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#1 2014-07-19 01:13:22

Ian Kelling
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Registered: 2014-07-18
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Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

It seems to me that the arch wiki has for a while been the overall best and most comprehensive linux wiki, even for people using other distros. This is because other distros wiki's aren't nearly as comprehensive or high quality, most info in arch wiki is true for other distros, and there is no good cross-distro linux wiki. While it might be nice if other wiki's stepped up their game, or everyone used arch, this has been the reality for a while and I think it is a good thing for arch, but it leaves some questions. Are people not running arch welcome to contribute? I hope so, and I think some specifics should be addressed / considered, to make the wiki even better.

To be specific about wiki related issues people face running other distros (skip ahead if this is obvious): I often find myself using a different distro. I'm learning about some software. Arch wiki has a great article which I learn from. I learn some more from the manual, etc. and I write some notes for myself. I think, this note would probably be good to add to the arch wiki article. Sometimes I add it, but sometimes I think, well I'm not 100% sure this would also be true on arch, and I wouldn't want to add incorrect information, I don't see any guidelines around this, so I don't.

Then I look at the wiki for the distro I'm using, and I run into issues which lead me to not bothering. A few common ones:

  • My contribution would really only make sense as an edit/addition to existing info on arch wiki.

  • There is no existing page, so I've got to spend half an hour reading about guidelines for creating pages, learning moinmoin, etc, too much work for a small contribution so I give up.

  • My distros wiki does not have a good reputation for accuracy, or is kinda dead, so what I add won't get updated, and will be tarred with the reputation of the rest of the wiki, so why bother. etc.

So I think it would be good to add a section to ArchWiki:Contributing that says whether arch wiki welcomes contributions from people not running arch, and assuming so, a few guidelines for those people. For example, address whether it is a good idea to write something like "I think this should work the same on arch, but I only tested it on fedora. Remove this if you've tested this on arch." Maybe a template would be good. Other ideas?

In conclusuion ... see my first paragraph.

Last edited by Ian Kelling (2014-07-19 01:16:10)

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#2 2014-07-19 01:24:55

karol
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

I think the info you add to the Arch wiki should be tested to work on Arch and should follow the styleguide.

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#3 2014-07-19 01:40:03

jasonwryan
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

It should remain an Arch only wiki. If the majority of the content does apply to (some) other distros, that's great, but we shouldn't encourage edits that either are not accurate with respect to Arch, or explicity reference other distros, eg., "this works on Gentoo".

The wiki is maintained by the Arch community and is for the immediate benefit of the same. Trying to broaden it out to be all things to all distros will just lead to some of the probelms you are experiencing with your current distro's wiki. That's not an outcome that anyone here would appreciate.


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#4 2014-07-19 01:40:45

fukawi2
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

Whether the contributor is running Arch or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is what the contribution is........

Ian Kelling wrote:

For example, address whether it is a good idea to write something like "I think this should work the same on arch, but I only tested it on fedora. Remove this if you've tested this on arch." Maybe a template would be good. Other ideas?

IMHO, this would be totally inappropriate.

But that's just my opinion. You're unlikely to get a canonical answer here. The wiki is independent of the forums; many forums users are not particularly involved in maintaining the wiki, and many wiki maintainers are not involved with the forums.

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#5 2014-07-19 01:51:36

jasonwryan
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?


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#6 2014-07-19 01:59:19

Ian Kelling
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

An interesting anecdote. Google (english site) for "linux wiki", you get wikipedia, then arch wiki.

Last edited by Ian Kelling (2014-07-19 02:01:06)

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#7 2014-07-19 02:04:51

ozar
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

My line of thinking on this is that if an entry works with Arch, but it will also work for other distros, that's fine by me.  However, I'd not at all like to see entries going into the ArchWiki that don't work for Arch.  Having that would literally change the ArchWiki into more of a LinuxWiki, wouldn't it?  Besides, anyone that can make an entry in the ArchWiki can just as easily put that entry into the wiki for the distro that they actually use, and if that particular entry won't improve the other distro's wiki, I don't see how it could possibly improve the ArchWiki.  Just my opinion, of course.


