The IWA Water Wiki - comparison with Wikipedia - now being decommissioned (June 2016)

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Re: The IWA Water Wiki - comparison with Wikipedia - now being decommissioned (June 2016)

Yes the IWA Water Wiki never got even close that theoretical goal I was referring to (nor does it seem to have had that goal clearly in mind, just more so than the Wikipedia). And copying Wikipedia articles into it (as was clearly done later on) was a waste of time.

I disagree though that the Wiki format is not suitable for what I am referring too. Yes there are plenty of free textbooks on various topics, but they are usually very much written from a certain authors perspective and narrowed down focus and are also not very "machine readable" (so called semantic web: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web).

A Wiki is more of a "meta" book that transcendences the view of a specific author or a specific time during which a book was written. And because of the non-linear nature and the easy cross-linking into a much larger content it is more suitable for a knowledge archive of sorts.

Wikibooks has all the issues concerning "normal" library of text-books mentioned above, and wikiversity seems to be more focused on creating more or less traditional classroom educational resources, but I don't know the latter project very well.

Hmm... maybe another way to look at it: What kind of project could become a sort of extended artificial memory for a human (through machine learning limited AIs, i.e. advanced cousins of today's Cortanas, Siris and Alexas etc.)?

Wikipedia is sort of on its way to become that, but its editors are (for various other reasons) limiting the scope to that of an encyclopedia. Thus we are on our way to have a great generalist's semantic knowledge archive, but there are not many similar projects for specialist topics, and mixing these two does not seem to work very well (just as with generalists and specialist humans ;) ).

Ok, but this got way off topic now. I definitly agree that to get something like that off the ground you have to pay some editors most likely. My impression was that IWA sort of did that for a short while, but then abandoned the idea.

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Re: The IWA Water Wiki - comparison with Wikipedia - now being decommissioned (June 2016)

Well, if they (IWA) were trying to build up a "unified graduate level textbook", as you say, then I am not sure that a Wiki format was the right format to choose. Don't we have already enough textbooks, some even open access? E.g. this one that Detlef recently mentioned:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/165-ce...crc-a-iowater-france

or this one which Marcos von Sperling posted about:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/165-ce...nsq-free-to-download

I think when you want to use a Wiki format you need to have either a critical mass of editors who edit for free, or you have to pay editors to do the work.
In the case of people editing for free you need to give them an incentive. I think one incentive is the knowledge that one's articles get read and found. With Wikipedia you know that your articlees are easily found with Google searches. But with the IWA Water Wiki? Whenever I searched for something in Google, I was never pointed to an IWA Water Wiki page.

The topic selection in the IWA Water Wiki was also rather arbitrary and more likely to cover water topics and topics about centralised treatment (see www.iwapublishing.com/news/categories/Cl...-3c3699336c-89878613)

Regarding the level of technical detail in Wikipedia, you said:

adding detailed technical information is always a fight with the editors and I can kind of understand where they are coming from given the main purpose of the Wikipedia.


It's true that sometimes there are discussions about that. Wikipedia is not a "how to" guide, so if someone launches into details on how to build your own composting toilet, this will likely be deleted by other editors. But other technical details are generally welcome and I have hardly ever had additions that I made reverted. Have you? Do you have examples of articles where you tried to add more details and you were overruled?

If I take for example the article on helminth eggs from the IWA Water Wiki:
www.iwapublishing.com/news/helminth-eggs

I find that this is no more detailed than the article on helminths and helminthiasis which I helped to build up in Wikipedia:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminthiasis

In fact, I would argue that these two Wikipedia articles are more detailed, more up to date and better referenced than the corresponding article in the IWA Water Wiki.

By the way, with regards to textbook and teaching materials, there is also this Wikiversity project:
en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page
and there is Wikibooks ("the open-content textbooks collection that anyone can edit"):
en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page

I don't have experiences with either of those though, so no idea how well they work in reaching people.
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Re: The IWA Water Wiki - comparison with Wikipedia - now being decommissioned (June 2016)

muench wrote: I don't want to be mean or display "Schadenfreude" here and I really appreciate that they tried but I do feel a bit vindicated because I have long argued that separate Wikis are not the way to go, and that rather focussing our energies on the big Wikipedia would be a more efficient way forward.


The IWA Wiki closing is kind of a shame as they seem to have been trying to do something quite different from the Wikipedia. The latter is trying to be a general encyclopedia for looking up facts and general information... adding detailed technical information is always a fight with the editors and I can kind of understand where they are coming from given the main purpose of the Wikipedia.

