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[DPRG] wiki

Subject: [DPRG] wiki
From: R. Steven Rainwater srainwater at ncc.com
Date: Mon Feb 4 10:39:04 CST 2008

On Sat, 2008-02-02 at 12:03 -0600, Kipton Moravec wrote:
> The link is http://www.wikimatrix.org  (NOT .com)

Thanks for the correction on the URL Kip.

> The one feature I am not sure of is WYSIWYG Editing. My initial
> impression is yes it would be helpful for anyone wanting to
> contribute (not just Wiki experts). What are other people's
> thoughts on this?

I'm not sure if a WYSIWYG editor is really that helpful. Most wikis use
very simple markup comparable to a typical web-based message forum. But
I'm not opposed as long as I still have an optional small, fast
interface.

> From my looking at them, I would prefer one with a spell
> checker and one that allows mathematical formulas.

Don't all web browsers have built-in spell checkers these days? I'm not
sure it makes sense to duplicate web browser features in the Wiki.

A lot of wikis support math plug-ins. I'm sure DokuWiki and MediaWiki
would. I think the UTD guys set up a wiki that allowed math forumula
editing - anyone know what wiki/plugin they used?

On Sat, 2008-02-02 at 14:02 -0800, Sanjay Dastoor wrote:
> 2.  No login/password.  There are good spam block-lists that are
> automatically updated, so keep the wiki open.  People will edit more
> often.  If spam or vandalism become an issue, then it can be changed
> later.  Also, keep good backups of the wiki data.

Unfortunately, spammers find wikis on high page rank sites pretty
quickly. But I'd like to integrate it with the existing DPRG member
system so we don't have to have two sets of logins. 

Backup is no problem. Aside from the Wiki's internal history, daily
backups are made of the entire DPRG site.

> 4.  Join forces.  Get DPRG, SRS, Homebrew, etc. to work on a single
> site.  Separate sections for each club's competitions and internal
> stuff, but make 1 good article on each topic.  If people disagree, no
> problem, just add to the article.   That would be an AMAZING resource.

Hmmm... I guess before we get too far along, we need to decide what the
wiki is for. I agree with Sanjay that we shouldn't be duplicating the
efforts of other groups. If the goal is to make a general purpose
repository of robotics knowledge, it would probably be better to just
contribute the information directly to an existing Wiki (like Wikipedia)
instead of creating out own. 

Last time this came up, the idea was to use the Wiki as a collaboration
area to develop new content for the website. Sort of a scratchpad area
where new articles or projects could be put together by members. The
idea was to then move the completed articles into the permanent content
of the main website. I still think this is a great idea

On Sat, 2008-02-02 at 10:59 -0800, Chris Jang wrote:
> My opinion is to keep things simple. Don't add
> complexity you don't need. Keep it open and flexible
> with simplicity.

I definitely agree with that. That was one of the reasons we did the
major rebuild of the whole site a few years ago. It had evolved since
the early 1990s into an unmaintainable mess. The rebuild got it all
consolidated into a reasonably sane structure. Having played with it for
a few years now, I think it's probably time to take another whack at
it. 

One possibility is making incremental improvements to the existing
structure (e.g. add the library DB, the wiki, etc). Another I've been
pondering is adopting a content management system like Joomla or Mambo.
Either way would take writing some custom code to integrate things like
the PayPal-based membership payment system. Either way we can still
integrate a wiki. 

-Steve


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