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#8 2014-07-19 02:23:37

Trilby
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

Ian Kelling wrote:

My distros wiki does not have a good reputation for accuracy, or is kinda dead, so what I add won't get updated, and will be tarred with the reputation of the rest of the wiki, so why bother. etc.

You know how your distro's wiki got that way?  Everyone else thought like you do now.  You know why it stays that way?  Everyone else still thinks like you do now.

Change their minds.

Why should the rest of the bad content bring down your good entries?  Why wouldn't your good entries bring up the rest of that wiki?  Just call me an optimist: I'm a half full (of crap) kinda guy wink

Last edited by Trilby (2014-07-19 02:24:45)


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#9 2014-07-19 02:30:04

Ian Kelling
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

jasonwryan wrote:

It should remain an Arch only wiki. If the majority of the content does apply to (some) other distros, that's great, but we shouldn't encourage edits that either are not accurate with respect to Arch, or explicity reference other distros, eg., "this works on Gentoo".

My strongest point is that this should be addressed in the ArchWiki:Contributing section for those not using arch. I don't think you should try to keep out contributions from users of other distros, of course that is not for me to decide. For example, say one of these: "If you haven't tested or read it from a manual that is in arch, don't assume it works in arch and don't contribute to the wiki based on it." Or "If you are pretty confident something applies to arch, because it is specified in an upstream manual of a version that is the same or very close to the current arch package, it is ok to contribute something based off it to the arch wiki."

edit: wording

Last edited by Ian Kelling (2014-07-19 02:37:43)

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#10 2014-07-19 03:28:37

ids1024
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

I don't think it is a good idea to actively encourage wiki contributions from users of other distros.  Contributing is fine, but if you feel the need to say it's unknown whether or not something works in Arch, it is probably a bad idea to add it to the wiki.


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#11 2014-07-19 03:55:15

ANOKNUSA
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

I think it's important to consider that the Arch wiki is primarly target at the type of person who is prone to preferring Arch to other distributions, and is crafted and maintained by such persons. Allowing people who have chosen not to use Arch to in part dictate what amounts to the Arch Linux manual would be a disservice to this community, or at least wouldn't be a great contribution to the greater Linux community. How about an example? Tiling window managers are very popular among Archers, so have a look at the entries for three of the most popular ones: dwm, Awesome and i3. What are some of the qualities you notice about those entires? Here's a quick list of my own:

1) They consist mostly of the information needed to get the window manager up and running, with a few hints as to intermediate configuration.

2) They avoid pointless duplication of information. Many segments of the Arch wiki entry for Awesome are just links to the official Awesome wiki. Thorough documentation is one of the expressed goals of the i3 developers, so the opening part of that entry is basically enough information to get a web browser open. In the case of dwm, users are basically expected to either know what they're doing when they start using it or figure it out on their own, and the relatively sparse wiki entry reflects that.

3) Because of 1) and 2) the scope of each entry remains within the purview of its subject. Archers are expected to do research on their own before asking questions like "How do I connect to wifi in Awesome?" That's the way we like things around here. Cluttering out wiki with neatly packaged, spoon-sized, extraneous information that's readily available elsewhere seems senseless. There may be links to various packages in the AUR, or bits of information that's not easily found elsewhere (things buried in mailing list archives or obscure Git repositories), but the entries aren't comprehensive guides to everything involved with using the window managers.

Were the wiki maintainers to allow non-Archers to edit the wiki, it is inevitable that those non-Archers would make those edits and contributions according to their own preferences---preferences reflected in part by their choice to use distributions other than Arch. Moreover, sooner or later the wiki would necessarily either become so bloated as to be a pain to read, or so generic as to do nobody any real good. All the more reason for people to craft wikis pertinent to their own distributions that reflect the values, tastes and desires of their surrounding communities, and not one of your arguments in favor of allowing non-Archers to contribute to the Arch wiki can't apply equally to the wiki of any other distribution. wink

Last edited by ANOKNUSA (2014-07-19 03:59:27)

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#12 2014-07-19 05:11:20

ralvez
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

I usually tend to be welcoming of other people ideas. Well ... at least I try. tongue
But in this particular instance I think it is a terribly bad idea.
The main reasons I feel like that are:

1. We (Archers) use the wiki to find solutions/information for the ArchLinux distribution. Adding other distros will just murk the content and usability for the primary users: Archers.
2. Maintaining one wiki accurate and current is a hell of a job. Why add 100s of small hells to the problem. It will rapidly become inaccurate and loose its current value.
3. Even if we were to host information for other distros. Who says users of other distros would be interested in using our wiki?

