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Best Practices Knowledge Capture (was: Re: AUP for NANOG?)

  • From: Jay R. Ashworth
  • Date: Fri Apr 15 12:54:21 2005

On Thu, Apr 14, 2005 at 12:20:14PM -0700, Steve Gibbard wrote:
> Speaking just for myself, I'd welcome discussion of operational and design 
> issues specific to edge networks here, and newbie questions are useful as 
> well.  If those with experience don't share knowledge with those with less 
> experience, we'll just have the same mistakes being made over and over 
> again.

And, in that vein, I'd like to repost, to the list, a query which I
sent offlist to a couple dozen people last week, and only got 3

== The Background ==

It came up on NANOG a week or so ago, not for the first time, that it
might contribute to the general well being of the net if the
(hopefully) not insubstantial section of the network operations
audience who *want* to run their networks better, but don't know *how*
yet had some place to go to gather that information.

Having acquired some experience in the last 6 to 9 months about the
usefulness of wiki software (and particularly MediaWiki, which is used to
run the half-million article Wikipedia and is fairly well tuned for
large audiences and easy administration) for facilitating distributed
knowledge capture, I suggested that it might be A Good Idea to set up a
wiki site for this purpose.

As it happens, the Wikipedia people themselves have a facility for this
sort of thing.  It was named Wikicities, because when Jimmy Wales
thought up the idea, Geocities was pretty popular.  He has since
changed his opinion, but, of course, it's hard to rename such a site.

== The Pitch ==

Since they have a finite investment in labor to set up and in network
costs to run such sites, and also an investment in the brand name, they
want to have a pretty good idea that people proposing such a site have
a sufficiently large crew of writers, editors, and wranglers to make a
given site viable before they'll approve it.

At Michael Dillon's suggestion, I've sifted through the last 5 months
or so of NANOG traffic, and picked out the addresses of those of you
whom I either know (mostly from the list, admittedly), or whose chops
seem obvious from the traffic on the list.  

[ and only three replied :-} ]

All I need at this point, as tacky as it sounds, is your names.  :-)

If you think you'd be willing to contribute in some fashion to such a
site, either by way of original writing, editing or commenting on other
people's work, or by contributing original writing you've already
composed, please let me know.

In not more than a week, I'll count up the noses, and get in touch with
the Wikicities people.

== The Reminder ==

As with all good sources of knowledge, wikis provide metadata on the
provenance of the information contained on them, and visitors are
expected to make use of it when deciding how -- and how much -- to make
use of the information they find there.

Wikipedia has developed a fairly good set of procedures for coping with
the situation wherein the information on a page is disputed or
controversial, and the other situations experienced on a public wiki (I
propose, if they'll let me, to make the wiki registered-user write
only), but those situations *will* happen -- just making sure everyone
has their expectations strapped on straight.

If people want to contribute finished papers, those can be protected so
that their form does not change, but in general, the information on the
site will be subject to continuous editing and improvement -- with all
changes attributed, of course.

If you'd like to help out on this, or make suggestions, or if you think
I'm completely off my rocker, please drop me a note back.  And note
that I'm not making this a NANOG project per se; I expect that the
email, anti-spam, RBL, and other crowds will have useful things to
contribute as well; I merely don't follow those crowds as closely.

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                                      
Designer                          Baylink                             RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates        The Things I Think                        '87 e24
St Petersburg FL USA             +1 727 647 1274

      If you can read this... thank a system administrator.  Or two.  --me