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Re: More thoughts on Encyclopedia

From: Thomas Anderson <thomas.anderson@u...>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 14:57:37 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: More thoughts on Encyclopedia

On Thu, 28 Jan 1999, Jeremy Sadler wrote:

> 1. Editor/Project Manager

i think jerry han is the emerging figure. anyone have any objections?

> Perhaps one person is not the best thing.

i think we need one person right at the top (in the same way that the
archbishop of canterbury is at the top of the church; the monarch is
really the top, but not in operational matters. i think jon t is sort of
assumed to somehow be at the top in some nebulous and non-invasive way),
but we could certainly have a board-of-directors plus employees model.
if jerry is editor-in-chief, we should have a couple of other editors. i
would suggest one each from the usa, the uk and oz/nz (jerry is
canadian). i've no real idea why. or maybe one each from the ft, ds2 and
sg subcommunities.

> This is an immense responsibility
> and would probably require a large amount of time.

delegation is the key here.

> 2. Content
> As someone said (and I paraphrase) "let's boot this thing!" Some
people have
> been firing URLs to the list of their ideas for headings/logos etc.
> this is good, I firmly believe at this time we need to be developing

absolutely. all of those of you playing with psp, stop now! start making
lists of urls and writing paragraph-length descriptions. someone start
figuring out overall architectures.

mmm, architecture. i think someone has proposed a three-volume
organisation. i would expand it as follows:

1	Current Affairs
	a	atlas
	b	gazetteer
	c	international relations

2	History
	a	general history
	b	battles

3	Military Organisation
	a	navy
	b	army

note that the kv and sv count as nations for this purpose. the
explanation would be do do it on a per-country basis:

1	Ruritania
	a	Current Affairs
		i	location
		ii	description
		iii	relations
	b	history
		i	general history
		ii	battles
	c	military
		i	navy
		ii	army

2	New Babylon ...


the best thing to do would be to support both - these are really just
ways of looking at the information. we could make each section (at the 
level of "general history") a separate page (usually with pages linked
it), and then provide two sets of index pages, one from a category point

of view, one from a nation point of view.

i should imagine that many people will want to keep the bulk of the info
on their own site - it would be a pain if every single update went
the 'pedia. the pedia should maintain stable info, and point to the home
website for that info. for instance, the entry under "New Roman
Empire"/"Navy" will probably have a word or two on general organisation
(high space fleet, sector fleets, system defence fleets, use a lot of
SMLs), and a link to john atkinson's site for fuller info.

which reminds me - the entries on a nation (some of them, anyway) should
be written by persons other than the nation's stakeholder (this is to
cut down on propaganda; no offence, john! :-).

if people have a stable setup, they can submit the lot and it will be
maintained at the 'pedia. if people have no web space of their own, the
'pedia can host it for them.

> The writing can be the default font with default colours for all I
> care (which is probably better, considering the wide variety of end

this is a particularly good point - we need to keep this as plain as
possible for now. i propose page approval be conditional on html
validation by the world wide web consortium; they have an automatic
validator at:

which we can use to check the syntax. i'd be obsessive and say we always

use the maximum strictness and require total compliance, including with
weblint-pedantic's advice. this means doctype statements and everything.

i suggest we use html 3.2; html 4.0 is not yet widely enough adopted to
much use, and most people can handle 3.2. as far as possible, we should
restrict ourself to core html elements which will be readable by older
browsers too.

> 3. Hosting
> I've had a major rethink on this. Distributed hosting is a no-no. It
> be a logistical nightmare. Mirrors yes. Distributed hosting no.

agreed. we should have one main site, and periodically take snapshots
archive them around the world, so if we get lossage due to isp failure,
user error, destruction of continent by meteorite impact, we can restore
the master. mirrors are good, too. we will need rigorous timestamping
versioning. i propose a three-digit versioning system:

major - rewrite (eg NI fleet doctrine goes from stealth to speed)
minor - revision (eg NI escorts redefined as scouts not attackers)
micro - correction (eg "escort" changed to "light ship")

so 2.5.3 is the third correction of the fifth revision of the second
rewrite. versioning should be centrally tracked. when in doubt about
field to increment on an update, roll the larger. whenever a field goes
up, all the fields after it go to zero, so it goes 2.3.2, 2.4.0, 2.4.1,
2.4.2, 2.5.0; all fields should start at zero (including the major
version!), so all versions start at 0.0.0.

timestamps should be in GMT or include a timezone. if they could use rfc
1123 formatting, that would be ideal.

we need a mail address where everything can be dumped; not someone's
active address, as it would get overloaded, but either something set up
somewhere someone has some leverage with the postmaster (ie, a
or a webmail account. we can use this to collect management mail from
web hosts, submissions from authors, feedback, bug reports, notification
of version changes, questions, etc. the editors should all have the
password and have some sort of rota/scheme for checking it. nothing
ever be deleted, just filed. this gives us the ability to search back
info that gets lost. the mailbox could get very full, so we'd need to be
able to pull out the old mails and stash them somewhere.

> To summarise:
> Two or three Head People. Content first, presentation second. Hosting
in one
> place.

agreed. i've chucked most of these mails, but as soon as they show up in
the archive, we should fish out all the official-like stuff to form the
nucleus of the GZGPedia Charter.


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