[Wikipedia-l] Re: Re: GUI? WYSIWYG?

Daniel Mayer maveric149 at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 11 08:35:27 UTC 2002

On Saturday 10 August 2002 11:35 pm, you wrote:
> Ward Cunningham, the founder of Wiki, says on
> WhyWikiWorks (http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WhyWikiWorks)
> "Wiki is not WYSIWYG (WhatYouSeeIsWhatYouGet). It's an
> intelligence test of sorts to be able to edit a wiki
> page. It's not rocket science, but it doesn't appeal
> to the VideoAddicts. If it doesn't appeal, they don't
> participate, which leaves those of us who read and
> write to get on with rational discourse."
> I think he's probably right. We should remember that
> one of the reasons why Wikipedia has been successful
> while other encyclopedia projects have not is the wiki
> way of contributing.
> Stephen G.

Well said Stephen. I'm glad you dug-up that original quote.

However Mirwin does have a point about the need for specialist-type 
functionality. But I am unconvinced that the only way to do this is to 
abandon text-based Wiki; why not simply extend the capabilities of Wiki 
markup and hide much of this in special namespaces if needed? 

I know I spend a large percentage of my time on a Word document simply 
playing with the formating (this tendency is also supported by a good deal of 
research on worker productivity). In Wikipedia there are few obvious 
formating choices which leads to more concentration on content than 
presentation. Somebody has already said that Wikipedia is not PowerPoint. I 
tend to agree.

Given our rate of growth I don't think anything is fundamentally wrong with 
the way we are currently doing things and introducing a GUI might lead to 
loads of mediocre material as the VideoAddicts invade. If somebody else 
develops a Wiki GUI and we begin to loose contributors because of it, then we 
can incorporate that into our code (most Wiki software is GPLd, no?).  

-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)

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