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Wikitype Knowledge Base - let's create one from previous posts in the forums
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Oct 23, 2006

G'day everyone

Following a question in the thread http://www.proz.com/topic/58060.

Let's create a knowledge base in the shape of a FAQ, of which the contents is mined from previous posts in the forums. Such a gigantic FAQ would be a good guide especially for new translators with common questions. I suggest the following:

* The FAQ I envisage is a wiki which can be edited by any Proz.com member or user (yes, also users, who often contribute to the forums freely).
* The format of the FAQ is question-answer. This means that every wiki page is named after a common question, and the page itself contains the answer as given in the forums.
* The questions can be sorted into categories, as any wiki site is.
* Initially one could simply give links to forum threads, but eventually the content of the thread must be summarised and put on the wiki page.
* Initially (say, the first year or two) all content must be mined or summarised from existing forum posts, and the URL of the thread must be given (so that answerers can get at least some credit, and so that anyone can check the accuracy of the reproduction of the content).

As in the wikipedia, anyone would be able to start a new page with a question and populate it with some answers from the forums. Moderators can then sort the questions into categories, and when duplicates are noticed, they can be merged). I'm not sure if we should decide beforehand on which categories for questions there should be, or first start with a flat structure and see where it leads us.

Your comments?


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-10-23 19:16]


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Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
Spanish to Dutch
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Nice, where do apply for a Wiki-team? Oct 23, 2006

Good call there! It will provide a more interactive way to obtain, modify and enter information. Not only on getting started, but on other stuff as well.

Information will be more easily retrieved and displayed in a much more structured way.

http://wiki.proz.com/ here we come!


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:08
English to French
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I had a similar idea Oct 23, 2006

However, I wasn't as quick as you in finding the perfect way to do it

Your idea is awesome! A Wiki on translation/freelancing would help new and seasoned pros alike - and honestly, it would fix many other problems on this site that we are not going to get into here (wink wink *forum search* nudge nudge).

I am up for it! Ask for help whenever you need it. I can already imagine an looong article on rates taking shape... We would finally not be bothered anymore on questions like how to use Trados with PDFs. Yay!

I hereby invite all users in this thread to simply vote on this. If you're not in the mood to discuss, please simply state whether you like the idea and whether you would be likely to help at one point or another.

Cheers!

Forgot to say: I think the structure should first be a clone of the forum subjects, but with some stuff modified from the beginning on. For example, the money matters section should be divided up into categories like getting paid, rates, banking issues and taxes. If on our way we see a need for adding/modifying categories, we'll do that as we go. Otherwise, what you are proposing makes a lot of sense. But I would maybe start out with knowledge base articles and add forum posts later - the forum, big as it is now, can be a tough job to sort out.

[Edited at 2006-10-23 15:28]


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Francina  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:08
Member (2005)
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Count me in Oct 23, 2006

Great idea

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Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
Spanish to Dutch
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Poll? Oct 23, 2006

I sense a poll coming on...

How about you?

Should ProZ.com have a Wiki knowledge base?
x Yes, absolutely!
x I don't know, the current one works fine for me...
x What is Wiki?
x No way, that's too much work!

For the mods and management:
Wiki will improve the number of readers/hit per article, enables faster searching and will be a boost to collaboration among translators and outsourcers.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 05:08
SITE FOUNDER
My vote Oct 23, 2006

is yes.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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TOPIC STARTER
A few good ideas, thanks Oct 23, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I think the structure should first be a clone of the forum subjects...


That's a great idea, I didn't think of that. One could take the forums as subjects, and begin by asking oneself what the most common questions in those forums are, and create stubs for them.

To get the ball rolling I would suggest writing a short, vague introductory article on every question, followed by a list of URLs that point to threads where that topic was discussed. Then, as time goes by, these URLs can be sorted with subheadings and/or expanded with summaries of what was said in those forums.

As for editing rights, do you think all Proz.com users should have edit rights by default (logged into Proz means logged into the wiki), or should users have a separate login for the wiki? I favour the latter, because it will cut down on vandalism by incidental Proz.com users, but it shouldn't be "difficult" for anyone to contribute to it.

