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Re: problem with emacs wiki


From: Evans Winner
Subject: Re: problem with emacs wiki
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2008 20:55:48 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Xah <address@hidden> writes:

    [The Emacs tutorial was] written in 1980's mindset [...]
    It is not [...] practicality oriented[.]

Can you explain exactly what that means?  I live in the
2000's and, though it's been a few years since I went
through the tutorial, I don't recall reading anything that
did not seem clearly focused on the specific and practical
realities of how to use the Emacs editor.  Or is your
criticism really of Emacs itself?

    The emacs manual is a bit quaint in today, but it is
    very well written and complete. It is systematic, topics
    well organized, jargons are well defined and has several
    comprehensive index, the writing is clear, is well
    cross-linked.[...]  The writing quality and content of
    emacs manual, is far better than most OpenSource docs
    such as perl, python, apache, unix man.

What precisely do you mean by the term ``quaint?''  Given
your own description, ``quaint'' does not seem the
appropriate term.  Terms like ``intelligent'' and
``professional'' leap to mind instead.  I have found the
Emacs documentation and its integration and availability or
``discoverability'' the best of any computer system, program
or programming language I have ever dealt with.

    The wiki software used is Oddmuse [on EmacsWIki], which
    is a perl script of 4k lines, using flat files as
    database. As such, it is not comprehensive or powerful.

I don't know much about wiki software.  What kind of
features are you missing specifically?  You mentioned
discussing this with Alex Schröder; what did he say about
your suggestions? 

    I also suggested that the writing guidlines should
    follow Wikipedia's style. Specifically, the content
    editing should be one with the goal of creating a
    comprehensive, coherent, article that gives readers info
    or tutorial about the subject. (as opposed to,
    maintaining the coherence of a dialogue and comments
    between wiki users)

Guidelines such as those used by Wikipedia might have some
positive effect on the content that is added to the wiki,
however Wikipedia has the key to really making something
like that work: an army of busybodies ready to enforce the
guidelines.  EmacsWiki (I suspect) does not have such
resources.  It is arguable that strict guidelines on
EmacsWiki would have a dampening effect on the frequency of
contributions, which I would guess is not the goal of its
maintainers.  In some contexts a slightly anarchic and
disorganized something is better than a tightly organized
nothing.


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