Why History

The history of WhyClublet according to WardsWiki.


Negative publicity

I know from email that the following sentence, copied from an earlier version of WhyClublet, was written by TomStambaugh and expressed his view on Why. This ascription of identity is left anonymous as a tiny joke.

It ended up seeming cheeky, condescending, hostile to all but a very select few, and hopelessly stuck in enormously detailed contemplation of sentimental trivia about the host's favorite historical figures, primarily WinstonChurchill.

I think it was more varied than that. But I completely agree that there wasn't nearly enough variety for a self-styled PluralismWorkshop. Even the many disagreements were mostly boringly predictable. That's why we're determined to introduce some fresh perspectives, starting with an intelligent UK Muslim one. If they'll have us.

As for Why's claimed enormously detailed contemplation of WinstonChurchill, would anyone like to guess where exactly Winston comes in our ranking of people pages by citation? See TopicalThemes for some of the many other live themes, where Churchill doesn't even get a mention. There are also various critical pages like ChurchillTheParanoid which are the very opposite of sentimental, with the mistakes of Churchill described there being far from trivial.

Nevertheless, as I've said on Why recently, I feel that I've been helped by Tom's critique in this area. ClaimedObsessionWithSixtyYearsAgo has some later reflection on it. This has made me think more about WhyHistory matters, how it relates to today and how important it is to be balanced in telling it. Indeed I feel I have learnt from Tom's perspectives in a deeper way than that. -- RichardDrake


Ownership of the WhyClublet page

I remind you Richard that you do not own this forum or this page. I resent your focus on forcing people, specifically KathyBracy and me, to identify themselves. I also resent your assumption that you have the right to force a particular page to remain just the way you deem it best (on this wiki). Such behavior, in addition to being an example of WikiSquatting, also provides, at least for me, a credible explanation for at least some of the personal hostility that you seem to attract here. I believe that you owe both KathyBracy and myself a sincere and public apology. -- TomStambaugh

I have never claimed owernership of any Wiki page. I admit that sometimes I like to know who's criticizing me. But I don't, of course, at all mind you expressing your particular opinion about WhyClublet very forcibly, Tom. -- RichardDrake


Brief migration history according to known participants

WardCunningham announced the intention to create a SiteOfChristianPages seeded from some from Wiki in November 2000. Migration of initial pages was carried out by KeithBraithwaite and myself and led to some initial discussion. PeterMerel suggested moving the CategoryEasternThought pages from Wiki in late 2000. I said I'd leave it to Ward and others to decide and to Peter and others to do the deed. -- RichardDrake

Aren't EasternThoughtNecessaryToUnderstandPatterns? -- SunirShah

I'd just as soon see them stay. No reason not to make a copy of them though. -- PhilGoodwin

I still intend to move 'em. Just need time to scratch. I had been waiting for Ward to implement why?ExternalDirectory. -- Pete

Thanks very much for doing it Pete. JoshuaGrosse has kindly moved the pages related to the JesusSeminar. Some of us could probably use a few remaining Christian-related pages like ReligiousWar, OpennessOfGod and JohnPolkinghorne in the next quarter. Once the dust has settled from ClubletMovers?, I may go ahead. -- RichardDrake

I have archived the EditCopy of the pages moved to WhyClublet at http://sunir.org/c2/WhyClublet. Please confirm this, then delete the pages. I have also zipped the entire set for easy mirroring by third parties at http://sunir.org/c2/WhyClublet/WhyClublet.zip. -- SunirShah


Summary of the Eastern page dispute

Some people argued that it was always advisable to leave the eastern thought pages here, on the PortlandPatternRepository, where they could be maintained by a bigger, "more open" community. Eastern philosophy has been an explicit influence to patterns and PatternLanguages, these folk argued. Just as evangelical Christianity has influenced the development of patterns and ExtremeProgramming - take the example of KenAuer - some of us replied.

Concern was also expressed about alleged abuses of power by the Why ForumHosts, who had locked pages to discourage those who refuse to adopt Why community norms such as RealPeoplePlease from contributing. See the latest Why editions of VickiKerr for an example of the latter. That didn't seem like an appropriate manner to conduct pattern work and thus have charge of eastern pages, to some on Wiki, including a number who preferred to remain anonymous.

