WikiThing: A wiki for LibraryThing
Join LibraryThing to post.
This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.
When did you stop allowing comments on blog posts by those who don't have blogger accounts? Meh.
Second - the blog post says you guys chose two features to work on, and Wiki-Thing is the first. So I'm being greedy... What's the second?
>When did you stop allowing comments on blog posts by those who don't have blogger accounts? Meh.
Sorry. I posted about it. We had hundreds of Chinese spams in a two-day period. It was becoming a full-time job.
Anyway, I'm hoping they went away. I'll open it up again now.
>Second - the blog post says you guys chose two features to work on, and Wiki-Thing is the first. So I'm being greedy... What's the second?
The fielded wiki thing (at close of blog post). We decided not to do collections or Facebook together, not because they're not important—they are—but because they didn't make for group-programming and non-programming efforts in the same way.
One note about where you can find links to WikiThing on the site:
On all "About" pages there is a link to WikiThing in the header sub-navigation section at the top.
There is also a link to WikiThing in the bottom bar which now appears on every page of LibraryThing.
Another note to be aware of for a few users...
We are using mediawiki as the wiki engine for LibraryThing and we've made it so that account usage between LT and the wiki is seamless. There is a drawback to this in that mediawiki accounts can't have underscores ('_') in them. This means that _Zoe_ and Zoe are going to be seen as the same person on WikiThing change logs.
If this becomes a serious problem, let us know.
Oh, I forgot, the main page had a "WikiThing Group." We can talk about stuff there too.
Experienced MediaWiki people will notice we removed the "discussion" tab. I think MediaWiki is lousy at discussion, so I'd rather keep it on Talk.
We decided not to do collections or Facebook together
Dumb question: What does "doing Facebook" mean?
You asked for suggestions on what to do with wikiThing,
1. Annotated Bibliographies
2. Book Reviews
3. Provide tool for searching for books related to TOPIC.
Another idea is to develop author biographies.
Twin Falls, ID
14: I feel a bit uneasy having these things outside of LT. I like everything pertaining to author/work/book in one place. Very tight integration might help my unease though.
TOPIC == tag?
Author biographies is a neat idea, though, again, I'd like to see that on the author page.
I don't want to see anything in Wiki that is already part of Works - so no reviews, etc. Besides I don't feel "opinions" should be on Wikis but rather "facts."
Plot summaries and author bios would be nifty.
I think it would be really cool if every work page had a link to a wiki page about that work. That would create a natural place to add annotations about the work's context and publication history. Could such work links be automated?
Edit: I don't mean the same thing as the "content wiki" you mentioned in the blog entry. I mean support for free form annotations. For example, it could mention that a work is similar to (or inspired by) another work, ideally with quotes from the author to that effect. It could describe the work's cultural effect, and point to discussions generated by the work. For works that have been frequently revised (such as anything by Michael Moorcock...), it could discuss the changes over time.
We are working on a different solution to this issue. See the end of the blog post concerning a fielded wiki.
This solution will allow multiple types of content to be added to authors, works, etc.. It will be tied into the LT database directly and it will show up in the regular works pages (and be editable from there). It will function much like a wiki does except the content will be more forms-based (although that could change during development).
We do not want information regarding individual works or authors going into WikiThing at this point.
Can someone explain to me the added value of a fielded content wiki above and beyond the currently existing links to the existing author bios and works on Wikipedia?
I can see how it might be nice to keep it all on the site but it also seems like there is a huge potential for duplicated effort.
There is a huge gain in having the content in database form. For instance we will be able to do all kinds of nice statistics and cross-linking between the information.
We are going to control what types of information can be added so it's not going to be completely free-form like a wiki. But it will allow us to add new fields to works, authors, etc. in a very speedy manner, without changes to our databases. This has been the major stumbling block for adding new items to these pages.
I'll use an example that is something we are thinking about:
A work could have a 'Geographic Locations' type that would allow you to put in things like 'Portland, ME', 'Mobile, AL', 'Florence, Italy', etc.
We can then use that information to create a map of all of the locations mentioned in the book.
And one of the cool features of this system is that we could provide cross links to other books who have 'Geographic Locations' of Florence, Italy.
That's just the START. We plan on doing some really cool stuff with this data.
That's just the START. We plan on doing some really cool stuff with this data.
