In my case at least, most of what is perceived as "knowledge" is "research skill". I daresay it's similar for most others here.
You read. You understand. You remember - if nothing more than a vague recollection that you read about a subject somewhere, which gives you an idea on where to start looking again (Google keywords, or which book from your bookshelf). You skim the paragraphs again, which revives your memory, and then type the answer.
This is what we are really
talking about when we want to make newcomers into OS dever's that can carry their own weight. I have a feeling that 75-90% of the newcomers aren't really interested in learning about the Intel architecture, i.e. reading the manuals to understand what's going on - they want the result
, just want their code to run "and please don't bother me with too much detail".
I blame it on the media. Too many casting shows.
The Wiki is a resource for "the rest", the kind of non-referencial information that you can't find in the manuals, but which puts it all together.
I strongly believe that the "old" view of the Wiki ("Expanded View") is better, because it gives you somewhat of a "roadmap" as well as a better overview of what is available from the Wiki. It's more like a book with chapters. This view was what drove development of the Wiki contents over at mega-tokyo.com, which has been frantic for some times, but has fallen into neglect pretty much since we got the new Wiki. I feel that the new "categorized" view doesn't give a good impression of the available information, and doesn't really inspire people to "click around" and/or extend the contents.
Another drawback of the new Wiki structure, or so I feel, is the use of MediaWiki. It's a very good framework, don't get me wrong, but it carries the Wikipedia legacy. One point in case is that the "Recent Changes" page isn't that prominently linked. On Wikipedia, that page is utterly useless. For OSDev.org, it's the second most-important page after the Forum board index: It tells you what is new, or has been changed. Either way, you have a look at it, correct typos, start a discussion, whatever. Looking at "Recent Changes" is what drives a Wiki like ours.
Another, more subtle, effect is that MediaWiki looks so "finished", with its polished looks, discussion page and all, that you feel you shouldn't touch the contents. I very much liked the "hacked" look of PhpWiki (not the framework, which sucked, but the look
), because it screamed "construction site, come and join the work".My suggestions:
- Scrap the Wiki "Short View" or put it into a subpage, and make the "Expanded View" the default again.
- Create a header block that links "Recent Changes", "Orphaned Pages", and "Wanted Pages" as well as the "Wish List".
- Somehow tinker with the theme layouts so the forum header "screams" the Wiki at you. IMNSHO, the Wiki should be the primary focus, with the forum coming a clear second.
Being active in the forums is good. Being active in the Wiki would be even better. That's for both technical information and
the more linguistical inclined. The former put the information in there, the latter give it polish and structure (WikiGnomes