Proposal to unify several online services into a wiki

I’ve been looking at the HSBNE online services over the last little while. Also I’ve chatted to some people about their experience/perspective. The general feeling I’m getting is that there are too many online services and they’re too complex/confusing. Also from talking to Josh they take too much time/energy to administer.

I think I can greatly simplify the state of the online services by unifying several into a wiki. The wiki I’m thinking of would merge the following, importing the existing content:

  • Wiki (obvs)
  • Taskade
  • Forum
  • Website static pages

The wiki software I would use is Ikiwiki.

(Don’t be put off by the bare-bones aesthetic; the wiki can be styled to look as fancy as we like.)

My reason for preferring Ikiwiki is that it’s simple and reliable. It has stood the test of time, being used by many large projects. Pages are static, the only CGI is when editing a page. It’s written in good old uncool Perl. It doesn’t use a database, just a git repo of text files. It’s not hip or fashionable. It has remained consistent for many years. It will present the least pain/frustration.

I should note that Ikiwiki does not have a WYSIWYG editor. I think pursuing this is a red herring, because in the majority of cases WYSIWYG just creates formatting contrary to the user’s intent (e.g. emails from grandma where she’s pasted some rich text halfway through…).

My intent here is to simplify things and reduce time spent dealing with online services. Additionally this would save money on cloud hosting.

If there’s support for this then I can create a mock-up version on my VPS first so people can at least get a hands-on experience.

In every instance of wiki or documentation we’ve ever set up historically at HSBNE, the lack of a reliable, consistent WYSIWYG editor has been the biggest hurdle reported by members.

The forums software does support creating wiki categories and topics, as well as task lists (though not as extensively as taskade or trellor or other KANBAN alternatives). The interface and capability of the forums tends to make it more accessible than the wiki, given the clean WYSIWYG implementation.

I would recommend investigating the capabilities of what we have first, before replacing wholesale. Consolidation is absolutely an admirable goal here, but it does not sound like you have a full grasp of the historical/cultural reasons for failure of these systems in my opinion.

yeah these services exist as they do for reasons and I have no intent or interest in trying to consolidate. we hove other problems worth solving.

Also, you’ve used the term ‘proposal’ in the thread title.

Is your intent for this to be an actual proposal as defined by the constitution?

Nah just lowercase p proposal. I wouldn’t know where to find the constitution.

Hope you didn’t think I was insulting your work Josh, from when we were chatting I thought you wanted to reduce the services.


Cheers, just checking because theres rules around Proposals as such :slight_smile:

No insulting, hope the response didnt come across as brusque. I know we had a chat about Infrastructure previously but not sure how it came across as reducing services. If anything our issue is time to stand up and get the services running that we dont currently have, or to refactor existing ones (see wanting to change wiki software to mediawiki)

I’m hoping to find time over the break to writeup some kind of ‘infrastructure 2023’ master plan or something and try and lay out the various headline goals/targets.