Missing Wiki Before Xp

Without doubting the merits of ExtremeProgramming let me admit that I seldom come here the past year. I do miss the ever changing subjects of before. I could not make it to the WikiBoF at Oopsla, but I regret I did not.

Waw, this took some courage.

-- MartineDevos

I think you may be right. The purpose of THE wiki could be to spin off deeper discussion of particular topics in separate wikis and remain a sort of nerdy cocktail party itself.

JosWiki has the concept of different "rooms". (Sorry, I don't recall the term they use.) All exist on the same wiki and you can link to topics in other rooms by prefacing the WikiName with the room name and a colon (:).

In addition to avoiding some topics "intruding" on others (presumably that's what bothers some), it would provide easier organization that could be a plus for projects such as the evolving component pattern language. -- KielHodges

Yes! Can we tone down the ExtremeProgramming stuff and talk about OTHER things?

I feel bad that people seem to be asking XP fans not to contribute. Wouldn't it be better for folks who enjoy other things to contribute MORE? -- RonJeffries

Actually, I tried to do that. I belong to an Agile Users Group called ScrumToronto. I felt I was contributing to the Agile community by adding pages on using OpenSpace for discussion of Agile. My pages got a) marked as WalledGarden, and b) Moderated - implication was that our pages were not pertinent. I definitely felt that I was being called a squatter. Subject was an OpenSpace on Agile topics - see edit history of TorontoAgileOpenSpace for what happened. (Why does OpenSpace, an Agile meeting technique if there ever was one, have no place here? Is it because it does not link to all the XP pages, perhaps?) Well, we're gone now. But the bad taste lingers. --DeborahHartmann

You can change the channel. You can ask others to change the content they produce. But this ain't television, it's Wiki. You can also provide content of your own choosing. -- KielHodges

Eventually, everything there is to say about XP will have been said, and the topic will go low-volume. But I guess, by then, many folk with other interests might have dropped off the wiki. I've tried to run a few other topics over the last few months - OrganicArchitecture, YtwokUpdate, WuWei, AllPanaceasBecomePoison and so on - but you can discuss those things elsewhere on the net. Where else can you discuss XP?

I don't think a separate "room" would help much with this; wiki blows with whatever's on RecentChanges. Partitioning RecentChanges, I think, really wouldn't help wiki at all. I suspect the best way is, if you want to talk about other things, just talk about them - the discussion will occur naturally. -- PeterMerel

And, in fact, XP has waxed and waned as a topic. During the summer, there was a 'lot' of activity centered mostly on ExtremeProgrammingChallenge(s). Towards the end of summer, it had died down with little real XP discussion going. Until very recently, much of the discussion had been either tangential to XP (ArchitectAsKeeperOfTheFlame) or more general (BigDesignUpFront) or had nothing to do with XP at all (ComponentDesignPatterns).

Also, everyone should keep in mind that XP encompasses or uses a lot of things that are not themselves XP. I should hope that nobody objects to mention of CRC cards or to test-driven programming.

-- KielHodges

I have thought a lot about how methods, languages, and studies (e.g., Catalysis, ScrumProcess, and EpisodesPatternLanguage come to mind) relate to ComponentDesignPatterns. However, little or no reference has been made to them, simply because of the ComponentDesignPatternsContext. -- PhilipEskelin

RonJeffries writes: I feel bad that people seem to be asking XP fans not to contribute.

Interesting - that's not how I interpreted it at all. I didn't read it as a request to stop contributing to XP pages. Maybe I misinterpreted, but I thought it looked more like a protective territorial request to keep XP to the XP pages and not have it "take over" other pages that had no particular connection to XP at the outset.

It sounds to me like other folks would like to contribute more, but are concerned that XP folks might quickly steer the discussion back to XP somehow (not out of malicious intent of course, merely out of zeal, or ExtremePassion?, for their ExtremeProgramming pursuits). I don't believe the objection is that the XP stuff exists, or even that more XP pages are created. IMHO it looks more like a complaint that sooner or later, all wiki pages seem to lead to XP. Am I wrong in thinking this is the issue here? -- BradAppleton

Gosh (no you are not thinking wrong) -- MartineDevos

Well, if anything not heavily linked into the wiki gets labelled a WalledGarden, and if WalledGardens are discouraged (certainly, reading about them discouraged me enough to leave), then nothing new can be incubated, and of course all pages will lead back to XP. If the intent of this wiki is to remain XP-centric, this works just fine and I guess there is no problem. --DeborahHartmann (related to comments near the top of this page)

It's interesting to note that the ComponentPatterns? pages are devoid of XP material. The more specific the topic, the less XP becomes part of it. Once we move into areas that are more general and deal with development process or general approaches, XP comes in.

I have mixed feelings about Wiki being XP centered. One point is that people don't really get to decide these things. They just happen. Communities do not transplant well either. So, for me, I'll use and hopefully not abuse whatever forum is available, provided there are like-minded people and the benefactors don't mind.

The second point is that XP renders many development-related discussions moot. I remember a design team at OOPSLA98 DesignFest; they made up some elaborate UML diagrams. During CodeFest? someone dropped the diagrams in the wastebasket and hung a "Not XP" sign over them. That shook me more than anything I've seen in software in years; the symbolism.