You guys are making me swoon. Seriously, I can't wait for this.
22: I already use tags for Geographic Locations, but maps would be even cooler. :)
What about the poor imaginary locations? ;)
>You guys are making me swoon. Seriously, I can't wait for this.
Thanks. We're hoping it's cool.
Oh, we need imaginary locations. No question. Has Google done a Google Middle Earth yet?
Novelist does characters. We should too.
Okay, that's exactly what I was looking for. I was envisioning just a lot of "series order" and "first publication" data, and a lot of people spending a lot of time typing up author bios that are already available elsewhere.
But maps, that's just cool. I'm sold. :)
I'm having fun with the wiki. I've been fooling with the swap page. I was always afraid to fool with a wiki, but here it seems less threatening. :-)
I finished the Book Trading Comparison page today! That was educational and fun.
I'd always wondered whether I had picked the right book trading site (...and, for me, I have!). I had the chance to investigate the fees for each one and happily share my results with you.
One issue about the book trading sites is that they are always listed as "free", but the bottom line is that most of the free sites involve someone paying postage. It's more expensive to ship heavier books to more distant places. I tried to include this issue in my completing this page.
Each site will also have to figure out a way to be financially solvent so that, if no fee is being charged for a beta, it's likely that some sort of fee will be added in the future...even if only donations.
Thanks, Tim and company, for allowing me to learn about wiki and help with this page.
Enjoy it, everyone!
Comparison of BookSwapping Websites
All my posts are subject to change by you as this is a wiki... :-)
28: Thank you so much for that! I, too, have wondered if I made the right choice in my book-trading needs, but have always been too lazy to actually go through and do a comparision. Thanks to your handy little chart there, I'm confident that I did! (BookMooch)
On the Cookbook topic thread, the idea has been floated to use wikithing to track vegetarian cookbooks from every country in the world - as an interactive project. Is this the type of thing that could be done?
I do wish Tim & Co. would state clearly and explicitly what the purpose of the WikiThing is. Otherwise, how can one answer florahistora's question? While looking at recent changes yesterday, I thought, "Surely this sort of thing isn't appropriate, is it?" Yet all I could find on the subject was this from the initial blog entry: "So what's WikiThing for? We're not sure!" Not terribly helpful!
--> 31 and others
The Comparison of Book Swapping Sites" was created by fluteflute. All I did was fill in some of the leftover blanks where fluteflute asked for help to complete the chart. It was that invitation that encouraged me to try my hand at the wiki. In doing so, I learned a lot. Thanks, fluteflute!
I think Tim is trying to gather ideas for what the best use of the wiki would be here at LT. We, as a group, can come up with some rather good ideas if we try. For me, the process is learning about what a wiki is, what it can do, and how not to use it to duplicate what has already been done on other websites.
What "User:Selkins" has done is not an inapproppriate use of the wiki as it is that user's page.
Since it is a wiki, if you don't like it, you can change it! That's the beauty of wikis. As I understand the use of the user page wiki from Tim, it is for each person to use as desired. I, for one, will use it to keep book-related notes. Obviously, Selkins, is using it to express his feeling about having his own wiki page. Perhaps I should also add "Yay Wikithing" to my wiki page because I feel the same way that Selkins does! ;-)
From playing with the wiki, I see that what it could be used for here at LT is to amass the type of book information that is not found elsewhere. It is not to be a discussion, but rather a collection of information that can be edited by anyone but would be useful to many people. It should not duplicate an encyclopedia page because that information would better be placed on Wikipedia. So the challenge that Time made to you was to decide what would be a good (or even fun) use for the type of page that Wikithing provides. It may take some time to think of how it can be used, but I'm sure we as a group will come up with some creative ideas.
Now, see, I haven't seen anything about a "wiki user's page" from Tim. Perhaps you could provide a link? Because I don't see how that differs from a profile page. Are we then eliminating profile pages?
Frankly, I think it's silly to say, here's a tool - go play.
You say what selkins did is appropriate. Fine. That may be true. But unless I know the purpose of the Wiki, I can't express an opinion on that! How can one know what an appropriate use is, unless one knows the function of the thing? If I am handed a tool that I have never seen before, I don't just pick it up and use it for some random act. I try to figure out its purpose first, and then use it for that purpose. (If I'm lucky, it came with instructions!)
