Therefore But

One of the most popular forms for pattern pages is Ward's simple "Therefore,". In this form you state the context and forces in a paragraph or several, then put a bold "Therefore," on a line by itself, and then state a tried and true solution in a paragraph or several.

It would be nice to have all pages work like this. In refactoring pages, however, we GoodWikiCitizens are frequently faced with pages where intrinsic opposites are expressed: Liberal-Conservative kinds of things. It makes no sense to separate these dualities because they don't really mean much by themselves, and because if we do, then people from the opposing camps will only come snipe at each other again.


ThreadMode can be fixed by collecting the viewpoints together into thesis-antithesis sections. Unlike your college essays, no synthesis is necessary. If you must conclude with a synthesis, put it on a separate page and link to it with a "See Also". This way your synthesis won't cause more contention than it solves.

Separate the thesis and antithesis sections with a bold "But,". Then gather all the attributions you can find into a single bold line beginning with "--", noting the apparent original author first. This last is clutter, but it'll reduce the contributors' feelings of loss over the disappeared text.


Be extremely careful about this! Wait until the threads have died! If you can't do it neatly, don't do it! And don't forget to save the threads so that, if someone objects, you can put it back. And if they do, do put it back!

I think that I like this. I saw an example of it in FromWhere that pulled quite a lot of value from an otherwise difficult page. I'm concerned that the concept of authorship is compromised though. I'd like to know who wrote this page, for instance, so I can read more of their stuff. I'd also like to see more of their page refactoring efforts. Also, on FromWhere I found it interesting that WardCunningham actually stepped in to make a comment (which is rare enough to be notable). I'm torn though, because FromWhere as it stands (11-22-99) is a really nice piece of work without signatures. -- PhilGoodwin

I did the refactor on FromWhere. For anyone who wants the mess back, just let me know - as a GoodWikiCitizen I have it saved. It was with some trepidation that I deleted Ward, but since he was commenting on Fridemar's pattern form, rather than on the FromWhere suggestion it seemed more valuable to delete it. -- PeterMerel

On saving ... a severely refactored page (say, ThereforeBut) might be tagged with the original in the form of WasThereforeBut, where the original had been pasted in. -- BenTremblay

Note: FromWhere was deprecated in 2005 in accordance with GentlyReduceWikiBadges and eventually removed.

In my humble opinion . . .

EgolessProgramming? What about EgolessWiki? Ego is a very self-destructive concept. Heh

On the other hand, give credit where credit is due. Many pages have large contributions made by a small number of individuals (sometimes just one) and just annotations, corrections or comments by others.

The credit goes to the principal author(s); the other people's comments should just be folded into the main work.

Just because you are egoful and are a self-described WikiMaster doesn't give you the right to steal other people's thunder.

The problem is that it is hard to tell what is a significant contribution or not. ;) In this case, it's probably best to cite everyone.

-- SunirShah

P.S. I think, in the principles of OnceAndOnlyOnce, we should just name Peter (amongst others) as a contributor in general of WikiWikiWeb. ;)

Heh. In Australia that's what we call a PissTake. Still, you have a good point, an all-inclusive Contributors line should reduce regrets. I've just added that to the ThereforeBut guidelines above. --PM

Peter, the refactored FromWhere page looks great - but I would like to see the old discussion content linked off it. It was just getting started when I was last here and I'd like to see how it went. Any reason not to leave it on a page alongside the summary ? -- SimonMichael

I don't see the value, but I'm mailing my saved version of that page to you, Simon. If you can find a good way to work this while preserving signal I'll be very interested. I suspect, though, that to do this properly you'd need to back wiki with an SCM something like CvWiki. I'm not sure that's the best idea either ... --PM

Some pages have a "disscussion" co-page. Maybe you could glob all the stuff you took out together on a FromWhereDiscussion? page and put that in the "See also:". -- pg

I like ThereforeBut a lot. So I wonder: does it make sense to define AntiPatterns in this form?

Sure. AntiPatterns are just patterns with a bigger But than the Therefore. You might want to add a So section to discuss the 'fix' for the antipattern (ThereforeButSo?).

CategoryPatternForm | CategoryWikiMaintenance

EditText of this page (last edited December 8, 2009) or FindPage with title or text search