Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (911 mails)

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[opensuse] Wiki as foundation of a community
Back in the day, when I was still someone not entirely lost in the world, I remember having had a personal wiki page on the OpenSUSE wiki.

I had collected some information that was relevant to me and created a personal page, then linked to it from a community page on the same subject, more or less.

Today, really, when I go to the wiki it doesn't seem inviting to me.

It seems badly organized or in any case doesn't invite reading.

I'm sure a lot of work has gone into it and there is probably a wealth of information contained in these pages.

But it seems too BIG to find your way there. I do not know why.

Not straight away.


In this mailing list, the wiki is also never mentioned or linked to, as far as I can tell.



A wiki usually is a place where there's room for individuality. A good wiki invites users to make their own custom personal pages.

If a wiki is just used as "official documentation" then its maintainers are also people in "official positions". But that doesn't create community.



Back in the day, the first internet community in the Netherlands was the /Digital City of Amsterdam/. Under the dds.nl domain, which still operates, but no longer as the same thing, people created houses as part of squares, streets, etc. I never much participated but they also had the first chat rooms in the new internet era that they called "metros" which were refreshing HTML pages.

It was a pretty vibrant community back then.

But such a thing functions because people /can do their own thing/.

It doesn't seem the same is true of OpenSUSE today.

[( Back then I posted some inflammatory opinions on the topic of mp3/dvd codecs being supplied, and the lack of it making life really hard. But it was on my personal page. I am still of the same opinion. People came in though and tried to "make me see the light". I budged, and removed some of the language. Still, I had a place, and there was a way for me to "contribute". )].

Today there seems to be very little room for personal contribution.

Usually people want you to do some kind of work in some kind of official capacity.


When back in the day I was a frequent visitor of that wiki, today I don't care for it at all. And it is not because I have changed. I am still the same person.

We seem to be living in a different world.

So a wiki needs to be a bit messy. The way a real neighbourhood is messy. It can't be perfectly aligned and organized because that means the barrier to entry becomes really high.

The pages can't reside /too deep/ and I think this is the case today a bit, I believe.

The wiki is also just a tiny link at the bottom of a very commercial front page.

A front page the likes of many front pages these days that seem only to be intended for tablet viewing. They are horrible to use on a real computer. These modern day webpages, and their layout, with the BIG IMAGES and the BIG TEXT and you have to SCROLL THE ENTIRE PAGE just to see the NEXT LINE OF TEXt and it is just a flawed concept. It is a broken concept. It doesn't work.

It is pretty but it doesn't work. It is not a website for people to feel at home in. It is really a front page that scares you away: YOU DO NOT WANT TO REVISIT THAT PAGE if you don't have to.

There is probably a lot of blabla going on in the design community as to how wonderful they are, but yeah.


I am saying we have seen a deteroriation compared to what we had in the past.

It is 80% regression and 20% progress.

The front page scares you away, and the wiki is not inviting. That is two main elements of an internet community.

The forums do not really foster community, they are also tightly controlled with a certain marketing goal in mind.

I was more content with OpenSUSE in the past. Maybe 5x more.


Ubuntu.com also has a front page like that, better or more usable than OpenSUSE's, but it still communicates right away: this is NOT a community site where you have your own account. "Community" is a TINY link and when you click on it you see a big crowd but it definitely doesn't feel as a place to feel at home in.



It scares people off and doesn't invite them in. And I am wondering here how many of you have the same feeling? *I* for the life of me cannot change a thing like that. I had no part in its construction, and I could never improve any of it; it is way beyond my control. 'Reading someone else's code is a horror anyway, and improving someone else's product is not a lot of fun'. But certainly what I say today must not come as a suprise, or come across as something alien to more people here?

Does this resonate with anyone?

Regards, Xen.
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