Proposal: integrate hints into the Wiki?

Jeroen Coumans jeroen at
Tue Jun 8 08:59:53 PDT 2004


The website team (me and Anderson) are currently working on the 
implementation of TWiki, which will serve as the Content Management 
System for the website. It has the necessary access controls so people 
don't need to be afraid of the anarchistic nature of Wiki's. Using TWiki 
as CMS has no negative impacts when compared to a regular CMS, and the 
advantages of version control, user registration and low barrier to 
write content are sufficient for us to try it. TWiki is also succesfully 
used by

The hints project currently fills the role of having user-contributed 
documentation made available to the community. The hints maintainer has 
the role of gatekeeper (what gets checked in) and maintainer (updating 
of current hints). The adoption system makes sure that unmaintained 
hints can be taken over by other interested users.

It seems to me that the TWiki system can take over allmost all of the 
functions of the hints maintainer, while (optionally) giving the 
community and hints writers more control over their own hints. It has 
some advantages and disadvantages and I leave it up to you (community & 
hint maintainer) to decide if you want this or not.

* no need for a formal hints structure (although it can be required)
* file attachments to hints; no need for seperately maintained scripts 
or code
* transparent version control
* the Wiki offers richer text formatting controls then plain text, 
although this is completely optional
* Currently, you can find hints by their filename or the date they've 
last changed. TWiki allows you to find hints by name, author, 
last-changed, etc. It's also very easy to categorize hints (by just 
adding 1 link at the bottom of the hint)
* hints in the Wiki can be indexed and searched with advanced search 
options; this is currently not possible with the hints files
* users have complete freedom to edit their own hint. Hints can be made 
read-only or read-write, it's up to the maintainer if the original 
author can make this choice. This means the current adoption system is 
no longer necessary, and readers can more easily contribute to hints or 
take over maintenance of them.
* readers can monitor or subscribe to hints; they would receive a mail 
when the hint is updated. The hints list can still be used as a 
catch-all for updates
* technically, there would no longer be a need for a hints maintainer. 
Optionally, some or all of the functions of adding, editing and 
(re)moving hints can still be put under explicit maintainer control, 
thanks to fine-grained access controls. The current authorization 
structure can be completely implemented in TWiki.

* I can't think of any! All functions of the current hint system can be 
taken over by the TWiki!
Well, it's harder to make hints available off-line, although it's 
certainly possible. We'd have to export the hints Web as plain text and 
offer it as download.

Well, I see lots of advantages and practically no disadvantages. I know 
many people don't like a Wiki, but with the access controls it's really 
no different from the current system. Opinions?

Jeroen Coumans

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