Maybe free-range drafting?

Michael Allan mike at
Mon Aug 30 23:37:07 EDT 2010

Thomas von der Elbe wrote:
> I agree, the theatre has the highest priority.

Once the theatre prototype is roughly usable, we could do a prototype
of free-range drafting.  It shouldn't be too hard.

> Then you say, it might be easier to solve free-range drafting all 
> together, than getting WYSIWYG work side by side with normal 
> Wiki-editor. Is this true, considering all the work that was necessary 
> to get mediawiki to work with the poll-server? All this work would have 
> to be done again for every other drafting medium, right?

Not at all.  Our MediaWiki pollwiki does a bunch of things - defining
electoral districts, voter registration, poll definition, indexing of
positions by mailish username, and so forth - none of which need be
repeated in the *other* drafting media.  They'd be purely for
drafting.  (You'd still have postion pages in the pollwiki, but no
draft content.  The position pages would link to the content, in
whatever medium you chose to draft it.  That's the trick.)

Imagine you chose Etherpad, for example.  Then you could go to any
Etherpad site and start editing a position draft today.  The draft
would look no different than other Etherpad documents (no special
markup, or anything). The only
difference would be that a position page in a pollwiki somewhere would
be pointing to it (eventually) and saying, "This is Thomas's position
draft for G/p/nonukes."

Most of the technical work would be in the difference bridging.  We'd
have to add support for each new drafting medium.  This might require
a different approach for those media that lack the equivalent of
MediaWiki's editing API (i.e. most media).  The drafter would probably
have to install a local dbridge - e.g. as a browser plugin, or
word-processor extension - so the dbridge could do its patching.  That
would be something for the drafter to consider when choosing a medium.
But it would be no big technical problem.

Maybe there's only one requirement for all drafting media:

 r1. The source markup of the draft must be posted online.  It's no
     good, for example, if you export a Word document as HTML and post
     *that* in public.  The difference bridge must have access to the
     Word markup as such (.doc).

We might even be able to use TextFlow, at some point, if they gave the
dbridge access to the markup.  Maybe via this WeaveSync API (whatever
it is):

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 647-436-4521

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