WhyMigrationDiscussion was penned in the aftermath of the dispute about Eastern pages, to draw attention to the deletion of important signed testimony at that time. The important argument about the general benefit of having wikis with DifferentHostingPolicies that was part of my own signed testimony has now been restored and expanded in that page. -- RichardDrake


Whether to move WTC pages to Why

I strongly urge participants here to move these pages wholesale to WhyClublet. Not only would that be more appropriate a place than here, but you would also benefit from the 1000 pages of theological discussion there, many of which are relevant. Alternatively, those that continue to write here should do so fully with the expectation that these pages will be deleted in the short term. I don't think that's too much a penalty. I doubt anyone will want to see any words they wrote this week echo throughout the eons. -- SunirShah

We were grateful for the clarity and charity of that contribution from Canadian soil. There's further clarification of our own easy-come, easy-go attitude on TheRealSunirShah:

For avoidance of doubt, I offered Why as a possible place for it, but certainly didn't and don't feel it right to put any pressure on Ward or the rest of the community about it. It's still a sensitive time for those in the USA and elsewhere. But I did appreciate your words about it, then and now.

GodBlessAmerica? has no doubt been misused as a slogan but take it as sincerely meant from this small corner. -- RichardDrake


What fits on what wiki?

Worth Considering: Since expressions concerning religion must be considered a free speech issue, and because religion plays a vital part in many people's everyday life, expressions regarding its influence on people, patterns, and the history of programming should include those rights and not be shoved aside for the convenience of those having opposing views. Reduction of and opposition to these rights does not seem to reflect the WikiWay.

I have no objection to discussion of religion, or anything else. Sadly, my experience is that many of those wishing to express opinions are not actually prepared to listen to the opinions of others. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are not prepared to have their most deeply held beliefs challenged. For me, it's not an issue of opposing views - often it is those I agree with who I most wish would shut up and listen. However, in my experience, they won't. To twist your words slightly (for which I apologize) a small but extremely vocal minority will express their opinion till the cows come home but you can't hope to engage them in discussion -- BenAveling

Once in a while, I run into a page here on WardsWiki that seems like it would make a much better fit over on WhyClublet. Only thing is, I'm not a WhyClublet regular, so I'm not sure what's the proper etiquette. Is it okay for me to take the initiative to move stuff over there?

I very much doubt you'd have any complaint from any Why regular. I'm also pretty sure that you'll have howls of outrage from c2 regulars, however. -- KeithBraithwaite

I think that copying such material should be fine, even these days. I've been thinking about this for some pages that I started here, in science/maths/philosophy of science. Some of them only I have added to substantively. Consider for example:

The latter three spawned some interesting KurtGoedel stuff here, in which many good people took part, plus me. I wouldn't dream of moving such discussion to WhyClublet, that is deleting it from Wiki, but I have now copied it. -- RichardDrake


Forum For Christian Topics Failed Miserably

Since your attempt at creating a forum for Christian topics failed miserably on WhyClublet, I think you should move all the original pages that were created on this wiki back where they belong! -- KathyBracy

If you are able to prove that a majority of WikiCommunity as defined by WardCunningham want this to happen, given a suitable list and urls for "all the original pages", then I will willingly provide you with the text for all the files in question, exactly as they were first pasted into Why. All you need to do then is

For my part, I guarantee the text files by return of post. Good luck. -- RichardDrake

Except that not all the originals were on "Christian" topics, and the source for all forty (or so) moved pages is readily available anyway in Sunir's files mentioned earlier.

My promise still stands. If it's perchance not needed, then all credit to the perspicacity, sagacity and hard disk storage of Sunir. Which reminds me, Sunir said something very sensible about whether recent WikiOnWiki should be moved to MeatballWiki and ScottMoonen said something equally wise on JesusChrist and AndStuffWiki. See ForumForChristianTopicsFailedMiserably?.

Since your attempt at creating a forum for Christian topics failed miserably on WhyClublet, I think you should move all the original pages that were created on this wiki back where they belong!

This contribution provoked three issues (in addition to the mechanics/ethics of moving the pages already discussed on the WhyClublet page):


Anonymous opinion shapers

What happened to the old DeleteAnonymousAccusations idea I wonder? I can't be bothered to look, to be quite honest, like so much of WikiHistory. There is an even more general point of course. AnonymousOpinion? might be a useful place to discuss it. But I don't promise or even threaten.

RealNamesPlease sets an expectation that when a contribution is signed, it will be signed with a real name. It does not set an expectation that every contribution will be signed. This community has always had a preference for unsigned contributions, and has historically relied on attribution as a signal that the contributor desires the contribution to remain unchanged.

Signing has nothing to do with the old ExtremeProgramming idea of TakeResponsibility, then?

This community has historically viewed contributions as public property, which every participant is invited to add to and revise. The community's experience has been that signed contributions tend to restrict this sense of public ownership. As a result, the practice emerged of using a signed contribution in the occasional cases where an author felt that his or her actual words were important (such as in a quote). This history has matured into the community's ongoing preference for DocumentMode over ThreadMode page styles.

