Walled Garden Discussion

Discussion about WalledGarden(s) should go here.


I would welcome the diversity this sort of contribution would make to this wiki. To mark such an effort as a WalledGarden and to later delete it based on this classification would be a mistake, and hints of a TechnicalAndProceduralCensorship?. Every reader is entitled to apply their own personal filtering mechanism to what they read, but to insist that that filtering mechanism should apply to the existence or removal of a page or pages can only be described as EgoCentric?. If such pages are not interesting to you and you don't want to read such pages, don't read them! We must be extremely careful in how we delete and in what we delete, as this carries a message which some may read as exclusiveness and being a sort of TechnicalClubMentality?. This wiki is not a club of like-minded, lock-stepping individuals, but one of a diversity and technical proficiency seldom found on the internet. For more on this, read DiversityIsSmotheredOnWiki.

Another alternative: maintain the pages that others find to be a WalledGarden and you find interesting or appropriate on your own PersonalWiki where it will be allowed to grow into something others might find useful. You can insert within this garden suitable InterWiki links which provide usefulness both for the present and for the future when such links become more commonplace. The more the merrier! See WikiFarm and WikiForDummies (no offense intended) and WikiEngine/WikiEngines.


Why is a WalledGarden bad? Why is deep integration necessary? Some topics cannot have many readers. Why should they attract everyone? How does a WalledGarden disturb other wikis? Why is diversity (any kind of structure) prohibited on Wiki? -- DennisGorelik

There is more than one way to look at a wiki; you can define that way with a wiki. So if the way you are looking at wiki starts to suck, write a filter to keep things organized. Things happen asynchronously on a wiki; let them happen and fix wherever they err. -- MichaelLidman

A WalledGarden is bad because it is not PiecemealGrowth.

Dennis's comment takes a general community opinion about a specific behavior to extremes. Topics need not attract everyone. A WalledGarden does not necessarily disturb other wikis. Diversity is not prohibited on Wiki. WalledGardens are specific types of pages; just because Wiki discourages them does not necessarily generalize to all types of pages (see the StarTrek pages, for example). -- BrentNewhall

The StarTrek pages don't make a WalledGarden - just check out the StarTrek backlinks, which include pages like WhyDoesTheUniverseExist, ProgrammingIsNotFun and GiantSpaceGoingAmoebae.

That's my point; StarTrek is a specific topic, and just because it's a topic doesn't make it a WalledGarden. And the existence of an "off-topic" topic like StarTrek does not mean that discouraging WalledGardens is hypocritical. -- BrentNewhall


Hopefully, given enough time, WikiGnomes will burrow under the walls and cross-pollinate the WalledGarden with relevant links. In a wiki, form is one of the easiest things to change. WalledGardens may be tough to penetrate because of their vigilant gardeners, but reasonable discourse is usually rewarded.

In this fashion, pages which were a WalledGarden become not a WalledGarden by introducing links to them or adding links to them, thus facilitating movement and interaction into the WikiCommunity.

Isn't that supposed to be one of the strengths of wiki? One can freely change and form pages in an interactive mode.


It has been said: "His (MartinCooke) theories have been put to the test by MarkHunt who builds the best walls, fences and hedges in the world."

A WildForest is preferred over a WalledGarden for variety, ecology, and for its natural chaos. Even so, some prefer order over chaos.

Such a sentence sets up a FalseOpposition?. Forests, and indeed all ecologically healthy spaces, have an order that is deep, profound, and rewarding. What is being objected to on a page like this is not order itself, but a conception of order that is simplistic and clumsy.

Meaning that the simple and clumsy need not attempt to enter? It would seem that they ought to be coached, corrected, directed and assisted, not scolded, chided, or gasp eliminated!

I suggest that the conception is simple and clumsy, not the people who hold that conception. By all means, coach the people so that they do not set up an unproductive order. -- BrentNewhall


Ironically, when WalledGarden was created, it had no links to it apart from auto-generated pages like ChangesInJuly? and RandomPages. On the other hand, it was only one page. (Some wikis call such a page an "orphan".)


I wonder whether EuropeanUnion together with all the xxxCountry-pages is one large WalledGarden (even if it doesn't fit all the above characteristics).

In a sense, but they tend to be associated with home pages, so since a removal attempt some eight months ago failed, the country pages are retained. Meaningful content should exist.


In the English countryside, a WalledGarden is not a prohibition to entry: there, as here in Wiki, one is free to hike as long as one is not destructive. That the wall is a prohibition to entry is in the mind of the hiker, not the owner. The concept would never have been noticed in the primordial days of Wiki; is it a product of a culture of differentiation where each WikiGnome views him or herself as superior to hiking visitors? Do I need a WikiGnome to fertilize my garden? I am glad when gnomes fertilize my garden; they do a good job. We nonetheless never had to rely on such gnomes in England. Gnomes are good, but other people are good, too.


Walled gardens are an important intermediate state before integration and export, and the text on WalledGardens supports that, but here it is worded more aggressively. Hmm. -- AndrewCates


When is a Walled Garden not a Walled Garden?

If you think about that question a little you should realize that what has been defined as a Walled Garden is simply a long starting post that has not yet had time to evolve.

So, if a new page is only a paragraph long, it is not a Walled Garden, but if it's 10 pages long then it is a Walled Garden. The single page is easy to digest and therefore easy to comment on/modify, and as soon as it starts to evolve, it loses any taint of Walled Gardenism.

