(urth) Wiki draft proposal

maru dubshinki marudubshinki at gmail.com
Wed May 17 00:16:03 PDT 2006

n 5/15/06, Roy C. Lackey <rclackey at stic.net> wrote:
> maru wrote:
> >>Well, why would we bother summarizing such posts into a wiki article if
> they were so truly excreable?<<
> Different people have differing thresholds of credulity. <g>

Heh. Well, one lamentable process we could always import from
Wikipedia is deletion.

> Is that how it's going to be done -- summarizing posts? Let me spell out my
> concerns, which are primarily related to this list's archives.

I'd say so, yeah. The posts/archives are the most comprehensive source
I can imagine, short of a complete electronic copy of Wolfe's corpus,
or possibly all the critical literature on Wolfe combined, and they
certainly are more acessible.

> Most posts have a narrow focus. Some people try harder than others; some
> people have done their homework and some have not. The wheel is constantly
> being reinvented. The sheer volume of the list archives is daunting to
> consume, and few of us have eidetic memories. I read the archives before I
> ever posted, but they were much smaller seven years ago. Trying to separate
> the wheat from the chaff is very difficult, and it's not all the fault of
> the search engine; it's the nature of the posts. Even trying to follow the
> thread of a single subject line is often fruitless, because what started off
> as topic A often devolves to topics D and E, which have little or nothing to
> do with A.

All good arguments for a wiki. Articles and pages can remain focussed,
and can summarize, as threads and posting just cannot.

> There have been many thousands of posts made which contain a lot of
> redundant verbiage. I don't see any practical way to sift out what may be
> worth repeating (in regards to the Urth List) in another forum, but if it
> isn't filtered some way then all you have is what already exists -- the
> chaos that is the archives.

Any practical way? Mm. It won't be easy, but what's the alternative?
The longer we wait, the worse the problem gets. And waiting for an AI
to be developed to sort everything out for us is a wee bit

> Who's going to do the summarizing? It seems to me that it would require a
> hell of a lot of time and work. Are summarized theories harvested from the
> archives going to do justice to the originals, and will the respective
> authors be consulted beforehand?

I suppose I'll have to do the summarizing... :(  Along with the others
who have expressed support. But I don't think it's as bad as you
think. There's a lot of repetition, one can steer clear of off-topic
threads (which cuts down on bulk considerably) the Internet is fast
(and the archives can be downloaded), and if you're scanning for
evidence for and against one particular theory, one can move fast.
Besides, it only takes a little work each day. No hurry. Not like once
Wolfe is dead, we can't continue to discuss or work on the wiki. I
have yet to see a finished wiki...
As for authors- it'd be nice to consult them. They know what they
meant best, usually. But that seems problematic in some cases (does
anyone know where Mantis got off to, for example?), and so probably
shouldn't be a requirement.

> -Roy


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