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The earliest discourse from JerryMuelver....
Can you expand on the EsperantoIdea?. I'm baffled why Esperanto would be preferable to English, the de facto lingua franca of the internet era. -- FrankBrooks

(Note that in France, when landing in Paris, all airline pilots must speak English. It was determined that speaking French was dangerous, since many pilots would not understand what was going on. Perversely, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, both French and English are permitted, regardless of the inherent dangers.)

English is fine -- for those who know it. It's a major PITA to learn, however. The idea of Esperanto is to have a language with a phonetic alphabet, only 16 rules of grammar, absolutely regular grammatical forms with no exceptions, and a logical system of root words with well-defined prefixes and suffixes, so you can make up words that everyone else will understand without further definition. So, you use Esperanto as an interchange language, and do your romancing in your native language. It's a kick to talk with people from all over the world, with the same language. See http://www.esperanto-usa.org/

Esperanto is XML is Esperanto.

Esperanto wiki launched 28 Jan 2001 -- http://unumondo.com/
Experimental FAQ wiki (all wikis are experimental!) launched 5 February 2001 -- http://allmyfaqs.com/
Intranet wiki, experiment in wiki-as-content-management-system, launched 8 February 2001. It seeks an affirmative answer to the question "Can clueless Web-newbies find happiness collaborating on projects in an intranet?"
eBook wiki, for Book technology, authors, marketing, etc. launched at http://ebooklib.com/

Jerry, you're insane. Four wikis now? -- SunirShah

Five, actually. I just built one on an intranet, for departmental web newbies to use as a CMS system. Twiki was too twicky for them to figure out. Now they can edit a wiki page, and I can suck the page into a frame or iframe from the corporate intranet site without having to go through the upload, post, preview site, notify, transfer to publish site rigamarole. It would be really great if I could figure out how to get the CGI output to act like an external JS file so I could do it like SSI inserts (which is not supported by the corporate site).

The Web is getting to be fun again! --JerryMuelver

YAWN (Yet Another Wiki Notice)

This one will be under password access, once I figure out how to do that on an ISP that won't let me execute scripts outside CGI-BIN. I want a front section Normal web for clients, and a back section Closed wiki for producers. This will take some doing, I think -- http://worldwebworks.com -- JerryMuelver

YAWN (Yet Another Wiki Notice) again http://worldwebworks.com and http://ebooklib.com are not going to make it. I'll be closing them down in a little while. But, Lo! Phoenix! New wiki at http://cleansweep2004.com hopes to become a force for political action in Wisconsin, a Marshal Plan for recovering from the Tommy Thompson years of cronyism and special-interest pandering. Can a wiki break through the apathy? -- JerryMuelver

Wiki in a file

Here's the starting framework for a UseMod wiki in free-link format, all in a single text file. Open the file, open the new wiki, and cut-paste from the file until the wiki is framed up. File names are marked with >>>>>>. Each new wiki page creates the links for the other pages. Takes about 6 minutes to set up a wiki and edit it for customizing. http://hytext.com/wikiframe.txt -- JerryMuelver

Note for wikiframe.txt users --

Be sure to change "MeatBall" in the RecentChanges special reports examples to your very own "LocalWiki" reference, so your wikians will get your own detailed change reports instead of Sunir's. -- JerryMuelver

All My FAQs wiki at http://allmyfaqs.com seems to have taken hold. We have 259 pages now. A dozen or so of the regulars from alt.html and comp.infosystems.www.authoring.* have joined in and are answering FAQs, repairing other answers, and replacing the seed links to other existing FAQs with improved explanations of their own. The stats log shows four visits from Google, appearances by a half-dozen other spiders. Visitors are viewing an average of 8 pages, staying 10 minutes. All My FAQs URL is starting to show up in sigs on the newsgroups, and references to All My FAQs as replies to FAQs on the newsgroups are over 30 a day. Very interesting. -- JerryMuelver

Wiki as CMS

A wiki is a community effort. So is a department within a coporation. It seems natural to install Apache and Perl on a departmental file server and teach folks how to work together the wiki way. So I did. One enhancement was to add file uploading, from the HTML (not wiki) home page, for central file access, templates, graphics, etc. Another was to insert a routine to output just the HTMLified content between the wiki header and footer, then grab that output to fill an IFRAME or FRAME in pages on the corporate intranet, so intranet web pages no longer have to be uploaded to be updated -- just edit the wiki page. I introduced the concept at a mid-level manager's seminar to an MS Office-based company. At the conclusion of the presention, the chief guy said, "You know, if we did things the way you just showed us, we wouldn't even have to use Word anymore, would we?"

