[Foundation-l] Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Brian Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu
Sun Jan 11 05:43:22 UTC 2009

Keep in mind regarding my Semantic drum beating that I am not a developer of
Semantic Mediawiki or Semantic Forms. I am just a user, and as Erik put it,
an advocate.

That said, I believe these two extensions together solve the problem you are
talking about. And for whatever reason, the developers of MediaWiki are
willing to create new complicated syntax, but not new interfaces.

In your assessment, do these extensions solve the interface extensibility
problem you describe?

To the list,

Regarding development process, why weren't a variety of sophisticated
solutions, in addition to ParserFunctions, thoroughly considered before they
were enabled on the English Wikipedia?

Should ParserFunctions be reverted (a simple procedure by my estimate, which
is a good thing) based solely on the fact that they are the most clear
violation of Jimbo's principle that I am aware of?

The fundamental issue is that in complex domains (like "writing an
> encyclopedia"), you can't fully analyze and understand the domain ahead
> of time, use that understanding to provide an easy-to-use
> domain-specific language or interface, and then be done. So for
> Wikipedia, it's virtually impossible to provide a built-in set of simple
> formatting features (a person infobox, a map-dot-placement feature,
> etc.) that are both easy to use and cover all situations. Domains
> change, understanding of domains changes, new issues come up, and *users
> need some way to develop their structures and representations as they're
> being used.* If you *don't* allow that, what ends up happening is that
> people keep using the simple features you've provided, but in more and
> more convoluted ways to try to force the system to do what they want.

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