[IPython-dev] Wiki chaos...

Brian Granger ellisonbg at gmail.com
Wed Jul 10 12:12:35 EDT 2013

On Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 10:46 PM, Fernando Perez <fperez.net at gmail.com> wrote:
> One problem with prefixing all pages is that those prefixes, if I
> understand how GH wikis work correctly, have to be part of the visible
> page title.  Which for some pages makes for pretty horrible names.
> For example the gallery title is perfectly fine as
> A gallery of interesting IPython Notebooks
> but it would look pretty ugly if called
> Cookbook: A gallery of interesting IPython Notebook

The gallery is one of the few things that is important enough to be
top-level in my opinion.  If the Gallery grows beyond a single page, I
would then create a "Gallery: " namespace.

> or similar, IMO.
> Since there's no actual auto-indexing machinery or other organizing
> mechanism that these pseudo-namespace prefixes provide, I'm also not
> convinced that it makes sense to mandate their use rigidly everywhere.
>  For certain categories I think they do make sense, like say cookbook
> recipes or sprints lists. But I think we're inevitably bound to have
> 'miscellaneous' pages that don't neatly fit in any single label.  And
> creating a  zillion prefixes just so everything can have its own
> prefix doesn't seem to be such a good idea either.

I agree we will absolutely have misc pages that don't fit well in a
prefix.  But the lab meetings page is not one of those (it clearly
fits into the Dev: category).

There are a couple of reasons I created the prefixes:

1) In our previous wiki, there was little to no organization.  Because
of this, people who wanted to add new content couldn't figure see
which pages might already have content of that type and they would
always add new pages.  This meant that we had overlapping information
on multiple pages - and all of it grew stale.  It made the wiki
entirely useless.
2) When you view a list of all our wiki pages:


the prefixes keep pages grouped together.  We do this type of named
based grouping all the time in our local file systems (to
organize/sort a sequence of notebooks for a tutorial for example).  I
don't see why wiki pages would be any different.  Is it the way I
choose to do the prefixes? ("Foo: ")
2) Because there is no better way to group wiki pages together on GitHub :(

> In summary, I think the problem is that wikis are inherently prone to
> some of this slightly chaotic growth, which is why I've never liked
> them too much.  I think they fill a useful role when used in a pretty
> *limited* fashion, partly so that they can be manually tended to.  But
> for larger-scale efforts, without a massive metadata machinery and an
> army of people like what Wikipedia uses, it's kind of hopeless. For
> wikipedia, pages have very rich categorical/tagging tools that the
> entire wiki system understands, mines, and uses to offer management
> and navigation.  We don't have that at GH, just a plain wiki in its
> barest form.
> Sorry to be a bit of a downer, but I'm just not convinced that more
> prefixing is really going to really solve anything beyond a thin
> cosmetic veneer issue.

But prefixing is only 1/2 the point.  The other half is the prefix
specific index pages:


Are you proposing that we abandon this organization and instead put
every wiki page on the home page as you have done with the lab
meetings page?



> Cheers,
> f
> ps - I'm pretty sure, BTW, that I'm the guilty party in having created
> the lab meetings page without a prefix, sorry :)  Part of it is
> probably that I find it so ugly to read those titles that I
> unconsciously just ignored the idea... Feel free to change it if you
> really think it will help.
> On Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 5:07 PM, Brian Granger <ellisonbg at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> A while back I spend a couple of days organizing the IPython GitHub
>> wiki.  I know this will probably seem anal, but I think it is
>> important that we use a logical structure for each of our pages and
>> the wiki as a whole.  To induce this structure on the flat GitHub wiki
>> namespace, we are naming our wiki pages with a prefix such as "Dev :"
>> or "Cookbook: " or "Install: ".  This structure is also present in our
>> sub-indices - we have a separate index page for each of these
>> categories.  When someone created the wiki page for the lab meetings,
>> it was created at the top level, rather than under the "Dev: "
>> category and put in the top level index rather than the "Dev: " index.
>>  I could fix this myself in a few minutes, but I don't want to become
>> the "police" for our wiki organization.  Instead, I would like
>> everyone to help keep the wiki organized.  Can someone clean this up?
>> If we don't want to use this structure, but instead keep things
>> organized another way, I am completely open to that.  I just want the
>> wiki organization to decay into chaos like it did before...
>> Cheers,
>> Brian
>> --
>> Brian E. Granger
>> Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
>> bgranger at calpoly.edu and ellisonbg at gmail.com
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> --
> Fernando Perez (@fperez_org; http://fperez.org)
> fperez.net-at-gmail: mailing lists only (I ignore this when swamped!)
> fernando.perez-at-berkeley: contact me here for any direct mail
> _______________________________________________
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Brian E. Granger
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
bgranger at calpoly.edu and ellisonbg at gmail.com

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