(urth) urth Digest, Vol 22, Issue 21

Daniel D Jones ddjones at riddlemaster.org
Sat Jun 24 14:10:06 PDT 2006

On Saturday 24 June 2006 16:37, Jonathan & Rachel Laidlow wrote:
> I wonder whether a wiki is really what is needed.
> Surely a wiki purports to a level of certainty on a
> par with an encyclopedic or other authoritative
> discourses such as dictionaries. How can we be certain
> that the interpretation in the wiki is correct? It is
> only an interpretation, after all.

I think you're confusing the concept of a wiki with Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is a 
wiki implementation of an encyclopedia.  It primarily deals with facts, and 
strives to be correct.  A wiki is nothing more than an browser-editable web 
page.  It's no more necessarily concerned with objective facts than is any 
other web page.  You could think of the Lupine wiki as a group blog if you 
like, and there's ample evidence that blogs are under no requirement to be 
based on objective facts.

>What is to stop the
> next person who edits it from changing your
> interpretation beyond all recognition?

Absolutely nothing.  And there's nothing to prevent you from changing it back.  
Generally speaking, in cases where there are competing opinions, both should 
be presented along with any evidence supporting that case.  If vandalism 
and/or contentiousness becomes an issue, portions of the wiki can usually be 
locked down or editing privileges restricted to logged-in members, and those 
who refuse to "play nice" can have their membership removed.

> Furthermore - what's wrong with searching the urth
> mailing lists? I found some fantastic discussion of
> "the Tree is my Hat" here when I found myself asking
> questions earlier this month.

Absolutely nothing is wrong with searching the mailing lists, but the two 
approaches are more complementary than they are in competition.  A wiki 
offers a great many advantages that a mailing list doesn't afford.  For 
example, I mentioned I'm just finishing up "The Island of Doctor Death..."  
If a wiki were in place, it would only take me a few moment to create a stub 
page for each story in the book.  (Assuming, of course, that the wiki is just 
getting off the ground and such pages don't already exist.)  A month later, 
while browsing the wiki, you might see that one of the stories has nothing 
posted on its page.  That reminds you of something that you really liked 
about the story and you post a few comments.  Two months later, someone else 
reads your comments and adds a few of his own.  This sort of thing is 
extremely unlikely to happen in a mailing list.  Unlike a mailing 
list, "threads" never die on a wiki.

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