[Project_owners] Wikifying old projects? A recycling idea...

Eric T. cougio at gmail.com
Mon Aug 29 03:42:01 EDT 2005


> I would suggest leaving the original project website alone or just put a
> pointer to the wiki. Also as I said, development of abandoned projects seems
> to be a collaborative project so we would still need something like the
> mozillazine extension forum for feedback and community discussions.

Well I think what you said illustrates the problem very well... 

Having many variants of an extension is fine when there are basic goal
disagreements between the authors and they are all actively maintained
or mature. But what we often have now is many variants of extensions
because the original one didn't work and it was more trouble to fix it
than to post a variant somewhere else. This is very bad from an end
user point of view (and remember developers are also end users).

There were many efforts to come up with an extensive centralized
database of "the best", but that has the same problem as what it's
trying to fix: it's yet another thing that has to be maintained, can
be and is out of date.

Development discussion is one thing and extension install is another.
In my example there is no need for it and if there is, as you said
there is no problem with it happening somewhere else, be it a mailing
list, a newsgroup or a forum. The problem is having to find that post
to get the extension... even when you know where to search and how to
search efficiently, it's a waste of time for everyone. Creating a
mailing list or newsgroup or forum (thread)? to coordinate a big
effort to find all dead projects that have an update lying somewhere
and fix the others would be a good, but separate if related idea. And
this doesn't prevent a concurrent effort to take over projects for
which the authors really vanished and update the website and
everything. My proposition is one for "on-the-fly" updating, the one
that currently doesn't happen because it's too much trouble. Updating
the original is always better than putting extra information into the
mess.

Here's how I imagine implementing this:
Make a centralized page for <b>wikifying</b> projects. This can be
done by anyone, but only for projects marked as inactive. What this
does is rename www/index.html to old_index.html and recreate
index.html, as a wiki page. The page has a static note at the head
with a link to index_old.html and a quick explanation of the
situation. Then there is space for anyone to add content (if files can
be uploaded or only linked to will have to be determined and of course
limitations in place if they are accepted, but even only links solves
90% of the problem). This process has to be fully automated and
doesn't give cvs access to change anything else. The author can update
his project at any time removing the wiki* and preventing anyone for
adding it again for another couple months. Of course send out an email
to the author when his project is wikified. I don't think author would
be able to say this is unfair or that he is still keeping an eye on
his project it's just that it's so good it doesn't need updating under
such a system.

I think the wiki has proved that it works and well for such scenarios.
And I think the reason is simple: people are lazy. But that also means
that you give them the means, they are efficient, at least
collectively (without necessarily coordinating the effort). I know
what I'm proposing requires setting up a system and I'm not
volunteering for the effort, at least for now. Probably later when I'm
satisfied with my own project I'll want to contribute to any such
effort underway or start my own, but until then the idea is in the
air.

If it wasn't clear, the main point I'm trying to make is that it has
to be simple, mostly automated and make the information immediately
available to a user viewing the original project or it will only add
to the problem because the centralized approach and community
development are already being done, in several places too....

* But it should be archived still... just move it a wiki repository...
and I would go as far as removing control his control of the project
to an owner who would remove the wiki but not fix his code, but of
course that would have to be a manual process.


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