Friday, February 02, 2007


Recent Changes Camp, day one

I started the day by discovering that the 40-year-old oil furnace that came with my house stopped working; the inside temperature was 58 degrees. The burner refused to burn oil, and they no longer make new burners to fit the furnace, so the hit to our pocketbook was about one thousand dollars today for a rebuilt burner. (My thanks -- and love -- to Yvette for spending the afternoon at home so I could attend Recent Changes Camp.)

From a cold house to the cold former factory where this year's Recent Changes Camp was held. The building did start to warm up by the time everyone found the location and had settled in, but then a couple of guys unrelated to the conference, looking around the building, opened the door to the loading dock and left it open to the cold winter morning for too many minutes; my toes never did recover from that.

Recent Changes Camp started with the same gentle ringing of the bells that started last year's. The major change was Ward Cunningham, creator of the original Wiki, giving the opening remarks. He recalled the advice he offered to all newcomers to that community site: read around first before you edit. The other change was that Ted Ernst and Kaliya Hamlin were this year's facilitators.

I picked my sessions based on the discussion leaders more than on the topics. The cold weather affected the start of this conference, and the offerings for the first slot on the first day were markedly fewer than any other slot. I went with Brandon Sander's session, "Where do I fit in to the movement/network?", but despite my respect for Brandon, this discussion never warmed up; he had us split up in small groups to discuss the topic for 15 minutes, but we never got around to reforming in our larger group.

After a hot lunch of catered Thai food, the second round of discussions started. I picked Lion Kimbro's "Wiki and Process" due to the chronic disputes on Wikipedia over what some have called "process fetishism" -- and that I had met Lion at the first Seattle Wikimeetup. Here I learned about a new kind of Wiki software, WagN, which gives its users the ability to tag different articles. Something I admit I should a more careful look at.

For me, the best session -- and the one I most enjoyed -- was hosted by Dawn Foster and Audrey Eschright, "Art of Community". Maybe I enjoy talking about the social aspect of Wikipedia too much, but I found this was a valuable discussion of how to promote the community that nourishes the success of a Wiki. Mark Dilley, as well as our session leaders, offered a number of useful thoughts on the challenges of getting people attracted to a Wiki.

Recent Changes Camp will meet all day tomorrow, and Sunday morning. If you act now, and brave the cold, you might bag some swag that will put the usual freebie tee shirt to shame.


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Your article is very informative and helped me further.

Thanks, David
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