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#1 alansogd

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:29 AM

I mentioned deep within the bowels of another thread that I will be creating an official RootsMagic wiki in the near future.

I know better than to think I can drop an empty wiki on our users and expect something cohesive to form. I'd like to have a set structure in place beforehand. The RootsMagic team is having some discussions about this today, but I'd like user feedback as well. I am a casual user of the software at best, but I know some of you here are very skilled, and some of you teach classes on the subject. I'd be interested in your feedback. What major categories would you divide the wiki into? How can we make the wiki accessible to new users, but still valuable for advanced users?

Those of you out there with some experience in wiki management, any tips you have that I should be considering? Any recommendation on wiki software? I'm currently leaning toward MediaWiki, used by Wikipedia, but am definitely open to informed opinions.

One source we're drawing from right now is the RootsMagic Knowledge Base. Of course, this is mostly troubleshooting and how-to information, and I hope that we can make the wiki more comprehensive than that. I'd like to see information on specific versions, features, and changelogs as well. It may serve well as an issue tracker across versions (which is why I brought it up in the original thread), but I would ask that we keep the wiki as objective as possible. I do not want to see: "such and such feature *still* not added in this version. I've been asking for this for five years. Well why don't I just lay down and DIE." That's what the forums are for ;)

Thanks everybody. I'm hoping for a great discussion here that will lead to a great community-driven wiki.

Also, I am aware that this isn't strictly an RM6 topic, but no forum section seemed particularly appropriate, so I put it here. So let's not get on my case about it :P

#2 Andy Hatchett

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:10 PM

Just a word of advice. be very sure of the specific goal you have in mind when starting your wiki.

You said: "I do not want to see: "such and such feature *still* not added in this version. I've been asking for this for five years. Well why don't I just lay down and DIE." That's what the forums are for ;)"

If that is the case, then be prepared to act as an active Moderator and Deleter of poists on the Wiki.

#3 TomH

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:27 PM

I would like to see a structured Bugs and Wishes system. I don't know if a wiki is particularly suited to that. I chose WikiSpaces for the SQLiteToolsForRootsMagic wiki mainly because it came up favourably when I searched for a free wiki service. I knew little about wikis then and what I know now is very much based on my experience with WikiSpaces.

I try to keep my administration minimal by using the automated widgets it provides for navigation assistance but its not enough. I had a couple of complaints that it was hard to find ones way around in it. So I tried to provide a navigation structure somewhat akin to RootsMagics main menu plus some other broad categories. But I have to confess I have fallen behind maintaining both the original chronological page and the menu-structured ones.

I use page tags and the auto tag cloud on the home page provides another way of finding relevant pages - of course, keeping the number of different tags down is essential to controlling the size of the cloud and accurate names vital for it to be useful. This forum has tagging that few use; its almost essential that there be a tag-Meister who assigns tags from a small dictionary rather than users inventing their own.

SQLiteToolsForRootsMagic has a very small number of sporadic contributors. One impediment is that it has a new user interface to learn. I think that is going to be true for whatever system may be adopted for an 'Official RootsMagic' community-driven site but the hurdle of learning a database language won't be there. Note that, even with this forum, new posters face a learning curve - I still don't use MultiQuote.

So I think for this new system to be successful, there will need to be a greater effort than has been applied to this forum to organize and categorize content, to abstract or summarize content, generate indexes and tables of contents and other finding aids. Assuming it will have a discussion mechanism, Andy's point is right on. Renee does a great job of following and interacting in discussions and capturing the essence for the hidden tracking system but is light-handed as a Moderator, as I think she should be - in this type of forum. But I think the role will be different in this new venture and I wonder if it should include non-RootsMagic persons as Organizer/Administrator/Moderator. Alfred did a great job over many years as the RootsMagic-Users List Owner.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#4 Vyger

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:45 AM

I have zero experience of Wiki's but I always liked the format of the issue tracking below and that could be expanded to incorporate BKM's (best known methods) etc.

http://code.google.c...ort/issues/list

Although I would subdivide further by area of program, Media Gallery, Places, Sources, Mapping etc.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

 

 

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Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

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#5 alansogd

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:28 AM

Thanks for all the feedback so far.