I felt the IWA wiki was intended more of a step towards a sort of unified graduate level textbook that could serve as a reference for all water related topics (but never reached that of course). This is in my opinion a big gap that the Wikipedia is not well suited to fill.

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Re: The IWA Water Wiki - comparison with Wikipedia - now being decommissioned (June 2016)

I just read in an e-mail by IWA (International Water Association) that they are decommissing their IWA Water Wiki. Their e-mail doesn't explain WHY but I assume it must be low participation and usage rates (?).

Here is what the e-mail said (there are hyperlinks in the e-mail but I didn't copy them across, except for one of them; the "Classic Papers from the WaterWiki"):

++++++++++

Decommissioning the WaterWiki


After much consideration and discussion, the team at IWA Publishing have decided to decommission the WaterWiki site at the end of June 2016.

However, key content and features have now been transferred onto the main IWA Publishing website, www.iwapublishing.com. This includes an exciting new “News” section, which will include blog posts from IWA Publishing authors as well as updates from the worlds of water and publishing. Additionally, you can access “Classic Papers from the WaterWiki” (www.iwapublishing.com/news/categories/Cl...-3c3699336c-89878613): an archive of the most popular articles from the site. The WaterWiki collection of free ebooks has also been moved to the main IWA Publishing website, conveniently organised by subject area.

We hope that these features will provide a clearer, more streamlined space for a range of high-quality information, articles and news that will continue to serve the global water community.

We would like to thank all members of the WaterWiki Community for their involvement in the site and contributions to its repository of information. If you have any queries, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The WaterWiki Team

++++++++++

I don't want to be mean or display "Schadenfreude" here and I really appreciate that they tried but I do feel a bit vindicated because I have long argued that separate Wikis are not the way to go, and that rather focussing our energies on the big Wikipedia would be a more efficient way forward.
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Re: The IWA WaterWiki is looking for a Sanitation and Development Editor!

Since its creation in 2009, the IWA WaterWiki has gone from strength to strength. Currently hosting over 2,000 open-access articles, case studies, the site is THE online resource for the water community, attracting around 20,000 monthly visitors.

The review process is absolutely essential for ensuring and maintaining the quality of WaterWiki content.

By reviewing newly-added content you will have your name featured extensively on the WaterWiki and the opportunity to promote your own work via our Editorial Group page, which remains among the top 3 most popular pages on the site.

Please note that this is a voluntary activity and no financial remuneration will be given, however, all reviewers will be entitled to exclusive discount on IWAP books based on their level of contribution, awarded on a 6-monthly basis.

We ask all editors to set up weekly email alerts to be notified of new content and to select relevant content to review as and when it appears. We anticipate that each editor will have to review 2-3 articles in their subject area per month and that probably only 1 of these will require editorial intervention.

We require that all WaterWiki Editors:
  • Hold a teaching or research position at a university or academic institution.
  • Be fluent in academic and professional English.
  • Be pro-active in reviewing all content within their subject area as it appears on the site.
  • Submit a summary of their activities every 6 months along with confirmation of whether they wish to continue in the role

The Editorial positions we are currently recruiting for are:
  1. Spanish-language Editor
  2. Water Law/Policy/Governance Editor
  3. Sludge Management Editor
  4. Drinking Water Quality Editor
  5. Water Supply and Distribution Editor
  6. Sanitation and Development Editor
  7. Water, Energy and Climate Change Editor
  8. Water Resources Editor
  9. Water Treatment Editor
  10. Health-Related Microbiology Editor
  11. Water Reuse Editor
  12. Wastewater Treatment Editor

More positions may be added at a later point.

We will require that all potential Editors demonstrate a deep knowledge of the subject area as well as a basic knowledge of how to use the site.

If you would like to be considered for a position in the WaterWiki Editorial Group, please email Chloe Parker for further information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Re: WIKI-SUSAN? Open Source!

Hi Detlef,

Please could you tell me more about the issue you've been having? It sounds like this may be a browser problem - some firewalls and security settings block downloads from open-source sites. I have tested this particular link and it appears to be functioning normally.

If you would like more information about the site itself and the security credentials of the software, you might like to visit the Xwiki website: www.xwiki.com/lang/en/Home/WebHome

Users have to be registered to upload content to the site and even then their access is strictly controlled. Spam accounts are automatically cleared from the site directory and I receive an email alert every time any sort of alteration is made.

I hope this has answered your questions!

Chloe.

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Re: WIKI-SUSAN? Open Source!

Hi Elisabeth,

Your theory about conference posters is exactly correct: as the site is a user-generated resource, for most conferences we invite authors to upload their conference materials (opt-in). For some events, we are lucky enough to receive the entire batch of poster files and then we can provide an opt-out service where the posters are uploaded unless the author does not want them to be published.