Perhaps an example could better illustrate my points.
If you like Windows would you be better off creating a Linux distribution that "looks and feels like Windows" or would you rather **use Windows**. I think the answer is obvious.
You like Windows you use Windows and everything that comes along with it, including the documentation. You like Arch you use Arch and the Arch wiki.
I truly see no value trying to fix something that's not broken.

Just my 2 cents. I hope no one is offended. smile

R.

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#13 2014-07-19 05:52:02

Ian Kelling
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

ANOKNUSA wrote:

Were the wiki maintainers to allow non-Archers to edit the wiki,

It's already allowed and happening on a large scale. The vast majority of the arch wiki applies to other distros, so people using other distros end up on arch wiki through google, then use the information and make improvements to it.

Last edited by Ian Kelling (2014-07-19 06:05:05)

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#14 2014-07-19 06:03:47

jasonwryan
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

Ian Kelling wrote:
ANOKNUSA wrote:

Were the wiki maintainers to allow non-Archers to edit the wiki,

It's already allowed and happening on a large scale. The vast majority of the arch wiki applies to other distros, so people using other distros end up on arch wiki through google, then use the information and make improvements to it.

I wouldn't say large scale; it may be happening, but given the relatively low level of participation on the wiki, the majority of the maintenance is definitely carried out by Archers...


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#15 2014-07-19 06:08:59

Ian Kelling
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Registered: 2014-07-18
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

jasonwryan wrote:

I wouldn't say large scale; it may be happening, but given the relatively low level of participation on the wiki, the majority of the maintenance is definitely carried out by Archers...

Yes, of course. I mean a large scale as in, a fraction that makes enough difference to address, which may be 5% or 10% or something. Your link doesn't really address the long tail or users who do few edits. My point is, that it's happening, its a benefit to arch, why not address it to get more benefit.

Last edited by Ian Kelling (2014-07-19 06:13:11)

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#16 2014-07-19 06:10:26

jasonwryan
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

For the reasons I outlined above, and Anoknusa articulated more cogently...


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#17 2014-07-19 07:46:32

Ian Kelling
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Posts: 17

Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

jasonwryan wrote:

For the reasons I outlined above, and Anoknusa articulated more cogently...

I think it boils down that I think non-arch users contributions are, and would be worthwhile. Anyways, I don't have evidence of this and I'm fine with agreeing to disagree.

Note, people seemed to read into my suggestion things that were not there. I said it should be addressed whether to mention other distros, and people replied like "This is a bad idea, we should not mention other distros." ... so we are actually in agreement?

Last edited by Ian Kelling (2014-07-19 22:57:32)

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#18 2014-07-19 07:53:24

jasonwryan
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

Non-Arch users can contribute (anyone can register an account, providing they have access to a Linux box); what people here are averse to is trying to turn the wiki into a general GNU/Linux wiki or, worse, including specific references to other distros. A example, someone who uses Fedora contributing to the systemd page would be fine. Mentioning that it works on Fedora would be swiftly edited out as irrelevant. Someone from Ubuntu writing an Mir page would not be well received.

If you want to add this perspective to the Contributing page, you are welcome to.


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#19 2014-07-19 07:58:10

Ian Kelling
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Registered: 2014-07-18
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Re: Wiki contributions from people who are running other distros?

jasonwryan wrote:

Non-Arch users can contribute (anyone can register an account, providing they have access to a Linux box); what people here are averse to is trying to turn the wiki into a general GNU/Linux wiki or, worse, including specific references to other distros. A example, someone who uses Fedora contributing to the systemd page would be fine. Mentioning that it works on Fedora would be swiftly edited out as irrelevant. Someone from Ubuntu writing an Mir page would not be well received.

If you want to add this perspective to the Contributing page, you are welcome to.

This makes sense. Thank you.

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