[nylug-talk] collaboration platform for the charter

Sumana Harihareswara sumanah at panix.com
Wed Dec 21 10:01:54 EST 2011

Summary: I think we should use a wiki - if you have a wiki preference,
speak up now.

I have discovered that substance.io in fact does not allow for
collaborative *editing*, just commenting.  Argh.  I do not know how I
missed this earlier!  I'm sorry.

>From the substance.io description on its front page:

'Readers can participate and comment on certain text passages. In future
they'll even be able to submit patches, that can be applied by the owner.'

So, substance.io is probably out; given that nearly all of us do want
collaborative editing, I think we should go with a wiki.

Eric Shamow, would you be okay with installing a wiki and hosting it for
us?  I don't think you would need to keep it up after the charter
process is done; we can find some way to archive the charter,
discussion, and relevant revisions and host them someplace on the NYLUG

I'd prefer a wiki that defaults to open (anyone can edit anonymously)
but that we can switch to a only-registered-users-can-edit model in case
we run into edit wars or vandalism.  Wikis work and egalitarian
collaborative editing works, unless there are dedicated vandals or
participants who consistently disrespect the process and push their own
agendas.  To guard against those behaviors, we'd want a wiki that can be
modified (with configuration, plugins, or extensions) so that only
registered users can edit, or so that only one administrator can edit
but other people can leave comments on an article's Talk/Discuss page,
or something like that.  I know MediaWiki has those options/extensions,
but I am biased on this since I am MediaWiki's community manager, and I
worry that my interest here might be blinding me to more suitable
options.  So if others prefer PmWiki or DokuWiki, please speak up now.

Per the notes in
http://nylug.org/pipermail/nylug-talk/2011-December/015823.html and per
Ruben's emails to the list, I know he is going to lead the project of
writing the charter, and that he would prefer a very fast, less
collaborative process where he simply decides whether to incorporate
suggestions from other people.  His most recent note on the topic:

Ruben wrote:
> That is not the problem.  The problem is that anything that allows for
> open ended editing withouth a single point of control is impossilbe to
> use.  One person can make suggestions but only a single individual,
> needs to have commit to the actual document.
> If I can't control commits to the document, its going to end up as an
> edit war.  It's not granular versioning that is the problem. It's about
> honing the political process and ushering in a charter that can be voted
> on.

> In fact, I perfer the document not editable at all.  We just need
> comments room and requests.  I'll take them and rework it and present
> the in altered form until there is is general agreement and then move on
> to the next section,

Ruben, I disagree with you.  And it seems like everyone else in this
conversation disagrees with you.  So I think we should use a wiki, and
simply ask for people to be respectful and to put controversal
suggestions in the comments first.  If participants start editwarring,
then you can use administrator powers to lock down the document such
that only you can edit it.  But in my experience, we shouldn't start
from a needlessly hierarchical assumption.

I'll be keeping up on this conversation throughout the day, since I'd
like to make a decision and start implementing it by this evening.

-Sumana Harihareswara

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