All critical information should be in the Wiki.

Discuss the LLORG's and HTLAL forum's past and its future here.
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All critical information should be in the Wiki.

Postby David1917 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:44 am

I had no input on the topic of what should or should not be bannable - I am not a mod, have never modded, and will likely never mod.

The second half of the title - "All critical information should be in the Wiki" is of great interest to me, though. Thanks to rdearman for splitting the thread, it had sort of derailed one way and this must have derailed it a new way.

I do think a lot of posts get lost over time, including (especially) old HTLAL ones. I've read some of Prof Arguelles' posts over there dozens of times to the point where I can quote them from memory, but even a Google search of a quoted phrase and the site: function results in nothing and I just have to re-read a bunch of posts again (a vicious cycle apparently!)

ANYWAY. I began trying to get involved in the Wiki once and a different thread on here sort of alleged that the real purpose of the Wiki was to index the HTLAL/LLORG posts and maybe extract some information but not all. The front page of the wiki says as much as well: "We do not want posts to be directly copied from forums, but links back to the primary source would be helpful, whenever possible." That didn't and doesn't seem useful, so I stopped caring. Especially since links to HTLAL don't work a few times a year, and might one day stop altogether. Maybe it's time to have that discussion again.

1) What kind of information should be on the wiki? Right now there are discussions of techniques, programs, and language families. What would our language family posts have that regular Wikipedia would not? This seems overly ambitious.

My personal interest was in cataloguing language programs, i.e. the various editions of Assimil, Hugo, Langenscheidt, Linguaphone including authors, format, etc. As buying books like this nowadays online is always a crapshoot, like if the stock photo is the actual edition you're getting, I think the more information that we can have for smart shopping would be great. This would have been NEW information, with some links back to discussion threads, but a lot of individual research, using my own copies of these items, asking other members for information, etc.

2) At what point is subjectivity going to take over and turn the Wiki into a battleground? What if some of the more drawn-out Michel Thomas or FSI conversations that happen on the forum play out on the Wiki - only now someone can delete someone else's rants and replace them with their own. Perhaps rules can be laid out that say if you write about a program, you do not pass judgment on it, making it truly encyclopedic. How do you decide which threads to link to? Dozens exist dealing with any of these topics, some have only one post, some have several pages of posts. If someone spends more time on the Wiki than others, it effectively just becomes their personal blog.

3) Who is the target audience of the Wiki? Should the wiki become a way to weed out the endless first-posts that say something like "How can I learn Arabic?" That is, if our Wiki has a comprehensive list of Arabic resources, then a tourist should be able to head there and not clog up the forum, but come and ask for more details on a certain program or approach. On the other hand, is it really just supposed to be an index for the faithful - most of whom already seem to back up their own posts and those they find important anyway?

So in sum, what is "critical information" and what is the point of the wiki? If someone's curated list of resources is considered "critical" and they want it deleted as an act of retribution as is alleged in this case, they're going to delete it from the wiki, too.

EDITS: 1) to reword the introduction noting that this thread split from a different one and 2) some slight changes/additions to my train of thought.
Last edited by David1917 on Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: All critical information should be in the Wiki.

Postby rdearman » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:07 pm

I split the topic because I think your questions need to be in their own thread since it seems important to me.
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Re: All critical information should be in the Wiki.

Postby Querneus » Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:51 pm

Just my ¢2.

I think study techniques and objective, technical information about programs and other resources are the most useful and least controversial parts. Especially to the extent that Wikipedia will not happily take in such content: it is common for Wikipedia to include a lot of such things on programming languages and software, but when it comes to language programs they tend to a) be curated by the publishing companies and b) avoid having a lot of detailed information about older materials (like the years of editions, and changes between each).

I agree that trying to include purely linguistic information on specific families or languages is an overreach, and if you're that ambitious you should consider putting such things on Wikipedia, or perhaps Wikibooks or even Wikisource. However, I think including advice about learning such families or languages would be good? For example, the classic saying that if you want to learn a Slavic language but don't know which one (and don't really care which, to the extent that they're all kind of similar, more so than the Romance/Germanic languages anyway), Russian is the best option because of the wealth of its resources, published materials and culture (partly also an effect of the size of its population). That's definitely not something you could put on Wikipedia.

I'd say it'd be great to include various points of view. Wikipedia occasionally does this in some articles with in favour and against sections. For example, an article on the pros and cons of attending language classes. Some people here clearly have very negative views of classes, but I at least have pretty positive ones of those at the intermediate level (even if I largely agree with criticism of beginner ones). The main downside would be getting discovered by publishers of materials, say, someone from Assimil or Rosetta Stone wanting to erase any criticism of their products, besides things like what older versions had and thumbnails of book covers. But this also takes us to your next question.

It's a very good question. I think I would start by asking, "Who has been using the Wiki already and what for?". I've personally only used it to understand terms people in this forum use, especially the various study techniques. The content on study techniques in the Wiki is often much better than definitions I might find in other websites, but I have made practically no use of the Wiki for other things.

By the way, one thing I've noticed about LLorg in recent years is that people don't check the forums below the Study Groups forum (i.e. from the Multilingual forum downwards). It might be that many who would like to see this thread have not read it. I happened to click on the HTLAL forum today, but normally I don't.
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