Helping Edit This Manual

This SoarPilot manual is maintained by using a so called Wiki based on DokuWiki.
So what is a Wiki you ask? The original WikiWiki (as it is technically called) was created by Ward Cunningham who is considered the father of the concept. Wiki in Ward’s original description is:

The simplest online database that could possibly work.

Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly. Wiki is unusual among group communication mechanisms in that it allows the organization of contributions to be edited in addition to the content itself. Like many simple concepts, “open editing” has some profound and subtle effects on Wiki usage. Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users. That is exactly what we’re hoping will happen with SoarPilot’s documentation. In addition to Paul and I, we are hoping that you, the “everyday users” of SoarPilot, will contribute and edit content to the project. Some of the original design principles of the concept are:

  • Open - Should a page be found to be incomplete or poorly organized, any reader can edit it as they see fit.
  • Incremental - Pages can cite other pages, including pages that have not been written yet.
  • Organic - The structure and text content of the site is open to editing and evolution.
  • Mundane - A small number of (irregular) text conventions will provide access to the most useful page markup.
  • Universal - The mechanisms of editing and organizing are the same as those of writing so that any writer is automatically an editor and organizer.
  • Overt - The formatted (and printed) output will suggest the input required to reproduce it.
  • Unified - Page names will be drawn from a flat space so that no additional context is required to interpret them.
  • Precise - Pages will be titled with sufficient precision to avoid most name clashes, typically by forming noun phrases.
  • Tolerant - Interpretable (even if undesirable) behavior is preferred to error messages.
  • Observable - Activity within the site can be watched and reviewed by any other visitor to the site.
  • Convergent - Duplication can be discouraged or removed by finding and citing similar or related content.
  • Trust - This is at the core of wiki. Trust the people, trust the process, enable trust-building.

The last item is very pertinent. We have the SoarPilot Wiki setup so that anyone can register and start adding or editing content. We trust that everyone will participate in a postitive and open fasion. The software allows for shutting down the registration and editing process to only those people I allow and manually add to the system. I would prefer not to have to oversee that and I’m sure I won’t. One of the most popular and largest Wiki’s is the Wikipedia ( It is a completely open project to create a free online encycolpedia that allows the content to be edited by anyone. It was started in 2001 and “currently” has 736,398 articles in the English version alone. It has editions in about 180 languages as well. All of this content has been contributed and edited by individuals from around the world. It is an amazing catalog of information. They have found that even though there is a potential for abuse or inappropriate content, that over time, most issues get resolved by the community without the need for over-bearing authority.

Mark Hawkins 2005/20/09

soarpilot/about_manual.txt · Last modified: 2006/10/25 11:24
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