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Thread: eScouts Wiki

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    eScouts Wiki

    Seeing as nobody else seems to have suggested this, I'd like to make it known that I intend to build an Wiki using free hosting.

    I'd be really grateful if Richard would provide links to the Wiki - when it's built - from the eScouts community pages and encourage people to post.

    Before I sign up for hosting, would this be a worthwhile cause or am I wasting my time? Post back if you're interested and we'll discuss...

    A Wiki - known as BPWiki - does currently exist on my Explorer Scout Unit's website at http://78.129.142.25/~longhorna1/wiki, however, if it grows, I'll soon run out of disk space - which is why I'm moving the gallery from the server to Flickr: to conserve disk space for a rainy day...

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    Andrew for a Escouts Wiki to be created, it has to go via the team, as it would be a Escouts project on our server.

    A simple search here would point you to this thread:

    http://www.escouts.org.uk/forum/show...highlight=wiki

    It is being done by someone else, not under the Escouts banner or hosting.

    I am still unclear what it is trying to achieve, other than duplicate what already is available.

    But if you have a clearer aim for a Escouts wiki project, I can run it by the team. But it would have to be pretty focussed, to convince the team of the point

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    Aims

    • To create a one-stop resource for all things Scouting: instead of trawling through forum posts, would it not be easier just to use MediaWiki's search feature to pull up a page on a topic? That way, topics can be condensed and expanded at will and duplicate topics won't be made as often. For example, there's lots of topics on here about the same things: a Wiki page would grab them all together and make them neatly available.
    • To act as an encyclopedia of Scouting for the general public and Scouts alike. Say, for example, someone was wanting the history of kneckers and why we wear them, a Wiki page could be pulled up about the history of kneckers.
    Ideas

    • A Scout group directory (yes - there's the SID, but it's crap to say the least: everything requires going through Gilwell before it's added and it's harder to use than a Wiki) for the UK would be useful. For example, organise it by County, District and Group and list Sections in particular groups and include weblinks. Far easier to use than the SID. A quick bit of PHP coding could make the search system in MediaWiki exclude the directory completely, so that the results aren't clogged up with directory listings, so valid, useful content is harder to find. A second search system could be implemented over the Directory to just search Directory listings and could include multi-criteria search (eg County + District + Section) would show all the listings in a particular district in a specified county for a particular section. Extremely useful for outsiders of the Scout Assn.
    What makes the Wiki different from projects such as ScoutHelp.co.uk?

    Whereas ScoutHelp.co.uk is predominantly a help and tutorial websites relating to common Scouting activities, the Scout Wiki would primarily be based upon the traditions, history and facts involving Scouting and what we believe and do. Links to the ScoutHelp.co.uk project could easily be included in WikiML and so the two resources could complement each other. ScoutHelp.co.uk could remain practical-based and eScouts Wiki could remain fact-based.

    The eScouts Wiki for example would contain information on why we wear kneckers and the history behind them. The ScoutHelp.co.uk site could help by explaining what you can do with kneckers (there's a million-and-one reasons, but I'm sure you can guess them... bandage... blindfold... triangular sling etc...). Both sites could link with each other.

    Merger Possibilities

    If a merger was decided, it's extremely easy to merge both Wikis. The redundant Wiki - most likely the smallest - would be exported along with the MySQL or Oracle database associated with it to a different server location, and then imported via MediaWiki's configuration system to make the two wikis merge under one roof. A new domain could be bought, or a subdomain setup, to create a new name for the Wiki and the existing domains could act as redirecters.

    How would an eScout Wiki boost eScouts' brand image?
    • More web hits for the eScouts brand - possible larger bandwith cost, but more page views. Therefore:
    • More results in web searches for eScouts. Therefore, more viewers, so greater chance to earn money. Therefore:
    • Chance to include web advertisements relating to Scouting to earn money - we're a non-profit, after all! Therefore:
    • eScouts can make mark on the Scouting world by provide whole- or part-funding for Scouting projects. Therefore:
    • eScouts can become recognised as a global brand and more products and services can be made available. Therefore:
    • eScouts is an international brand, recognised by NGOs and the WoSM. Eventually, therefore:
    • Hosting and domain fees may be paid for by the WoSM or an NGO.
    I'll add more as I think of them, but that's a start!
    Last edited by alanghorn; 01-01-2008 at 11:11 PM.

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    Escouts Team & System Dev Magician's Avatar
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    Why not just add all the content you want to ScoutHelp?

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    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanghorn View Post
    Aims


    • To create a one-stop resource for all things Scouting: instead of trawling through forum posts, would it not be easier just to use MediaWiki's search feature to pull up a page on a topic? That way, topics can be condensed and expanded at will and duplicate topics won't be made as often. For example, there's lots of topics on here about the same things: a Wiki page would grab them all together and make them neatly available.
    • To act as an encyclopedia of Scouting for the general public and Scouts alike. Say, for example, someone was wanting the history of kneckers and why we wear them, a Wiki page could be pulled up about the history of kneckers.
    Ideas


    • A Scout group directory (yes - there's the SID, but it's crap to say the least: everything requires going through Gilwell before it's added and it's harder to use than a Wiki) for the UK would be useful. For example, organise it by County, District and Group and list Sections in particular groups and include weblinks. Far easier to use than the SID. A quick bit of PHP coding could make the search system in MediaWiki exclude the directory completely, so that the results aren't clogged up with directory listings, so valid, useful content is harder to find. A second search system could be implemented over the Directory to just search Directory listings and could include multi-criteria search (eg County + District + Section) would show all the listings in a particular district in a specified county for a particular section. Extremely useful for outsiders of the Scout Assn.
    What makes the Wiki different from projects such as ScoutHelp.co.uk?

    Whereas ScoutHelp.co.uk is predominantly a help and tutorial websites relating to common Scouting activities, the Scout Wiki would primarily be based upon the traditions, history and facts involving Scouting and what we believe and do. Links to the ScoutHelp.co.uk project could easily be included in WikiML and so the two resources could complement each other. ScoutHelp.co.uk could remain practical-based and eScouts Wiki could remain fact-based.

    The eScouts Wiki for example would contain information on why we wear kneckers and the history behind them. The ScoutHelp.co.uk site could help by explaining what you can do with kneckers (there's a million-and-one reasons, but I'm sure you can guess them... bandage... blindfold... triangular sling etc...). Both sites could link with each other.

    Merger Possibilities

    If a merger was decided, it's extremely easy to merge both Wikis. The redundant Wiki - most likely the smallest - would be exported along with the MySQL or Oracle database associated with it to a different server location, and then imported via MediaWiki's configuration system to make the two wikis merge under one roof. A new domain could be bought, or a subdomain setup, to create a new name for the Wiki and the existing domains could act as redirecters.

    How would an eScout Wiki boost eScouts' brand image?
    • More web hits for the eScouts brand - possible larger bandwith cost, but more page views. Therefore:
    • More results in web searches for eScouts. Therefore, more viewers, so greater chance to earn money. Therefore:
    • Chance to include web advertisements relating to Scouting to earn money - we're a non-profit, after all! Therefore:
    • eScouts can make mark on the Scouting world by provide whole- or part-funding for Scouting projects. Therefore:
    • eScouts can become recognised as a global brand and more products and services can be made available. Therefore:
    • eScouts is an international brand, recognised by NGOs and the WoSM. Eventually, therefore:
    • Hosting and domain fees may be paid for by the WoSM or an NGO.
    I'll add more as I think of them, but that's a start!
    Andrew
    This has been submitted for consideration to the Escouts Team

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magician View Post
    Why not just add all the content you want to ScoutHelp?
    This wouldn't enhance the eScouts image - and, therefore, we'd lose web traffic to places like ScoutHelp. Doing this actually reduces the effectiveness of the eScouts brand image and, so, the hosting costs would be more expensive in relation to hits recieved to the site. Although we have a large user base, we have nowhere near the user base that other sites such as cnet.com and Microsoft get. To them, losing three hundred people to another site is nothing - they've got another two million users. To us, losing three hundred users, is a hell of a lot.

    By enhancing content on ScoutHelp.co.uk, we'd actually be "digging our own grave", so to speak, for the aforementioned reasons.

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    Escouts Team & System Dev Magician's Avatar
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    But if I want to find something on Escouts, I use the search, and if I cant find it, I post and ask. I feel this work's better than a wiki.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magician View Post
    But if I want to find something on Escouts, I use the search, and if I cant find it, I post and ask. I feel this work's better than a wiki.
    Yes - you post and ask. But, what if we could pool everyone's data in to organised topics?

    Also, we'd need to require registration. Now come on, have you registered to an obscure site just ask for a date, name or location? That'd annoy users and our registration base would stay the same. By providing a Wiki, although we don't gain many more users, we'd gain more web traffic, and systems such as Google PageRank and A9 Alexa would see us as up-and-coming and rank us higher.

    Did you know that one of the original Google slogans, before "I'm Feeling Lucky" - yes, that's the official slogan, albeit unsed - was "If you can't find it, Google it." Well, what if Google couldn't find it? Then you're up the Clyde on a banana boat...! That'd mean trawling through books to find answers, spending valuable time to find one date.

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    the web is full of

    1) pages that reproduce info that is available elsewhere and in greater detail We are all used to google and can look up a campfire song, a widegame or a campsite's contact info without a central resource

    2) dead pages. a scouting wiki would need a large team.

    i would suggest you go no further...

    can you do a campfire page without stealing the songs?

    can you do better than pine tree web for old scouting stuff?

    can you produce better than SiD without making alot of people very angry. My data is on SiD coz i want it there. My other leaders have no desire to be on there. If they discovered you'd published their data they'd be v unimpressed.

    can you produce better info on scout skills than the Scout Assoc.'s Fact Sheets? Seriously, they are excellent.

    can you produce better games lists than a quick google search of "scout games"

    can you produce a better programme resource than POL?

    I Doubt you can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    the web is full of

    1) pages that reproduce info that is available elsewhere and in greater detail We are all used to google and can look up a campfire song, a widegame or a campsite's contact info without a central resource
    Fair point: but a central resource would make it so much easier, wouldn't it? For example...

    Cub SL: Hey, we're doing a Cub camp down south somewhere... any campsite recommendations?

    Group SL: Hmm - erm... well, there's XXXX in YYYY

    Cub SL: Oh, yeah: got contact details for them?

    Group SL: No - not been there for years. Would be nice to go back. Why don't you check out the eScouts Wiki?

    Cub SL: The what?!

    Group SL: www.escouts.org.uk/wiki - it's a one-stop repository for everything Scouting!

    Cub SL: Oh, thanks... I'll look XXXX in YYYY up later!

    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post

    2) dead pages. a scouting wiki would need a large team.
    Hey - did I forget to introduce ourselves... we're eScouts! Also, what's the Scout Promise...?! Oh yeah:

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/6to25/scout/intro.htm

    To help other people
    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post

    i would suggest you go no further...

    can you do a campfire page without stealing the songs?
    Most campfire songs are in the public domain - and copyright runs out after 30 years for written materials... so copyrighted songs are also in the public domain
    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    can you do better than pine tree web for old scouting stuff?
    Although PineTreeWeb is an excellent resource, it's centrally-edited. Therefore, we can't share random bits of trivia which we know with PTW without contacting the editor: a Wiki would enable us to add the trivia immediately!

    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    can you produce better than SiD without making alot of people very angry. My data is on SiD coz i want it there. My other leaders have no desire to be on there. If they discovered you'd published their data they'd be v unimpressed.
    A quick PHP form could be used as registration. And it wouldn't list leaders - just group names and contact email addresses. There's no obligation to be on there: it's just more organised than SID, and it's faster to load, too - seeing as it's primarily a text-based page that the directory would be stored on.



    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    can you produce better info on scout skills than the Scout Assoc.'s Fact Sheets? Seriously, they are excellent.
    Introducing hyperlinks - the Scout Info Centre allows use of factsheets for bona-fide Scouting purposes, as long as they're linked to SBUK and not copied, so that information is up to date.



    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    can you produce better games lists than a quick google search of "scout games"
    Maybe I can't - but a central resource for games would be a good idea: instead of ten sites listing the same games with one difference, a whole Wiki category called Games could be created and duplicates wouldn't be found...

    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    can you produce a better programme resource than POL?
    Nope: but that's not what the Wiki would be used for!

    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    I Doubt you can.
    Let's see what the team have to say...
    Last edited by alanghorn; 01-01-2008 at 11:46 PM.

  11. #11
    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    the web is full of

    1) pages that reproduce info that is available elsewhere and in greater detail We are all used to google and can look up a campfire song, a widegame or a campsite's contact info without a central resource

    2) dead pages. a scouting wiki would need a large team.

    i would suggest you go no further...

    can you do a campfire page without stealing the songs?

    can you do better than pine tree web for old scouting stuff?

    can you produce better than SiD without making alot of people very angry. My data is on SiD coz i want it there. My other leaders have no desire to be on there. If they discovered you'd published their data they'd be v unimpressed.

    can you produce better info on scout skills than the Scout Assoc.'s Fact Sheets? Seriously, they are excellent.

    can you produce better games lists than a quick google search of "scout games"

    can you produce a better programme resource than POL?

    I Doubt you can.
    Personally I agree. Though it is up to the team.

    We consider projects on their merits, and I wasnt convinced by Scouthelp I'm still not. I see information that has just been copied and pasted from Scoutbase or factsheets. I'd prefer people found that information at the official sites, or were say given a link here.

    Programmes Online is a excellent resource, and my Backpack is getting there. There are a lot of excellent resources. Some we pay for, via membership fees, some people put together, such as the flying pigs songbook http://www.flyingpigs.org.uk/index.shtml

    We are aware of the pull of the Escouts brand, in marketing speak. But we are in this position because we are not trying to make profit. We all get support as a community as people volunteer their time, and the Escouts team make the odd decision to keep the community gelling.

    Anyway the team may think its a great idea, we'll see.

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    Okay - well, for the record: it's an idea I'm passionate about. Just another point for the team: coud we not make the Wiki and see if it's being used with a review after a few weeks/months by an independent group of reviewers? If so, continue it. If not, fair enough, scrap it.

    Also... Richard, you've just said that you see ScoutHelp's copied data - yes, that's wrong because it's not current! Hyperlinking to the pages/PDFs in question means info. is current as provided by Gilwell.
    Last edited by alanghorn; 01-01-2008 at 11:52 PM.

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    Senior Member Jamez1's Avatar
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    On the subject of Wikis, I just wondered if anyone had previously thought of a Wiki to do with the Escouts hosting. I dont think it would be very big, but could contain information relating to hosting, creating websites, pages about how to use the different email programs available etc. Just containing information that webmasters using Escouts may require.
    I understand that most of the pages would probably be covered elsewhere on the web, but this need not be as in depth as a Wikipedia artice on Joomla for example.

    Just thought about this but couldn't remember seeing anything like it already.
    What do you think?

    Sorry if this is deviating from the main topic of this thread, i'll make a new post if you like
    Last edited by Jamez1; 02-01-2008 at 12:04 AM.
    James

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    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanghorn View Post
    Aims

    • To create a one-stop resource for all things Scouting: instead of trawling through forum posts, would it not be easier just to use MediaWiki's search feature to pull up a page on a topic? That way, topics can be condensed and expanded at will and duplicate topics won't be made as often. For example, there's lots of topics on here about the same things: a Wiki page would grab them all together and make them neatly available.
    • To act as an encyclopedia of Scouting for the general public and Scouts alike. Say, for example, someone was wanting the history of kneckers and why we wear them, a Wiki page could be pulled up about the history of kneckers.
    • I can see what you want to do, however, why does using a search feature on MediaWiki help? why is that easier - copying the data over, effectively posting it twice - then just going to the forum search and getting the thread that way? Your second one has been there done that many many times by many many people. even Wikipedia are working on their data! why would we want to compete with that? or repeat data already said elsewhere?
    Ideas
    • A Scout group directory (yes - there's the SID, but it's crap to say the least: everything requires going through Gilwell before it's added and it's harder to use than a Wiki) for the UK would be useful. For example, organise it by County, District and Group and list Sections in particular groups and include weblinks. Far easier to use than the SID. A quick bit of PHP coding could make the search system in MediaWiki exclude the directory completely, so that the results aren't clogged up with directory listings, so valid, useful content is harder to find. A second search system could be implemented over the Directory to just search Directory listings and could include multi-criteria search (eg County + District + Section) would show all the listings in a particular district in a specified county for a particular section. Extremely useful for outsiders of the Scout Assn.
    • again been done (twice by TSA!!!) - what is wrong with SiD? does exactly the function you want it to do?!?! and MyBackpack is coming along very well! soon will be a great resource!
    Although PineTreeWeb is an excellent resource, it's centrally-edited. Therefore, we can't share random bits of trivia which we know with PTW without contacting the editor: a Wiki would enable us to add the trivia immediately!
    why is adding trivia to a forum any different to adding it to a wiki? how are you going to confirm that Joe Bloggs, who has no knowledge of scouting, knows what he is talking about when he posts about X, Y or Z? moderate it maybe? in effect making it centrally edited? the problem with a wiki is also the point of the wiki! it can be edited by anyone!

    As for campsite directory, there is one from TSA, but also many other good ones eg http://www.glswscouts.org.uk/campsites/search

    Something that is mentioned when projects like this come up over and over again is that there is no point re-inventing the wheel! if the information is out there, google will pick it up, and just because it is on the Escouts:Wiki will not make it better ranked or easier to get to!

    Just my humble opinions!

  15. #15
    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    The majority of the Escouts Team has condisered the wiki idea. We have decided to reject your suggestion of a Escouts Wiki.

    We do what we can to reduce duplication and make Escouts a one stop shop, but our power and influence is limited. In any case, we only have that influence because of the way that this community has been built up, because of the ethos we have had for the last nearly 7 years.

    Your points regarding searching links etc, are being addressed in the systems that we have upcoming and in the next version of vbulletin 3.7 which is in beta, and will be released fully quite soon.

    http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?t=249460

    We have not decided exactly what features we will implement, when it is fully released.

    There are over 57,000 fully indexed posts on this forum which can be looked at via our search link or google etc.

    As for resources, Programmes Online is an excellent resource, not just because of the coding, but the resources directly available from it.

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