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dfidler:Musings

diyAudio Wiki

Demographics

The following is a list of the different types of users on the site.

Tourists

These guys come and go with relative frequency. They are the ones that are most likely to post a few questions and then never return.

Noobs

Tourists that are not tourists are usually noobs. They are eager to learn and eager to contribute to the site when they can.

They want what the experts have.

Experts

These are the members that have the knowledge that everyone else wants. They are generally happy to help (time permitting) and have a varying degree of time to do so.

Up-and-coming old timers are eager to share their knowledge and want their name attached to that knowledge. More mature members are interested in those coming up because they have either more time or more patience (after having kids of their own.

These guys are lifers.

Commercial

diyAudio is a great place to market equipment. Vendors have a target (and in some cases, a captive) audience for their wares.

Areas of Expertise

Each of the above will have different expetise that lie in the following fields:
  • Electronics
  • Amplifier Design
  • Power Systems
  • Speaker Building
  • Speaker Design
  • Woodworking
  • Metalworking
  • Purchasing (equipment for diy)
  • Manufacturing (I'm sure that there are some out there with CNC mills, etc)

Wiki Contributions

In trying to promote the use of the wiki, you need to identify what each demographic is going to get out of the wiki. Which carrots can you use and when can you apply the stick?

Tourists

Put simply, tourists don't want to contribute. They want to google and leave.

Noobs

Noobs are more likely to be thankful to the community for the help that they receive, both in the forums and from the wiki. This eagerness makes them ideal candidates to do a lot of the admin work on the wiki because they don't yet have the expert knowledge in the subject matter of their choice.

However, one of the biggest benefits that they bring to the table is their fresh perspective on things.

Experts

It's the knowledge that these domain experts possess that everyone wants. Experts will differ in how willing they are to contribute to the wiki. They are more likely to use it if it makes their lives easier. If it adds a bunch of work to their plate then they're unlikely to use it.

Commercial

Of all of the users on the site, these are the most naturally incented group of people to contribute. If they can use the wiki to further promote their products and services, then they are more likely to add content quickly.

However, care must be taken to ensure that the wiki doesn't turn into one big advert. I suspect that the reason that there isn't more wiki content from vendors already is because they haven't clued into it as an advertising medium.

Techniques for Getting People Involved

Projects should start with a wiki

Sticky-thread that tells people that they should create a wiki page for
their project before posting a thread if:
  1. They already have some schematics and graphs to show off
  2. They've already done some calculations

Updates to Projects should be done on the Wiki

If a user updates a schematic or takes a new measurement, it should be posted to the wiki page as the newest version. Then, the user can update the corresponding discussion thread saying that they've updated it and would like more feedback.

Mods should encourage wiki use

Everytime a new project starts (or starts to wind down), mods should politely ask the user if they'd be willing to wikify a project. This request must include URLs to the best practices guide (not yet written). In fact, this request should be a standard one that mods can copy/paste into the thread.

Encourage Short-Edits

When a user asks a question about a definition of a word, that user should be encouraged to update the Glossary.

Encourage Notes Pages

Individual users should keep their own pages of notes. They can then turn these notes into wiki pages later. eg - dfidler:Notes

Wiki Queue

There should be a list of articles that need to be written in the wiki. I'd suggested, earlier, tagging existing content with the tag WikiArticle (or WikiToDo). This would require use of the 'tag/keywords' features of vB.

Either way, having a single page of threads that need to be wikified gives noobs a place to pick up some content and then migrate it to the wiki.

When a project is finalized, it should be announced

Add a note in the announcements forum when a project is finished.

diyAudio Wiki Issues

The following are the issues that I see today:
  • Categories are not setup and are not advertised!!!!! WTF!?!?! (http://www.vaultwiki.org/books/Intro...-to-Categories)
  • Vault Wiki Books are not setup. Bummer as this is perfect for things like the LTSpice pages (http://www.vaultwiki.org/manual/Setting-Up-Books)
  • There is no structure to the wiki today; it's just a free-for-all, which is a barrier to entry for new users; they simply don't know where to start
  • There isn't enough content in the wiki so it looks like a disheveled failure
  • VaultWiki (and MediaWiki) support a really stupid implementation of Templates, that actually does more harm than good. MoinMoin does this soooooooooooooooooooooo much better. And while moinmoin can be integrated into vB (though it's a hack), it doesn't support a lot of the things that VaultWiki does (like role-based access, books, etc).
  • VaultWiki doesn't support page includes
  • VaultWiki doesn't support a calendar, though this is not critical to the smooth operation of the site
  • The documented wiki codes list only mentions the BBCode-esque market codes; it doesn't mention all of the other non-BBCode based markup. The problem with this is that the BBCode market makes documents extremely hard to read (and they look like ****).
  • The current theme makes virtually no distinction between a Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc; the CSS for the wiki needs to be updated to fix this.
  • Section editting is buggy... plain, simple and flat....
  • Today, diyAudio doesn't put enough focus on projects. Tourists and Noobs will come for the knowledge contained in the wiki and for the projects that they might build.
  • Today, it is impossible to search through the existing threads to find a suitable project. Therefore, noobs get no benefit from the site except through asking questions (that have all been asked before).
  • FAQs are have not been wiki'd so members have no recourse to tell the person to RTFM.
  • Doesn't support wiki browse history - it should show links to the last 2-3 pages that you've visited so that going 'back' to a previous page is made easier.
  • Because it uses vB styles/templates, it is less efficient than a standalone wiki

diy Audio Benefits

  • Integrated with vB so easy to style
  • Uses BBCode, which is something that most board members are familiar with
  • Supports some media wiki code specifically for headers (which is infinitely more readable than BBCocde) and simple bullet lists
  • Supports Books
  • Supports Categories
  • It supports Role Based access (which is a rare thing in the wiki world)
  • Wiki articles can be rated

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