It seems to me that saying, Here's a wiki, do whatever you want and we'll figure out its purpose later, is bass-ackwards. Normally, one has a problem or task and finds or creates the correct tool to address that problem or task. You don't throw bits of metal together to make a tool and then figure out what you're going to do with it.
(Edited for errant apostrophe)
I see your point, but I don't necessarily agree with you. When you hand a small child a toy, the child does not always use it for the purpose for which it was created. Children make some imaginative use of the "tools" which are handed to them. In this same way, we are given the opportunity to see how best we can make use of this new
For me, it is hard to make use of a tool I don't know how to operate. Once I learn how a tool is used, I can then adapt it for many uses. ("Would someone please tell my family to stop using our knives and forks to open cans and bottles?!")
Somewhere on another thread, I did ask what we can use our individual wiki page for. Conceptdawg (LT's Chris) said the individual user wiki page can be used for whatever a person wants. I'll look for the link.
Regarding innovations, it usually happens contrary to your Platonic ideas, lilithcat; technology comes first. Text messages evolved out of technical service messages (and are now a mainstay of telecom revenue). The Wright brothers built a plane just because they thought it was a cool and solvable challenge. To use the technical terms, inventors usually are not the innovators; and their inventions serve many purposes never first thought of.
Regarding the wiki, I think that most of the wiki pages should be moved to the work, group and profile pages (currently the information hides in the wrong place). Each work, group and profile page should have an optional wiki part where less transitory information can be stored (a sort of blackboard function) and collaboratively edited. On the group page, for instance, only the group owner can currently add information or highlight interesting threads for newbies (by creating a link). Wikis are also great for creating lists, something still missing in LT.
the Wright brothers built a plane just because they thought it was a cool and solvable challenge.
My point exactly. They didn't throw together a piece of equipment with wings and then say, "Hey, maybe we can use this for flying!" They decided to try to fly first, and then designed a piece of equipment to solve that problem.
Actually, they did (although they were much more methodical than most others). Clear goals are clear only in hindsight. What they considered flying had more resemblance to a chicken's leap than modern flight.
I am currently reading Air power. A small sample about the Wrights (p. 31). This time it was Orville who was to suffer: "On September 17, 1908, he was carrying Lt Thomas Selfridge as a passenger when one of the propellers cracked and struck the stray wire holding the tail. The plane plunged to the ground. Orville was seriously injured and was carried to the hospital at Ft Myer, where he remained for six weeks. Selfridge was killed." Invention is a risky business. Trial and error.
Think of it as evolution at work: variation + selection. Variation has to occur first. There is no goal in evolution.
I agree with what you said about where the wikis should be located. They are very hard to find simply by navigating within LT unless one is prompted to click on the WikiThing link at the bottom of the page and then do some further exploration. For most LT casual users, there would be no need to do so.
Lman and I had a hard time simply trying to set up the link that would move us back and forth from our own profiles to our own wiki pages. Do most users here even know they have their own wiki page? I doubt it! I found mine by chance.
People often ask for a "Notes" function for LT. A user wiki page would be a good place for people to keep those notes. A link can be made directly to each book.
Do most users here even know they have their own wiki page? I doubt it! I found mine by chance.
I assumed that you had to create one if you wanted one.
From message 9: "Another note to be aware of for a few users...
We are using mediawiki as the wiki engine for LibraryThing and we've made it so that account usage between LT and the wiki is seamless."
If you're logged in and you go to the Wiki, there will be a link in the left side menu, "Your WikiThing page".
> 43 : lilithcat : no, the way they've set the wiki up is to make all LT members also wiki members and to merge the sign-on bits of the two. Media wiki automatically generates a user page for every member (though I guess it may not 'exist' until someone goes to it). Yours is here .
I think that perhaps this bit of the code should be turned off like the discussion pages have been (if you look at Wikipedia each 'data' page has an associated discussion page - often with more interesting content than the data.
As to what the wiki is for I guess that will evolve, the main practical use that I can see is as an evolving FAQ. It has the great advantage over Talk that the content stay accessible until it is over written (and even then all the history is accessible), and it is, mostly, slower moving than the Talk groups. Bar the first few weeks when all kinds of junk springs into life.
What kind of data remains to be seem but current soft guidance seems to be towards meta-data about LibraryThing in the sense that there are some heavy steers to avoid content about specific books or authors.
