I almost GaveUpOnWiki
. I thought something would have to change if I could ever use the site again. WikiSpam
ism were out of control.
I spent some effort discussing WikiSpamSolutions
, and my favorite proposal was PersonalWatchList
. It proposed to kill the concept of RecentChanges
. The vandalism "machine" is uprooted completely if you take away RecentChanges
. But Ward didn't seem to be in any hurry to implement PersonalWatchList
or any other WikiChangeProposal
So after some reflection, I decided that I could still do PersonalWatchList
on my own. Not with an AntiVandalismBot?
or an AntiSpamBot
. I could just refuse to look at RecentChanges
This "solution" isn't as complete as PersonalWatchList
, but it is good enough for me. I'll happily continue to see the good parts of Wiki, and I'll have a statistically insignificant chance of ever encountering WikiSpam
s. This is thanks to the WikiZen
s who still keep watch on RecentChanges
and clean up the spam and vandalism before I ever have a chance to wander across it. (At least I think
they still do that - can't really be sure, of course.)
I have tried a few websites for change tracking, but they all seem to be lacking in one way or another. I am playing with the idea of making my own.
Michael, David here. Let me try to understand a bit more about your solution. I think what you have is similar to AutoPcn?
which I also use and it works as advertised. If it is, then it have these imperfections which NewRecentChanges
- you do not get to know about new pages and content changes
- Your page (this one) is a relatively new page. I believe there was a call for collaboration paper issued early 2005. You could miss out on an opportunity for others to benefit from your contributions, or for you to learn from others with similar interests
- you could miss out on existing pages that lied dormant, or somehow slipped thru your periodic screening.
- you could overcome this thru a systematic screening of all page names, but it has its own pros and cons.
- you miss out on new people and the ideas they bring here
- This is actually not good for the health of the wiki. New users need to be encouraged and supported, else some behave like the creators of good pages like ManagementRoadMap, RegularContributors, etc. These people burnt out without sufficient support to deal with WikiNoisePollution.
Maybe a solution is to use NewRecentChanges
every 2 days, then the edit war pages are grouped together and have less impact. If Ward would make NewRecentChanges
for 4 days, or 1 week, then it would be still better at "containment" of "externalities".
I really appreciate the interest - I'll try to address your points one by one.
- AutoPcn?. I like the idea, but I really wanted something a little more seamless. WikiBots operating from the outside have a pretty low bound on integration possibilities. PersonalWatchList would have been seamlessly integrated with the wiki engine, but that's out. With the above BookMarklets, I can watch a new page with just a few mouse clicks. To use AutoPcn?, I have to go edit a page and type out some text - and then the alerts are passive instead of active, not to mention being public knowledge. Again, I really like the idea, and I based PersonalWatchList on the idea behind AutoPcn?.
- New pages. This is taken care of in a way. Presumably if someone creates a new page, they will add links to it from existing pages. If one of those existing pages is on my watch list, I will then be made aware of the new page. If someone creates a new orphan page, I have no reason to be alerted - it most likely has nothing to do with my interests.
- I don't know what you're referring to with "collaboration paper". I must have missed that entirely.
- Dormant pages. I think this approach actually leads me to the dormant pages more than ever. A RecentChangesJunkie is likely to focus just on the pages that are on the WikiMind at any given point. There is a constant supply of new pseudo-random pages always popping up, so he never has to venture out and actually use the wiki. That is, by following its links. Without RecentChanges, I am forced to do that. I have stumbled upon many dormant pages this way. Of course, I have also been making liberal use of Sunir's RandomPage script - which also does a good job of drudging up dormant pages.
