Thursday, November 6, 2008

Saving BrickWiki

This was supposed to be a blog that would aid in the recruitment, retention and training of contributors to the best LEGO-related wiki on the internet today. It came out of this discussion on BW. Instead I have to start with an effort to save it's very existence.

Today I tried again to access the site and it says it "could not process your edit due to a loss of session data." It has said this every time I have tried to edit since before BrickCon which was a month ago now.

The following is what I was trying to post and I will post here what I was trying to add to the Community Portal page:

==Save BrickWiki==
I don't know if this is the best use for this page but I would like to start a discussion or even a project to save Brickwiki.
I do not mean to be pointing fingers or dump on anyone but this wiki needs help badly. Formerly active and dedicated people have had to move on life just as I will have to someday but today, right now, I would like to make this work.

===Obstacles to Survival===
Currently BrickWiki server issues are inhibiting the ability to recruit and retain contributors. Any plan to boost the number of people contributing is pointless until we can establish a reliable and timely server solution.

There are several Wiki hosting sites that might be able to integrate BW into their systems.

:see:''' [[wikipedia:Comparison of wiki farms| Comparison of Wiki Farms]]'''

I am just a guy who has tried to contribute to this site and recruit some new contributors. I honestly have no idea who "owns" this site and can make this happen. This needs to happen quickly if there is to be any chance to revive the best LEGO-related wiki out there.

Thank you for your consideration.


If anyone wishes to join this effort or has a suggestion, please leave a comment.


Lar said...

Thanks for raising this issue. BrickWiki is not my main area of wiki focus, and hasn't been for some time. That would be the WMF wikis, where I am quite active and hold fairly senior roles.

However, it is clear there is a serious problem here. I've thought about it, and I remain convinced that the thing to do is to merge. I'm not sure the LEGO community needs, or can support, 3 different general interest wikis. Way too much duplication of effort.

Although Wikia has recently went through a cut in staffing, I think it's the best choice, and BrickWiki should begin discussions on merging with the Wikia hosted Brickipedia.

I wrote about this back in March on my blog... see this post

I know the discussion in June was not keen on this idea, but unless someone has the hardware handy, and the time and interest to do maintenance (which is a non trivial task), I'm not seeing how else to go. A merger that brought significant content would allow for hose interested in doing things the "Brickwiki way" to influence how the merged wiki works. That seems better than what we have now.

Ted Godwin said...

In preparing my Intro to BW session at BrickCon last month I reviewed Brickipedia (BP) and the other wikis. I just do not see how they can be combined. BP is, as far as I can tell, mostly trying to replicate Peeron and Brickset using the wiki system. They don't even have an article for LUGNET! They have no useful category schema that allows for effective searching.

Look again at the site and see if you can see how we could integrate one into the other? If you go to the Index page you get a page full of two letter combinations that mean nothing. If you choose the category page you get a list of numbers. There would have to be so much change to BP to even include all the articles you would almost be better to start over.

Lar said...

Nod. Those are all valid points.

However, the big advantage of Brickipedia is that it is a Wikia wiki. At one stroke the whole reliabilty/hosting/who maintains it issue goes away. That outweighs a LOT.

There was a formal suggestion to merge made previously. It didn't go anywhere, at least in part because the then users (of Brickipedia) didn't take it up...

But I think more importantly it was due to the fact that there is no "owner" or "person in charge" there, (as with most any wiki), to say "yes, let's do this, I decided".

That lack of decision making structure was a drawback to a formal merger proposal, but it's a feature to an informal one. The list of admins shows there are only 4 admins and 2 crats. That is not a very big community.

If a determined cadre of folk with a plan came to that wiki and started importing content, reorganising and improving things, setting up new categories for the new topic areas (like fan activity, etc) while leaving the set listish stuff in place, I suspect that the merger could be accomplished, and the character of the wiki would shift.

Not forcefully, but just from the aspect of "he who does the work sets the tone". Over time that cadre would all naturally become admins and even bureaucrats, from dint of contribution and activity.

Further, I know people in the Wikia hierarchy and I think if there was an issue about this, it could be resolved.

So I think this might be doable.

But I'm not adamant. If there are other alternatives, let's hear them. However, as a caveat, I think it's a non starter to suggest non MediaWiki based wikis as the source translation process is too hard.

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