RoCoCo Camp Day 2
This day is not yet finished as I'm still at the camp, but OpenSpace is closed and there will be some pizza shortly. So it's time for summing up.
Like at WikiSym last year this second day of Open Space sessions was a little bit more unorganized in the end and several Sessions didn't took place.
The morning started with a very interesting session on wiki interoperability, which all wiki developer who where here attended. Eugene Kim started the session with giving some insight on research he did for Socialtext and Ricoh about what users expect of wiki interoperability. The most wanted things for users using multiple wikis is surprisingly not different markup. The top most wanted thing was Single Sign On (SSO) mechanisms. We all agreed that OpenID is the right step into that direction. The second most wanted thing from user perspective is usability, again to general surprise Eugene found that WYSIWYG is not really used by people working in different wikis. Instead they prefer use quick and reliable syntax based input. Again the uses did not care for subtle syntax differences, instead they concentrate on putting in content and hope someone from the wiki's community will clean up wrong markup. Also APIs are not important for users, though they are for us developers. Of more concern is the legal interoperability meaning how do licenses permit transferring content from one wiki to another.
We then dived deeper into the points Eugene presented. One thing about usability mentioned was using a common vocabulary to make it easier for users to move between Wikis. One example is the term “Recent Changes” which Socialtext labelled “What's new” which might confuse wiki hopping users.
Later we talked about automated ways to query infos about a wiki and Earle Martin pointed out his work on a Wiki RDF profile to do ust that. I will have a look at this to see if it makes sense for DokuWiki to adopt this. Sunir Shah pointed out that a search engine searching all available wikis could be a corner application to drive wiki interop.
We then ran out of time for our session and decided to continue over lunch. We had beautiful warm and sunny weather today, so we went to a nearby shopping mall and bought some food and then went out to a plaza to sit in the sun. I had an interesting conversation with Reini Urban about using OpenSearch to build Interwiki search (searching other wikis from within your own).
Later we all agreed to have regular IRC meetings to speek about Wiki issues. So every first Tuesday a month there will be a wiki developers chat. I'm really looking forward to this.
In the afternoon I hopped from session to session.
There was a nice presentation about how WikiHow solved certain usability problems with new tools, like liking through a special link selection dialog or legal troubles by building a Flickr Creative Commons image search tools to help users find legal images for their articles. But it was also said that “Software may not always solve cultural or community problems”.
I had an interesting talk with Tim Starling and Evan Prodroumu about the things, Tim is currently working on for MediaWiki. He mainly refactores the whole image and media handling for MediaWiki and Wikipedia especially.
In another session Raymond King presented his work at AboutUs and their way of using a formalized voting and discussion process called “Policy Consensus Poll” to work out issues on the site.
I also was in a session with Nelson Ko about using wiki technology to map your personal life experiences and interlink it with other people's experience. We agreed that mapping shouldn't be restricted to geographical maps only but could also have timelines or age based maps. To actually interlink those different live stories some kind of semantic markup like discussed yesterday could be used.
After closing of the space and just before starting this blog entry I talked with Patrick Michaud about how he implemented chess board support for PMWiki without inventing any artificial syntax. Quite impressive.
Now I'll try to get some pizza and see what else will happen….
photos by Montreal Tech Watch and Eugene Kim