Wiki Usage

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eddie 101 Jun 27, 2006 at 01:08

I was just reading the “Component Oriented” thread, and I took it upon myself to read through some of the Wiki articles on Software Engineering.

It made me realize something – the Wiki *is* a little bit anemic. I can’t fault anyone, really, because as a forum of hobbyists through to full-fledged game programmers: everyone’s busy.

It did get me thinking however (and this is just an idea, not a crusade: so no need to flame me. ;)):

Why don’t we make the Wiki a shining example of how to get information?

What I would propose is a set of ‘rules’ on how the Wiki should be used/added to (I realize that in an open-community, it’s hard to police rules, but hear me out):

(1) Don’t get *too* specific.

Chances are, if you’re writing about something, it’s been written about before, and somewhere else that has a much better chance of not falling out of date. (I’m thinking either WikiPedia, Foldoc, About.com, SGI’s STL site, what have you).

Keep the Wiki articles brief, and with very good “high-level” articles on it. Doing so speaks both to this website’s aims, and to it’s audiences.

Namely, we serve people best by giving them the high level of what they want, and if they want more, we can make the articles:

(2) Reference specifics in better maintained sources .

I mention this because looking at one of the pages, Software Engineering, gives such a stringy talk of all the important parts of engineering, but gives neither enough specifics, nor enough high level to make it worthwhile to anyone.

If we were to write articles such that they touched on topics lightly yet informatively, and instead referred to detailed sections by linking to say, WikiPedia, we might be able to send a message, “Come to DevMaster if you don’t know where to start – we’ll set you off in the right direction”.

Hopefully we could then have a more powerful tool in the Wiki to sic the newbies on and then have the tougher, more interesting questions on the forum.

Anyways, just a thought. Flame away now, I suppose. :)

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