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From Murray Altheim <>
Subject Re: do we need two FAQs?
Date Mon, 20 Dec 2004 01:58:30 GMT
Otis Gospodnetic wrote:
> OK.
> Is this _really_ what everyone's okay with?  I'm asking because once we
> put the FAQ onto Wiki we:
> 1. no longer have authoritative FAQ - anyone can write to the FAQ
> 2. we have to monitor the Wiki FAQ for correctness
> 3. we have no user-friendly GUI/webapp for Q/A formatting, which makes
> it more of a pain in the ass to contribute
> If anyone has any strong opinions, please share them.  If I don't hear
> anything, I'll (try to) get the jGuru FAQ XML dump and give it to
> Daniel for 'wikification'.


I can't speak with any authority in this group, but I can put in
a bit of my own experience.

I'd say that your three points above are a mixed bag, depending
on what the community wants (if the community has similar goals).
Does the FAQ need to be authoritive? If so, then don't use a wiki.
If the community wants its FAQ to be community-built and maintained,
then a wiki is probably the best way. Wikis are generally self-
policing when it comes to "correctness," but only insofar as there
are enthusiastic maintainers of that correctness. If the people
writing the core Lucene code are going to have to maintain the
wiki against the forces of chaos, then forget the wiki.

I don't think point #3 is so much a problem on wiki; you can have
a fair amount of control depending on the wiki software, but I
don't think most people think that much about formatting on wiki,
more about content.

For something where the kind of information being shared is a fairly
rare form of expertise, I personally think a publicly-modifiable wiki
is a very poor choice. Now, it's not difficult to gate access in
creating a write-protected wiki, where only those deemed eligible
to edit are allowed to make changes. I'd advocate that for the Lucene
FAQ if anything, but it sounds like this perhaps is not the place
for a wiki.

Having said that, a wiki would be a great place for developers and
users alike to share ideas, code, and generally be able to interact
and gradually build a corpus of "common knowledge." That's a bit
different than disseminating expertise as is done in a FAQ.


Murray Altheim          
Knowledge Media Institute
The Open University, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK7 6AA, UK               .

                  Empty handed, holding a hoe,
                  Walking, riding a water buffalo,
                  A man is crossing over a bridge;
                  The bridge, not the water, flows.

                         -- Mahasattva Fu, The Blue Cliff Record [96]

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