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A chance for people to discuss the pros and cons of new webs

(Specifically on TWiki.org and in the distribution)

As many folks here know, I've proposed the creation of a new Doc web for the standard distribution, and a couple of others just for TWiki.org. While obviously webs should not be created willy-nilly, I've concluded that any proposal for a new web is doomed to be vetoed no matter how. And I don't understand why.

New webs are not a magic solution for poorly organized existing webs. But "what we need is better organisation/better entry points/whatever" is not a sufficient argument against a new web either.

A "virtual web" contained within an existing web is not equivalent to a new web. A real web potentially has:

  • a different left bar
  • a different top bar
  • different preferences
  • different view, edit templates
  • different buttons

So could the people who think that there should be no new webs in either case please explain why they think that?

-- Contributors: MeredithLesly

  • Con: Fighting entropy
  • Con: More redundancy, less context

-- SteffenPoulsen - 15 Apr 2006

I'm sorry, could you be more specific than that? What entropy? What redundancy?

-- MeredithLesly - 15 Apr 2006

  • Entropy: "In any natural process there exists an inherent tendency towards the dissipation of useful energy". I believe a new web would accelerate this.
  • Redundancy: Putting same content in more places. Creating new topics instead of refactoring old topics, putting their energy back to life. I.e. this topic.
  • Less context: Ignoring what already is. I.e. this topic.

-- SteffenPoulsen - 15 Apr 2006

Depends on what the energy is spent on and who is doing it, I guess. I'm not going to spend energy tagging 4k+ topics. I'm not going to tag any of them, because it's a useless exercise, IMO. Reduce Codev to a reasonable number of documents and I'll kick in a bit of energy to help out.

I am spending energy creating documents that ordinary users can handle. I'm just not doing it in twiki.org. Oh well.

Finally, less context good when the context is a swamp.

And it was suggested by Lynnwood (drat you!) that I create this topic.

-- MeredithLesly - 16 Apr 2006

And exactly how they are related to creating new webs?

  • Entropy: A new web will not "accelerate" the increase of entropy in the system (twiki.org). The lack of it when there is enough critical mass to be grouped (like the Doc web) will, as there will be a very heterogeneous and laberintyc mess where information will NEED to be mined (read: Codev).
  • Redundancy: Today we have redundancy in some content, specially regarding documentation. To find something users need to dig in Codev, TWiki and TWiki0x. Sometimes the same thing is said in Codev and in TWiki and in TWiki0x. A properly maintained Doc web would actually "reduce" dedundancy.
  • Less Context: you totally lost me there.

I agree that creating "SomePointlessWeb" web will increase entropy, and perhaps will lead to redundancy. But having a few webs (not two, a few) with well-defined semantic (Doc for End-User Documentation, TWiki for Admins Doc, Codev for Code & Development & Community, Main for Users and Marketing, Support for support) will actually reduce the Entropy and Redundancy in the content.

-- RafaelAlvarez - 16 Apr 2006

In information systems, "Entropy" is about either coherence (aka "order") or the ratio of useful information to noise. Increasing entropy means decreasing coherence or having more noise.

Etiehr way, moving documetnation to a "Doc" web will decrease the entropy (usually considered a good thing) because it will inclease the coherence and reduce the 'signal to noise' ratio.

Mind you, the signal to noise ratio of Codev is very high and its pretty incoherent and unfocused. If anything would improve the quality of twiki.org, the archiving out old stuff would do that!

From a human factors POV, redundancy can be a good thing. It is one way of overcoming noise - aka high entropy.

All this is basic classical communication theory, Shannon, Nyquist and all that, some of it older than me!

-- AntonAylward - 16 Apr 2006

"Virtual Web"?

It sounds more like a 'view' in a database to me. That is one way of increasing the managability of a complex database by presenting it in a form that can be easily understood and utilized.

-- AntonAylward - 16 Apr 2006

Meredith, I had the same experience which I wrote up in MarketingWebBenefits. I think the fact that I didn't come across this topic until now is a testament to the fact that it is so, so difficult to find anything in Codev. Obviously, if I had come across it at the time I wouldn't have created MarketingWebBenefits.

I think one thing that's missing from your excellent review of pros and cons is the fact that people use WebChanges for a given web as a sort of inbox. If there is too much traffic on a given web then this has the same effect as occupational spam - something that wikis are supposed to provide a solution to!

-- MichaelCorbett - 28 Jan 2008

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Topic revision: r9 - 2008-01-28 - MichaelCorbett
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