Sunday, February 8, 2009

First Move

Having done a little poking around, I've settled on a plan for the first change of venue. Three criteria: I like the wiki format, I like using a code base I can examine, and I like the idea of having someone host it privately. If we haven't got a new forum by the time I get around to it, my plan of record is to create a UseModWiki and find a place to host it.

I have an idea for the first technical project: separate the anonymous/non-anonymous people, so that visitors can choose which they want (the default would be non-anonymous). Technically:

  1. Find a wiki that uses file system storage, or modify one to do so.
  2. Use git behind the scenes to synchronize the versions.
  3. Use a cookie to loosely bind to a name. If you lose your cookie, you get shunted over to the anonymous variant until someone brings you back over.
  4. Use robots.txt to deny access by search engines to the anonymous version.

I haven't worked out all the details, but it seems like it might be a nice way to deter much of the vandalism with very little on-going maintenance.



  1. Two wikis that use file system storage are ikiwiki and gitit.

  2. Wow -- both can use git storage. gitit can also display mathematics, which may be useful for gowers group. I'm particularly interested in gitit becuase it's written in Haskell.

  3. I'm trying gitit on for size.

  4. One thing I really like about UseModWiki is that it's so easy to set up -- it depends only on perl. gitit is much higher-tech, and unfortunately it shows in its difficulty of installation. It's probably much easier with a standard linux distribution, but all I have here at home is MacOS, and the amount of debugging I'll have to do to get it running before I can start playing with it is annoying.

    One interesting note: gitit currently has 2113 lines of code, while UseModWiki has 5174. Score one for Haskell!

  5. You might try Oddmuse instead of Usemod -- it is extensible and more actively maintained. And it's only 4003 lines. (: