John_Maxwell_IV comments on Announcing PriorityWiki: A Cause Prioritization Wiki - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 20 June 2018 07:59:10AM *  1 point [-]

I don't think Bitcoin became popular on the strength of its wikis. I also do think that free software projects cannibalizing one another can be harmful, e.g. there was a period where Python had a bunch of serious web frameworks whereas Ruby just had one or two, and I think that was good for the Ruby side because the ecosystem that built up around those one or two was deeper.

Gwern wrote this essay about why non-Wikipedia wikis have a hard time competing with Wikipedia. He recommends using Wikipedia when possible and only falling back on specialized wikis for things Wikipedia won't allow. So that might be a path forwards.

Comment author: gwern 22 June 2018 02:33:10AM *  5 points [-]

Bitcoin definitely didn't become popular because of its wiki. Early on I wanted to contribute to the wiki (I think as part of my DNM work) and I went to register and... you had to pay bitcoins to register. -_- I never did register or edit it, IIRC. And certainly people didn't use it too much aside from early on use of the FAQ.

An EA wiki would be sensible. In this case, while EAers probably spend too little time adding standard factual material to Wikipedia, material like 'cause prioritization' would be poor fits for Wikipedia articles because they necessarily involve lots of Original Research, a specific EA POV, coverage of non-Notable topics and interventions (because if they were already Notable, then they might not be a good use of resources for EA!), etc.

My preference for special-purpose wikis is to try to adopt a two-tier structure where all the factual standard material gets put into Wikipedia, benefiting from the fully-built-out set of encyclopedia articles & editing community & tools & traffic, and then the more controversial, idiosyncratic stuff building on that foundation appears on a special-purpose wiki. But I admit I have no proof that this strategy works in general or would be suitable for a cause-prioritization wiki. (At least one problem is that people won't read the relevant WP article while reading the individual special-purpose wiki, because of the context switch.)