I'm a non-tech person, and still at sea here.
So each member has a wiki page. And anyone can edit it? Seems to me that if you don't use it, someone else might?
Yes, that's true, wikitiquette (?) holds that it's a bit like the profile page here where other users can leave comments. I don't see that it adds anything significant except the ability to edit the comments.
I do wish Tim & Co. would state clearly and explicitly what the purpose of the WikiThing is. ... frankly, I think it's silly to say, here's a tool - go play.
I disagree. But I'll try to put it out how I see it.
The basic answer is this:
We know a few things we want to use it for, but not all. We want to develop organically and collaboratively. We believe and we act as if our members are—collectively—capable of thinking of cool and useful things we never could. I think the history of LT supports this very much.
On the most basic level, wikis are tools. They're better for some things than others. They should be used for things they're good at, and not used when another tool would work better.
*They're good for group projects.
*They're good for information that doesn't have to be perfect and complete all the time.
*They're good when changes can happen any time and when speed is important.
*They're good because they involve members directly.
There are some technical limitations. Wikis are good for documents, like a help page. They're bad for structured data, like some item of data that should get picked up by another page, searched and sorted on.
Free and great as there are, there have to be guidelines. We don't want people using WikiThing for personal vanity. Everyone gets their own page that you can do with what you will (as long as it's not against the TOS in some way, like porn spam).
And we don't want people using it for structured data, like trying to use it to keep track of books in a series. If members did that, it would only be available on the wiki. We couldn't extract the data and use it how it ought to be used.
Wikis are also great for creating lists, something still missing in LT.
This would be an example of using a wiki for structured data. I'd love to see some experiments here. But using the wiki for lists all over seems like a bad use.
My point exactly. They didn't throw together a piece of equipment with wings and then say, "Hey, maybe we can use this for flying!"
How about a bird analogy? Tools evolve to meet needs.
So each member has a wiki page. And anyone can edit it? Seems to me that if you don't use it, someone else might?
I know it's scary, but it's how Wikipedia works too. People don't have much of an incentive, and if people see someone doing it, they'll probably change it back quick quickly.
It seems that you can edit someone else's user page but I think wiketiquette holds that it isn't nice to do so. Since the history is all saved, it's easy to revert someone's unwanted changes.
On Wikipedia, comments should be left on a user's discussion page, but since those are turned off I would think it would still be better to leave comments to a person on their profile page.
ARGGH! Lost my post into POOFDOM.
>But using the wiki for lists all over seems like a bad use.
Imagine a list of Hugo winners by year with a touchstone for each.
Recently we've had requests for - werewolf stories without romance, fiction for non-fiction readers, fantasy for first timers and favorite childhood stories.
These can't be done with tags. It would be great to be able to point to a list for the next time the request comes up, as it will.
No, the User talk pages have not been turned off. They live in a separate 'User talk' namespace, and not in the 'Talk' namespace. I think that they should be turned off. There are two ways to get at these pages, if you feel the need.
Morphidae surely that depends on whether Tim has some cunning plan to deal with lists by some more structured means. If he has then the wiki is not a good place for such lists.
>53 andyl: Honestly, and this isn't a slam to LT, I wouldn't hold my breath. WikiThing is something there NOW that can do such things versus waiting on something that may or not get done at a future date.
I don't see it as similiar to a series list as that information can be put on the works page, i.e. this books is 1 of 5, etc. Also, it would be duplicating the work on fantasticfiction.
I think lists are a very good use of WikiThing. In the future when other tools are developed to handle what's in a list, that WikiThing page would be a good window to have open.
This will also be a good way to get series information straight. List of titles. Order of publication. Info on characters and story arcs. Spin-off series or stand-alones can also be listed & linked to their own pages if needed.
I think it's cool.
I also think the wiki is a great place for lists.
>This will also be a good way to get series information straight. List of titles. Order of publication. Info on characters and story arcs. Spin-off series or stand-alones can also be listed & linked to their own pages if needed.
Alll this stuff is planned for the "fielded wiki." Indeed, Chris has a crude version working now.
I think series info belongs on Wikipedia, or needs to be structured as in 58.
52> If there is a user talk space it isn't linked to from the top of the user page, so it might as well be disabled.
This group does not accept members.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.