[erlang-questions] FOP (was: Re: Trace-Driven Development)

Richard O'Keefe <>
Tue Jun 12 00:02:02 CEST 2012


On 11/06/2012, at 4:53 PM, Michael Turner wrote:
>> In my wildest dreams I couldn't have asked for a better example of a
>> Wiki going wrong.
> 
> Then you don't have much experience at all with editing wikis,

I have repeatedly said that I have little experience of *editing*
wikis and that my opposition is based on the serious frustration
I've repeatedly experienced *using* them.  Apparently you also
suffer from amnesia.
> 
> Again, you're falling back on "wikis suck because I found something
> bad."

I have never made any claim that general.
I say that *documentation* wikis are in my experience bad;
far far worse than the existing Erlang documentation.

I've actually pointed to Wikipedia as unusually *good* in my
experience.  I may be wrong about that:

http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/26.79.html#subj6.1

	60% of Wikipedia entries about companies contain errors
	When respondents attempted to engage editors through
	Wikipedia's "Talk" pages to request factual corrections
	to entries, 40 percent said it took "days" to receive a
	response, 12 percent indicated "weeks," while 24 percent
	never received any type of response. ... Of those who were
	familiar with the process of editing Wikipedia entries,
	23 percent said making changes was "near impossible."
	Twenty-nine percent said their interactions with Wikipedia
	editors were "never productive."

That's citing

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417113527.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+sciencedaily+(ScienceDaily:+Latest+Science+News)

which has a number of links that are very positive about Wikipedia;
this particular article was based on Marcia W. DiStaso. "Measuring
Public Relations Wikipedia Engagement: How Bright is the Rule?"
Public Relations Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2

and while I was initially apprehensive because our library's
e-subscription lapsed, it turns out the PDF of that article is at

http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/PRJournal/Documents/2012DiStaso.pdf

The title of the RISKS article is a little misleading:
out of the people surveyed, 60% of those whose companies had a Wikipedia
entry, who knew it had, and who had checked it, had found factual errors
worthy of correction.  We have no information about the error rate in
the entries for companies whose PR people _don't_ know it has a Wikipedia
page (25% of the PR people surveyed said they didn't know if their
company had a Wikipedia entry or not, which should give their employers
pause for thought).  21% of the people who reported errors had found
spelling errors, which gives _me_ pause for thought about the utility
of a Wiki as a device for correcting spelling.

The paper has some sobering figures about corrections being undone.

"Half of respondents who have either directly edited or used the talk
 pages to make edits indicated that they believe the process of making
 changes to a company or client’s Wikipedia article is typically time
 consuming (n=275), but 27% stated that it was easy (n=152), while
 23% said it was near impossible (n=127)."

There's a followup in RISKS

http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/26.89.html#subj18

by someone who is more concerned about one UK PR firm who were caught
adding positive information about their clients than about other
companies' difficulty getting wrong information correctly.


> You're not asking, "Why does this bad thing happen, and is there
> anything to be done to prevent it?"

No, and that's because I'm the wrong person to do so.
That's *your* role in this debate.

> In fact, these problems are quite
> manageable, and Wikipedia, in the interests of gathering the largest
> possible membership, leaves editing quite open. It also means some
> information is unreliable at one time or another. Anyone who reads
> Wikipedia without keeping that in mind is simply a fool.

The thing is, the more you talk about "management", the less a Wiki
sounds substantively different from the system we have right now.
A restricted pool of editors?  We have that now: the main difference
is that you expect to become one of them.  Low barrier to entry?
We have that now.  The one major difference is that (like many of
the PR professionals surveyed in that paper) I would be happiest
with review-before-publication, where you seem to be happy with
review-after-publication-if-ever.

I repeat something I've said before, in case you have forgotten.

Nothing stops you setting up an Erlang documentation Wiki right now.




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