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 PostPost subject: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:30 am 
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This is a followup to a Discord discussion of the past few days. I am creating this topic to allow forum members who don't frequent Discord to express their opinions and/or suggestions on the future of the BetaArchive Wiki.

Let me state the following as a BetaArchive member:

Firstly, in my honest opinion, the wiki has been on life support during the last few years. The administators have little to no spare time for BetaArchive and if they do, they spend it in more important aspects of BA than the wiki. The moderators don't seem to be interested in the wiki either, which really makes the wiki look like the fifth wheel. In fact, this was the major reason for the foundation of BetaWiki back in 2013. This goes so far that the wiki still has the old BetaArchive logo with a Windows flag in the background, which might make some people think that BA and/or the wiki is Windows-centric, while that's not true.

Secondly, a major issue are the requirements for wiki accounts, which require the user to be active on the forum for one month and make 25 posts in order to get access, which might discourage quite a few possible editors. It also discriminates the kind of users who just come and correct a mistake in an article and never edit again. During the last year, there wasn't exactly a lot of new content added to the wiki, which I believe is a direct result of this policy severely limiting the amount of contributors. I fully understand the reasons behind it, but is it really worth it?

Based on the moderate success of BetaWiki, I believe it's clear enough that the wiki (when properly managed, of course) could prosper from a more liberal approach. Some members have suggested a single sing-on system using the forum credentials, which would not only make it easy for existing forum members to add information to the wiki, but also if combined with a relaxed wiki account policy (e.g. just require an account), it would allow wiki editors to get more involved with the community.

I wouldn't even mind BetaWiki and BetaArchive Wiki joining forces (and I said that many times before), but I am not sure how well would that be accepted.

What is your opinion on the current state of the BetaArchive wiki?


Last edited by AlphaBeta on Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:35 am 
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What would be needed for a SSO solution with the forum?

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:59 am 
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I've noticed a degradation of article quality on the BA Wiki, and personally think the Wiki should really just be burned down at this point.

Would be interesting to see the details of a partnership of BA and BetaWiki. It's of my opinion the BA staff team are far too stretched to really manage all the presence they have, which results in issues similar to that of above. Perhaps it's now a good time to outsource the specialism to someone else or look at staffing?

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:29 am 
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BetaWiki honestly blows the BA wiki out of the water at this point. The BA wiki obviously feels outdated, and many of its pages feel unfinished and lazily done in comparison to the pages of BetaWiki. In my opinion the BA wiki should be closed and possibly have it redirect to BetaWiki; besides one wiki about betas is enough.


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:41 am 
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In my opinion the BA wiki is definitely necessary and important project.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:05 am 
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mrpijey wrote:
What would be needed for a SSO solution with the forum?

https://github.com/multidimension-al/phpbbauth
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extensio ... ntegration

But it would take some work in my opinion.

I had called for the reduction of the strict membership rules for the wiki, and in my view, that is the core reason that this wiki is in life support. This, coupled with the admins' reluctance to consider anyone else as their 'friends' as trusted, is a good reason for the lack of edits. I gave several ways to keep the wiki open while combating spam.


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:53 am 
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x010 wrote:
I had called for the reduction of the strict membership rules for the wiki, and in my view, that is the core reason that this wiki is in life support. This, coupled with the admins' reluctance to consider anyone else as their 'friends' as trusted, is a good reason for the lack of edits. I gave several ways to keep the wiki open while combating spam.
I have said this many times before already, but it seems people needs to be reminded over and over again....

We don't allow anyone in as moderator or admin on a whim because there are a lot of people out there that wishes nothing else than see us crash and burn, and they will do anything they can to achieve that goal. They have tried many times and wasted countless hours in cleanup efforts. So forgive us for wanting to know the people we hand out vital access to beforehand instead of publishing the admin login on our facebook page. A lot of people (including you) sit and moan that we won't give others a chance because they are not our "friends" is pure nonsense. You know what? I am not "friends" with most of the staff, I don't even chat to them very often. But you know what they did and what you and others did not? They got in touch with us. Talked to us. Directly. They discussed ideas and alternatives with us. They showed us that they are dedicated members. They gave us an idea of who they were. They gave us a reason of why they should help out as moderators and that they want to help the community and not to brag for personal glory.

