[R] Wikis for R

Detlef Steuer detlef.steuer at hsu-hamburg.de
Fri Jan 6 08:56:53 CET 2006

On Thu, 5 Jan 2006 11:23:04 -0200
"Fernando Henrique Ferraz P. da Rosa" <academic at feferraz.net> wrote:

> Martin Maechler writes:
> >  If you go to the bottom of that wikipedia page,
> >  you see that there is an "R Wiki" -- and has been for several
> >  years now (!) at a Hamburg (De) university.
> >  http://fawn.unibw-hamburg.de/cgi-bin/Rwiki.pl?RwikiHome
> > 
> > (...) 
> > So, are you sure that another R Wiki is desirable, rather than
> > have people who "believe in Wiki's for R" use the existing
> > one(s)?   I believe the main challenge will (similar as for
> > an "R-beginners" mailing list) to have well-qualified "editors"
> > to be willing to review and amend what others have written.
>         IÂ´ve tried to colaborate on the R Wiki hosted by the Hamburg
> university but the Wiki would get regularlly vandalized by some spam
> bot, and then I'd have to manually keep reverting it several times. Also
> the wiki engine used by this wiki is very rudimentary. I think the
> DokuWiki engine, which is used by Philippe Grosjean is more promising as
> a workhorse for an 'official' R-wiki. 

What Fernando says is mostly true. I installed the UseMod Wiki after talking to some of "us" as a test balloon. The engine was chosen according to simplistic installation and a "just-enough" feature set. Perhaps that was a wrong decision. I`m one of the believers in wikis, but mine over here did not fly.

Probably this and any wiki needs a critical mass for visitors beginning to return and collaborate and therein the Hamburg wiki failed. (One day I wanted to take down the wiki for apparently having no users, but just then someone gave some feedback)

As Frank Harrel pointed out, this may be because R-help is just too helpful.
In contrast to Frank I don`t think we should abandon e-mail because of its success. The mailing list is, in my opinion, the single biggest plus R has above all competition.
The wiki should provide something complementary to r-help. Btw. those who do not search for information in the mailing list archives or on CRAN before asking simple questions won't do so in a wiki or in a bulletin board system. (I find those simply unusable. Am I getting old? I want to edit using my favourite editor, not in some browser window.)
A central place for example code was my intention, when opening the wiki back then. 

Back to operating wikis:
The wiki spamming is a serious problem, especially because I HATE to login to read or edit anything. So the choice is: take the wiki as seriously as work and have a look every other day to remove the spam (or better: form a group of volunteers). That hurts or at least is no fun. Or put restrictions on it. That hurts even more. Perhaps I do not understand Philippe`s "loggable". What does a logfile with IPs help? The spammers are strangers selling ******; I don`t want to find them :-)

To sum it up:
There is a very simple way to proceed:
Philippe uses his Docuwiki install  as official, _general_ Rwiki and I close down mine. The beginners will find their niche in there, if there is a real demand. 
I wouldnÂ´t mind to give up "my" wiki, because I have to admit it failed to achieve what I would have liked.

So, Philippe, if you like, you can take over. I would replace my wiki with a notice where to find yours and the community gets a second chance :-)


>         I think that the title could be perhaps changed to Rwiki
> and the contents currently hosted on the Hamburg wiki 'transfered' to 
> the new location, if the current mantainers of the Hamburg Wiki and
> Philippe Grosjean agree (IÂ´m cc-ing this msg to them).
>         This could emerge then as official or semi-oficial R-wiki, to be
> linked to from the R-project home. 
> --
> "Though this be randomness, yet there is structure in't."
>                                            Rosa, F.H.F.P
> Instituto de MatemÃ¡tica e EstatÃ­stica
> Universidade de SÃ£o Paulo
> Fernando Henrique Ferraz P. da Rosa
> http://www.feferraz.net

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