How to use the Wiki????

Linas Vepstas linas at
Mon Jul 5 12:52:26 EDT 2004


I was thinking to myself "to make gnucash more accessible, users
should be encouaraged to actively work on the wiki, to answer the 
commonly occuring qeustions (e.g. macosx, VAT, etc.)  So I went
to the wiki, and saw that it was a jumble, and wanted to clean it up.

For example, development questions like "why is it written in C"
are high up in the FAQ,  when questions like, "how do I do VAT" 
or "how do I create invoices" should clearly be a lot higher.  
The FAQ needs to be busted up into pieces.  Sections on business 
features, sections on the code base, sections on how-to-install, 
and especially sections on actual accounting tasks.

So anyway ... I click 'edit' and it asks me for a username ... and 
then says "Invalid password or userid." ... and there is not the
slightest hint on how to recover from that.   Can it email me my
password? no .. any random userid gives the same error.

Ahem, exactly what good is a wiki if you can't edit it?

I was inspired to whack on the Wiki by Tim O'Rielly, who wrote
the below.  We need to figure out how to get teh Amazon effect, 
and I saw the wiki as maybe one way to get there.


> Amazon is perhaps even more interesting. Unlike eBay, whose
> constellation of products is provided by its users, and changes
> dynamically day to day, products identical to those Amazon sells are
> available from other vendors. Yet Amazon seems to enjoy an
> order-of-magnitude advantage over those other vendors. Why? Perhaps it
> is merely better execution, better pricing, better service, better
> branding. But one clear differentiator is the superior way that Amazon
> has leveraged its user community.
> In my talks, I give a simple demonstration. I do a search for products
> in one of my publishing areas, JavaScript. On, the search
> produces a complex page with four main areas. On the top is a block
> showing the three "most popular" products. Down below is a longer search
> listing that allows the customer to list products by criteria such as
> best-selling, highest-rated, by price, or simply alphabetically. On the
> right and the left are user-generated "ListMania" lists. These lists
> allow customers to share their own recommendations for other titles
> related to the given subject. 
> The section labeled "most popular" might not jump out at first. But as a
> vendor who sells to, I know that it is the result of a
> complex, proprietary algorithm that combines not just sales but also the
> number and quality of user reviews, user recommendations for alternative
> products, links from ListMania lists, "also bought" associations, and
> all the other things that Amazon refers to as the "flow" around
> products.
> The particular search that I like to demonstrate is usually topped by my
> own JavaScript: The Definitive Guide. The book has 192 reviews,
> averaging 4 1/2 stars. Those reviews are among the more than ten million
> user reviews contributed by customers. 
> Now contrast the #2 player in online books, The top
> result is a book published by Barnes & Noble itself, and there is no
> evidence of user-supplied content. JavaScript: The Definitive Guide has
> only 18 comments, the order-of-magnitude difference in user
> participation closely mirroring the order-of-magnitude difference in
> sales.
> Amazon doesn't have a natural network-effect advantage like eBay, but
> they've built one by architecting their site for user participation.
> Everything from user reviews, alternative product recommendations,
> ListMania, and the Associates program, which allows users to earn
> commissions for recommending books, encourages users to collaborate in
> enhancing the site. Amazon Web Services, introduced in 2001, take the
> story even further, allowing users to build alternate interfaces and
> specialized shopping experiences (as well as other unexpected
> applications) using Amazon's data and commerce engine as a back end.
> Amazon's distance from competitors, and the security it enjoys as a
> market leader, is driven by the value added by its users. If, as Eric
> Raymond said in The Cathedral & the Bazaar, one of the secrets of open
> source is "treating your users as co-developers", Amazon has learned
> this secret. But note that it's completely independent of open source
> licensing practices! We start to see that what has been presented as a
> rigidly constrained model for open source may consist of a bundle of
> competencies, not all of which will always be found together.

pub  1024D/01045933 2001-02-01 Linas Vepstas (Labas!) <linas at>
PGP Key fingerprint = 8305 2521 6000 0B5E 8984  3F54 64A9 9A82 0104 5933

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