Death By Perfection

Death By Perfection: what happens to a Wiki page that has achieved homeostasis and therefore never shows up on any change lists (creating a CrystalPalace). This problem has been discussed before, but what conclusions has the Wikihood reached?

  1. Include the Wiki page in the list of ReallyValuablePages
  2. Implement LeastRecentChanges
  3. Link to it in a RoadMap
  4. Add it to a Category
  5. Link to it in related pages
  6. Point out to RecentChangesJunkies that they're missing something by only looking at current changes.

I mean no offense by #6, indeed I'm starting to realise it applies especially to me. The amount of time sucked by being a RecentChangesJunkie tends to discourage one from following the still-blue links into the unknown, or using LikePages for a good look around. I'm sure I learned more from this Wiki before I bothered with RecentChanges, but now I have TooMuchToRead. One solution is to hide RecentChanges by redirecting script to InstantChanges. :)


The WikiRefactoringBrowser should monitor fraction of time spent in RCJ/WikiGnome/WalkingTheWiki modes, and encourage the user to balance better. FeedbackIsControl. Control your education.

''I think this is a cool idea. It's like SandglassProgramming for developing a process rhythm. -- TomRossen

Link please! Maybe I should look at WRfB in more details? No, you're talking about Zogg and his 5% of time [a FeedbackIsControl story character]?
I suspect that becoming a RecentChangesJunkie is a defense against the fact that you can't really click on links at random here anymore -- the quality level is too low. It's not like I've been here from the beginning, but I've definitely noticed a drop in quality in the pages. Every new 1000 pages seems to be a little worse than the 1000 pages preceding it.

To be pie-in-the-sky for a moment: If we had a wiki that were so well-factored that instead of 26000 messy pages it had 5000 brilliant pages, would people rely on RecentChanges nearly as much? Or would they wander in our garden of delights, letting chance take them where it may? -- francis

In my opinion: No, and no. Since there would be less commentary and refactoring going on, RecentChanges would be less important. However, people still wouldn't necessarily wander. I get the feeling that people still think of Wiki as primarily a discussion or a collaborative dictionary. Neither of these accurately reflect the WikiNature, IMHO, and as a result, people will still want to add discussion and define new (off-topic) pages, because that's what they see the Wiki being for. And, of course, the web has an (unfortunate?) emphasis on constantly fresh, new content. One writer ( comments that people seem to always want new writing from an author, even though this is akin to asking a musician to compose all-new songs for every performance. (The "garden of delights" is a lovely metaphor, BTW.) -- BrentNewhall

When I first came here, I think I mostly wandered for about a month. Mostly I had a few topic areas that started me off and led me to other things. I came here looking for ExtremeProgramming and got drawn into WabiSabi and WuWei. The specific leading to the profound ... At any rate, it was only when those pages ran out, that I think I started to rely heavily on RecentChanges (and later the even-quicker QuickChanges). Which gives you the more temporal, chatty side of the Wiki, but then you start to lose out on its deep, still beauty. This is part of the reason I started refactoring; I'm trying to add to the stillness. Whether or not that's a Sisyphean task, it's hard to say ...

Back from the digression: One of the things to note about older pages is that if they have quality to them, they have many paths that lead their way. There aren't a lot of edits to an older page like UnitTests, for example, but that page probably has 311 backlinks. When a page is good and focused, it becomes a magnet for links. -- francis (Note: the example was UnitTests but that's just a pointer to UnitTest)

Perhaps, Francis, your described experience is the natural progression? Perhaps people should begin by appreciating the great stillness of the Wiki, then move on to an understanding and use of the Wiki as something like a collaborative communication device. We might ask: How can we encourage the "old codgers" to remind themselves of the Wiki as a garden to enjoy, rather than a discussion to join or a document to refactor? -- BrentNewhall

Keep in mind, y'all, that the C2 is the place for gathering our collective thoughts on the professional development of software. I try to revisit pages to which I first contributed 15 years ago in order to correct and update ideas and techniques which I've found to have evolved. Not only do I get some benefit from going back over this material gathered from the collective intelligence of the Wikizens, but it's my hope that Newbie Newcomer can read what we have hashed out here over the years and see that we, the primary participants, keep it all fresh. Does that not make this place more valuable than, say, -- MartySchrader
See: ThePerfectPage

Contributors: AnonymousDonor, MatthewAstley, TomRossen, BrentNewhall, MartySchrader

CategoryWiki, CategoryIdealism

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