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Re: Editing in the Wiki

From: Rinke Hoekstra <hoekstra@uva.nl>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2008 11:46:11 +0100
Cc: public-owl-wg@w3.org
Message-Id: <7E08360D-CBF5-44B4-A8FB-EE2AF688659A@uva.nl>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>

I just interrogated Mr. Google, and perhaps the WikiEdDiff extension  
[1] can help matters. It uses an improved and customizable diff script  
[2], and (apparently) improves the way in which the diff is displayed  
in a browser window.

Perhaps others know of similar extensions?

Best,

	Rinke


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Cacycle/wikEdDiff
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Cacycle/diff


On 3 jan 2008, at 10:50, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:

>
> I have suffered with editing in the Wiki for quite some time now.   
> Here
> are some comments on the Wiki editing process (as opposed to editing  
> as
> related to the Wiki language) and some suggestions for changes.
>
>
> The Wiki editing system has at least the following problems with  
> respect
> to editing WD documents:
>
> - The Wiki diff mechanism does only a textual diff, ignoring the fact
>  that whitespace can be compressed and that newlines are often just
>  whitespace.  So a diff may be much harder to decipher than a simple
>  description of a change.
>
> - The Wiki diffs are only between two versions of the document,  
> whereas
>  the changes required to implement an issue may be interleaved with
>  many other changes.
>
> - Direct editing (i.e., editing in the provided text box) is not
>  adequate.  This leads to the common practice of editing pages or
>  sections in an external editor.  The export and import can produce
>  non-visible artifacts, which are then picked up in the diffs.
>
> - The Wiki editing model is not designed for speculative editing.  All
>  changes are reflected in a single branch.  All editing must be made  
> on
>  the Wiki itself.  It is not possible to have private copies, e.g.,
>  editor's drafts.  This means that it is not possible to "freeze" a
>  document (e.g., for publication) and continue to work on it at the
>  same time.  No, you cannot use old versions for this - freezing does
>  *not* mean that the document does not get changed as there may be
>  changes needed to support the publication process.
>
> - The Wiki editing system appears to be designed for light-weight
>  concurrent editing.  It is adequate for recording who did what when,
>  but not adequate for recording why.  It is much too easy to forget to
>  enter the description of changes.  Contrariwise, it is impossible to
>  fix these descriptions after the fact.
>
>
> A reaonable editing system would have *at least* the following changes
> from the Wiki editing system:
>
> - A user-entered description of the changes would be *required* for  
> each
>  change.
> - The "minor edit" flag would have to be entered for each change.
> - Change descriptions could be changed after the fact.
> - Speculative changes (i.e., a different branch) would be possible,  
> and
>  could be merged into the main branch.
> - Diffs could be generated based on a set of changes.
> - Diffs would be insensitive to non-visible changes in whitespace.
>  (Unfortunately the Wiki language makes determination of non- 
> visibility
>  hard.)
>
>
> If the first two changes above were made to the Wiki editing system  
> then
> the WG could proceed in the following limping manner:
>
> - Each change would be for a particular purpose.
> - Changes related to an issue would have the issue number in their
>  description.
> - Changes made solely for editorial reasons would so state, and  
> would be
>  flagged as minor.
> - Other changes would have a description of the purpose of the change.
> - Issue resolutions would just point to which documents were changed.
> - Publication would be approved for a document and not a particular
>  version of a document.  Non-minor changes to a document during the
>  publication process would have to be approved by the WG chairs.
>
> This proposed process is definitely not ideal, but appears to me to be
> acceptable and needs only minor changes to the Wiki editing system.
>
> (It turns out that it is possible for the WG to partly "implement" the
> first change, by requiring that all WG members change their  
> Preferences
> -> Editing -> Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary to on.
> Unfortunately, the way this preference works is particularly annoying,
> and much too easy to bypass.)
>
>
> Peter F. Patel-Schneider
> Bell Labs Research
>

-----------------------------------------------
Drs. Rinke Hoekstra

Email: hoekstra@uva.nl    Skype:  rinkehoekstra
Phone: +31-20-5253499     Fax:   +31-20-5253495
Web:   http://www.leibnizcenter.org/users/rinke

Leibniz Center for Law,          Faculty of Law
University of Amsterdam,            PO Box 1030
1000 BA  Amsterdam,             The Netherlands
-----------------------------------------------
Received on Thursday, 3 January 2008 10:46:16 GMT

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