Invite: Help Fix DreamHost Wiki


#1

Here’s a really off the wall proposal.

Why don’t we DreamHost Customers quit sniveling, whining and begging DreamHost to update the wiki?

Why don’t we grab the day, seize the horns :wink: and do it ourselves?

Why don’t we self-organize, self-govern, and run our own, truly Customer-Community DreamHost Documentation Project?

Why don’t we start with a blank slate?

Why don’t we do it here: http://wiki2.dreamhosters.com/wiki2/?

Why don’t we start now?

I propose, tentatively, a governing body made up of people with the most contributions here and in the old wiki.dreamhost.com, some sort of majority rule panel of maybe 5 or 7, assuming naively sufficient interest :slight_smile: and go from there.

Thoughts? Flames? Cheers? Too much triptophan?

You are welcome to a refund.-Michael;Comparing ‘DH of today’ with ‘DH of old’ does not serve much purpose.-Dallas


#2

I applaud your enthusiasm, but I really don’t think it is a practical proposal. I would prefer to petition DreamHost for changes to be made in both the version and the administration of the existing, extensive wiki. I would like to see the following:

  1. The wiki should always be running the current stable version of MediaWiki.
  2. A DreamHost employee with full bureaucratic and system control should act as a permanent liaison for the wiki contributors.
  3. The wiki needs some sort of rudimentary user oversight. A half-dozen or so customers should be nominated/elected to a “committee” to oversee editorial decisions, with the DH liaison having a casting vote and/or veto.

This is broadly in agreement with the your own proposal, but I definitely think it is worthwhile trying to get the existing wiki to work properly.


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
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#3

Anybody else have an opinion or interest?

I don’t disagree that it might be good to have more active involvement by DreamHost staff, but that’s up to them. Is there a related Suggestion to vote on?

Care to elaborate on why it’s not a practical proposal? Or why fixing up a broken wiki is better than starting fresh?

The DreamHost Customers wiki And Forum Projects


#4

In answer to both questions - because the existing wiki is well established and already pretty big, quite frankly. Also, I think everyone is confused enough as it is!


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
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#5

My thought is that a new wiki would bring with it all the complications, confusion, and problems (as well as potential advantages) that traditionally follow any “fork” of an existing project. It could, ultimately, turn out to be a “better” resource, but the path to that can be a bit rough, and whether that would ever actually occur is unpredictable.

If at all possible, I’d rather see DH upgrade the existing software than to have to go through all it would take to “migrate” and “recreate” the existing (extensive) resources the present wiki provides. I also like the administrative structure of the existing wiki, and I think DH’s interests (and resources) are well vested in the present system. DH staff have a mandate, to some degree, to participate in the existing wiki, with it being a “sanctioned” support" mechanism, and I’m not sure they would feel sufficiently invested in an “outside” wiki to participate at the same level they do in the existing wiki.

That said, I recently watched a different company summarily delete an existing knowledge base in favor of a new forum, with a huge loss of valuable data, and ultimately abandon that, as they felt some of the data collected therein was “misleading” or “not in the best interests of the company”, leaving a huge community of users suddenly incommunicado. While I don’t believe such an action is even remotely likely as it relates to the Dreamhost Wiki; I sometimes worry that all that data could suddenly disappear, as I do not know what mechanisms might be in place to “protect” it should Dreamhost decide to abandon it - and a “new” wiki might be a hedge against that.

All in all I’m in favor of continuing to lobby DH to “fix” the existing wiki, so we can all make it better, and maybe arrange for it to be mirrored (read only) as a safety mechanism.

–rlparker


#6

OK, don’t everybody go there at once.

Uptimes:
14:27:21 up 6 days, 17:37, 1 user, load average: 254.81, 300.73, 187.24
14:30:04 up 6 days, 17:40, 1 user, load average: 351.81, 324.34, 215.60
14:31:28 up 6 days, 17:41, 1 user, load average: 332.72, 324.46, 224.60
14:34:39 up 6 days, 17:45, 1 user, load average: 312.78, 316.37, 239.87
14:38:52 up 6 days, 17:49, 1 user, load average: 397.97, 366.04, 280.46

She’s not gonna hold it together!

14:52:38 up 7 min, 2 users, load average: 1.20, 1.41, 0.71

Aah, that’s better.

Maybe it’s not such a good idea, or maybe it was something else entirely. :wink:

Edit: 16:52:17 up 2:07, 1 user, load average: 0.46, 0.61, 3.90

Now we’re cooking again.


