Read The Whole Wiki

A monstrous task indeed!

The issue of useful generalizations is an important one. Since I've never seen the whole Wiki and gotten a feel for its size, I don't know if I'm skirting its margins, trekking across its interior, or meandering through its entirety. It's like being in a huge, unfamiliar building which you've never seen from the outside. "Where am I? Where can I go? Where else exists? What are those places like? What don't I see about where I am now that I would see if I were elsewhere? Where's the toilet?" Down the hall second door to the left.

Well. The nodes you are seeing are, in general, the most-connected ones, which are the closest thing to the interior that a general graph has. So, you're "trekking". Of course, there are a lot of niches here and there...

It is one thing to VisualizeTheWiki, but another to actually BecomeOneWithWiki?.

Another interesting task may be to try and print the whole wiki. [I did this when the site was 600 pages. It wasn't interesting. Save a tree. -- WardCunningham]

If you really want to start reading the entire Wiki go to WikiList.

"Would it be useful [to try to read the whole Wiki]?"

Reading many pages helps if you plan to be a WikiGnome, as exposure to many pages allows you to add links between related but unlinked pages. The number of possible pages goes up with the square of the number of pages read, so reading your Nth+1 page increases your pool of potential links by 2N+1. Since LinksAreContent, every new page read increases your ability to add content to the WikiWikiWeb.
Which wiki? Since Wiki is changing and pages are constantly being created while others are vanishing or changing so much as to become different pages altogether, one can never really ReadTheWholeWiki. That is unless one takes a picture of the wiki at a time in space and then takes a picture of every page modified thereafter and putting them in a place defined by the date pictured. Then the "Whole Wiki" is more definable, being represented not only by pages which exist now, but also pages which were different at times past, including those which are no more. This is the picture I now have of the wiki, both mentally and physically.

This represents in the first stage a full-time job for about a month, just to acquire the pages in the WikiList. During that time, one must also take pictures of the pages in the RecentChanges, placing them in dated directories. When this is completed, and all pages have been saved, one still is missing all of the intermediate changes which occur in the give and take events occurring during the day. The only person who can truly read the "Whole Wiki" at a selected point of time is one who has access to the structure, maintenance and storage mechanisms of that wiki.

-- DonaldNoyes (Wiki Photographer)



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