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I've set up this wiki. I have initiated the creole initiative together with Chuck Smith, Janne Jalkanen and Ward Cunningham. I used to work for the i3g Institute of the Hochschule Heilbronn, which sponsored Chuck and Me gardening this wiki throughout 2006 and 2007. You can find out more about me at my personal page at JSPWiki.

You can contact me by email heywiki <at> googlemail.com

Is Wiki Creole a noble waste of time?#

Towards a new literacy for the online World: Wiki Creole website running on a OLPC at the Wikimania 2007 in Taipei
Towards a new literacy for the online World: Wiki Creole website running on a OLPC at the Wikimania 2007 in Taipei

The citation below is a good example of one of the major critiques on creole:

WikiCreole is an exercise in futility. There is already a wonderful mark-up language called HTML and it has a wonderful layout and styling facility called CSS. The problem that WikiCreole is addressing is one that doesn’t exist anymore: the ability to create formatted text in the browser. Now we have a healthy choice of good WYSIWYG editors, including Xinha, TinyMCE, FCKeditor, and others.

I did an Essay called "WysiWIKI - Questioning WISIWYG in the Internet Age", which addresses this critique. In short it makes the statement that you don't need wysiwyg if the markup becomes part of your punctuation. The question mark wasn't always in our written language, it evolved from the Q in the word "Questio" which marked a sentence as a question in a time when there wasn't a character '?' for it. What would you say if you would have to push a button in a tool bar to get the question mark into your text? The difference between "HTML" and "WikiCreole" is the difference between "Questio" and "?".

My push for making Creole not only appealing to machines (easy parsable) but also to humans might be a result of this personal vision: Make logical markup part of the evolution of our written language, and introduce the notion of Model/View as part of the basic education for everyone. I think this is necessary in a World, where physical limitations opposed on us by conveying our ideas to readers primarily on paper no longer exist. You will find the Essay in the proceedings of the WikiMania 2006:

WikiCreole has different advantages for different people over pure HTML, even if you would not go that far. So even if you don't agree with my vision, wikicreole might make your life easier nevertheless, as a "lightweight HTML", in the same way as HTML is a "lightweight SGML".

Position Statement#

I just came across this wikitext that was entered by an end user into one of our internal wikis, that already supports creole. (I anonymized the example of course)

== Duty Schedule

|  |= Monday |= Thuesday |= Wendsday |
|AM| Henry   | Hanno*    |Christoph  |
|PM| Chuck   | James     |Jörg*      |

* Student
** Please be nice to Students!!!**
** Putting back books has priority **(Really!)** **

The good news is that they all perfectly understand the use of the special characters we have proposed. Using special characters, this thing we techies call "markup" to format text, is not the real issue. But there are some rules and ambiguities that feel strange to them (and to me as well) In a sense this demonstrates the points I tried to get into Creole over the last few weeks, but that have not been accepted. I thought since anyone is putting up stuff that he is not satisfied with, I do the same. But I will no longer push for it, so never mind.

  • Endusers use stars (at least in Germany) as footnotes quite frequently (not even mentioned yet anywhere here, I forgot about it)
  • Endusers don't understand why a linebreak is not a linebreak

I understand that changing those rules would have been too radical, since they are kind of embedded in all wiki markup languages out there. Changing them was not creoles goal, so see it as a critique on wiki markup languages in general. Anyway, I am happy with Creole like it is. It might not be perfect, but it's a huge improvement over the markup mess.

-- ChristophSauer, 2007-05-03

Administrative Stuff#

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