Bingo! -- JerryMuelver

I'd really like to hear more about WikiOnIntranet? - can you tell us some of your experiences? How does it work to improve collaboration? How fast to people "get it"? How do you sell it to the management? You know, that kind of stuff.

I can see it would be great - but I'd love to hear what people who "have done it" (are doing it) have to say.

-- StephanieBooth

Some contributors in the group got into it pretty well, but only 4 of the 18 or so who were eligible. We hooked up some of the info wiki pages (organization charts, class registration listings and schedules, etc.) to the intranet site by pulling the wiki pages into IFRAMEs or new windows, stripped of the wiki headers and footers. It was very easy for the group to update the info on the wiki, and the intranet updates were then automatic. Of course, that was an end-run around the IT dept's strait-jeacket post-preview-justify-certify-publish procedures....

Everyone who played the wiki loved it, but they were all overloaded with conflicting duties, and never had authorization to play for an hour a day to build the collaborative community. I'd do it again, but better upfront committment from management for time-budgets and expected outcomes. -- JerryMuelver

Wiki to HTML -- Downloading a Wiki

It turns out that Web Copier http://www.download32.com/proghtml/57/5704.htm will pull down an entire wiki, converting the CGI calls into web pages, and rewriting the links to call those HTML pages directly instead of generating from CGI. I aimed at the splash page for http://northernvibes.com and watched it all happen. Note: Web Copier is active adware, and installs with an ad-retrieving program. You can remove the program, but Web Copier won't work. Or you can buy the program, apparently, to remove the adware function.

I cut the process off after a bit when I noticed that the "number of pages found" entry kept increasing well beyond the actual number of pages, and suspected that an action=index link or Recentchanges link was triggering the apparent looping. But what I have on my disk is the entire site, all links active (even Edit the text of this page brings up a page with all the wiki text in its normal textarea!) and functional.

Perhaps the process will be a little cleaner and tighter if I run it against the HTML-page-only (no wiki header or footer menus) mod of wiki.pl. Recentchanges and Edit text and View other versions etc. would not enter into the picture that way.

Potential use of the concept -- packaging wiki-developed sites (like WikiPedia), using wiki for developing and staging intranet pages before releasing to the publication site (or before transcluding via FRAME or IFRAME), archiving a wiki for disaster recovery, mirroring a wiki to an HTML read-only site version, demo-ing wikis at management meetings.... More? --JerryMuelver

WebDAV? as Wiki?

Interesting intro on one of my discussion boards at http://hytext.com/cgi/config.pl?read=6 explains the connection between wiki and WebDav. -- JerryMuelver

AllMyFAQs? Googlized

http://allmyfaqs.com now turns up in Google searches. It will be intersting to see how the indexing is handled. I aimed atomz.com at allmyfaqs and it went nuts, running up 1300 pages on my 300-page site before I stopped the indexing. I then tried atomz.com on the NakedWiki version at http://allmyfaqs.com/cgi-bin/js.pl , figuring the cut out the recent-changes and index-of-all-pages endless looping, but got the same loopy results. Very curious. I can pull down an HTML-ized version of my wiki sites with Webcopier operating on a NakedWiki, but atomz.com can't figure it out. --JerryMuelver

Why not use mod_rewrite to make the urls more "search-engine" friendly? I've been wondering about that. Or alternatively (English?), use a "php404" (http://www.alistapart.com/stories/succeed/) to make pretty urls.


Wiki Games

Sensei's Library http://senseis.xmp.net/ got me thinking about using a wiki as a gaming platform. I remember with embarrassing fondness my earliest online days, playing Go-Moku in ASCII on Compuserve at 300baud. Maybe a simple-rules, simple-layout, ASCII-only strategy game would be a good thing for a wiki community. Anyone know of any already? Certain games would work well, I think --

There is a movement afoot to de-competitize school-years sports, like revising Duck Ball to remove the personal violence. And I know that rugby/soccer/football had its origins in a mock battle (push a giant ball) between villages in the Middle Ages. So the civilized world may be ready for something more gentile than the current glut of video shoot-em-ups. It would be very gratifying to come up with a community-involving, challenging yet forgiving, interactive game for wikis.

Jerry, this is a pretty nifty idea. I would love to have an excuse to get back into playing chess, through "correspondence" games on some wiki or another. I wouldn't mind the excuse to start learning Go, either. I'd be more than happy to set up such a wiki. -- ScottMoonen

Sensei's Library pretty much has a lock on Go wikis -- check it out. It's a wonderful site. I hadn't thought of chess, though it would work just fine from only a listing of moves, wouldn't it?

The appeal of gaming on a wiki is the brutal simplicity of the interface. That restricts the API to ASCII, and game types to typewriter-style rewrite layouts, and maybe Adventure-style text narratives. One additional possibility is a role-play game with an anointed Game-master who is the only one with a deck of character/situation/power cards. IOW, anyone who plays it obviously is not playing with a full deck....

Collaborative story-writing is another community game-like activity, one I hope to get started in unumodno.com in Esperanto. Along those lines, psychologists have some weird little games for exploring social relations and power structures, like Red And Green. And there's that auction-offshoot, where the bidding starts at a buck and goes sky-high on stupid little things like "Clean your house for month" -- the winning bidder pays, but the number 2 guy who lost the last bid also pays whatever he bid. Bidding spirals up because if you're going to pay anyway, you want to make sure you get something for it. Strange stuff. -- JerryMuelver

Game Started

I started a Go-Moku at http://northernvibes.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?Playtime if anyone wants to see how this might work out. -- JerryMuelver

Check out AndStuff:ScottMoonen/ChessBoard?. I just implemented a chessboard macro for 'Tavi. :-) -- ScottMoonen

I am stunned! It's beautiful, gorgeous even! What a brilliant idea! You could play almost any strategy game that way, or write music, show tutorials on stuff, play Mr. Potatoe Head, or Hangman with anatomically-correct body parts! -- JerryMuelver

What would be super cool is if the macro not only took a board arrangement like it does now, but also then took a record of moves to calculate the current arrangement. Thus, lay the board out piece by piece, and then just write what your move is, and the macro draws the updated chess board. -- EricScheid

Yup.The board could start from a base configuration then read algebraic notation for the sequence of moves. It's great to a have a square-by-square layout though, for problems and position analysis. You could do it for Go, Go-Moku, Penta, any number of strategy board games. Whatta concept! -- JerryMuelver

Cardfile -- Wiki-ized

I always loved Cardfile, from Win 3.0. Every time I learn a new computer language, I recreate Cardfile to get my feet wet in the new waters. UseMod wiki is, for me a grown-up Cardfile. The search tweak by Mike Dalessio at UseMod:WikiSuggestions makes it conceptually official for me -- I'm home at last.

And now, from "The Industry Standard" magazine, 23 April, "There must be a better way" by Elinor Abreu --

In 1982 , when engineers at Apple computer started regining the now ubiquitous destip interface, file and folder icons gave people who had nver used a computer a reference point, making abstract dta more concrete. "Hierarchies are fundamental to life," says Andy Hertzfeld, who helped develop the Macintosh interface and who new company, Eazel, is trying to simplify the Linux desktop. "They are using the most effective way of managing complexity that nature has found."

But they also reflect the time when a megabyte was big. Today's gigabyte storage capacities require a new organizational metaphor -- the index card. Gelernter's new software, dubbed Scopeware, abandons the file folder in favor of a line of index cards streaming into the distance; a search window parses the information. Released last month, browser-based Scopeware creates a searchable index of all textual information on an individual computer; corporate networks can be similarly indexed.

Users can browse through the stream of information (thumbnails pop up as index cards are scrolled over) or search by keyword, topic, or file type. Clicking on the card opens the file, eliminating the bugbear of opening different applications for different files.

