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To avoid having discussions taking place all over the wiki, discussion about a topic will be confined to the discussion tab for each page. When a moderator is assigned to a page, the moderator is responsible for reporting about discussions and activities on this topic at Developer Meeting.

References (links) to external documents
You may want to reference a web page or other document by including a link. When only a small part of the document is relevant for the current discussion, you should cite the relevant text - in addition to the link to the document. If a citation would be too large, you should identify where the relevant info is located in the document.

In both cases you should preferably state why you think the document is relevant, and perhaps provide a summary so we don't have to read the document.

If these guidelines are not followed, we will be spending a lot of time reading irrelevant text or reading documents that are too complex to understand for some readers. It is then likely that the reader will not understand the point you are trying to make.


louiskessler 2012-05-26T11:59:36-07:00
Valuable Discussions Are Getting Lost

New (and valuable) discussion has been taking place everywhere on this Wiki. Often it starts in one subject and then it veers off into another.

This wiki doesn't organize itself. If you don't add your discussion to the correct place in the Wiki in the first place with the correct subject, it will get lost and will be rehashed at a later date with the previous valuable discussions not taken into account.

The best idea (our 3rd reorganization) was to hang our discussions off the Requirements Catalog, using one thread for each requirement. That started to work, but without reorganizing all the threads again, there's just no way anyone can find what's relevant to any one topic.

We need to do something!!! This wiki is for the fourth time, becoming a mess. New people can't find anything. Old discussion are lost and unfindable.

New discussions are wonderful, but often needlessly rehash old discussions without reference to or knowledge of them.

The only way is to properly organize and ensure everything can be found again is in the "catalog" and all discussion is attached to appropriate "requirements".based upon that that, placing topics in the right place with the right subject line.

The search tool is barely adequate, and doesn't page properly. I don't see a way that topics can be moved once they are added, and even subject lines may be unchangeable. Those latter two items are horrible, meaning there would be no hope of reorganizing properly.

I've brought the disorganization up at several Developers meetings.

We need some meta-discussion here on how to fix this, and whether or not it is possible to make this wiki something that helps us organize our thoughts and ALL the valuable discussion that has taken place for the past year and a half.

gthorud 2012-05-27T18:19:48-07:00
Download of the backups can only be done by Administrators. Unfortunately, as Andy writes, the backups does not contain discussions. I have been working on a solution that can (I hope) download the discussions, but have not had the time to finish that. ... and there could be problems I have not yet seen.

louiskessler 2012-05-27T19:54:49-07:00

Tony said:
"I have worked for an organisation that lost all its discussons on a wiki because they weren't aware that they're often considered transient."

I'm concerned.

Geir: Hopefully you can find a way. I'm getting more disillusioned by how the wonderful and valuable discussions we've had are getting lost here.

If we're having our Developer's meeting tomorrow (Monday), I'll be there.

Alex-Anders 2012-05-27T20:09:45-07:00
Does not this video describe how all data can be backed up?
Andy_Hatchett 2012-05-27T23:43:03-07:00
What that video doesn't say is that discussions are *NEVER* included in back ups or exports- only pages, files, etc.
Alex-Anders 2012-05-28T15:09:11-07:00
If bettergedcom wiki is sponsored by FHISO and bettergedcom.com directd to fhiso.org, could fhiso host a wiki on their domain server??
Alex-Anders 2012-05-28T15:10:31-07:00
You menyion MediaWiki. Are the discussions backed up with it?
louiskessler 2012-05-28T22:04:32-07:00


Everything on one's own host is usually backed daily up by the host and can be retrieved on request (unless a meteor hit the server farm).

Theoretically, Wikispaces is backed up the same way, and if the BetterGEDCOM site got damanged, they could go back to their own backup.

However, at noon I found out that Google includes all the BetterGEDCOM discussions, so if worse came to worse and Wikispaces shut down, we could still get everything from the Google cache.

MediaWiki is written in PHP/MySQL. On one's own machine, it can easily be backed up by dumping the database.

louiskessler 2012-05-28T22:14:17-07:00


There are a lot of nice things about wikispaces. It would be nice to stay here. But it would require an ability to reorganize properly.

