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Wiki for TPU? (and more)

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at April 07, 2003, 09:24:10 AM

What do you all think of having a Wiki as the centerpiece of the TPU web site?

I hope everyone agrees that the amount of "Teen Programmers Unite" related stuff that occurs on the web site and IRC channel is pretty paltry. You may remember that I have proposed a comprehensive document to help aspiring young programmers learn what they need to know to start learning to code. I've also said it should contain teen-specific information, on subjects like preparing for higher education/employment, starting a school computer club, etc.. Lately I'm thinking that a Wiki would be the best way to provide this.

Pretty much everything on this web site now but the message forums is unused fluff. Therefore, I'd like to have the TPU web site basically be a Wiki and a set of message forums, sharing the same login accounts. (We need access control for a Wiki because I don't want any inaccurate or intentionally malicious information ever appearing in our information guide, even for a few minutes.)

Does anyone have any thoughts on a software setup to make this work? Any experience with Wiki software, or with integrating with message boards?

A change like this would also be a good time to go ahead with creating a non-age-specific programmers' group, and have the general newbie information be associated with it. This means that any support for integration between multiple domains/sites in software used would be a plus. I think that the software we're currently using and what I'd said I wanted to use in the future are both way overkill for this, though.

More future thoughts:

AFTER we have good introductory resources, I would like to try Learning Groups again, with a different angle. Each group would maintain a few Wiki pages about useful resources, and they would meet once a week (or so) on IRC. I read recently on Slashdot about collaborative source code editing software, which has been a favorite goal of a lot of people for a while. Does anyone know of any we could use at meetings, to have learners work together and watching each other creating programs?

I think an appropriate schedule would have us getting the two sites up and running with reasonably complete guides; then starting some primordial Learning Groups; and finally going on a massive advertising binge, probably with members doing some legwork and talking to teachers, etc., at their local schools.

I still want to make a generic nonprofit, community hosting organization, sharing the costs of nice hosting services, possibly including regular backups, etc.. This would include TPU and the new programmers' organization among the offerings, as well as personal web sites (and any other reasonable Internet services) for members. We would try to keep the servers up-to-date with the latest development tools and such as well, for convenient shell access. Who would be interested in paying to be a part of this, and in being an active part of community decisions of how to handle administrative details and what projects to undertake? (I think it's best if anyone who does the first part of that also does the second part. :P)

Posted by unknown_lamer [send private reply] at April 07, 2003, 10:00:56 AM

Maybe write a Wiki template for the SML devlocus (or whatever you decided to name it).

A semi-controlled Wiki (allow anyone to edit, but changesets would be sent to the "owner" of the Wiki page to approve) for certain pages would be useful.

I would be willing to help pay for this (I'll try and get some rackspace for abulafia at thewebstop in the next month or so...my aunt is being really evil now towards my Dad and I want to wait for everything to iron itself out).

Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at April 07, 2003, 12:37:24 PM

I totally agree with the WiKi idea. I don't think anyone can disagree on an idea that could liven up TPU.

For the second part, I'm willing to pay a _modest_ fee to have shell and hosting space with TPU. I can't say a definitive 'Yes' because my cash influx in the coming years will vary. I'll have to find myself a job as an ASP drone somewhere in Sherbrooke starting next winter...

As usual, I'm still interrested in doing something for TPU. My major interest is in helping people to start programming.

Posted by Qubit [send private reply] at April 07, 2003, 03:15:40 PM

I'll always be interested in paying to be part of anything this organization does. I'm always at a loss as to what I could do to physically help. But if I were given a task, you bet I'd accomplish it and maintain providing real-world circumstances do not take me away somewhere evil and bloody my hands.

Wiki sounds great. But my only interaction with it is Smerdyakov's alpha site. I've seen Wikipedia but ... not much else.

I'm in, just tell me what to do :D Anything administrative is up my ally. But I should be left out of coding activities..

Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at April 07, 2003, 03:31:23 PM

I've never used a Wiki, and I'm not certain as to the exact details on how it works. You have my support and I'll contribute what I can to it.

On a different note, how hard is it to write your own full scale web-server?

Posted by mop [send private reply] at April 07, 2003, 07:37:04 PM

Wikis are awesome, and you'd be surprised how mature and articulately a devoted organization can maintain one without sign ups and logins (but I'm still for sign ups and logins).

I am all for this idea.

Posted by gian [send private reply] at April 08, 2003, 04:10:21 PM

A wiki can grow quickly to become very comprehensive within just a few months. My local LUG operates a Wiki, and it now has about 6000 pages in it, most with very useful information.

I think it is worth writing a Wiki template for the SML content management system, even if the system itself is overkill. In terms of expandability and customizability, it is worth using a CMS.

Income permitting, I'd be interested in putting money into a hosting co-op thing.

Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at April 09, 2003, 02:02:50 AM

as far as protection against trash goes, I'd suggest requiring authentication before allowing data modification, and providing an interface for trusted people (useful contributors to the wiki, probably) to roll back the changes made by a user.

I imagine that that would work reasonably well :)

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