I tracked them down at http://www.scopeware.com/products/products_2.htm . Looks like feature-glut to me. -- JerryMuelver

Wiki Micropayments

I've been approached by outfits offering sponsorship in exchange for subtle ads (short line text link) on allmyfaqs.com. It wouldn't take much to come up with a way to handle the ads. For instance a single-cell table on the right margin, under the usual logo, would do.

The real problem, however, is the matter of compensation. How would you distribute income to wiki community members? ID the contributions, track page views, or simply take a vow of poverty (easy to do, since chastity is out of the question)... ? -- JerryMuelver

Make your accounts public knowledge ala FairProcess. Since it is unlikely you will generate more revenue than it costs you to run the site, you'll probably never have to pay out. Alternatively, register allmyfaqs as a NonProfitLimitedLiabilityCorporation? (I should really put instructions on that page). Then there is a legal guarantee to people. Profits could be saved to pay for operating costs later. The problem is when you have to personally float money to keep it running. I suppose this would be considered a donation. See also PayPal. -- SunirShah

Ads on a wiki? Could be a large can of worms. The benefits may fall short of the cost in terms of member reaction, injury to altruistic or community-service motivation of contributors, and the Animal Farm "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" open source philosophy. Discussion just starting at http://allmyfaqs.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?Talk_to_Me . I'll summarize the points and report the resolution here as soon as the dust settles. JerryMuelver

Ads - summary: We pulled the ads after a couple of months, and went back to out-of-pocket support allmyfaqs. A commercial message simply conflicts with the personal views and ownership of signed articles, and inhibits the willingness to contribute. Maybe making a wiki a subscription community, like a public radio station, would work. OTOH, a wiki is veryvery cheap to run, and shouldn't need any support anyway. -- JerryMuelver

Jerry, a friend of mine is prompting me to think (at least) about creating alternate language versions of AndStuffWiki (particularly Esperanto). (Caveat: I haven't learned Esperanto myself, though I am interested in perhaps doing so at some point.) In thinking through how this might be achieved, I considered a language extension to my wiki, wherein:

If the user requests a page, and their browser reports their preferred language is "xx", then:
    1. Search for "PageName?/xx" in the database (for each of the user's preferred languages).
    2. If that fails, search for "PageName?" in the database.

I wonder if you could estimate how much of the esperanto-speaking world configures their browsers to report "eo" as their preferred language. This is, I think, an elegant solution, but it also depends on an existing "eo"-configured user base (whose existence I doubt ;-). -- ScottMoonen

I don't have an estimate, I'm afraid, but I think its close to insignificant. The usual configuration for E-o browsers is to load a Latin-3 font, like Sud-Ariel, and go with that as the default, or rely on UTF-8. The newsgroups show a variety of treatments for the Esperanto alphabet, from UTF-8 trhough Latin-3 down to the nitty-gritty x-method (or h-method, or `-method), for the diacriticals. On UnuMond?.com we use x-method, since it is the most easily (reliably) convertible configuration, allow us to go to any other system (maybe on a cookie-stored preference) in the future. There's another Esperanto wiki apparently using UseMod, at http://www.ikso.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?CxefaPagxo . they also lean on the x-method for the language file. I have to get their file, and upgrade UnuMondo? to the latest (hacked for descriptive searches) version of UseMod. -- JerryMuelver

Sigh. I thought as much. I recently set my primary language to "eo", just for kicks. Much to my surprise, I discovered that [sourceforge] provides at least minimal Esperanto content. (That is, the site framework is translated, but not the documentation, etc.) Right now I don't have the bandwidth to work on translation of wiki templates, let alone wiki content, but I think I might settle for the browser-language-settings solution anyway. People can always change. :-) -- ScottMoonen

WikiAsCBT -- Trying to come up with the next Killer App, now that my major client has decided that InterWoven? will solve their problems and they don't need me for web technologies any more, I decided to push e-learning (CBT, WBT -- web-based training) as the next step in their development. A seminal thought erupted -- how about using a wiki as the e-learning development platform? Do the whole programmed instruction bit (PI is from the 60's -- a little pre-computer, but we did a helluva job with paper and pencil in those days) as a wiki, with the easily-linked pages, branching remedial loops, etc., then capture it to straight-up HTML (I've done this already) site on CDROM, and Wallah! (that's French) Instant CBT! Stay tuned.... JerryMuelver


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