Check your email[edit source]

Check your email asap -- Joshua 19:32, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Hi Ivana ![edit source]

(We met in Montreal, at RoCoCo.)

Let's keep in touch ! Are you on Facebook ?

Fred Mir - —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) 05:45, 3 July 2010

Making a successful new wiki is hard[edit source]

Hello Ivana, you ask:

  • "Is one of the solutions to establish rich interconnected networks/ website/ database/ wikis for all A.T. related needs? How can we speed it up and scale up?"

I have some thoughts on these questions, but before writing them I will read your papers, to see if I have anything new to tell you. Wikis are probably the most effective platform to date for large-scale remote collaboration, but Making a successful new wiki is hard. Barriers exist to productive collaboration on wikis, and the (relatively fewW) successful wikis had to overcome these barriers, either by accident or by design. I suspect success involves a combination of accident and design in all cases - i.e., probably no one really knows how to make a successful wiki, at least not initially, only things they can do to increase the probability of success. --Teratornis 16:09, 10 February 2011 (PST)

Hi Teratornis. Thank you for the links and feedback! I agree with you on all the points: while wikis and internet platforms are the most effective ways of collaboration making a successful one is not an easy. Like you say there are things you can do to increase chances of success but it is by no means guaranteed. Perhaps with more and more people learning to edit wikis and realizing they can and should contribute, plus with further internet signals and computer outreach in all corners of the world, more data and more collaboration will surely flock on line and will become like second nature. But the sooner we can spur this on the sooner we can reap the rewards!
We discus this issue in one of our papers "Enabling Innovation" - which is currently under review awaiting publication, and I also plan on talking more about it in my thesis chapters which will also be submitted for publishing in near future. It is as much social as a technological thing - and getting more internet, wikis and tools of online collaborating in classrooms is definitely a key. —The preceding comment was added by Ivana Zelenika (talkcontribs) 17:50, 21 February 2011
I read your paper:
and I have been editing some comments about it on my offline (personal) wiki. I will put them on a user subpage when I clean them up a bit. Other items:
  • I hope you don't mind that I put a {{Talk header}}Template:Tlw template on this page. You can remove it if you don't like it, but it links to the unobvious instructions for editing talk pages Wikipedia-style, which can be instructive for other users who might otherwise make your talk page untidy with ad hoc formatting.
  • I refactoredW your reply to follow Wikipedia's indenting style.W I like to follow Wikipedia's rulesW by default (only deviating when there is some compelling reason), because I think Wikipedia's editor community has defined the current best practice for editing on wikis. Appropedia's most experienced users like Lonny and Chriswaterguy generally do the same. It seems like all the wiki experts learned to edit on Wikipedia. Learning the same style enables one to immediately relate to the growing community of Wikipedia alumni.
  • I used a {{Cite conference}} template (which I recently ported here from Wikipedia) to format the citation to your paper. Citation templates are one of several ways to format citations on a wiki. I prefer them because they are structured and machine-searchable. They understand DOIs,W and archivedW (i.e. rot-proofW) links, which I did not add to the above example.
Anyway, keep up the good work and I look forward to reading the rest of your papers. I should hurry up with my comments on your previous paper in case something gives you ideas for the next paper. --Teratornis 13:18, 22 February 2011 (PST)

Wikipedia editor trends study[edit source]

Have you seen this?

The English Wikipedia appears to be plateauing in terms of attracting and retaining new editors, even while readership continues to grow and each year's fundraising campaign is more successful than the last. There is a lot of discussion about this problem, whether it is even a "problem," and what if anything to do about it. Many people put the "blame" on Wikipedia's increasingly powerful deletionists. I largely concur, but I think Wikipedia's late intervention multiplies the damage to goodwill. Wikipedia presents itself as an open, welcoming system to the new user, making it relatively simple to create new articles, but without first adequately warning the new user about Wikipedia's thriving article deletion industry which enforces a fantastically complex list of rules for content (wikipedia:WP:NOT, wikipedia:WP:NOTABLE, wikipedia:WP:CSD, etc.). The hapless new user typically has only a vague awareness of these rules before plunging in to the mine field. Only after the new user struggles for hours to put a new article together does he or she discover it was all a waste of time. Even worse, deletionists typically do not bother to inform the authors of an article that it has been deleted. The new user typically discovers that something is amiss after searching for the article on Wikipedia at a later time, only to find it no longer there.

Small wikis typically have the opposite problem, in my opinion: not enough rules. Without clear and detailed rules, it becomes difficult for distant strangers to collaborate effectively. The number of different editors who edit a particular article on a small wiki like Appropedia is much less than on Wikipedia, where hundreds of people may collaborate on a single article. Only when rules are extremely detailed can hundreds of strangers pull together in something like one direction. If trivial details of formatting and presentation are left to personal whim, friction and uncertainty can result. Changing someone's work can become a personal issue rather than a dispassionate application of rules. Site-wide inconsistency, if left to persist, misleads users to create more of it because people tend to learn from examples rather than by referring to canonical written rules.