Tom, you may be right that the wiki would not be the ideal structure for issue tracking. It would be burdensome to maintain. I do think it would be a useful for organizing the changelog between versions as a reference for what was added/fixed at what time. But you're right, if we want a wishlist or bug list that changes frequently, something like what Vyger posted would be easier to work with, and could then be linked to from appropriate pages in the wiki. I think the wiki, at the very least, would help tie external content like an issue tracker together in a cohesive, organized way that the community will have some control over, be it in the form of wiki articles themselves, or links to external services like an issue tracker, or Tom's SQLite tools.

Andy, I appreciate your advice as well, and it is probably obvious from my post that I have not put significant thought into starting this wiki yet :P My intention was to involve the forums from the very beginning before I made any major decisions about it, but based on the feedback I get here (and possibly future threads) I do plan on narrowing the scope of the wiki and making specific decisions about how the wiki should operate.

I am already thinking that having the wiki publicly available next week may be premature; however, I'd like to make a read-only version available for criticism, to be made community-writeable at a later time after it is better established.

#6 Vyger

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:51 AM

alansogd,

This is good news, hopefully users will be able to drill down to a feature, see the problem has been reported, is in progress and not bother RM any further, so more time for the team. Also it's obvious this puts a little pressure on development and bug fixing but then that is a good thing in todays world, we all strive on it.

The Rootsmagician should not worry too much about exhausting the items on his five year plan as the technology which arrives tomorrow will add to in many fold, the race will never be over.

I am reminded of the runner who is well clear of the field and as he approaches the finish line checks over his shoulder to verify his position, seeing a clear field he decides to ease his pace a little only to find another runner pass him on his other side and win the race.

So far you strike me as a motivated person who has drive so I do hope that drive can be maintained, makes Rootsmagic the best by far and allows us all to further our genealogy much further before we pass it on to the next generation.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

 

 

User of Family Historian 6.2.7, Rootsmagic 7.5.8, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5 (in order of preference)

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#7 KenCRoy

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:59 PM

I mentioned deep within the bowels of another thread that I will be creating an official RootsMagic wiki in the near future.

I know better than to think I can drop an empty wiki on our users and expect something cohesive to form. I'd like to have a set structure in place beforehand. The RootsMagic team is having some discussions about this today, but I'd like user feedback as well. I am a casual user of the software at best, but I know some of you here are very skilled, and some of you teach classes on the subject. I'd be interested in your feedback. What major categories would you divide the wiki into? How can we make the wiki accessible to new users, but still valuable for advanced users?

Those of you out there with some experience in wiki management, any tips you have that I should be considering? Any recommendation on wiki software? I'm currently leaning toward MediaWiki, used by Wikipedia, but am definitely open to informed opinions.

:P


Alansogd,

A wiki is a great way to organize information and the structure of the RootsMagic Wiki will likely evolve over time such as it has for TNG Wiki for which I am one of the sysops. The first thing we discovered with our wiki, which while hosted by the TNG developer, is a user community contribution, is that wikis are very prone to spammers, so we institute a registration system using one of the MediaWiki extensions - ConfirmAccount so that only logged in users can contribute to the TNG Wiki. User registration must be approved by a sysops before the user can contribute. You could require that RootsMagic users use the same email that they use to register for the forum. Anonymous users can of course view the wiki information, but cannot edit or add information.

The MediaWiki CategoryTree extension can also used to organize the categories to which the wiki articles are assigned.

If you want to discuss further or want help with setting up the RootsMagic Wiki, feel free to contact me via my web site using the following Contact Me link

Ken Roy
Sysops for the TNG Wiki