The 10 pager by contrast, takes a lot more comprehension before readers will be happy to contribute, although because the post is within the WIKI domain, it will inevitably become the meat of evolution. It will just take a little longer than the simple one paragraph post took.

I would suggest therefore that the term 'Walled Garden' is simply a device created by those who find big words and long posts too much of a challenge for their comprehension.

Taken to its opposite (and ludicrous) extreme, a NON Walled Garden post would be a single word, or even a single letter. We could then all add letters or words until something coherent started to emerge. Perhaps we need a new rule 'New Posts are limited to 30 words'. Or perhaps we must just remember the purpose of a WIKI is to be read, considered and evolved - irrespective of its size or the amount of thought that has already gone into it. -- DerekSmith


A WalledGarden becomes bad only if all the gardeners have left and the garden is left to waste away.

In many ways, the entire WardsWiki is a big walled garden, so go find new gardeners to offload work from people whose interests may have waned.


Consider, for a moment, a fantastic notion, a notion in the spirit, perhaps, of a short piece of fiction by Borges. Imagine that within this very wiki there exists at least one SecretWalledGarden?, a hidden WalledGarden which exists quite openly, innocuously and ordinary-seeming in the midst of various random wiki pages and random wiki categories. To the casual visitor, and even to most WikiGnome and WikiMaster personages, the updates on these various pages seem unremarkable, unexceptionable and unconnected. The contributions are generally well thought out, well-written and OnTopic, although they rarely present earthshakingly new insights. The changes may originate from a single author who is more or less known to the wiki community, or from a small group of more-or-less known, but seemingly unrelated wiki authors and editors. To the initiated, however, these seemingly unconnected bits of text form a coherent whole, a SecretWalledGarden?, whose real meaning can be known only by those who hold the hidden key to the code or cipher behind which the SecretWalledGarden? lies shrouded. And at the Gate of the Garden begins the exploration of the Arcana... -- JohnReynoldsTheStudent


Sometimes the problem is that people have a large subject that they want to introduce to the Wiki, and they think that since their knowledge of that subject is large, the subject should get a lot of different pages here.

But one person's interest in a narrow subject has nothing to do with whether pages should be here. More relevant, perhaps, is whether the community as a whole is interested. I mean, if I were an expert car-mechanic I could no doubt fill twenty pages with information about how to retool your transmission. But should I?

I actually like the way Wiki clones such as MoinMoin support friendly InterWiki pages, so that you could compare a relevant problem to retooling a transmission and then type something like CarTalkWiki?:RetoolingTransmissions? and it'd show up as just RetoolingTransmissions? with a little inter-wiki icon on the left, and from there, interested parties could read your twenty pages on the subject. WardsWiki seems to have its own compromise, that being SisterSites like WhyClublet. -- NickBensema

Anyway, part of the problem is that WikiNature is really hard to grok, or maybe just that hypertext in general is really hard to grok. With more and more newbies, we need ways to explain this stuff to well-intentioned newcomers without making ourselves sound like a) curmudgeonly elitists or b) hand-waving wishy-washy EasternWusses?. WikiBootCamp??

Perhaps a NewbieTourBus?, to take newbies to these TourBusStop: OnTopic, FileMode, WikiIsNotaDictionary, WikiEssence, etc. . . MarkDilley

Too school-marm-ish. If I were a newbie, I'd be begging to get off the bus after about the third stop!


There does seem to be a recent explosion of new topics that warrant immediate deletion. I'd encourage use of the DeletedButWelcomeToWiki tag, or some other explanation, rather than replacing the pages with just "delete". If the newcomers don't know what they are doing wrong, they aren't going to stop. Or they may get mad and start trashing the place. -- KrisJohnson

How does one determine a WalledGarden from a IslandsOfForests??

The extreme walled garden is a set of pages with no links to and from other pages on the wiki.

But is there even such a thing? I mean, unless there's malicious intent or misuse, AllDataRelatesToOtherData, eventually... Remember there are no real walls -- it's a metaphor.

Every page will have some default links to e.g. RecentChanges. What is meant here is the lack of intentional links to and from other pages so that human beings searching have an increased chance of finding when they are searching. For me it is the richness of this wiki that so many people have contributed over the years that there are always more things to be found on any given topic. (This paragraph moved to WalledGardenDiscussion at my suggestion.) -- JohnFletcher

What are IslandsOfForests?? Without knowing that, there is no way to answer your question. As for whether they exist? I don't know of any current ones, but keep in mind that the definition mentions links, a specific method of navigation from one page to another, not relationships in a broader sense.

What about IslandsOfInformation?

Yeah that's essentially it. I'm trying to suggest the idea that one may be plant a forest of a new species of tree on its own "island" (little intrawiki linking), but just waiting for someone to discover it. Who's to decide which is which? Notice, ironically, how the WalledGarden page is itself a rather walled garden, or perhaps more accurately a lone, fenced tree that no one is allowed to climb.

WalledGarden is precisely not a walled garden as there are plenty of links into it - around 150. Also it is one page, not a whole group, or two with this page. I think it is unfortunate to scatter around it disparaging remarks without understanding the context and experience contained within it. The we which is commented on is a past consensus from people who are not around to comment at the moment. My reason for this is that I am one person around here who has been coming here for some years. ThereIsSpaceForDiversity on the wiki but the challenge is to read what others are saying as well as to write. And also to think before making comments which put down other people's contributions. -- JohnFletcher


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