If on our way we see a need for adding/modifying categories, we'll do that as we go.


Well, if all articles will be titled by questions, then that makes it even easier to reorganise the category because one only needs to edit the category main page (all the wiki pages remain as they are).

But I would maybe start out with knowledge base articles and add forum posts later - the forum, big as it is now, can be a tough job to sort out.


You have a point there, but there is a lot of knowledge in the forums which do not exist in the knowledge base. How about this: wiki pages can have excerpts from the knowledge base articles near the top of each subsection, with forum post URLs and summaries lower down each subsection (keeping in mind that a single page can have many subsections).

But both can be done at the same time. Those who feel more at home excerpting knowledge base articles can start by doing that, and those who enjoy searching the forums more, can start on those theads.

Either way, I don't think the wiki should contain the knowledge base or forum articles verbatim, but should rather contain summaries of forum posts and small excerpts from the knowledge base. I'm still undecided on this, but I think it is a good idea to say that wiki readers must be encouraged to read the knowledge base articles, but must be able to find their answers without having to consult the forum.

AFAIK copyright of the Proz.com forums belong to Proz.com, which means that if a user had posted a particularly useful post, it could be quoted verbatim on the wiki page. In many cases I suspect one might find titbits of useful information strewn throughout a thread or forum which should rather be summarised.

Proz.com's staff should also decide on the licensing and copyright of the wiki (it would make perfect sense to keep this wiki proprietary, or to use some very restrictive creative commons licence of sorts).

More comments welcomed... please help shape this idea.


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:08
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Norwegian to English
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Sounds like ... Oct 23, 2006

a great idea.

[Edited at 2006-10-23 20:56]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:08
English to French
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What I meant Oct 23, 2006

Sorry, Samuel, I think I was not very clear.

What I meant was to take either whole articles, summaries of articles or simple excerpts first as basic content. Then, we can add forum posts, excerpts of forum posts and thread summaries to populate each individual article based on a knowledgebase article. I was suggesting this so that we start out from something solid that takes minimal work and then add the more complicated stuff rather than doing the opposite, something that many busy translators wouldn't touch. Knowledgebase articles are better structured than forum posts because their goal is to inform on a subject and not to discuss a subject, as is the case with the forum, so they would probably be a better base at first, on which we can later on add content from the forum. In other words, let's lay down the foundation before we build walls, water conducts and kitchen cabinets.

Otherwise, we would probably need to discuss access rights. We don't want to end up with articles like the one on George W. Bush in Wikipedia - locked for editing because too many people were pulling the article in too many directions. We would need peer reviewing for sure, but otherwise, do you have an idea of who will be able to edit what and at what point? Will articles need to be reviewed before posting them? What happens if people don't agree on the content (as will probably be the case of articles regarding rates and questions of ethics in general)?

Cheers!

[Edited at 2006-10-23 22:17]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:08
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Comments on your comments Oct 24, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
What I meant was to take either whole articles, summaries of articles or simple excerpts first as basic content.


Oh I see. Yes, that is a great idea. My main concern was unnecessary duplication. Another point is that the current knowledge base articles address issues that do not necessarily reflect most asked questions. But I see your point, now.

We would need peer reviewing for sure, but otherwise, do you have an idea of who will be able to edit what and at what point? Will articles need to be reviewed before posting them?


I favour an approach which requires very little time from "moderators" having to make judgement calls on various issues. In other words, I think anyone who registers should be permitted to edit immediately, but there should be a system whereby abusers can be banned or suspended.

To edit the wiki, you need to have a Proz.com profile page (and personally I think you need to register a second login for the wiki page as well). If Henry can organise it, it may actually be nice if editing rights could be restricted to Proz users that have at least X or Y on their profiles, in an attempt to prevent people from registering sockpuppets. Also keep in mind that the Wikipedia wiki system has a pretty easy to use change management and revert system -- it would be nice to have something similar as well.

One could also have certain translators take "responsibility" for certain subjects, to make cursory checks now and then.

What happens if people don't agree on the content (as will probably be the case of articles regarding rates and questions of ethics in general)?


