Versioning Would Help Newbies

From WikiFailures,

As a Wiki Newbie (about a week ago...), I found I was wishing for versioning. For the purposes of finding out about the topic at hand, it's great that the initial rambling discussion gets refactored into a consensus view or some other form of summary. For the purposes of learning about Wiki itself, driven not so much by a desire for MetaWiki per se as a wish to learn the editing conventions quickly, worked examples of the refactoring process itself would have been extremely useful. Would still be, for that matter. -- DanBarlow

My wikis have versioning, and I like it a lot. I use it to undo dumb mistakes or even deliberate malfeasance. Most of the time the history is not important. But sometimes it is. -- RalphJohnson

I agree very much with versioning. As always, my biggest vote goes to the needs of the "newbie", hence the promotion of Dan's points to their own page. But versioning can also add complexity for the new user if we're not careful. -- RichardDrake

As a relatively new user, I found that the versioning helped me quite a bit. I've used the Twiki (http://www.twiki.org) version of the wiki. The addition of the version numbers, diff's, and an ability to step though the history of a page, helped me appreciate the Wiki for how powerful of a tool it is. -- DanFlies

I'm sure Sunir would pipe up and say something about ForgiveAndForget, but I'll beat him to it. Versioning is good for some purposes, but there is a trade-off. Remember those old posts you made on UseNet? They're still there (see GoogleGroups). If you're like most people, there are probably some you'd prefer to disappear without a trace. Flame wars are another reason not to keep a full history of pages. -- Anonymous

This implies that one's conduct was, at one time, totally unforgiveable. I have embarrassing old posts archived on Usenet (search for "Brent P. Newhall"), but I realize that any sane person will take them in context, and not judge me solely based on a single Usenet post from years ago. Besides, versioning means that an archive exists, not necessarily that anyone will access it. You won't get hordes of people diving through the archives in search of embarrassing old flame wars. The archive would be there in case someone needs it. -- BrentNewhall

It doesn't take a horde of people to start a flame war. It only takes one determined one, which is why we don't give them the opportunity. Malfeasance and mistakes are overcome by KeptPages. Newbies will learn how to refactor from old hats consistently refactoring. When was the last time you reduced a ThreadMode to DocumentMode? (If you did, how long did it take before someone flamed you?) -- SunirShah

Respectfully, I'm less concerned with flame wars starting than with their continuation. If the flame war is deleted, one determined individual may track through the history to restore the conversation if they wanted to, but I doubt that it would happen often enough to be a significant problem. It would certain seem to me to be a worthwhile trade-off for the advantages of versioning. As for your last question, I've performed those crappy reductions (though not massively), and I can't recall any flames. -- BrentNewhall

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