The DreamHost Customers wiki And Forum Projects


#7

[/quote]

And the source of confusion is not clear, nor agreed upon. :slight_smile:

[quote]I recently watched a different company summarily delete an existing knowledge base in favor of a new forum

[/quote]

It wasn’t too long ago that DreamHost disappeared their Kbase for a while before “transferring” it to the new wiki. The Ultimate Kbase suddenly wasn’t available for a while. (All hail: http://blog.dreamhosters.com/kbase/) Unfortunately, even now many links in the wiki, and in this Forum are still broken as a result of that confusion.

[quote]I’d rather see DH upgrade the existing software than to have to go through

[/quote]

I agreed until recently, but if wishes were ponies with wings, we’d all be flying, or something. :slight_smile:

[quote]I also like the administrative structure of the existing wiki,

[/quote]

I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on that, but Momma told me to tone down my sniveling.

The DreamHost Customers wiki And Forum Projects


#8

I think there may well be a time when I’d give up on DH updating the wiki software - I just have not yet reached that point.

I don’t mean to imply that I think the current administrative structure is perfect. To be more precise, given the purpose of the DH wiki (and the fact that it is hosted using DH resources) I like that the “Super Admin” is DH staff - of course, YMMV, but that does not make either of us “right” or “wrong”. We just see it differently. (just as we did on the “new outages wiki” :wink: ).

–rlparker


#9

[quote]I like that the “Super Admin” is DH staff

[/quote]

I agree with that somewhat, but I dislike more that the day-to-day regular Admin is one non-DH staff.

If it’s on DH servers, then DH staff always has at least Super Admin influence. :wink:

I’m starting to come around on the “new outages wiki” too. It’s hard to argue with zero interest, although some predictions can be self-fulfilling and “scare” people away. :slight_smile:

The DreamHost Customers wiki And Forum Projects


#10

I am in complete agreement here too. I’d be much happier if there were more customer sysops than just me. I’m often forced to go out on a limb “for the greater good” when I’d much rather have such decisions made as a group. I try to be as reasonable as I can, but it is hard to keep the right balance without help from others.

Another thing that bugs me is that I spend so much time trying to fight spammers and vandals, I have far less time to write or contribute to articles - something I enjoy doing immensely. My article-to-admin ratio is all out of whack!


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
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#11

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Mine is: you probably have dreams about “spammers and vandals” and see them around every corner, even when they’re not there. You have a tendency to assume the worst, except from yourself. It’s natural, but you got an extra serving.

Then there’s the power trip, a way to get attention, and a way to explain how you are “forced” to not do the things you should be doing.

The DreamHost Customers wiki And Forum Projects


#12

[quote]you probably have dreams about “spammers and vandals” and see them around every corner, even when they’re not there. You have a tendency to assume the worst, except from yourself. It’s natural, but you got an extra serving.

Then there’s the power trip, a way to get attention, and a way to explain how you are “forced” to not do the things you should be doing.[/quote]
Fortunately, you are completely wrong about this. The wiki is spammed almost constantly (a few minutes ago, it was someone selling candles), so I have no need to invent spammers in my dreams. When the wiki software is upgraded, this will be less of a problem.

Vandalism is rarer, and more difficult to define. Trying to deal with it in an acceptable manner is extremely difficult. That is why I would prefer that decisions about what is and isn’t vandalism where handled by a committee, rather than an individual. In the meantime, I must do the best I can. Inevitably, some people are going to disagree with some of the choices I make. When I make the wrong choice, a DH staff member usually steps in to overrule me - which is as it should be.

I’m not on any kind of power trip. I don’t need attention. That is your illusion.


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
Save $97 on yearly plans with promo code [color=#CC0000]SCJESSEY97[/color]


#13

We’re all a bunch of freaks. I’ve got more parked domains than working domains.

Wholly


#14

[quote]a few minutes ago, it was someone selling candles

[/quote]

Trivial to reverse, trivial to identify.

[quote]Vandalism is rarer, and more difficult to define.

[/quote]

You’ve made a wrong choice and been over-ruled, or given up after extended debate, several times.

It shouldn’t require extended debate and over-ruling. In differences of opinions, you should default to tolerance, but you don’t.

When somebody wants to DO something, and somebody else - yourself included - wants to stop them, you should default to tolerance - doing something - unless it violates a clear policy. But you don’t.