This is why the original idea was something that simply summarises and organises the content that is already in the forums. If there are more than one viewpoint on a topic, both can be mentioned in the wiki article, with a URL to a forum posts in each case. The rule would be that no unattributed stuff go into the wiki page (except for subsection's introduction paragraphs) -- all entries must be attributed with a URL to at least one forum post or thread (or knowledgebase article) that substantiates that summary.

Obviously some questions have been answered over and over and over, and in such cases it's necessary only to attribute the summary to one of the relevant forum posts.

I'm open to ideas and I'd love you to tell me where my thinking is impractical or short-sighted. Please comment more.

[Edited at 2006-10-24 09:35]


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xxxsofiablu
Netherlands
Local time: 11:08
Only in English? Oct 24, 2006

Is this WKB going to be created only in English, or in different languages as well?
The idea is really great. Bravo Samuel!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:08
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English to Afrikaans
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TOPIC STARTER
Different languages Oct 24, 2006

sofiablu wrote:
Is this WKB going to be created only in English, or in different languages as well?


I have no answer to this, although I did think about it. WKBs of different languages would probably borrow content from each other sooner or later, which is not a bad thing because it would make answers given in other language forums accessible for non-speakers of that language.

The WKBs of different languages would not necessarily have the same content, you see. There may even be different questions, or different taxonomy of questions, because their content come from the forums. One can't simply create an English WKB and then have it translated, because since the non-English WKB's would be editable too, eventually the content of the different languages' WKBs would become out of sync (which is not a bad thing, IMO).


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
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Language issue Oct 24, 2006

I think the language issue should be fairly easy to handle. Of course, this Wiki should be multilingual, but only to the extent the forum and knowledge base are (we can't expect users to spend all their time translating loads of content). Once again, we would be replicating the structure of those, and anybody who sees topics in a given language that are not available in another language that they speak should be free to create a parallel article in the other language, either using postings in their original language and summarizing their content in the other language or by translating the foreign-language article/forum post (if they're up to it).

I just want to add that this awesome project (if it ever comes to exist) will only work if users of the site contribute - on a voluntary basis, of course. This is where the Wiki structure comes in handy - we can all help as much or as little as we can afford to and feel like.

Now, should the Wiki be on the ProZ page, should it be on a completely different site or should we combine it with Wikiwords (which could be an interesting option)?

Cheers!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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TOPIC STARTER
On language and wikiwords Oct 24, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I just want to add that this awesome project ... will only work if users of the site contribute - on a voluntary basis, of course.


I wonder how many people will contribute. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if any sort of incentive should be offered for people who edit the wiki.

Now, should the Wiki be on the ProZ page, should it be on a completely different site or should we combine it with Wikiwords (which could be an interesting option)?


In my opinion the only thing WikiKB and WikiWords have in common, is the fact that they're both wikis. The nature of WikiWords is completely different from what a WikiKB would be.

As for the other options, the advantage of having the wiki page somewhat removed from Proz.com is that any vandalism wouldn't reflect as badly on Proz.com as it would if the wiki had been an integral part of Proz.com. On the other hand, more integration with Proz.com will probably encourage more people to edit articles because they regard it as part of the Proz.com experience (I'm speculating here). But that's up to Staff. Another option one could consider is having a beta version of the wiki in which the wiki moderators find their feet (while at the same time allowing anyone to start contributing), and once most teething problems have been ironed out and a wiki management culture is taking shape, it can move out of the "beta" into a more prominent position.


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
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On Incentives Oct 24, 2006


I wonder how many people will contribute. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if any sort of incentive should be offered for people who edit the wiki.


A first step might be to ask forum posters to consider a wiki entry if they find an answer to the question they have posted on the forum boards.
A small reminder after posting a thread may be enough to trigger some action.

I wouldn't start offering people incentives right away. I know from experience that it can be hard to retrieve previous forum posts, even those that I posted myself, and would certainly consider to make a wiki entry, if only to make it easier for myself to find it at a later time.

Sonja

[Bearbeitet am 2006-10-24 20:09]


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