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Success parameters for the subject wikis

It’s been slightly more than a year since I booked the domain, and some of the people with whom I’ve discussed the idea of subject wikis have told me that it’s an extremely ambitious project that requires more hands and better ways of measuring success. At the end of the day, it might turn out to be flawed in some basic way, or to not be feasible for various reasons — the net benefit to people from reading subject wiki entries may just not be worth the effort of creating them.

Frankly, I don’t know. A few people have shown interest in contributing, but there isn’t a steady base of contributors yet, and obviously, for the project to scale, it needs contributors. On the other hand, the subject wikis need to get a lot better before people can look at them and make an informed decision of whether this is something good enough to contribute to.

As far as usage is concerned, the group theory wiki is enjoying decent usage — around 8000 pageviews per month, which is not bad. On the other hand, this definitely isn’t a spectacular amount of usage, and the question of whether the same level of usage can be achieved for other subject wikis remains a moot point.

So I’ve decided to create two lists. The first list indicates some completion goals, that largely involve efforts I need to put in (with possible future collaborators) on the subject wikis. The second list is a list of external success parameters; things that, if they happen, will make me say, “Okay, the subject wikis are successful.”

Here’s a list of completion goals:

  1. Groupprops guided tour for beginners: I plan to complete the tour by December 2009. A completed tour will be a way of ensuring that the wiki has all basic group theory material (something that it almost, but not quite, has right now). It will also be a valuable resource in its own right for group theory beginners and other students.

  2. A subject wiki in microeconomics: I’ve started on this one, and I plan to bring it to a reasonable stage by June 2009. Basically, I want it to reach a state where it starts becoming clear which of the subject wiki principles apply outside of mathematics.

  3. A Ramsey theory subject wiki: This is a challenge I took up in this blog post, and I plan to work on it, hopefully reaching an interesting stage by August 2009.

  4. Shape up the subject wikis reference guide to something that can be used to find the meaning of practically any mathematical term. I plan to be done with this by December 2009.

Here, now, are some events that would make me consider the subject wikis a success:

  1. Independent review of the subject wikis on a separate website, that does not trash them completely.

  2. A single day with more than 1,000 pageviews for any one subject wiki.

  3. A regular collaborator or somebody who decides to sprearhead or take responsibility for one of the subject wikis, and develops it to a reasonable extent (say, over 100 articles).

I’ll add more success parameters as I think of them, and note if any of these get satisfied!

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