Thursday, May 21, 2009

Revisiting wiki search and cleanup - Part 1

The short version:

how can you - a Fedora contributor - assist in making the wiki more useful for everyone?
1. Archive old pages so they do not appear in a default search.
2. Move all meeting minutes and irc logs to the Meeting namespace.
3. Move all user pages to the User namespace


The long version (and the answer to Why me?):


As the release of Fedora 11 approaches a variety of housecleaning occurs. Rawhide becomes the working location for F12. Fedora 9 gets marked as end of life and all the bugs in bugzilla get noted as "wontfix, please open against a newer version if issue persists." The Docs Project will review the Release Notes process, archive old notes, and setup for F12.

This seems like a good time to revisit the state of the wiki and particularly the issue of search is borked. A lot of progress has been made to assist users and contributors with finding information in the wiki. The backend database settings were changed so that 3 letter words - like F11 and git - would be indexed. The fonts teams and feature pages show nice use of categories to track progress. Ambassadors and Marketing have been culling old information and grouping event information. Docs Project and Packaging have also made great strides in categorizing and renaming pages. I probably should not have tried to point out good example as I am sure I have missed others.

Yet when I search for a page recently created I still have to sort through many many extra hits. The newest pages of equal relevance are listed LAST. For my search for the release announcement for F11 my target was hit 7 of 7. Searching "F11 feature" on the other hand finds 127 hits with the default display of 20 hits per page. This makes it harder to find a new page. These 127 hits also include a number of irc logs and meeting minutes.

This doesn't seem useful for active contributors let alone attracting new users.

Changing the sort order to newest first may be an option, and Ian is looking at some other options this summer. Meanwhile: how can you - a Fedora contributor - assist in making the wiki more useful for everyone?

1. Archive old pages so they do not appear in a default search.
2. Move all meeting minutes and irc logs to the Meeting namespace.
3. Move all user pages to the User namespace.


Why this will help:


The default search only searches the "main" space.



If everyone that hosts meetings was to ensure that all the meeting minutes and meeting logs are in the Meeting namespace that would reduce a lot of hits right there. There are about 100 pages of Board/Meetings/$DATE and that is just one team. Also, if all the FC5 and FC6 related pages and other older feature pages and even the older FWN pages were in Archive they also would not be found with a generic "gnome" or "kde" search.

Q: What if you need to find those minutes or those old feature pages?
A: Use the advanced search and add "Meeting" or "Archive" to your search locations. Also the pages can be grouped together in a category that can then be browsed.

Q: I search for various meetings almost everyday. Will I always be using advanced search?
A: That is fine. OR: Log in and modify your account settings so that "Meeting" is part of your default search when you are logged into the wiki.

Q: Doesn't Archive mean delete?
A: No. There is a separate procedure for requesting a page to be deleted. Simply moving a page to Archive is a good way to take it out of the default search but still keep it in existence for legacy SIGs or historical purposes.

Q: Why me?
A: There are plenty of pages to move. It doesn't take long to move 5-10 pages. If 100 contributors each moved 10 pages in the next week that would be a HUGE chunk of cleanup. Start with pages related to a project or team that you work on or if you have been around awhile, start with an old project and look for pages to Archive. If a few team members move the meetings pages they can also clean up any "how to host a meeting" procedures as well.

Next time: Using "Special Pages" to find pages to move, pages to categorize, and categories to use.

Meanwhile, start at my notes on wiki cleanup page.

-SML

2 comments:

pfrields said...

Great blog Susan -- and you'll be happy to know I'm taking on the task of moving all the Board Meeting pages to the Meeting: namespace, to reduce clutter that we're currently causing! :-)

SML said...

Thanks Paul!

and I see you have now done at least most of the work.

Now I need to find a new example for Part 2 ...

-SML