I remember when I first found the wiki. I didn't know about RecentChanges
. I think I had just hit some arbitrary page from a search engine link. I started following the links to more pages, and then the links on those pages, and then the links on those pages, and so on. It was completely overwhelming, but that is what made me stay. Such a huge amount of knowledge - and often high quality discussion. I had to read it all! Now, of course, I have been spoiled for some time. I know about RecentChanges
, and I know that wiki contains approximately 30,000 pages. I think we naturally reject that overwhelming, out-of-control feeling that wiki gives you. RecentChanges
makes you feel like you are in control, like you really know what happens on the wiki. The revelation for me recently has been that, although we feel
in control, we are not. The wiki is just too big for anyone to know it all.
I think of it like the real world. In the real world, you can watch TV news and get a constant feed on the latest happenings around the globe. It's good for nothing but raising your stress level. In the real world, I GaveUpOnTelevision
because I realized that the constant stream of information did me absolutely no good. I haven't watched TV news in years and somehow I have managed to avoid being personally attacked by terrorists. For the few things that interest me, I registered Google news alerts.
You raise the point that I will miss out on new people and the ideas they bring. But here we are having a conversation. It makes the conversations take longer, but that is probably a good thing for most people. I think wiki would be better off if things happened at a consistently slow pace. The feeling of community seems to require relatively short time-spans, however. If the longer time-spans caused by my plan actually do kill the sense of community, then I think it is an acceptable loss. The community feeling probably leads to more rudeness and power-trips anyway. I'll clarify this in another page at some point.
One more point about change notification. I have only put pages on my watch list when it is something I am passionate about. I have my home page, this page, and maybe 10 others right now. If I wander across the UniversityOfTennessee
page at some point and absorb its content, then that should be enough for several years. If someone refactors that page a day later, I really don't need to know. AutoPcn?
both seem to support this way of thinking.
every two days might work for some, but for me, it would probably be like trying to have a cigarette just every two days. I don't think it would work like that. I'd be a RecentChangesJunkie
again in no time.
The analogy to media (newspaper and TV) "information overload" is good. Whilst spending your time hypnotised by the CNN realtime news channel is no good, there are times I find it useful to keep closer watch (e.g. when the tsunami news broke, or when 9/11). I find it fascinating to try to understand perspective of a different individual, or an organization/establishment, etc. During the Iraqi war the "Minister of Information" provided lots of entertainment, provided relief from the human tragedies of warfare.
If the analogy of "coffee shop" is adopted, then a periodic visit to the "watering hole" will provide other side benefits (providing the edit wars and spams don't dominate the scene). If you are interested in computing algorithms, and if you notice a research person in that area has been active recently, then you may share in the "discoveries" that person has made. Or some activities may trigger analytical thinking in a different subject. So for these reasons I wish the edit wars and spams would JustL
eave. -- dl
Your comment about the tsunami and 9/11 has some merit. With all of the activity (or should I say non-activity) on wiki right now (2005/03), I have started watching RecentChanges pretty closely again. -- MichaelSparks
As simple thing Ward could do to help is sort FindPage
results by last edit date, and display the last edit date in the results. Then you could just sign your name to any page you want to keep tabs on, and use the backlinks as a PersonalWatchList
. -- MichaelSparks
I would just like to remove pages from my watchlist. Anything dominated by top or RA, as well as the same dozen or so pages that keep coming up in the EditWar, and I'll still see plenty of interesting new material. I'm pondering writing some Proxomitron filters to do just that, basically removing these pages from my worldview dynamically. Still can't help but hit the occasional link to them, but it'll make this wiki a nice place to be on the whole. Because to look at quickchanges now makes this place look like a cesspit of bile and spite... And while I admit a great fascination with many of these pages, it's not a healthy one.
If you haven't already seen them, take a look at LetsWithdrawIntoSolipsism
Actually, I think I'm just going to withdraw from the community and maybe just try out some new IRC channels instead. There's no one there actively messing with the integrity of the actual data on the medium (and frankly little DOS action on freenode either). This place is going down *exactly* the same way LambdaMOO did -- taken over by TrollKings?, the founder and implementor refuses to be the "owner", and the remainder have no effective recourse. I don't care to see it again. I've mostly just lurked here all these years anyway ... I guess it's a shame I chose now to try being active.