The Wiki is Dead, Long Live the Wiki! [help wanted]
With the goal of eventually archiving it fully, we have imported 573 pages and 266,000 words of content from the old LessWrong wiki to LessWrong 2.0
The old wiki is a great store of knowledge and still gets two thousand pageviews each day. Incorporating it into the new site gets us at least the following benefits:
Pages imported from the old wiki now appear in search results on LessWrong proper.
Pages imported from the old wiki benefit from all the features of new LessWrong such as hover-preview, subscriptions, commenting, and functioning as tags on posts.
Since LessWrong proper is an active site, hopefully, the wiki content continues to get updated.
People who land on the old wiki content will more easily find the rest of the awesome content/activity/community on LessWrong proper.
I like us being the kind of community that when people have spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours generating valuable content, we commit to preserving it.
To help out, see this section below.
Join the Tagger Slack.
The Three Import Types
Pages have been imported in one of three ways:
76 are imported as new tags that can be applied to posts.
111 are merged with existing tag pages, which is currently in progress and could use some help (see below).
386 are imported as “wiki-only” pages . These pages cannot be applied to posts and do not currently appear on the Concepts page.
To be honest, it would be more accurate to say that we are part-way through the import. We have completed the programmatic part, and now there remains some manual work to do, hence the help needed.
First, there is some general clean-up of links and other elements that didn’t import correctly. Second, and more importantly, a manual text merge is required for the 111 pages are being merged into existing tags. This means taking the text of the existing tag (if it has any) and combining it appropriately with the old wiki page.
Right now, “merged pages” have the old pages’ revision history (click History on the tag), but the current text is unchanged.
You can help us out fixing up the wiki import and follow along on completed/incomplete work in the Wiki Import Spreadsheet. More on how to help below.
Join the Tagger Slack!!
A couple of weeks ago we created a Slack workspace for dedicated taggers to be able to discuss tagging issues and talk directly to the LessWrong team about it. Following initial success plus good timing with the wiki import campaign, we’re opening that Slack to anyone who wants to help with tagging.
You can also still leave comments on the Tagging Open Call / Discussion Thread.
How to Help with the Wiki Import
Any work helps! You don’t need to perfect a page to have made it better.
The programmatic import from the original MediaWiki format worked pretty, well with a few exceptions, plus the general fact that automatic content merging is beyond my present abilities with Python and/or AI.
Using the Spreadsheet
It’s a bit of a toss-up whether this workflow can work for people, but I’ve created a spreadsheet to track the wiki import that needs doing. Feel free to ask any questions about via comments, the Tagger Slack, DM, or anything.
Joining the Slack is a pretty good idea to get quick answers to questions.
Cells indicating work that needs doing are red.
There are columns for several specific kinds of work, plus one master “completeness” column on the left.
No tag/wiki is ever truly done, but at some point it’s done enough to focus on others.
If you’ve completed a task, replace the corresponding cell with “Done” or something similar (doesn’t matter so long as it’s not blank or “needs doing”.
If you want to track your work, feel free to write your username, initials, or some other identifier. We’ll give you due credit.
There’s a column for comments on the right. Writing <name>: <comment>. is a good convention. Shift-enter lets you continue writing in a cell without erasing contents. Cells are also commendable. (Also there’s the Slack).
Again, feel free to reach out if you want any help with it.
Here is a more detailed list of the work to be done:
Checking over pages for messed up formatting or broken links
Some pages might have unusual formatting that got imported in a weird way and could benefit from fixing up.
Merged pages show only the original current text by default.
In most cases, this should be pretty straightforward. New tags pages usually have no text or a few sentences that can be easily combined with the text of the imported page. The text of imported pages can be found in two ways:
Optimizing the opening paragraph
On LessWrong 2.0 (this site), the opening paragraph is what shows on hover-preview for tags, making it very important. It’s worth optimizing the opening paragraph of imported pages.
The approximate title phrase of the page should be bolded within the opening paragraph
The opening paragraph should convey the general topic of the tag clearly
See also / Related tags
Many of the imported pages have great see also/related pages/resources sections. Those are fantastic, but it’s additionally valuable to have a ~short list of related tags right near the top of each page.
Some related tags will already be listed on the imported page, but there will often be new tags from LW2.0 that can be added.
This helps people quickly learn what topics the tag/wiki system covers and quickly find what they’re most interested in. I possibly hope to make these “see also/related tag lists” show on hover-preview.
Most of the pages on the old wiki have not been updated in several years, and on many topics, a lot more interesting stuff has been said (yay intellectual progress!)
If you’re knowledgeable about a topic, it would be super swell if you updated content to match the latest knowledge.
A lighter-weight contribution here is to just leave a note in the page’s text saying that it’s an out-of-date import.
Tagging Relevant Posts
Imported “tag” pages won’t have any posts tagged yet, though most of these have a list of posts already in the text body. Those and other posts are worth adding.
For “wiki-only” pages, there also lists of posts, but we’ve still decided that’s adequate and they don’t all need to be tags in addition to that. Feel free to add more posts to the lists in the text body if they’re relevant.
Copying over the Old Discussion Pages
Pages on the old LW wiki had associated discussion pages where contributors could discuss matters to pages. 87 of the imported pages had any activity on their Discussion pages.
It wasn’t feasible to import this programmatically, but there are few enough that it seems worth copying over any Discussion page that has anything interesting. The spreadsheet has a column indicating imported pages with Discussion Page content.
As of this week, LessWrong tag/wiki pages also have a Discussion section! (We haven’t advertised it yet until comments on those pages have better visibility.)
In the import spreadsheet, there are some other columns for specific kinds of fixup, e.g. cases where MediaWiki’s citation syntax didn’t work, we don’t yet have a Table of Contents features, etc.
There are few enough of these cases that I won’t take up space explaining them in this document. See the notes or feel free to ask about them.
I’m excited to have the great content from the old LW wiki now incorporated into the new site, in many ways, it’s long overdue.
Thanks to everyone in advance who helps us complete the import!