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It may be possible to gradually form a ViewPoint-like system from a wiki. The original ViewPoint idea was to start fresh, and create a new system designed for the ViewPoint goals. The new goal is to gradually add capabilities to a wiki until the ViewPoint goals are achieved. (People write, edit, and read what they want.)

The biggest advantages of a gradual method are:

Some of the intermediate steps include:

Misc features (could be added anywhere):

Any comments? (I know it's hard to comment on such huge brain-dumps like this one.) --CliffordAdams

Add TransClusions to the UseModWiki script. Run the script with SubPages turned on. Add user identification. Add user-level page + subpages (entire page hierarchies) locking. Add versioning. Run the script. Find something big, political, loud and controversial to talk about. Build the community. Flow. -- SunirShah

Some clarification. No, don't do that to MeatballWiki, please! (Where's your sense of adventure? OK, I'll try to keep things more stable here. :-) These are changes I think would be sufficient for a good start at a ViewPoint. As for the TransClusions, I meant use InternalTransclusions.

I've considered transclusions a few times, but I don't see what benefits it would bring. I'm not really interested in writing the ultimate tool for bringing together all possible forms of information. Some examples of benefits would be welcome. (Perhaps the main benefit is making nice examples for the concept of transclusion. :-)

The major advantage of transclusion over copying is that all (transcluded) copies will be modified if the original is modified. This can also be a disadvantage, as the original may be lost or altered in ways which make it less appropriate for transclusion (see ContentSwizzling).

I'm considering (long-term) a few related ideas. One is to allow editors to mark pages of special interest, possibly with a text reminder. The editors would receive a special notice (probably on RecentChanges) when marked pages are changed. This could be used to mark the source page of copied text so that the editor could copy appropriate updates.

Another more radical idea is to allow pages to be split into "fragments" which could be individually displayed or hidden. Transclusion of fragments might be more appropriate.

Any more ideas? --CliffordAdams

Transclusion seems necessary with ViewPoint as wholesale duplication of information is the nature of the day. Copy and paste is just as bad here as in programming, I figure. -- SunirShah

The current ViewPoint plan is to use "page sections" and view-layers rather than transclusion. One could write additional sections (displayed before or after the main content), and/or replacement/overlay sections (replacing the content). Most views will be based on another view--the "base" or "original" view will be displayed unless some change is made. The main difference between sections and transclusion is that the selection and ordering of sections will be done with metadata.

I don't expect the first version of ViewPoint to work well. Hopefully the first version will provide enough learning experiences to make the second version easier. --CliffordAdams

Does everyone's added sections show up on everyone's views? To properly diversify the number of viewpoints, I suspect you'll need to copy (or transclude/include) in whole another datum and surround it locally with your own work. But you should not affect that datum doing so. --ss

The main goals are to allow editors to create exactly the views they desire, and for readers to read the "best" views. Reading should require minimal effort (choosing a few views, or a single group of views). Editing should also be easy for the typical case. Tools like sections or transclusions may be supported if they make these tasks easier.

One could think of page names in ViewPoint as locations. At each location there will be a pile of sections. Some of the sections will be alternate versions of the main content, while other sections will be "additional" (like extra references, jokes, editorial comments, etc.). A "view" is basically a set of instructions for converting the available sections into a final rendered page. (Some of the popular additional sections may become user-selectable.) More on this later. --CliffordAdams


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