It allows reorganization of pages very nicely.

But it needs to allow movement of discussion topics from one page to another. And it does not.

Alex-Anders 2012-06-20T23:26:18-07:00
How are you going with:

I have been working on a solution that can (I hope) download the discussions
GeneJ 2012-07-24T14:23:56-07:00
Hoping to re-promote this topic.

Those who do not attend the BetterGEDCOM meetings may not be aware that on 28 May 2012, Greg Lamberson announced that he had successfully extracted the full contents of the BetterGEDCOM wiki.

Greg then commissioned work in Egypt to advancing the project about the work that would be entailed to establish a better, more accessible database and how the improve platform might be developed.

At the BetterGEDCOM meeting yesterday, I filed an oral report for Greg. The work in Egypt has progressed and is on track. We now need to start thinking about what a new more accessible platform means.

For example, there are scads of links to the BetterGEDCOM wiki on third party web sites. It is unlikely many of those will be updated.

As well, not all folks access the wiki in the same way. Only some folks access the wiki via the home page, so a redirect message posted there has limitations.

Your input, thoughts and ideas/comments are welcome.

P.S. As some are aware, Greg is one of the original BetterGEDCOM organizers. He has been a substantial contributor to the wiki. From an early date, Greg was was aware of issues related to, "Valuable discussions are getting lost."
AdrianB38 2012-07-25T11:56:59-07:00
A couple of thoughts from me...

1. Even with iron self-discipline, a discussion may impact on more than 1 topic. If I write a comment like "Which makes me think of ....", it's debatable whether it's worth spinning off a separate thread - especially if I'm still the only one to think of it. (This relates to the difficulty in copying chunks of one thread to the spun-off one).

2. I know GITHUB, as used by GEDCOMX, is advocated by some. Personally I don't see that it's hugely different - that may just be my ignorance of it, but I'm struggling to see how GITHUB's discussions (Issues on GEDCOMX) link to the pages in the Wiki. Secondly, while it has the great advantage of being able to close a discussion, it still doesn't seem to be able to flag a discussion as being related to 2 topics. Other parts of discussion handling do seem nicer.

3. Branding a thread by two topics seems to suggest the need to mark _threads_ according to some sort of thing like category or tag, in addition to what one might call the physical classification of being hung off a page that sits in a specific hierarchy. That way, if the thread does what humanity does, and veers off, it can be tagged / categorised with the new, 2nd topic as well as the first.
GeneJ 2012-07-25T12:51:54-07:00
Hi Adrian,

Thanks. When Greg is able, he'll update us more on the work that's been done in Egypt about a new platform.* I'll make sure he is aware of the site design comments you have made here.

He would like some input on the problem that exists when you both the old and the new both exist. For example, folks will link into what is the wiki we know, what is the best way to get them to the new site?

It would take some time, but we could flag each "page" with a notice, but that won't do any good for the discussions. Someone could monitor the discussions, and then follow up on each with an email to the contributor.

If I recall correctly from the work done a couple months ago, we can lock of pages and discussions, too. It would take even longer with the discussions, but I suppose you could post a "last message" on each that included a link to the new site.

Just thinking out loud. --GeneJ

*Including the reasons you mentioned, GitHub has not been high on the list of ready-made options that were considered.
louiskessler 2012-05-26T18:50:40-07:00

I think its time we got a better wiki, not controlled by outside organizations (i.e. wikispaces) that are underpowered and unable to be reorganized. My goodness, we can't even edit our posts a second after we post it when we see that typo we made that completely changes its meaning.

There are many opensource wikis available. Netfirms (who I host with) offer five automated installs: MediaWiki, Tiki Wiki, WikkaWiki, DocuWiki and PmWiki.

I'd recommend MediaWiki (see: www.mediawiki.org ) which is the PHP/MySQL-based Wiki that is used for Wikipedia. Everything there can be edited and changed. Threads can be moved to other pages. And all changes are tracked. It has RSS. Uses AJAX beautifully. And is simple and powerful enough that a whole world can use it, as already proven.