No one in history got anywhere by sitting in a corner in their house wishing for someone to hand them a position of responsibility, they went out of the house, got themselves known. So far no one has even tried contacting us directly saying "hey, I have some ideas for the Wiki. Need any dedicated moderators? I have experience from this and that and I want to do this and that with the Wiki to make it shine again!". You try dropping in to any community on the internet as (to the staff) an anonymous person and ask for moderator/admin status and see what kind of response you get. I am quite sure they want to know who you are too before they hand you the keys.

As for the strict and slow membership access to the Wiki well, we're quite busy and the lack of interested people gave us no choice really since neither Andy or I have the time to clean up the mess. But we would happily give this task to someone else if we know they can be trusted and not use the Wiki to further tear the community apart.

You want to give a shot at the Wiki? You want to take responsibility for it? Then make yourself heard and known to us. And I don't mean by increasing your forum post count. You know what to do.

Thanks for the links, I will discuss all this with Andy and see if we can do anything with the Wiki, relax the requirements (an SSO solution would be ideal) and over time see if anyone has a genuine wish at helping us with the Wiki...

Step out of the shadows people.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:55 am 
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Even if someone stepped up to the plate, they would need a team to revive the Wiki.

BetaWiki annihilates BA Wiki in terms of completeness.


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:04 pm 
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Is this a competition? Remember, our wiki is to be used for all of our releases, even those not covered by BetaWiki. There's more stuff than just the software made by Microsoft you know... don't get stuck with what BetaWiki does.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:32 pm 
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mrpijey wrote:
x010 wrote:
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I have said this many times before already, but it seems people needs to be reminded over and over again....

No one in history got anywhere by sitting in a corner in their house wishing for someone to hand them a position of responsibility, they went out of the house, got themselves known. So far no one has even tried contacting us directly saying "hey, I have some ideas for the Wiki. Need any dedicated moderators? I have experience from this and that and I want to do this and that with the Wiki to make it shine again!". You try dropping in to any community on the internet as (to the staff) an anonymous person and ask for moderator/admin status and see what kind of response you get. I am quite sure they want to know who you are too before they hand you the keys.

As for the strict and slow membership access to the Wiki well, we're quite busy and the lack of interested people gave us no choice really since neither Andy or I have the time to clean up the mess. But we would happily give this task to someone else if we know they can be trusted and not use the Wiki to further tear the community apart.



Stop getting defensive and just accept that the BA wiki has never been up to scratch. You also have a responsibility as an administrator to notice that things aren't quite where they should be and announce requesting for a solution or staffing.

What you've just said there is that you're too busy as an administrator to manage and implement the wiki - so why have you never made a post asking for staff volunteer applications? Why has it just been left to us to point out that BetaWiki is simply a better resource and that there's more value had in just closing the BetaArchive wiki at this point? There's nothing wrong with admitting you and/or your team are too stretched to really maintain it, but as an administrator it's also your responsibility to figure out how to solve that. Users will tell you what they want from the community, the staff should merely validate and maintain that (if applicable).

It's this defensiveness that really does hold BA back unfortunately. I would suspect that also puts people off voluntarily approaching too.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:03 pm 
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There's nothing defensive here, just plain facts that sitting and hiding behind the forum won't get you anywhere. You clearly didn't get the message as you attack the messenger instead of focusing on the message. It would be nice for a change if people actually showed some interest themselves rather than us constantly begging on the forums for help. Everyone knows we're understaffed and that everything from website development, forum upgrades, Wiki, FTP, database etc is lagging behind. We are only two people, trying to manage a community that would require at least ten people for the daily management and development. We've reached out many times in the past asking for help but it never panned out as the very limited few that actually responded didn't have any experience or knowledge nor the will to actually put in the effort required to manage it. It's not a weekend thing. We need people that do this because they are interested in it, not people that sees this as a tedious job or just to get an ego boost.