We approach all IWA conference delegates to upload their posters, as well as promoting the service to non-IWA conferences as this is not an IWA-exclusive resource.

The link you mention has been incorrectly uploaded: this is a pitfall of a user-generated resource! However, I have access to the file so the poster is now available ;) .

Chloe.

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Re: WIKI-SUSAN? Open Source!

Dear Chloe,

Thanks for giving us access to iwa's waterwiki!!! May we link us more up.

I am having a problem again and again with uploading from waterwiki a pdf after a search, e.g.: www.iwawaterwiki.org/xwiki/bin/download/...hoBaeEunyoungLee.pdf

My Firefox browser collapsed several times.

Is your waterwiki-system save "enough" against external manipulation and hidden malware uploads by external wiki-"contributions"?

Kindly advice.

Best Regards,
Detlef
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Low-Tech Solutions with High-Tech Effects
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Re: WIKI-SUSAN? Open Source!

Dear Chloe,

Thanks for this. The first link works fine now, thanks. Maybe some people don't know that YWP stands for Young Water Professionals (up to 35 years or so?? I am now an OWP...)

Regarding the search and filtering function, now I get it. I didn't realise that one could type into that white space below title and below event etc. Thanks. (maybe add a hint on the page in case others also don't see the white boxes at first)

One question you have not yet answered:

Is this a new development or have the presentations from all the previous IWA conferences in this year been made available in the same way?


I did some test searches and e.g. a keyword search for "struvite" only brougt up 3 items (surely there was more than 3 posters, papers or ppts on struvite at IWA conferences in recent years). A search for "sanitation" brought up only 18 itmes. Thus, I wonder if in the past the number of uploaded items has been small per conference because it was up to authors, i.e. you were not trying to get a complete archive, because you used an "opt-in" system; now in future you are changing to an "opt-out" system, is that correct?

Another question in an attempt to understand your system better: If I put in "struvite" as a search term, I get for example this item - which is however empty without a pdf attached. Is that because the authors did not upload it properly? :
www.iwawaterwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Even...romurineonbenchscale

I am really glad that these pages will be found by Google searches, that's excellent.

Let me also invite others who have or who have not used the Water Wiki in the past: what do you see as its strengths and weaknesses and can we somehow harness any synergies between the IWA Water Wiki and the SuSanA library and forum?

Regards,
Elisabeth
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Re: WIKI-SUSAN? Open Source!

You should be able to access the first link. I have referred this to our wiki support team who are working on the issue. This is very strange because it has been working throughout the conference! You should be able to access the space within the next few minutes.

If you click in the box and type the event title then the Events Extra will filter by event. You can also use the wiki search function to pull posters from particular conferences.

This is not a database but a livetable. The table simply pulls through the titles of the posters - which of course are contained in the URLS for each page and the pages themselves and therefore completely searchable by Google.

You can type keywords into either the Events Extra livetable or the wiki search function to search for documents according to keywords.

Chloe.

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Re: WIKI-SUSAN? Open Source!

Dear Chloe,
That sounds promising! Is this a new development or have the presentations from all the previous IWA conferences in this year been made available in the same way? If yes, I am surprised that I hadn't heard about it before.

I tried out the 2 links that you sent.
However, the first link that you provided asks for a login before I can view anything - is that on purpose?

The second link led me to your Events Extra page. Here I am wondering: how can I filter the entries by event (currently they are ordered by "last upload date")? I clicked on "Event" but the filter function did not work properly?

Also as you used some sort of database (which has many merits), I think the titles of the posters/papers/presentations are not found by Google searches, is that correct?
I also could not see a way of doing a keyword search on your Events Extra page.

(the keyword searches and things being found by Google are super-important in my opinion)

Kind regards,
Elisabeth
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Re: WIKI-SUSAN? Open Source!

Hi Elizabeth,

All poster presentations, YWP presentations and PowerPoint presentations from the conference in Nairobi will be published on the WaterWiki in the coming weeks on an opt-out basis for authors - ie all presentations will be published unless the author states that they do not wish for their work to be uploaded.

The YWP materials are all available here: www.iwawaterwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Work...ress+YWP+Hub/WebHome

Posters can be found here:http://www.iwawaterwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/EventsExtra/WebHome

PowerPoints and more posters will be added as they become available.

Papers from the conference will be submitted to IWA Journals for publication. Obviously this then means that they cannot be published open-access on the wiki. However, any authors who wish to publish their work on the wiki instead of submitting it for publication will be welcome to do so and their work will be freely available.

I hope this helps!

Chloe.

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