We have the domains www.bettergedcom.xxx where the Wiki can be installed.

Here's info from the Occupy Boston group who seem to have successfully migrated to a nice domain name of: wiki.occupyboston.org

There may be some scripts that will allow dumping of our wikispaces stuff and other scripts that will load it into mediawiki, but I haven't tracked them down yet. And I don't know how simple or complete or correct that transfer process would be. But if that could be done, then we could start reorganizing properly.

I haven't personally ever used any of the other wikis very much so I'm not an expert on them.

So I'd like everyone's opinions. What do you think? Is wikispaces just turning into a big mud puddle and should we look to move: mediawiki or whatever?

louiskessler 2012-05-26T19:13:21-07:00

I also see here:

that we're almost out of space.
louiskessler 2012-05-26T19:16:07-07:00

... oops. That's 1.84 GB available, which on first reading I thought was used, so I'm wrong there.

See. I wish I could delete my last post, but alas, I cannot.
Alex-Anders 2012-05-26T19:16:28-07:00

You have 1.84 GB currently available of 2 GB.
Andy_Hatchett 2012-05-26T19:19:00-07:00

Perhaps the time has come to ask if a Wiki is even the best vehicle to use to achieve the desired outcome.

Maybe some sort of forums software (Invision PowerBoards, etc) would be more appropriate?

Andy Hatchett
Andy_Hatchett 2012-05-26T19:22:34-07:00

If you like I can delete the two posts about the space available... *Grin*
Alex-Anders 2012-05-26T19:26:53-07:00
I would consider one of the 'free' forums would suffice, rather than purchasing IPB.
louiskessler 2012-05-26T22:36:46-07:00


No, I think a wiki is the correct venue. There are 2 main reasons why the wiki is better than a forum.

First, it allow pages, with discussion topics pertaining to the pages. The various parts of the final standard are organized into a tree-structure of pages, as they are on this wiki. The discussion topics for each page show all the various ideas that went into the "conclusions" on the page. It works if it can be manipulated and kept organized. But it soon runs amok if it can't be. A forum would only include the topics in categories. That's not good enough.

The second reason why a wiki is better is because it keeps complete history. You can always tell who changed what and no content will be lost. For the task that BetterGEDCOM is attempting to do, history is very important. I don't know of any forum that keeps history.

It's just as easy to install a free wiki as is a free forum. And with a wiki, it will likely be easier to convert the current wikispaces pages and discussion to the new format.

Alex-Anders 2012-05-26T22:42:23-07:00
Thanks for that. I was actually replying to Andy's suggestion on using IPB and offered the free suggestion. As previously mentioned, wikis are somewhat unknown to me.

I am sure there must be one of the free wikis available with www.bettergedcom.xxx. I would certainly support a move from wikispaces and open to your recommendation of a wiki and also MediaWiki if others agree with your assessment.
ACProctor 2012-05-27T00:28:08-07:00
What's the situations with backups? Do wikispaces backup discussions as well as pages?

I have worked for an organisation that lost all its discussons on a wiki because they weren't aware that they're often considered transient.

Andy_Hatchett 2012-05-27T01:45:10-07:00
Tony, only pages are backed up. Discussions are not.
louiskessler 2012-05-27T12:01:34-07:00


On http://bettergedcom.wikispaces.com/space/usage
it says that there are 2 exports using 43.3 MB. These may be the dumps of the wiki. Do you, as administrator, have access to them?

Also, when you go to "Manage Wiki" and look in the Tools section, I only see 6 icons: Notifications, WIki Statistics, Space Usage, Badges, Web Folders, and Import Blog Post. Apparently, there is supposed to be an "Export" icon, and maybe only administrators of the wiki can see that. Do you see it?

Alex-Anders 2012-05-26T14:45:58-07:00
I agree with your points. Not being a major wiki, I tend to find them confusing and difficult to search and use. Not just this one. Maybe I have used well maintained forums to much.