[quote]I’m not… I don’t… It’s your

[/quote]

De’Nile is not just a river. :slight_smile:

The DreamHost Customers wiki And Forum Projects


#15

But someone still has to do it.

So? At least I am making the attempt. I’ll bet that there are dozens of times I have made the right choice for every apparent “wrong choice”.

[quote]It shouldn’t require extended debate and over-ruling. In differences of opinions, you should default to tolerance, but you don’t.
When somebody wants to DO something, and somebody else - yourself included - wants to stop them, you should default to tolerance - doing something - unless it violates a clear policy. But you don’t.[/quote]
You have to be kidding me! That is the most ridiculous piece of logic I have ever seen. First of all, the are no “clear policies” - I have to make the best judgment I can using common sense. Secondly, it is never okay to spam the wiki with personal links, or butcher articles so their original meaning is lost, or move contributors’ personal comments around, or any of the many other dumba$$ things I’ve seen over the years. Letting this sort of thing go on is not tolerance - it’s just ignoring vandalism. Well I’m sorry, but I’m not going to ignore this sort of thing just to make you happy. I’m going to continue to do the best job I can until a DH staff member decides to revoke my sysop status.


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
Save $97 on yearly plans with promo code [color=#CC0000]SCJESSEY97[/color]


#16

[quote]But someone still has to do it.

[/quote]

And many people do.

[quote]the are no “clear policies” - I have to make the best judgment I can using common sense.

[/quote]

Q:Then, why don’t you work on establishing clear policies. A: Because (a) it would require true consensus building, and (b) it would restrict you to following them, and not using (arbitrary and capricious) judgment.

[quote]Secondly, it is never okay to spam the wiki with personal links,

[/quote]

Except there is not yet any DreamHost policy against such links, they have been allowed, when you haven’t taken a personal interest in stopping particular ones.

[quote]or butcher articles so their original meaning is lost,

[/quote]

You do not have the right to establish particular new meanings you prefer, especially when you copy/pasted selectively, with bias toward your (negative) viewpoint.

[quote]or move contributors’ personal comments around,

[/quote]

I thought standard protocol had comments bounce back and forth between talk pages, slowly accumulating in both places? When that protocol is not followed, by tacit agreement or whatever, what’s the problem with accumulating the discussion entries into one place?

Gotta run, btw; so I’m not just ignoring you now. Seriously.

The DreamHost Customers wiki And Forum Projects


#17

As you said yourself earlier in this thread, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” Different wikis have different purposes, and I don’t believe the same level of “tolerance”, as you use the term, is appropriate for a “support” wiki as it might be for one dedicated to other purposes (politics, pamphleteering, public issues, etc).

Again, the fact that you disagree with an Admin’s actions does not, in and of itself, make you right and the Admin wrong. I don’t expect to agree with every decision any Admin makes, and generally am in favor of erring toward the tolerant, but I greatly appreciate the amount of work Simon has invested in the DH wiki. The spam and vandalism is far from imagined; it is a daily occurrence on the DH wiki and without Simon’s work there, it would not be nearly as useful a resource as it is. Generally speaking, “garbage” in wikis doesn’t bother me too much, as I’ve been around the block a few times and have a fairly effect “crap filter”, but the DH wiki, by it’s nature and because of it’s purpose, has a lot of “newbie” visitors who could/can be easily misled by information they encounter in the wiki.

It’s really unfortunate that someone, who devotes as much time to the DH wiki as Simon, is subjected to “random” personal attacks on his motives and personality because someone less invested is resentful of his decisions, but I don’t know any way that can be avoided. Fortunately, Simon is pretty “thick skinned” about all of that, and still works on the wiki in spite of it. I remain grateful for Simon’s efforts, even if I don’t necessarily agree with every decision (though I feel that , by and large, Simon has done a great job!)

I’ve been a little slow on the uptake on this one, but it’s finally become apparent to me that your real agenda in this whole discussion is a lot less about improving the wiki for the benefit of DH users than it is about Simon’s Admin status and/or actions.

As such, this thread has deteriorated into a discussion of personalities. Viewed from that perspective, I’m curious as to why you think you would have any less issues with any other Admin who disagreed with you.

The very nature of a wiki fuels all this kind of stuff; fortunately, those that persevere through all this angst can still make a wiki useful, but one has to have the stomach for all the bickering.

