Maybe free-range drafting?

Michael Allan mike at
Mon Aug 30 11:02:30 EDT 2010

Thomas von der Elbe wrote:
> Too bad! This is really a pitty!
> I know Mike, you wouldnt like this, but would it work, if every user was 
> forced to use WYSIWYG?

Yes, mostly it would work.  It would solve problem 2 (messed up
diffs).  But it wouldn't solve problem 3 (stability and longevity).

Maybe we're not being ambitious enough.  It might actually be easier
to solve the larger problem of free-range drafting.  We want to free
the drafters to choose:

  a) Vanilla MediaWiki
  b) WYSIWYG MediaWiki

But more than that, they might also choose:

  c) A proper WYSIWYG wiki
  d) Any other drafting medium, even non-wikis

Or even a different language:

  e) Estonian
  f) Fijian
  g) Gujarti

The larger problem, then, is how to prevent a consensus from being
split across the boundaries of *technical* languages (all the various
drafting media and editing formats) and *human* languages.

Possible pieces of a solution:

  A. Translators serve as bridges for text flow.  They are delegates
     too, so they hold the consensus together (vote flow).

     For example, T is a translator.  Her voters are drafting in 3
     separate languages (e, f, g).  Her candidate is drafting in one
     of them (e):

           (f)        (e)    |
             \         |     |  (g)
              \    (e) |     |  /
               \     \ |     | /
                \     \|     |/
         (f)----(T) + (T) + (T)-----(g)
                       |    (e)
                 (e)   |    /
                   \   |   /
                    \  |  /
                     \ | /

     If it weren't for T's efforts, the consensus would split into
     multiple trees (breaking at points '+').

  B. Each translator has multiple position drafts, one in each of the
     media/languages to be bridged.  The positions are identical in
     content, but differ in form.  (So T has 3 drafts.)

     How?  Maybe a translator's position page in the pollwiki consists
     of multiple links, pointing to the actual position drafts.  They
     could be subpages in different lanuages, for example:

          -> User:Joe-AcmeCom/Sys/p/sandbox/en
          -> User:Joe-AcmeCom/Sys/p/sandbox/gu

  C. Drafting media may be external to the pollwiki.  So I guess the
     position links would simply be external links:


     Or if Bob happens to be a media-translator, then he would have
     multiple positions.  At most one of them would be internal, the
     other(s) would be external:

          -> User:Bob-AcmeCom/Sys/p/sandbox/local (MediaWiki position)
          -> (WYSIWYG position)

The tools would have to understand all this.  The difference bridge,
for example, would have to learn how to access (read/write) each
external medium to be supported.  We might also have separate
difference bridges for some of the media.  (We'll never have to diff
*across* two media or languages, so separate bridges are OK.)

Does this make sense?

I feel the architecture isn't complete till we prototype something
like this.  But still, I think the theatre/front-door prototype is a
higher priority.  I doubt we'll have any users till we code it.  Do
you agree?

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 647-436-4521

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