-- MichaelFeathers

The act would shake me. Have I understood this correctly: an XpFan? took it upon themselves to put someone's work in the wastebasket because that person was using a technique that the fan disapproved of?

I feel quite sure that no real XP person would have done this. I'd also guess that the person who did it thought they were being funny. -- RonJeffries

From reading about XP on these pages, indeed UML diagrams are not XP. And what of that? This formula "not XP" crops up here and there, and while formally neutral does seem to be read by some (me for one) as having a hefty affect.

XPers are read, it seems, as saying "you can do <thing>, but if you do you're not doing XP, which, as any sensible person knows is the only measure of worth." -- KeithBraithwaite

Has anyone really stopped to think about what that will mean for software development? What strikes me is just how fragile things are now. The best is yet to come and the worst is yet to come. Although I love reading other topics on Wiki, I have to say that, to me, XP is the most interesting topic by far. And, that, for me, is saying a lot. Take a look at my page here and see what sorts of things I normally think about.

-- MichaelFeathers

I did say "many" not "all" and I'll stand by the truth of that. This morning, I started making a set of classes for providing semantic type introspection for a family of classes in C++. I could see a number of places where they would be useful, we'd kicked it around in meetings before; I knew it wouldn't be simple, but it would be tricky and fun. I started writing test cases and I got done very quickly. I called over a friend and showed him. He convinced me that it was not necessary. At the end of the day I knew three things:

  1. if I had paired with him, I would have saved a lot of time (I was supposed to meet him in the morning but I never got to him because I was busy geeking on this "cool" thing),
  2. I was not doing the simplest thing and I should have been, and
  3. I was able to get more done as I wasted time because I was testing as I went. :-)
I'm pretty convinced of those three things. If you can argue with them, please. -- MichaelFeathers

Michael, what's going on here is that some people, who've been part of Wiki since its inception, are uncomfortable that so many of the discussions here are dominated by XP. I think that's a genuine problem. (The XP discussions are not a problem for me - rather the opposite! - but JimCoplien saying he's not going to participate in Wiki is a problem.) I don't think anyone's asking for the XP discussions to halt. On the other hand, saying, "XP rocks, XP rules, XP works" is definitely not a solution to the problem! -- PaulChisholm

Does the process that the XP folks are using to develop XP represent the practice that they preach? I ask the question not with sarcasm, but out of wanting to know the answer. If they are saying that it rocks, rules, and works without being frank about listening and refactoring XP themselves, this could perhaps be turning people off.

Also, to what extent is existing work in this area (process) referenced? One thing I find incredibly useful and valuable is if new writing references existing writing in patterns. Unless XP is brand-new and has revolutionary and previously unthought of breakthroughs, I would think that they might be able to reference work like Coplien's and others that predate it. -- PhilipEskelin

To all, both for and against XP's existence on Wiki: when I got inspired to see entropy grow the ComponentDesignPatterns project on the WikiWikiWeb, nobody stopped me from putting it there. Further, nobody has stopped folks from participating. Either it's meant to be this way, or we managed to make changes while the Master Biologist wasn't looking ;-)

-- PhilipEskelin

Eventually, everything there is to say about XP will have been said - I don't think that's true. Admittedly my own desire to talk about XP has waned, but every so often new people come along and it all seems to get explained again. I almost wonder whether the DocumentMode part of Wiki has worked here. We get new conversations instead of people extracting value from the existing pages.

(That's probably too harsh - apart from anything else, it's hard to tell when people are satisfied by existing pages. We only know when they ask questions.)

-- DaveHarris

I think it's more than just Wiki's DocumentMode weakness. Some issues are polarizing. (Perhaps XP is one. ;-) People are often inclined to put in their opinion on such issues -- even when the same opinion has already been stated. So new conversations may be inevitable. (Please understand that I'm neither criticizing newcomers nor saying that newer conversations are always void of any new insight.) -- KielHodges

Okay. I can see how what I was writing above can be off-putting. When you find something that works for you and ties in very well with what you know and have seen about development, it can be rather exciting. I'll tone it down. -- MichaelFeathers

Let me offer a metaphor. If this were a cooking list, I could start a thread called "Margarine or Butter?", discussing what fat to use in cookies. If one person immediately posted followups saying "I'm Vegan, and I don't believe in exploiting animals", which started the vegetarian argument, and somebody else followed up saying "I follow the Pritikin Diet, and cooking with fats is a mistake", which spun off into the low-fat diet argument, there wouldn't be any room left for discussions of my original question.

Challenging your own assumptions is part of learning. But if every single premise is immediately challenged, I stop learning and simply become frustrated. If I start a thread about "What makes good cookies", I don't want to talk about whether it's a good idea to make cookies at all, I want to talk to people who share my assumption that cookies are nice, and that sharing expertise in baking is worthwhile. I'm happy to read other people's threads that begin with "Why I Don't Eat Cookies", but I become frustrated when their contributions take over my thread.

That's the way I feel about XP. I am irritated when I can't talk about how to document software without being interrupted by a discussion of why XP thinks documentation is a bad idea.

-- BetsyHanesPerry

Moved to XpAndDocuments. -- bhp

I'm a newcomer here. WhatWasWikiLikeBeforeXp? It sounds like it was a fun place - not that it isn't fun now. -- JonGrover


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