Given the enormous scale of the appropriate technology and environmental crisis problems, I think we need solutions that can scale correspondingly. If we want to address these problems with wikis, they need to be really big wikis, with millions of active participants. It is thus interesting to study how Wikipedia got big and copes with its bigness, and the barriers to further participation that result from size itself. --Teratornis 13:42, 12 March 2011 (PST)

No I hadn't seen it - thanks, and also thanks for modifications on my talk page. Very handy!
Yes, Wikipedia is a very good example, and I like what you said how nobody really knows how to make successful websites/ wikis - It takes the right design but also luck! Makes me think about what Eric Raymond said how one of the things that made Linux so successful was that they "released early and released often" - in other words a constant improvement, new features, working out old bugs etc... It is complex not necessarily because machines are the problem (the coding and design) but that human creatures are very complex - hard to determine fixes for problems which you have not yet seen, and how do you refrain from too much control and organization over the creative process but give it enough guidance?
A topic well worth exploring... --Ivana Zelenika 12:06, 14 March 2011 (PDT)
The limiting factor does not seem to be technology, but people (thus says Jimbo). For an online collaboration to work, it needs enough of the right kind of people who broadly understand and support what the project is trying to do, and who are willing to empty their minds of too many preconceptions and learn what to do in detail by reading the friendly manuals. Otherwise the collaboration can sink into the pit of Brooks' law: "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later" (my apologies for Brooks' gender non-neutral language). Brooks' law results from the overhead required to bring new people up to speed in an ongoing project. Well-developed wikis can minimize the overhead by relying on RTFM (reading the friendly manuals) - i.e., write instructions so detailed that anyone who can read them is able to catch up to the experienced users without generating much further work for the limited pool of experienced users. Wikipedia has incredibly detailed manuals, which most people like to complain about, but in my opinion they are the most important feature of Wikipedia. Self-education via RTFM seems to be one or two orders of magnitude cheaper than classroom education, for those few people who are willing to self-educate.
Perhaps the most important thing to assess for a new wiki's chances is something one cannot know until going ahead and trying to build it: how many people out there are able to make a net contribution to the project (requiring them to read and understand a lot of manuals), and how many of them are willing to contribute to that project instead of to something else? Maybe such people are quite rare, and a lot of them are already heavily engaged in other projects. If so, a new project would have to wedge into the wiki ecosystem by taking contributors away from existing projects. (Wikipedia has spawned several spin-off collaborations by groups of disaffected Wikipedia editors.) I suspect only a low percentage of people in the general population can "get" wikis in their present implementation. To have really broad participation I suspect formal classroom training will be necessary, perhaps based on something like the book Wikipedia: The Missing Manual. (The title is ironic because Wikipedia's manuals are in no sense "missing," but they are reference manuals rather than a structured tutorial which the book provides.) But nobody has built a successful online collaboration based on formal classroom training as far as I know. Generally people will invest time in formal training if they expect to get paid eventually. I'm not sure if the traditional education model can work for open content projects. But I have no data on which to base a belief. Anyway, learning to edit productively on Wikipedia requires skill acquisition comparable to learning a trade. By "productively" I mean gaining enough editing skill to write new articles from scratch which do not get speedily deleted or require massive remedial cleanup from the numerically fewer editors who have acquired such skill. For another project to reach large size and rival Wikipedia's content quality, it (probably) must also have a thriving community of editors who have made the effort to acquire similar skill. Software cannot yet eliminate the skill requirements. I don't think there are any shortcuts (i.e., no silver bullets).
Speaking of Eric Raymond (always a good idea), one his most important contributions to human knowledge might be How to Ask Questions the Smart Way. In my opinion that essay brilliantly characterizes the degree of resourcefulness and self-sufficiency necessary to thrive in online collaborations as they are currently implemented. Of course the technology is not static - maybe computers themselves can someday embed similar meta-knowledge (i.e., knowledge about how to obtain knowledge) and apply it on behalf their less clueful users. (But when computers can do that, they might no longer need us.) For now, online collaborations put a large share of the burden on participants to meet their own needs, while minimizing any impositions they make on other users. This is jarring for many people, who may have been habituated by our commercial culture to expect to be served by others in their role as passive consumers. Removing money from the exchange forces a level of self-sufficiency that can be shocking for people new to the open source economy. --Teratornis 17:34, 14 March 2011 (PDT)

Portfolio, and minor edits to your user page[edit source]

I added your user page at Appropedia:Portfolio#Examples - hope you don't mind. I like how you've laid out your work, and I think it's a good example for others.

I also made some minor changes to link formatting, basically turning links to Appropedia urls into wiki links - and in one case using an updated title. Again, I hope you don't mind - of course you can always revert anything you don't like.

Great - no problem at all. Thanks for the edits + the link on the portfolio page.


Gandhi quote[edit source]

Hi, Ivana. I was reviewing edits and came across your page. I thought you might be interested in this.

Welcome to Appropedia/Selected quote/24

You can see more quotes at Welcome to Appropedia/Selected quote. Regards, RichardF 17:00, 18 July 2012 (PDT)