[gmx-users] Mailing List Search on the new website
Mark.Abraham at anu.edu.au
Wed Sep 30 04:36:14 CEST 2009
Rossen Apostolov wrote:
> It is now possible to search the mailing list archives from the new
> website: http://www.gromacs.org/Support/Mailing_Lists/Search . There is
> a link to it at the "Quick Links" section on the front page also.
> * Only the [gmx-users] mailng list is being indexed.
> * The index is updated every 2 hours.
> * The search input is not parsed, rather search is done only for the
> exact string.
> * The results are displayed in descending order of the date. You can
> change the sorting by clicking on the column names.
> * For some postings, the contents section in the table is empty but
> following the link will display the full contents.
> * It is likely that the interface will be implemented into the
> website differently.
That's great. Hopefully we'll get more content and functionality soon too!
> Also, almost all of the information from the old wiki/www sites is now
> transfered and incorporated, although many pages contain broken links to
> them. They will be fixed one by one, but everyone is welcome to update
> them when you come across such.
I would have approached this process differently. The MediaWiki content
was intrinsically free-form, and now we're apparently trying to shoehorn
it into something hierarchical. This process converts hundreds of links
that are now defunct because they were created as relative links to
targets in a free-form database, and have now been automatically
converted to what look like hard links to non-existent targets. The
correct targets are presumably placed somewhere in a fairly arbitrary
hierarchy (e.g. what's the difference between "Best Practices" and
"How-tos"?), which anyone wanting to spend the time to fix now has to
memorise. These categories existed in the previous wiki, but nobody
adding content or links was forced to use or know them. That's a big
change in philosophy.
I've spent a lot of time over years creating and maintaining a large
slab of this content (with other notable contributions from quite a few
people - Dallas Warren in particular) and feel that this new imported
format greatly reduces the utility of the information. While some
curated hierarchical indexes are good things for helping to find
content, I think preserving the underlying lack of hierarchy is a much
better approach to preserving the usefulness of the content. The
alternative is appointing a curator and having them spend lots of time
organizing and fixing links. Given the slow rate of transition of
GROMACS web content from old to new forms, I think we should be very
keen not to make more centralized work, and to preserve the goodwill of
previous "external" volunteers :-)
I'd much rather see the Documentation section
(http://www.gromacs.org/Documentation) have links to
* the paper manuals,
* either a compatible Wiki, or a flat wiki-style import of the previous
wiki (so that automated link conversion can just work - even if it's
done with a simple perl script!),
* some new and updated index pages for that previous wiki,
* and if necessary, any other non-wiki content.
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