SL First Year Experience
DaveSigaty: I think that on the occasion of SL's first anniversary it is worth taking a little time to discuss what worked out the way we expected and what didn't over the last year. Hopefully this will produce some new ideas for things to try in 2002. Alternatively it may simply remind us of some successes that we can try to repeat in the new year.
What's on your list?
(your grandiose claims go here! :-O)
Arno & Morten. Hurray, hurray, hurray ! (Dieter)
(your cheap excuses go here! ;-)
(we have space for those too!)
DaveSigaty: I wonder about the fundamental nature or goal of SL. I think that much of the thinking has been in terms of building up a site (call it a library :-) for other people to use in order to study Go. Certainly I have tried to design various pages with the idea that the main users will be people coming to SL in the future who have not been involved actively in building it. On the other hand, I think the by far the best part of the SL experience over the last year has been the collaborative, community aspect. So I want to ask whether SL would (should) be better described as an interactive community for the enjoyment (and sometimes even the study) of Go? And if the answer is yes, if we think of SL as a Go community, what activities might we want to approach differently?
Dieter I fully share your positive feeling about the spirit of collaborativeness. In the one year of its existence, I have known of only one "attack" which was immediately deflected and recently there seem to have been Catalans who used a page to give explanations to each other. This is truly amazingly little. Perhaps it indicates SL is not widely used at all, or maybe it just goes to show that the good spirit that reigns here is contagious. Contrary to most newsgroups I know (well, I know two) there have been no violent arguments, nor endless threads which pile emotional reaction on emotional reaction.
As for your question: I'm quite sure that there are more people visiting SL occasionaly than there are regular contributors. Due to their nature of "come, see and disappear" of course we don't notice them. That should not prevent us from writing with that audience in mind. Indeed it is more satisfying to post something which gives rise to an interesting discussion with the other librarians which we learn from ourselves. I really think it can go both ways simultaneously. We should be careful however not to mix up the two too much.
I mean, a page that is intended to become "truth" for a wide audience, should be written in an as impersonal as possible style. One can't start a page like aji with the words "I've always been bad at aji, so I want to help you avoid that problem. Here is what aji is:". Well, you can start it that way, but I will change it #:-7. I made this mistake myself when I wrote the page about shape. It had so personal a tone that no one dared to change the content, which is obviously no good for a page like shape.
BillSpight: I'm a relative newcomer, but I have been fairly active, especially in my area of expertise. I am a little concerned about the idea of a page being considered "truth". At the same time, I agree that many pages, such as the pages on aji and shape, should basically provide information that the well read go player should know. I think that SL is mature enough that the common topics of that type already have pages. New information is likely to be more specialized, and the authors of those pages are more likely to be expert in that special area. An example is the material on chilled games that I am posting now.
- Dieter A relative newcomer ??? Well, SL is absolutely young.
There are problems with many of the existing pages of this type. That is not surprising, since all of us are amateurs. For instance, the example for thank you move sucks. Both unkx80 and I agree, and we have both been around the block a few times. :-) Because of the collaborative nature of SL, I have merely commented on how bad the example is. Some people have made wholesale revisions of material they disagree with, which I think is bad form. OTOH, I don't think it is so good to leave a questionable example on that page. Somebody needs to put up a better example, preferably one that has been called a thank you move in a professional commentary. Plenty of such examples exist. :-) The original author should have done that, IMHO.
- Dieter Agree. Unfortunately the sets of contributors and wikimastereditors are both small and have a large intersection.
Should the bad example and the discussion of it be deleted? I don't think so. It can provide a learning experience, or at least food for thought, for readers of SL -- and the participants in the discussion, too. :-) But I think it should be moved to another page, like Thank You Move / Discussion?.
In the '80s I was involved with an online discussion service called Participate. One thing that surprised me at first was how many topics were double. (A main topic was like a moderated newsgroup. A branch topic was like a thread.) The first branch of topic X would often be called X Discussion. That seemed strange to me. Isn't the purpose of topic X to discuss X? But that arrangement kept topic X focused.
I think that's a good pattern for informatory pages in SL. The reader looking for information doesn't have to wade through material that explains the fine points or debates about examples. But she can access such material on the Discussion page. Several SL pages already have that structure. I would like to propose it as a standard pattern, both for new pages and for revisions of existing material. :-)
- Dieter Fully agree.
- Arno I agree that rewriting pages such as ThankYouMove should be done. Like Bill points out, the casual reader is not interested how the page came about. If you think that a bad example is bad enough for keeping, then at least reorder the page, i.e. the important stuff at the top, more examples and counter-examples at the bottom. I myself wouldn't even mind deleting bad stuff. The discussion-page pattern seems useful as well.
- unkx80 Which I did the WikiMasterEditing, because I see consensus that everybody (including myself) don't like the original page.
 Arno: Dave, I think SL is both. I like the discussions on SL. I think one of the benefits is, that sometimes the result of these discussions leads to truth as Dieter calls it. And that wisdom is then distilled into library pages.
 Arno: Why there never can be a flame war on SL: it takes an hour to write a good lengthy flame, but unlike in a newsgroup everyone can delete this flame in approx. 10 secs. (SL deshis can do it in 5 secs :o) And the bad news: noone will read your flame once it is deleted. So why write flames in the first place? (Consider this as an invitation to delete any and all flames.)
Side note: Morten and I have a bet running, as of when the first server-war flame will be seen on SL. ;o)
- Dieter: I think this bet is really stupid ! Don't you guys have anything better to do with your time ? #:-7