Digest 2014-06-18

Ward started the conversation on a question of whether Markdown or Creole would be of value to implement. David said that beyond simple markup, he finds Markdown and Creole may give unpredicatable results, leading him to choose the Ckgedit plugin for a WYSIWYG on Dokuwiki. On Wikipedia, Ward pointed to a Visual Editor project under way for some time, with large resource commitments (for which Wikipedia got funding).

David asked Ward whether the range of Federated Wiki extended as far as enabling the Persistent Conversation vision that Thomas Erickson had work on. Ward said that in the early days of C2, there were a lot of pages with threads going back-and-forth, where value was created in removing preambles and endings by each party, to leave the more concise core content (which was appreciated).

Ward was thinking about conversations in terms of comments at the paragraph level. Paul found the Annotator JS library, which would have some conflict with the mouse click behaviours in Federated Wiki. David thought that annotating on someone else's web site defeats the spirit of a Federated Wiki, so maybe this isn't the feature we should focus on.

The idea of persistent conversation was well captured in Google Wave (RIP). Ward had tried to get hired on the Google Wave project, but late in its development when expectations in its hype curve were overwhelming development. A unique feature of Google Wave was its federation, which many people didn't understand or appreciate. The developers might have been able to deliver all of the features asked of them if they hadn't spent so much effort on federation, and time ran out.

Etherpad Lite could be an alternative for managing conversations that could be persistent in some way. One option could be for one individual to host everyone's Etherpad content on his or her site, and then Federated Wiki would make it easy for others to replicate the content. One question was around mapping Etherpad changes to the Federated Wiki journal. Ward said that he had previously looked at the Etherpad code, and it could be practical to journal paragraph by paragraph (and probably not character by character). There was some question as how paragraph moves on Etherpad would be recorded. Preserving the authors' names to each of their writings would be valuable to maintaining authenticity to the original conversation.

Ward asked David if he was still playing around with Federated Wiki, or committed. David responded that he is committed through the Service Systems Thinking project. This means that, by fall, there could be a "real" community using Federated Wiki and providing more experiences on using it.

The experience using Federated Wiki so far has been that it may be just as well for David to support a few users to get their own Wiki OpenShift Quickstart sites up, rather than having to manage a wiki farm for multiple people. Ward said that independent sites would be more encouraged by PaaS providers, as a farm adds on additional (unnecessary) layers.

Potential interactions between Federated Wiki and Etherpad Lite are a direction for exploration. Both are open source projects, so the question is how to engineer something that makes sense. There are instructions to install Etherpad on Openshift, so there could be some compatibility with Wiki Openshift Quickstart.

To get a feel for learning about how Ethernet supports collaborative conversations, David will try installing Etherpad on OpenShift so participants in next week's meeting can play with it. David remarked on the irony of the "author, not developer" volunteering to wrangle some more with OpenShift.


This page is one of the Digests from SFW Meetings in a weekly Video Chat.