–rlparker


#18

I have been working on them. I started with some basic guidelines in Category:Cleanup and then, more recently, I have begun to expand on them in DreamHost:Policies and guidelines. I’ve been busy reviewing the policies and guidelines of the Wikipedia that would seem to fit in with the spirit of the DreamHost Wiki. I’ll be adding more in the near future; however, ultimately it isn’t up to me. I suppose I can just “make policies” and enforce them until someone at DH tells me not to, but I’d rather not work that way.

Incidentally, creating policies to adhere to is not going to be restrictive for me at all. On the contrary, it will be liberating for me, assuming that a “committee” exists to enforce the policies. I have no trouble following the policies of the Wikipedia (at least, those I am aware of - there are so many that it is hard to keep track!) so why should it be any different here?


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
Save $97 on yearly plans with promo code [color=#CC0000]SCJESSEY97[/color]


#19

I’ve never seen “copying” or moving a user’s comments from a page where that user placed them into another user’s talk page as a “standard protocol” at all. Other than to “quote” an excerpt, with a link to the full writing, and to the location where it was originally written (so it can easily be viewed in its original context) is in IMHO extremely rude and very disrespectful of the original author.

The main problem is assuming that a “tacit agreement” exists, or that “whatever” somehow mitigates or excuses, the inappropriateness of manipulating another user’s comments - that is an entirely different concept than “mutually editing” an article’s contents. An author of a comment should be able to decide where those contents should be posted precisely to control the context in which his/her comments appear. Anything less than this kind of respect for a commenter can only have a chilling effect on a user’s willingness to participate (and is one of the reasons I don’t participate on wiki’s more than I do). :wink:

Sure “comments” will “bounce back and forth between talk pages”, as users visit and participate on those pages, but the user who posts them chooses (hopefully choosing carefully and respectfully) which page to place them on, and it is not proper for another user to “override” that choice on a whim or to support an agenda. It’s easy enough to discuss it with the author first, with a comment on the page where the original writing occurred (or on its associated talk page).

As I’m sure you are well aware, I recently “agreed”, after the fact, to such a reposting of my comments on the Dreamhost Wiki in a recent instance where a user insensitive to this protocol took it upon him/her self to “move” my comments from the page where I had originally posted them onto their own user page.

I removed them from that new page initially, leaving, in their place, an edit explaining that the comments had originally been made on a different page and that I did not believe my comments were relevant in the context of the page to which they had been moved. That user then “reverted” the page to replace my comments into the page, apparently believing they were important in the new context.

While I disagreed, I believe in standing behind what I say and/or write, and, since I had written what was “moved”, even though I did not feel it was appropriate for them to be moved without discussion, and did not believe that the comments were relevant in the context in which the were now being “reposted”, I agreed after the fact to refrain from getting into a reversion skirmish over the matter.

That “post facto” deference should not be construed to indicate that I believe the moving of the comments was proper; only that, in that case, to me, it was not worth arguing with anyone about :wink: .

I treat others’ comments with respect and I don’t believe it is my place to “edit” or “move” them from one page/article to another (though I do recognized there are “fair use” types of situations where limited “re-quoting”, with attribution and linking, are appropriate).

–rlparker


#20

[quote]I treat others’ comments with respect and I don’t believe it is my place to “eidt” or “move”

[/quote]

You know, RL, with all due respect - That lecture was a bit much.

You’re making it sound much more glorious, nefarious, and complicated than it should.

The context of Simon’s “complaint” is a long discussion that bounced haphazardly on 2-3 User Talk pages. That is very difficult to follow later, even if none gets deleted.

My concern is to accurately preserve the entire conversation surrounding the “issue” (without changing anyone’s comments).

BTW, I “caught” Simon deleting a sentence of mine as he was “correcting” format (:::::::::::::: was that 14 or 15? :-). I’m sure it was an accident, and quite petty to even mention.

I’ve been in this wiki for a longer while than you apparently think. I’ve seen “the records” of issues get destroyed by deletion or erasure. Thus, when I’m directly involved in a “conversation” like this one, I try to copy it to one location. I don’t delete it from its original locations elsewhere. The most relevant location in this case is the one User’s Talk page. That way there’s no pretense for “no longer relevant” to the article or “it’s my user talk page, I can erase it if I want to.”

I’ve already forgotten the precise details of your comment’s history, sorry, but I’m sure I preserved it as respectfully and accurately as I could.

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