(urth) Wiki draft proposal

Jesper Svedberg jsvedberg at gmail.com
Tue May 9 15:17:59 PDT 2006

I have a few thoughts on how the Wiki should be structured.

  - There should be a bibliography on all stories and books with a 
synopsis and publishing history. A standardized format of structure of 
these articles should also be developed (for instance: 1. Title, 2. 
Publication data, 3. Synopsis, 4. Theories, 5. External links).

  - There should be separate articles on important persons, objects and 
concepts that can be found in his works.

  - I don't think it's necessary to put these articles in different 
categories based on which work they appear in, it should be enough to 
create structure by linking the articles in a careful fashion (you could 
have an article called "Characters in TBotNS" filled with links the 
separate articles) and by clearly stating in the articles where the 
persons/objects appear.

  - Theories and facts should be clearly separated. If there are 
theories about a subject, there should be a "Theories" section in the 
article with short descriptions of the theories and links to the 
separate articles.

  - I don't think there really is a point in copying material that is 
already online (such as interviews and the mailing list archives) into 
the Wiki when one can easily link to the external locations. If there 
are entries in the mailing list archives that for instance discuss the 
identity of Dorcas, then one could link to these entries in the article 
on Dorcas.

  - Beyond this there are an endless amount of subjects that could be 
included in a wiki. One could have articles on different themes in 
Wolfe's work (for instance Memory, Religion or Mythology), articles on 
authors that have influenced him and in what way, articles on writers 
that have been influenced by him, or anything else that might seem relevant.

  - One thing that must be discussed is the problem of the sender. In 
Wikipedia, the articles are presented as facts and the sender is 
considered secondary, but if someone writes an article theorizing about 
a subject in the WolfeWiki, then it might be wise to clearly mark out 
who the writer/sender is.

  - I agree that it would probably be a good idea to give it a short and 
clear name. OTOH, i also think that it would be pretty cool to call it 
"Tracking Song", even it if could be somewhat confusing.

   // Jesper

maru dubshinki skrev:
> I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think any wiki we
> start on Wolfe's work should be categorized tripartitely:
> One section should be for Urth ML emails. This would make it much
> easier to reference assertions and theories, especially since it seems
> that a number of messages are primary sources, not merely secondary
> sources. And of course, if they are hosted on the wiki itself, one
> could run a bot or some sort of bot to auto-link phrases to their
> pages. (Now that I think of it, one could compile a list of words,
> phrases, and subjects from the mass of texts).  I'm not too sure about
> the copyright status, however: I'm pretty sure the list owner can
> allow them to be posted on a wiki (since he already has the right to
> so post them in a publicly accessible archive), but I don't know how
> that factors into reditributions and licensing. So having a separate
> section would allow us to segregate non-Free content from the Free
> content.
> The second section would be articles. Straightforward factual articles
> on Wolfe, relevant authors, his books and short stories, etc.  Think
> like what Wikipedia currently has.  I guess we could import Wikipedia
> policies wholesale for this section: verifiable, NPOV, no personal
> attacks, etc.  This section we could grab straight from Wikipedia.
> About all we'd have to do is add a GFDL notice (assuming we decide to
> go with a non-GFDL license, or cross-license) and perhaps swap out
> internal Wikipedia links for interwiki links.  Of course, these
> articles would link (perhaps in the relevant sections) to the third
> section... which is the section of interest to us all:
> The third section would be distilled discussions and theories.  The
> idea is to condense all the verbiage and back and forth into a single
> page of pros and cons (ie. the evidence that, say, Thecla is the
> hermaphrodite lover of the Autarch would be presented on its own page,
> perhaps titled "Theclas as hermaphrodite"; the evidence for it would
> be presented, linking to the relevant emails, with textual citations
> and such, and then the opposed side. Talk pages can be used to hammer
> out the list, or it can be done on-list.)
> Categories could be very useful for sections two and three.  An
> off-the-cuff example: A top-level category could be Authors, with Gene
> Wolfe in it, and then Books and Short Stories in the Wolfe cat, books
> being divided into Short Sun, New Sun, Peace, Soldier etc. categories.
> Then one has the articles on the individual novels. If a character
> appears in all the books, and so doesn't fit into a single book's
> category, they would go in the New Sun category, but minor characters
> could go into only one book's category (ie. Triskele would go into the
> New Sun cat, but the serving boy at the restaurant in SotT would be in
> the Shadow of the Torturer cat (if that's the right book)).
> Now, no doubt someone will suggest that the wiki host the various
> Wolfe interviews and miscellany available online.  I won't address
> these: technically those are copyright violations (at least, I haven't
> seen any under any sort of Free license), and so it would be
> unconscionable for me to advise Ranjit to set up a wiki and work to
> populate it with stuff that exposes him, the hoster, to legal
> retribution. Now, perhaps he doesn't mind the risk, or perhaps Wolfe
> has made known an intention not to prosecute any fans, but it's up to
> Ranjit, not me, or us, for that matter.
> We also need a name. Lupinepedia, Wolfepedia, the Wolfe Wiki, the urth
> Wiki, just plain Urth.net... are all possible names. Now, the perfect
> name would be short, clever, clear, and be easily compressed (ie names
> based on Urth or Wolfe are good, as they make it easy to refer to, and
> they also make interwiki links from, say, Wikipedia, easy to do, so
> they look like [[w:c:Wolfe:Article|Article]] or
> [[Urth:Article|Article]] instead of something much longer). Just some
> thoughts.
> We also need to decide on licensing. Using the GFDL is a possibility
> but there are severe drawbacks that may more than counterwiegh the
> ease of using Wikipedia articles as a base: it's long, complex,
> cumbersome, unclear, and there are some bad features. I'll provide
> some links for further reading, if you want to know more:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License#Criticisms_of_the_GFDL
> http://wikitravel.org/en/Wikitravel:Why_Wikitravel_isn%27t_GFDL
> http://home.twcny.rr.com/nerode/neroden/fdl.html
> http://people.debian.org/~srivasta/Position_Statement.xhtml
> There are quite a few possibilities w/r/t Free license. We could use 
> a modified BSD license (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license), a
> Creative Commons license (I like the Attribution-SA myself:
> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0/), or a public domain
> license (no rights reserved, essentially).  My personal preference
> would be to go with PD; it's simple, it's definitely Free, and it's
> not like we really need the protections of copyleft- who'll steal our
> content?  And of course, if we decide to merge with Wikipedia some
> day, PD interoperates well with GFDL.
> Ok. So those are my thoughts on the subject. Look forward to hearing
> your comments and criticism.
> ~maru
> "A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the
> balances are correct."
> _______________________________________________
> Urth Mailing List
> To post, write urth at urth.net
> Subscription/information: http://www.urth.net

More information about the Urth mailing list