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As first described by PeterMerel
, wikis (or whatever) with a full VersionHistory
can present the wiki as it was at a particular time in the past. This is like travelling with Peabody and Sherman through the "way back machine," hence "WayBackMode
." Or for those who didn't watch Rocky and Bullwinkle, it is like going back in time.
The implementation is trivial. Only links to other pages are affected when rendering a page in WayBackMode. Just find the version of the ForwardLinks that existed at the time the current page was edited.
For example, take a page called PageInThePast whose timestamp was February 1, 1997. PageInThePast links to AnotherPage whose last edited version before February 1, 1997 was January 27, 1997 (27011997). Emit the link as something like
For pages that didn't exist at the time, just render them without a link. Not even the "create page" single-question-mark link because you can't really create the page in the past.
- Actually, you would probably want to keep the time constant. Consider if there was a ThirdPage which was created on January 29, 1997. If you changed the time, you wouldn't see ThirdPage after going back to January 27.
- On the other hand, this kind of continuous-travel could be kind of neat--one would be browsing an ever-smaller set of pages with every link one clicked. If all edits have different timestamps, then you could never revisit the same version of a page (except for following links to the current page). One could do fast or slow races on big sites, seeing how few or how many links one can click to reach a certain time in the past. It would have the further property of preventing ContentSwizzling.
- WayBackMode probably won't happen on UseModWiki, as the temporary KeptPages idea seems more popular.
WayBackMode is definitely handy for business/development wikis that need a sense of history and definitely do not want to ForgiveAndForget.
For a different flavor of WayBackMode, consider the Internet Archive "[wayback machine]", which is somewhat haphazard in its memory. It could be interesting to link to a page's "wayback" versions on the page itself. As noted above, this erodes ForgiveAndForgetInSoftware.