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On Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 5:21 AM, Benct Philip Jonsson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 29.2.2008 Sai Emrys wrote:
>   > Whereas you assign (primary?) value simply to its
>   > existence in its historical *form*, which to me is
>   > completely irrelevant. I respect those who have done that
>   > work before, and I want to preserve their *functional*
>   > contributions (i.e. the information), but I do not value
>   > the *form* thereof at all. (And even feel that if
>   > preserving the form means it languishing unread or unused,
>   > it's being done a disservice.)

>  The problem is that even if I think the form of some
>  articles on FW is suboptimal it is the form their authors
>  have given them, and as such the authors are attached to
>  them. Even though in theory anyone can edit any article the

Sai can correct me, but I think by "form" he might have meant
things like "different conlangs being documented on half a dozen
different wikis", "different overlapping lists of conlangs hosted
on half a dozen different wikis", etc. -- rather than "word choice
and page layout choices made by conlang authors as they write
about their own conlangs".   Rick seems to value the separation
into different wikis with their own distinct cultures (I don't really
see it; if I didn't have web space of my own from my ISP it would
be a total toss-up whether I chose to write about my conlangs
on FrathWiki, the Talideon Wiki, the Conlang Wikia or somewhere
else) per se.  You value the way the individual conlangers have
chosen to document their conlangs.  Sai doesn't necessarily devalue
either of those things, but he sees the possibilty for more synergy
re: meta-information -- exhaustive taxonomic lists of conlangs,
encyclopedic articles about the art of conlanging -- if all
the people working on various wikis were working on one wiki
together.   Almost all of the wikis use MediaWiki software so the
form (layout and link structure I mean) could be kept intact
while moving content from one host wiki to another.

For myself, I'm hopeful but skeptical about Sai's thesis.  The fact
that someone has chosen to host information about their own
conlang on, say, the Conlang Wikia doesn't necessarily mean they're
going to take any interest in editing and improving the handful of
how-to articles about conlaning (as can be seen by looking at the
edit histories of the few such articles there and how few people
have worked on them).  Why wouldn't the same be true of people
who contribute information about their conlangs to a new
megawiki?

Further, I'm pretty sure that Sai's idea is in practice going to end up
just adding one more conlang wiki to the existing set -- possibly it will
eventually be the largest such wiki; but even if most of the contributors
from the existing wikis move their material to the new one, it's
far from likely that all of them will choose to do so.   Maybe you could
persuade the admins of Talideon wiki and FrathWiki and some others
to shut down their wikis after porting over all the content -- good luck
with that -- but you aren't going to convince Wikia Inc. to shut down the
Conlang Wikia while they're getting a smidgen of advertising revenue from
it.

Perhaps it would work better to figure out which of the existing wikis
has the largest number of active contributors or the most content
or both, and focus on a massive improvement effort there that would
attract people from other, smaller wikis.  And maybe subsidize the
hosting costs of said wiki from the LCS's humongous budget. :)

>  That's why I said that an amalgamation project as you
>  suggest would require *everyone's* cooperation. Even if one

At a minimum, it would require the cooperation of all the wiki admins;
but if you acted with ONLY their consent, without the consent of all
the active contributors on those wikis, you would stir up resentment
and maybe provoke a real schism, not just a casual division.

-- 
Jim Henry
http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry