Wiki for Clerks

Use this forum to discuss issues that are not found in any of the other clerk and stake technology specialist forums.
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aebrown
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Wiki for Clerks

Postby aebrown » Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:52 am

This forum is a wonderful resource for clerks. Aside from the obvious problem that hardly anyone knows about it, the information posted is helpful and generally accurate; when it's not accurate, there is sufficient wisdom and experience present to quickly set the record straight.

However, a forum is not a great repository for knowledge, as it makes no pretense of gathering and organizing information. Some sort of knowledge base would be much better for that. There are basically two options:
1. A knowledge base or encyclopedia with content supplied wholly by the Church. This has the virtue of being authoritative, but I suspect it will never happen because the amount of work involved is tremendous and the Church very understandably has higher priorities.
2. A wiki with content supplied by clerks. In my opinion the wiki should be sponsored by the Church, similar to www.familysearchwiki.org, but the bulk of the content would be supplied by the clerk community.

A wiki was proposed in this forum by Mr. Techno (http://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?t=629), but no one picked up the thought. For any wiki to succeed, it needs a critical mass of contributors. I have no illusions that this would be the case immediately, but I firmly believe we could get to that point.

Is there any hope that a wiki for clerks could get started? I would pledge to make significant efforts to help it succeed.

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aebrown
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LDSClerks Wiki

Postby aebrown » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:37 am

Some of you are familiar with the LDSClerks newsgroup, started by Kent Larsen. It's been a rather active newsgroup for several years. A couple of years ago, Kent added a companion wiki, located at http://www.mormonstoday.com/ldsclerks/index.php.

There was a flurry of activity on the wiki for a few months, and I had hopes that it would really take off. However, it has failed. It pains me to say that, as I devoted dozens of hours to the effort, and I know several other people did as well. But hopefully we can learn from that. Here is my analysis as to why it failed.

1. Lack of administration. Although contributors can do much, there has to be an administrative presence. Although I laud Kent Larsen's efforts in many areas, he has inexplicably completely ignored the wiki, which gradually started having database errors and other problems that needed to be fixed, but weren't, despite repeated pleas for help. As of today, the site is not even accessible.
2. Lack of operational principles. Wikipedia succeeds because there are policies and procedures that the community enforces, and there are enough sysops and bureaucrats to make it happen. the LDSClerks wiki never spread around any administrative authority to anyone besides Kent, so there was a single point of failure.
3. Insufficient critical mass. Although there were eventually 30 or so users, there were only 4-6 who made contributions of any signficance. A wiki needs more than that. But I have hopes that an effort under the direction of the Church would be more likely to achieve a critical mass.
4. Contributions accepted from the public. I firmly believe that a clerks' wiki should require login for contributions so that we can know who is making the contributions. Related to this is the problem with spam contributions, which was a major problem with the LDSClerks wiki -- it's a real downer to be trying to move the work of the Lord forward, only to see pages filled with pornographic links.

If there is a new Clerks' Wiki effort that gets started, I hope we can prevail upon Kent to at least make the content available for transfer. It would be a pity to waste all that effort.

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cottrells
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Postby cottrells » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:28 am

I agree with all that Alan posted. Forums have a place in learning and sharing experiences, but a well structured repository of good articles would be of great benefit to the many clerks serving in what I see as one of the most technically challenging callings in the church.

I think that Kent's ldsclerks wiki may just be temporarily unavailable as he has posted to his mailing list that he is migrating servers today. However I like the idea of having a wiki as a companion to these forums. A wiki would carry more weight if it was hosted on church servers, even if it was made clear that it was information posted from the perspective of wider community of LDS clerks.

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opee
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Postby opee » Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:16 am

Maybe the wiki for clerks takes the place of "troubleshooting articles", FAQ, and other need-to-know items that are not in the Handbook of Instructions, but are currently posted on the Clerk and Technology Support website.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:01 pm

cottrells wrote:I think that Kent's ldsclerks wiki may just be temporarily unavailable as he has posted to his mailing list that he is migrating servers today.


Yes, his is. And taking steps to deal with the spam that's been in the Wiki.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:39 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Yes, he is. And taking steps to deal with the spam that's been in the Wiki.


That's nice to know, but the fact remains that the LDSClerks wiki has been completely neglected by both Kent Larsen and any contributors for months. Perhaps on the new server with the spam problem fixed it may be revitalized, but I still think it's pretty much dead.

Thus I would very much like to have a Church-administered wiki for clerks.

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:29 am

Yes, I'm guilty as well. I find it much easier to answer a specific question than to write an article. Part of it may be that a question requires a timely answer, an article is done when I find some spare time (spare time? Is that anything like spare money?)

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:34 am

Regarding spam, having submissions from only logged-in users is a start, but is it possible to use moderators to approve each submission? To ease the burden on the mods, you could have a weighted ranking for each user where something like 3 positive submissions would allow them to bypass moderator approval for future submissions.

Just a thought I had.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:13 am

A Wiki is something we would like to provide on this web site. We are working on approvals to do so.

Tom

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fergie34-p40
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Postby fergie34-p40 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:07 pm

I don't think the problem is wiki, FAQ, Forums or any other format. I have been a clerk for some 4 years and I only found out about this forum last week on a fluke. I think if some kind of memo was sent to all the units we would see more usage. In the last week I have found answers to many things, not just for clerks. Information is a good thing only if people know how to find it.


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