We always need help, but we won't give the chance to anyone, waste the time and effort explaining everything, setting up accounts etc only to see that person disappear into the shadows the week after. We've seen this countless of times, so we finally stopped asking. Now someone actually brought forth a discussion about the Wiki and here we are, discussing it.

Do YOU want to help? What kind of services and knowledge you offer then? Or do you also just want to complain that nothing works and then switch browser tabs and move on?

Can we please focus on the Wiki? You all know the deal here, and if you rather feel the Wiki should be dead then don't reply in this thread as it's meant for those that sees a future in it. I am here all day, you all know how to get in touch with me or Andy.

Thank you.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:37 pm 
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I think it needs a serious user increase to keep up with the amount of new releases.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:46 pm 
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mrpijey, I ask you one question.

What's the point of helping out on a wiki where there are barely any users?


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 PostPost subject: [Split] [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:53 pm 
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mrpijey wrote:
There's nothing defensive here, just plain facts that sitting and hiding behind the forum won't get you anywhere. You clearly didn't get the message as you attack the messenger instead of focusing on the message. It would be nice for a change if people actually showed some interest themselves rather than us constantly begging on the forums for help. Everyone knows we're understaffed and that everything from website development, forum upgrades, Wiki, FTP, database etc is lagging behind. We are only two people, trying to manage a community that would require at least ten people for the daily management and development. We've reached out many times in the past asking for help but it never panned out as the very limited few that actually responded didn't have any experience or knowledge nor the will to actually put in the effort required to manage it. It's not a weekend thing. We need people that do this because they are interested in it, not people that sees this as a tedious job or just to get an ego boost.

I'm attacking the facilitator, not the messenger! You simply can't play the busy and hard done to card if you aren't willing to accept the help when it's offered (see below). If you are considering it as 2 people running the forums and forgetting your entire moderation team, then either you need to reconsider your moderation team, or you need to use your resources wisely.

mrpijey wrote:
Do YOU want to help? What kind of services and knowledge you offer then? Or do you also just want to complain that nothing works and then switch browser tabs and move on?

I have personally offered Andy services including forum moderation, discounted IP transit in one of my datacentre PoPs (free little bit of rackspace if you covered power and transit), and have also previously turned down an opportunity to moderate due to this sort of toxic defensive behaviour - not my kind of culture. Perhaps if I see criticism and debate taken a bit more seriously, I might consider representing my offers in the future.

I don't think your issue is finding people interested in capable, but actually utilising them and encouraging change (including this culture). Are you ready to accept that you really can't run a community as a 2 man crew and need to ask for help instead of hoping it comes on a plate?

To answer your question - yes, I'm going to sit here and "complain nothing works and then switch browser tabs and move on" - until I really see a tangible change that would make my time and talent feel valued here.

winnt32 wrote:
mrpijey, I ask you one question.

What's the point of helping out on a wiki where there are barely any users?


This is why BA needs more talent and less dead projects - the focus should really be on culture and staff not how to revive a dead wiki.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:12 pm 
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I actually see more of a clash of cultures here. The Beta crowd seems to want BA to do things one way, while the software preservationist crowd has a largely opposite view.

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I'm attacking the facilitator, not the messenger!

That's still an ad hominem attack, which is against the rules. Attack the message, not the person. :p

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mrpijey, I ask you one question.

What's the point of helping out on a wiki where there are barely any users?

I'm actually surprised people are unable to see the actual fact of the matter: there are barely any users because Wiki usage in general is declining. Even Wikipedia, the mother of all wikis, has been in chronic user decline for years now.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:52 pm 
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Battler wrote:
I'm actually surprised people are unable to see the actual fact of the matter: there are barely any users because Wiki usage in general is declining. Even Wikipedia, the mother of all wikis, has been in chronic user decline for years now.

I don't think it's a fair comparison to compare the wiki with bloody Wikipedia. Compare it with BetaWiki instead, that's much more fair. I wouldn't say it's a coincidence that the open one is more striving and active than the closed one.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:44 pm 
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i could help with the wiki i have maybe a night a two a week that i could spend adding info to the wiki if that helps


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:05 pm 
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@battler edits on wikipedia are actually increasing

idk about active users


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:06 pm 
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mrpijey wrote:
Is this a competition? Remember, our wiki is to be used for all of our releases, even those not covered by BetaWiki. There's more stuff than just the software made by Microsoft you know... don't get stuck with what BetaWiki does.