Absolutely cool, every single word of it, but no answer to my question. Does signing ever have anything to do with taking responsibility?

I don't see a connection between TakeResponsibility, in the context of ExtremeProgramming, and this exchange. Nor do I want to argue it further. Perhaps MeatballWiki or WhyClublet might be a better forum for this discussion. -- TomStambaugh

Well, Tom, you have objected strongly to what I have been trying to explore and now, at the end, you have at least understood what the heart of it was. That's a lot better than some WikiEpisodes in living memory. -- RichardDrake


Was Why a failure?

I'd be interested in anyone with an engaging non-AnonymousOpinion? on this. I realize that saying a big ThankYou publicly to RichardDrake may be thought as going too far for any real person who values their reputation on Wiki and the wide world. But something less extreme might just be possible, you never know ...

Actually, I think Why was, in many ways, a success. I don't think you can blame the forum's closure on the forum itself. It certainly appeared to be a technical success (at least from my non-technical vantage point). When it returns to being a real wiki with the doors thrown open and the patient and sensitive hosting policy it started with, then there will be reason again for saying ThankYou. -- MarkTilley

patient and sensitive hosting policy it started with: For you and others it may have been so, but for me it was never so. From the very start, I was informed on exactly how to act, so to me that is a failure from the very beginning. But that is of course my perspective as my experience was different from yours. -- KathyBracy


What has been learnt?

As I clicked on a very few Wiki pages on Friday, I came across two pieces of real wisdom about InterWiki and SisterSites. I was much encouraged by these. Here they are.

From SunirShah in MeatballWiki:

There have been some murmurings that MeatballWiki has been trying to move the WikiOnWiki stuff from here to there. This may have been true once but is not true any more. MeatballWiki is past the point where it would serve well as a fork of this wiki as it has its own structure, content, community and direction. Moreover, it wouldn't be really fair to do that as it's not at all clear that the community wants to (or should) dissolve its meta discussion on a foreign wiki with foreign texture.

(Well, I'm assuming that's Sunir. Please take it that the wisdom is appreciated and that the attribution of that wisdom to Sunir includes and implies sincere admiration.)

Then from ScottMoonen in JesusChrist:

AndStuffWiki's editorial team (me) prefers that people join the AndStuffWiki community. Piles of old text needing refactoring aren't quite as fun to strike up a conversation with.

Quite so. And I say that, based on just these two quotes, Wiki as a whole has learnt a thing or two during the WhyEpisode?. The highly generous might even choose to attribute a little of that to some of our efforts on Why. In any case, we clearly live - quite a relief in my case - and learn.

And Why is, of course, reopening soon. See the interview with SulemanAhmed this week as a taster of what may follow. We have badly needed the intelligent Muslim perspective. -- RichardDrake

If this is going to be a popular topic here, how about explaining what happened to Why Clublet? I'd like to learn from all this but I get the discussion assumes that I already know what happened. I don't.

If you're persistent, you can find the answer on http://why.clublet.com which has full history. For WhyIsNowClosedOnWiki. Didn't you notice? [IronyWarning but with full trust that the current WikiEpisode is now drawing beautifully to a close.]


Mind if a lurker in this community shares his opinion? Richard, I think it all boils down to this. The religious pages that formed the foundation for Why were created here on Wiki. While they were here, they were a common resource... but they were off topic. Thus, despite all the controvery about moving the pages, you were entrusted with these public resources as a steward. In some ways, people expected Why to serve as a public trust. However, because Why was not shaping up the way you liked, you threw up gates and made it a private club (perhaps temporarily?), and most people feel you don't have the right to do so; it seems to them that you've abandoned stewardship and opted for lordship. Suddenly, the people who had contributed to Why found themselves barred from their contributions (in a "look-but-don't-touch" kind of way). In short, your plans and actions have cut out a good many people with much of themselves invested in Why. -- StephenGilbert

Concur. When I found the barriers to contribution put up on Why I left and did not return. Oh, well. And another point, as long as I'm on this soapbox -- if you are going to call it a Wiki, shouldn't it be open to all, as the Wiki concept implies? Isn't it a bit of false and misleading something-or-other to call it a Wiki? The term "private Wiki" seems like an oxymoron, too. A Wiki is open, period. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong-o. -- MartySchrader


Slowly breaking news (Q4 2002 - Q1 2004)

There is probably a connection between all three. If so, we are determined to root it out.


See also SisterSites

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