[Foundation-l] No tail-lights. What do we do now? (was Call for referendum)

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Thu Jun 30 17:35:35 UTC 2011

On 30 June 2011 17:00, Alec Conroy <alecmconroy at gmail.com> wrote:

[a git-like distributed wikisphere]

> It's not my idea,  I believe it's been independently suggested at
> least five different times that I know of.   But it's a HUGE step that
> would require a big, bold push from developers and thus potentially a
> large initial commitment from the foundation to spur development of
> such a thing.   That commitment might not be huge in terms of
> resources-- a few professional lead developer-coordinators, perhaps.
> But it would require some courage, leadership, and a vision to rally
> volunteer developers around.  If you visibly agree to it being built,
> an amorphous 'they' will likely show up to actually build it for you,
> free of charge.  It would will radically change things for everyone
> the instant such a tool is actually created.

Adapting MediaWiki to git has been tried a few times. I suspect the
problem is that the software deeply assumes a database behind it, not
a version-controlled file tree. Wrong model for an easy fix to
MediaWiki itself.

Pouring en:wp's entire history into git is feasible (Greg Maxwell
posted about doing it, IIRC).

svnwiki exists - a wiki engine which uses files version-controlled by
Subversion. Perhaps something like that - articles as files in a git
repository, read by the new parser when that's done.

> Such a wiki is inevitable, I just hope we can be the ones to develop it.

Someone else could actually do it without our weight of organisational
inertia and NIH. We need competitors.

Further to your idea: people developing little specialist wikis along
these lines, and said wikis being mergeable. This makes such wikis
easier to start, without having to start yet another wiki-based
general encyclopedia that directly competes with Wikipedia. Disruptive
innovation starts in niches, not in a position where it'll just end up
a bug on Wikipedia's windscreen.

- d.

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