Discussion On Really Valuable Pages

How can the casual visitor to this Wiki discover its breadth and scope? Can the experienced and knowledgeable among us create a mechanism or aid which is a way to those ReallyValuablePages?

This is an honest question. What is the answer?

Will we make the wiki a place where newcomers will be able to discover them and as a result of having read a number of them be able to create more ReallyValuablePages?

The recognition of valuable pages and the creation of navigation aids enabling their discovery will thereby increase the value of the remaining pages.

How do we now get to the pages that have value?

How is it that another page blocks the view of the pages considered to be Really Valuable?

How does one find Pages that are OnTopic, have low SignalToNoise, are UsefulAndAccurate? and have a relevance and WikiNature?

Here are some suggestions:

Using Categories: But the slogan/metaphor PleasePleaseDontCategorizeEveryPageOnWiki strictly applied will lead to some ReallyValuablePages being forgotten and lost. Careful and thoughtful use of categories will certainly help.

RoadMaps are useful: This seems an excellent although underutilized method to concentrate and focus on the pages and themes that have a common thread or theme. The reason, however, why there are not a great number of RoadMaps is that it requires a great deal of work and time. If only we had a group of WikiGnomes who would expend effort on improving pages and making Wiki navigation easier.

RecentChanges: Many people sample the Wiki through these links, but is is unlikely they will discover many of the ReallyValuablePages here (RecentChangesIsNotTheWiki).


Comments and Discussion

"Can the experienced and knowledgeable among us create a mechanism or aid which is a way to those ReallyValuablePages?"

Yes, we can. And we have. It's wiki. Let the reader follow the links!

I would hope that someone will pare down the ReallyValuablePages list to a dozen or two pages that really are valuable. There are a lot of pages on the list that are of questionable value. It suffers from the perennial ListMode and WikiGreatFoobarLists problems.

If it is a short list you desire, then possibly add your ideas (not many, the list should be short) and put them in ShortListOfValuablePages?''

Oh, yeah, just what we need - another list of lists. My preferred course of action would be to delete everything on the ReallyValuablePages lists, and start over from scratch. But I know that if I do that, somebody will just restore the lists to their current form.


My preferred course is to create a definition of what a ValuablePage is, and then to list examples. -- BenTremblay

It's probably quite hard to define actually, but still we try from time to time. 9-)

I think my current preference is to find someone who writes interesting things, then follow links and BackLinks from their HomePage, or draw a VirtualTour?. The majority of the pages in the list were created just that way! Others were nominated

When I'm looking for something, or a class of somethings, I sometimes wish there were a relevant list page. The rest of the time I do think, "Oh no not another list page". It depends which foot is wearing the boot that crumbles the cookie. -- MatthewAstley What you are describing is a page very much like a Category page; try CategoryCategory for a list of the ones existing (quite a wide range of topics by now).

I could tell by the title of this page that it was a list, and if I wished to avoid or not to read it, I should choose avoidance of "another list page", by not clicking on the link.

That's a fair comment for those who dislike the list pages, but if they are to be useful to those who need them then maybe we need less than four?

Four?! There is only one ReallyValuablePages, and this discussion page. (That's two the way I count)

ShortListOfValuablePages too. The fourth one has recently been deleted.

Someone thinks my ValuablePage page should be deleted ... I dunno. Maybe a page can be valuable without actually being really valuable? By which I mean, of course, that it's is actually and truly valuable, but not to any great extent ... it's great, but not really great. *OMG I'm sounding like Woody Allen!* -- BenTremblay

On the bright side, organizing this much information is a HardProblem? anyway, so we needn't feel too bad if we don't hit the spot between the eyes.

I have spent the past 3 hours reading, evaluating and trying to make the page better by removing some of the pages from the list which are misplaced, perhaps you can help? -- DonaldNoyes

Also a good point. It's time I did a FixMyWiki? pass really. -- MatthewAstley

Sadly, the ReallyValuablePages page has, itself, lost most of its value. It is too big and contains only about one quarter of the one-liner descriptions it needs so that the casual visitor will have incentive to visit a listed page. Hmm. Should we maybe start thinking about some heavy slice-and-dice on that list?

Happily, the page is dynamic. It presents what this wiki is all about. There are people who visit this wiki and who appreciate this listing of pages which represent a capsule from over 25,000 pages. -- DonaldNoyes


What about the idea of creating a link density map of some kind. I saw this rather neat tool for looking at paper attribution which created a kind of diagram which showed the numbers of attributions as the size of a circle and the proximity as a link between the circles that was long or short depending on the frequency of joint attribution. The topic was philosophers, so each bubble was a philosopher and the links were to other philosophers and it was interesting since the philosophers that were close to one another where both those philosophers that agreed with a given philosopher and those that reacted against the philosopher. So the diagram summarized the dynamics of philosophical opinion. I wonder if something similar would cluster wiki-pages without manual categorization? -- RaySchneider
Look out, folks. I hereby proclaim my single-minded intent to reduce the size of ReallyValuablePages, ShortListOfValuablePages, etc. These indexes are great if they are short and totally useless if they are too looooooong. Please slap me around if you think I've overstepped my authority, so to speak. -- MartySchrader

The Google Pagerank is rather well thought out as a value-attribution system. Frankly, I would love to see a browser toolbar which allows the registering of independent votes (based on distinct IP addresses - one vote per address perhaps).


I think that ReallyValuablePages has some very useful comments at the top. The largest section after that is on patterns, which is fair enough for the original focus of this wiki. There are many other substantial areas of work described on this wiki, including a lot of material on different programming languages, databases, etc. One of the benefits of improving the linkage is that people dropping in will find answers to questions in ways that the original provider of the link did not expect. That means that the linkages provided can usefully be of different types, e.g. category, keyword in the name, direct link, which all contribute. I don't see any need to take away or cut down what has grown. I have spent a little time today looking at OrphanNonHomePages and linking in those which seemed to me to have value and a natural home, e.g. in CategoryMath. -- JohnFletcher
A way to produce a list of ValuablePages? is to use something like ValuablePage as a WikiTag on pages found valuable by someone or another. Then to list them, merely go to the tag page and click on the title to produce its BackLinks, which will be a list of pages having the WikiTag of ValuablePage.
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