Wiki merger

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Some of the important details, outlined in the form of questions and answers, surrounding the merging of the V4L and DVB wikis are as follows:

Why is this happening?

LinuxTV.org hosts both the Video4Linux (analog video) and DVB (digital TV) Linux subsystems. In the past, these two subsystems have each maintained their own separate wiki. However, despite the fact that the two subsystems are very unique from one another, real world application often finds them closely intertwined in scope or context. As such, it is practical that the two wiki contents be brought together. This should foster a more efficient dissemination of content and, in general, make for a more user friendly source of information. At the same time, the merger will by no means undermine the fact that we are indeed dealing with two unique subsystems!

What is the single most important point about the merger that I may want to know about?

Sadly, on a technical level, we can't merge the contents of the two wikis without being in violation of licensing -- simply put, the two wikis were established under different licenses which, to the best of our knowledge, are incompatible. In order to be in compliance, before we could proceed with what we propose (merger of the wikis), we would need to contact every user who has contributed to the wikis, inform them of the licensing issue and then seek their permission to proceed to move their contribution to a new venue which is governed under a license different then that to which the content was originally submitted under.

That would be a monumental task (with an infinitesimally small chance of being able to actually contact everyone), so guess what is not going to happen. If you said merger of the wikis, you'd be wrong. While it is unfortunate that we are going to proceed outside a strict interpretation of the licenses governing the current wikis, there is a greater benefit that would be forgone if we did not proceed with the merger of the wikis. It seems somewhat unfathomable someone would not recognize this point, or believe that we are willfully breaking the intended spirit of the licenses.

Nonetheless, we will reserve an individual's rights to disagree with the merger on the basis of non-compliance with the terms of the original licensing under which they submitted their contribution. So be it. If they feel so strongly, we will respect that opinion by removing THAT individual's contribution from the merged wiki. We will not, however, derail the entire merger project on that basis alone.

In all honesty, we expect zero complaints about this issue, but we wanted to be completely upfront about this. We expect that the community will be completely understanding and supportive of our measures.

Will any information be lost?

No loss of content, talk pages or user contribution histories will occur. However, in the case of duplicate articles (i.e same subject/content appears in both wikis), things become problematic in regards to trying to preserve the original content, user histories etc. -- you simply can not non-destructively merge the two articles into one. Nonetheless, a manual approach can be employed to mitigate the "damage" as best as possible:

  • such articles within the V4L wiki will be tagged with a "-V4L" appendage (i.e. "article_name-V4L") and then moved over to the "Main" namespace of the LinuxTV wiki.
  • within the LinuxTV wiki, a new "Archived" namespace shall be established (Note: initially a "V4L" namespace was set up, but this name was a little shortsighted and so was later changed to a functionally more appropriate "Archived" namespace)
  • the relevant content of "article_name-V4L" can be copied into the appropriate sections of the existing "article_name" within the LinuxTV DVB wiki. The edit note should highlight this fact (i.e. "merged content from "article_name-V4L", see "Archived:article_name-V4L" for user contribution history"). The last part of the edit note will refer to the fact that, post article content merging, the "article_name-V4L" will then be moved from the wiki's "Main" namespace and into the "Archived" namespace for the sake of historical posterity and preservation of rightful user attributions

Perfect? No, but it gets the job done.

Why are the V4L articles being moved into the current DVB wiki and not the other way around (i.e. DVB wiki articles into the V4L wiki)?

Simply logistics. V4L contains some 230 articles, whereas DVB holds roughly three times that number. In any regard, outside the question of volume, who gets moved into whom is irrelevant, as the resultant merged wiki will become simply the "LinuxTV wiki" or (if by popular demand) the "V4L-DVB wiki" (as hosted by LinuxTV).

Sounds great, but I want to contribute something to the wiki right now! What should I do?

  • If you are thinking about creating a new article, then it would be most helpful if you did so in the LinuxTV wiki instead (but first check to make sure that there isn't an existing one over there already!).
  • On the other hand, if you wish to edit an article still currently residing in the V4L wiki, continue as you normally would. At some point, that article will be transfered/merged into the other wiki
  • If you can no longer find the article you intended to edit in the V4L wiki, please check the LinuxTV wiki because, in all likelihood, it has already been moved over. Note: some articles may have their name altered to a more formal entry, so scan the index well!
  • Articles in the DVB wiki should be unaffected, and you may continue as normal

Is this going to be a disruptive process?

Unfortunately, it will be somewhat disruptive. Articles will begin to "disappear" from the V4L wiki (although, at the same time, they will be reappearing in the LinuxTV wiki!) and links will begin to be broken. It is simply too time consuming to maintain the links in the interm. However, on the other side of the coin, as more and more of the V4L articles are integrated into the LinuxTV wiki, the links will, without intervention, begin to become whole again.

How long is this process going to take?

No exact timetable is set, but would like to aim for it to be completed by mid December 2008. Suffice it to say, hopefully it will be as quick as possible, but do bear in mind that things can change, for better or for worse, as (real life) circumstances warrant them.