[pmwiki-users] Minor question regarding the definition of "Wiki farm"

The Editor editor at fast.st
Mon Mar 20 17:21:30 CST 2006

On 3/20/06, Neil Herber <nospam at eton.ca> wrote:
> At 2006-03-20  05:33 PM +0100, christian.ridderstrom at gmail.com is
> rumored to have said:
> >Is this a wiki farm?  Or does wiki farm actually imply the use of
> >local/farmconfig.php, $FarmD etc? I have a sneaky feeling that there's
> >more to a "proper" wiki farm than what I just described.

Just to throw in my two cents as a new user to PmWiki.  I first set
mine up as a standard install, and got it going.  Then I studied the
docs on farming and moved my home wiki out to make sure I understood
it all--and to prepare the way for more wiki's (I'm on #2 now!).  My
point is, that's when I was farming--because my configuration was
setup for multiple wikis, and I was moving that way. No point arguing
it wasn't a farm installation just because I hadn't yet gotten another
wiki "growing".

> The WikiFarmTerminology page is intended as a "disambiguator". If you
> are reading old pmwiki-user posting and you come across the wiki
> "barn" (sorry to keep picking on that example) what does (or did) the
> author mean? The terminology page has suggestions for terms that, if
> used consistently, have a good chance of being understood.

No problem picking on my old red barn and even the tractor--but I'm
not sure the word "depracated" is exactly appropriate!  :)  After all,
it never really got beyond the suggestion stage...

I do however, think it is a bit of an over reaction to explicitly rule
out any possibility of a farm metaphor. Arguing the original meaning
was connected with server farms just begs the question: why were they
called server FARMS? If metaphor can be used to help a newcomer
conceptualize what is happening (just like the cookbook/recipe
metaphor does), great. As long as it matches reasonably well, I say,
use it--but where appropriate

Perhaps we could cut out some of the restrictive language and rather
say, something like: while these are the official and recommended
terms, some PmWiki users may refer to terms like the following to help
illustrate how farming works.  That seems a better balance. I still
hope to put up a "farming for newbies" page, (may never get around to
it), but don't want to feel like a rebel, renegade, or outlaw, for
trying to contribute something that may help someone.

Besides--the absolutely coolest thing about wiki's, their "raison
d'etre", is that they grow. We should be harping on this point--not
obscuring it.  I not only had never heard anything about PmWiki before
stumbling on to this, I didn't even really know what a wiki was. 
Wiki's are designed to grow.  They expand, develop, and take on a life
of their own.  I think we lose some of the spirit (and fun) of a wiki
by rigidly rejecting the farm analogy. Esp where unnecessary. I think
we can have both.

Apart from that, I really liked your post Neil.  (Just got around to
reading it). Very clear and straightforward. Thanks for your hard work
synthesizing the posts on the subject.


PS. I do  find the distinction between a field wiki and the home wiki
missing, and perhaps an unnecessary loss of clarity. Perhaps it should
be the preferred "optional" term for those who feel a need to make
such a distinction.

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