
there does seem to be a considerable reluctance for people to view
the web as a two-way media where they can (or even are expected to)
contribute content. It seems to me that this is more a "cultural"
issue than a technical one.

In the last couple of years the only wildly successful wiki-based
project that I can think of is Wikipedia. At the present time the
only explanation I have for this is that apparently the ratio of
the number of people willing to contribute to the number of people
who just visit for information is very small - maybe as high as
1 out of 100,000. This would be consistant with the success of
Wikipedia and also the level of contribution that we see in Axiom
Wiki based on our month access statistics.

Anyway, I would very much like to hear from other Axiom developers
about the issue of whether it makes sense to continue to try to
maintain the main Axiom web site as a Wiki.

Bill Page.

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