Yes. BetaWiki is only MSFT. All those other software pages are fake news.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Split] [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:47 pm 
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Level69chad wrote:
....


Didn't I just say that this is about the wiki, and yet you bring the topic about and making it about me? If you have a problem with me then you bring it up to me directly and not hide behind the forum. We're here to discuss solutions to the Wiki. To make people understand that they need to be more proactive and let themselves be known to us and let us know what they can offer in terms of ideas and services. Because that's what we need to know if we are to decide that you're the right candidate for the job. You want to talk about how you can help with the Wiki? You can reach me or Andy on Discord. Talk to us. How difficult is that to understand?

We're not unreasonable and we'll gladly talk to members about ideas, but not when you beforehand decided that the main and only issue with everything going wrong on BA is me and refuse to realise that this has nothing to do with me at all. Both Andy and I are pretty tired of all the nonsense now, and we're pretty tired this flaring up every time we start a public topic about improvements.

I am not going to repeat myself again, If this continues then Andy and I will have to deal with all of this ourselves since you don't seem to want to find a solution, you just want to take swings at the messenger. YOU are the problem here.

So, a final time. If anyone thinks they can help get in touch with us as we want to know what you can do. This also extends to other duties in the community as we're always on the lookout for dedicated members.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:21 pm 
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Alrighty, I still have my old wiki account from Andy years ago. I'll admit, been awhile since I made some edits.
Are there any key starting points the community would like to see? I'll do what I can to help out again.

I'd be happy to help out in other ways I can as well.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:36 pm 
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One thing we should try to do is upgrade the Wiki so it's modern in terms of features. If we can get the SSO with the forum running it would help a lot with giving members easier access. But we still need people that can take a more active role with the wiki as moderators etc so make sure it's kept clean and up to date.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:36 pm 
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mrpijey is right. There is no point in complaining if you aren't going to help the issue. That's being a hypocrite. People need to message the admins and attempt to come on board instead of saying what could be changed. As mrpijey said, we are quite short staffed right now and we should all get together and contribute instead of complaining. Together we can make the Wiki and the Forum way more successful, but we have to combine our talents instead of saying a bunch of nonsense and complaining. You guys are better than this and to be frank, you should be ashamed of yourselves for coming on the admins like this without stepping up to the plate. Yes, there needs to be major changes made to the forum and the wiki but you all need to make that happen instead of calling for it to die.

Btw soulman, I get what happened with you but the admins I'm sure are under a lot of stress. I mean why do you think Andy had the double vision issue a couple of years ago? There is a lot going on in their lives obviously and we need to take that into consideration instead of making their lives even more of a living hell than they already may be. We don't know their situation and we need to consider that.

So I ask you all to please stop getting on the admins so much. You don't know what is going on in their lives and why they are so busy. It costs a lot of money to run this and they have to make it somehow regardless of donations and so on. It would make this site better if everyone would contribute their time to it instead of complaining. And think of others instead of jumping to conclusions.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:48 pm 
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A lot of articles are either red links or have one line of text, an example of the Win98 build 1702 article: “This article is a stub. You can help BetaArchive Wiki by expanding it.” There is nothing there except for the stub template. Then 99% of the MacOS section is full of red links. The wiki either needs to be changed where it will be a lot more active or it needs to get taken down. If nobody is updating it, the info is outdated. Then what’s the point of it even being there?

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Debate] The future of the wiki        Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:04 pm 
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"There is no point in complaining if you aren't going to help the issue. That's being a hypocrite. People need to message the admins and attempt to come on board instead of saying what could be changed."

right because i should help a wiki that's dead when I could help BetaWiki, which is FAR more complete...and document non-Microsoft software on it.

But, for a start...
1) no stubs
2) many builds haven't been properly investigated (97xx win10 anyone?)
3) SSO
4) more mods
5) Some rules for article submitting (must have X lines etc)


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