View Full Version : Guides vs Encyclopedia
Oct 31, 2005, 12:42 PM
just some perspective. This is very much a work in progress... but I'd like to point out one perspective.
I think there's a distinct reason this is called "Mac Guides" rather than "Mac Encyclopedia".
I think product pages should be from the perspective of a guide for someone to use - rather than a more sterile encyclopedia reference.
While history and background on a product is important -- and very interesting, I think there also needs to be an emphasis on usage and troubleshooting.
that makes sense?
Oct 31, 2005, 02:31 PM
I think that encyclopedia-type references are needed for many people (who would need the guides) to understand what is being said. Although I do agree... more things such as "How To: blah" are needed.
Oct 31, 2005, 05:49 PM
The way I'm looking at it is that it may be useful to have technical specifications to hand, along with first hand experiences of any quirks or personalities of Apple hardware. But I think this will come after the pages have been up for a while and more people start to browse.
There are some good guides appearing in the Mac OS X category.
Oct 31, 2005, 06:04 PM
I think the guides will come later - at the moment people are just fleshing it out with specs.
The encylopedia-style guides will still come in handy for some people, though - even if it's just so people can identify their specific model when asking for help in the forum, or following guides.
Oct 31, 2005, 06:41 PM
I think the encyclopedic content is necessary -- or, at the very least, a good idea.
Sure, I can follow instructions on how to set up personal web sharing. But what if I want to understand what that pretty little Aqua interface is doing? It'd be nice to have an encyclopedic article explaining how certain Aqua interfaces are tied to the simplest of UNIX functions -- for instance, <apachectl -k start>.
Similarly, what if you read the article on booting a machine in firewire target disk mode, but there is no encyclopedic article explaining that your Yikes! won't boot in FTDM?
Or howto install OS X from an iPod, but your B&W G3 won't boot from Firewire?
There are a thousand variables. People are running Tiger on six-year-old machines. If you're going to perform anything beyond the simplest task in OS X, it behooves you to have a rich understanding of the inevitable hardware complications that Apple WILL present.
I dunno -- it's your site (of course, goes without saying), but I think it's being handled rather restrictively. There are no Wikis utilizing the fanaticism of Apple fans and their considerable knowledge and experience to create a comprehensive and effective resource for new users, people buying used machines, and so on. That's a huge gap, I think.
Oct 31, 2005, 06:52 PM
I'm not saying we should exclude encyclopedic content... it's certainly necessary and encouraged. and I think people that knowledge is an excellent basis for the rest of it. The guides certainly build on a basic knowledge... and can be easily written when you don't have to explain every little term.
I just wanted to promote some awareness or thinking about the site as a whole
I don't want anyone to get the impression that I don't want encyclopedic or historic content... just the contrary, I love that content... I just wanted to also point out that we are welcoming guide content too. :)
I love the history content too... when I get a chance I'll make a proper Newton entry. :)
Nov 1, 2005, 06:07 AM
Unless your wiki is going to do something very different, I really suggest supporting already existing initiatives to avoid duplication of effort (especially considering the relatively smaller size of the Apple community). I know people have already put in some effort here, but http://applepedia.com seems, in my disinterested judgment, like the best option, to be supported, in that it also uses Mediawiki software (a familiar standard) and they are not hesitant to expand it fully into an encyclopedia. (There is also wikitosh.com , but it is not using Mediawiki software.) Besides, that site is not requiring people to make posts beforehand, and as such, are less deterring to would-be contributors than your site now is.
I've set up a page at the new http://allyourideas.com to host ideas for the expansion of specific Macintosh software/hardware. Maybe your site, as a "guide" could specialize in innovative uses of existing products? What do you think?
Nov 1, 2005, 06:09 AM
I just realized http://applepedia.com also has a how-to section.
Nov 1, 2005, 10:27 AM
I think if you compare the statistics of the two (Applepedia and MacGuides) it becomes clear that it will take MacGuides not much longer than 2 weeks to surpass Applepedia, so I think supporting MacGuides seems like the logical choice.
Besides this I agree that we need more How To's like:
How to install a software upgrade (combo, standalone, delete haxxies first, etc.)
A very good start are http://www.apple.com/support/mac101/ (Apple's 101s) but don't copy those, as they're copyright protected. But something like this would be great. Calling them 101s would probably be a great idea too.
Also, I don't think you can disregard the sum of parts aspect of the mac guides wiki as a part of the MacRumors site and Forums. There's a community aspect. If you read macrumors and post in the forums, the mac guides are a natural extension... and the integration will help get more people participating and using it. The fact that it uses wiki technology is far down on the list why people should work on it.
I don't think you can make the leap that if people are willing to work on this wiki, they should (or would) work on another wiki.
That being said, the 20 post minimum for new registrations may be too much... we may lighten the requirements in the future. At present I think it is working ok.
I need to make it clearer on the registration page that the 20 post limit only applies to NEW registrations since the wiki launched. All older users (60,000+) have editing rights no matter how many posts they have.
Nov 1, 2005, 02:52 PM
Maybe a lower post count (10?) coupled with a time delay might be the best option? It would make it harder for someone to persistantly deface the wiki, whilst taking away a lot of pressure for people to make un-needed posts. (if they signed up just to add something useful to the wiki)
Nov 3, 2005, 03:09 AM
Just discovered another Mac wiki...This one at the create-your-own-wiki site of the founders of Wikipedia called Wikicities. The Mac wiki is at http://mac.wikicities.com/wiki/Main_Page
Although it has a ways to go, at least on organization, I was convinced by the reasons such as stated at http://www.wikicities.com/wiki/Why_use_Wikicities%3F#Wiki_of_the_same_topic_elsewhere that this wiki makes sense, in my judgement, to support (particularly given the reasons of being GFDL-based). Since I can't see anything on your site about it being GFDL also, I really think I'm going to go with the Wikicities one.