[Mediawiki-l] Is MediaWiki-l dysfunctional? What is it good for, really?

Gary Kirk gary.kirk at gmail.com
Thu May 24 17:50:52 UTC 2007

I wonder how so many others manage it then...

On 24/05/07, Monahon, Peter B. <Peter.Monahon at uspto.gov> wrote:
> > Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 15:23:17 +0100
> > From: "Gary Kirk" <gary.kirk at gmail.com>
> > Subject: Re: Is MediaWiki-l dysfunctional?
> >      What is it good for, really?
> >
> > Peter Blaise wrote: "...A page will appear that
> > tells you that the wiki is not set up, and that
> > you need to do that first.  Click the appropriate
> > link and then fill in form.  The rest is done
> > automatically..." ... and that is all it says!
> > Which we find a tad bit, um, unguiding...
> >
> > Well, once you've entered your wiki and
> > database details, the rest *is* done
> > automatically; what's the problem?
> >
> > Gary Kirk
> Thanks, Gary.
> "Fill in the form and those "database details" are an undocumented,
> unexampled, very deep mystery for newbies (and oldies alike), provided
> they can even get to that point - usually we get lost long before that
> and we don't have any troubleshooting checklist to find out what went
> wrong, especially if we don't get an error message, but just get either
> no response or a blank screen ... or worse, we do everything as
> mentioned without any failure notices, but nothing works!
> Where do we go next?
> Here?
> Well, I'm HERE!
> I appreciate that you don't get it.
> May I suggest that try documenting and share your own MediaWiki
> installation steps, detail by detail, and why you made any choices?
> Please actually try to document every single exact on-screen prompt and
> response (I've found that Apache "default" has more than half a dozen
> install screen choices alone, and Apache "custom" install offers a
> dozen-and-a-half screens plus at least 5 changeable areas - Apache HTTP
> Server, Apache Runtime, Build Headers and Libraries, APR Iconv Code
> Pages, and Apache Documentation - and produces 1,140 files IF all goes
> well, and PHP has 144 installation screen decisions to make after which
> I got 14 errors and a no way to confirm that PHP was actually installed
> successfully and supportive of anything, and MySQL and MediaWiki and
> PHPMyAdmin each have dozens more challenges where the uninitiated can
> get lost).
> And also document the exact responses an installer must decide on at
> each screen, and also explore the determinants of why an installer would
> make one choice or another.
> And include installation exception handling and error recovery.
> And once any installation completes, include how to confirm that the
> installation was successful, that it is then appropriate to move on the
> next steps knowing that all previous steps are properly in place.
> Whew.

I'm sure you may suggest that, and equally sure I will ignore you *on
that point*.

> Oh, and that "...the wiki is not set up, and that you need to do that
> first.  Click the appropriate link and then fill in form..." has 25
> choices the inexperienced novice newbie has to guess about with scant
> little explanation (and no examples), then later wonder if something
> doesn't work, was it their choices that went wrong ... or what?
> Let's just all admit that a:
> "...contemporaneous, complete, accurate, *linking steps and confirmation
> checks* for [installing] the entire suite of OS/WS/DB/PI/WP/E&E..."
> ...ain't out there, and it's up to Peter Blaise to do it if he wants one
> (unless someone beats me to it?).
> I understand the challenge.  I once documented a 70-second task setting
> up a new user on a network and on their private workstation, and it took
> 2 hours to accurately document very screen, menu choice, and proper
> answer, handle exceptions and so on, and test it so a novice could
> follow the steps and do it from there.
> I appreciate many people think it totally unnecessary, or too hard, a
> waste of time ... and that a brief cheat sheet is enough for them.
> Fine.
> Anybody else?
> - Peter Blaise
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That's why I use shared Linux hosting. You really shouldn't be trying
to set this all up on your own; if you can't do it, the standard
kiddie-friendly Microsoft message "Please see your system
administrator" applies.

In all this, I for one am confused. What actually is your problem?
What are you trying to do, that you cannot?
Gary Kirk

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