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 Post subject: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #1 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:44 pm 
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hello

What is your opinion on sensei's library?

- Do you use it or have you do you not even know what it is?

- Do you add your own articles?

- what do you miss (and why you don't add to it?)

- What else you want to say.

(this is a followup from SLAsAnAgeingWiki)

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #2 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:10 pm 
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I dislike the quality of the organisational structure of the information. Lots of great stuff spidering off in different directions and hard to find. I rely on Google to get the right page for me from keywords.

It's like spaghetti code. Starts off with a great core and people keep adding features and patches until it's a monolith. A monolith that does clever things and has a few real gems inside it, but impossible to navigate easily through it's mires.

That, at least, is my personal experience with it :)


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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #3 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:13 pm 
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My impression of Senseis is that it has been effectively dead for at least the past five years or so - it was already dead when I started playing go. But despite being dead, it was, and still is, the most useful online resource available. At this point, if you make it completely static and locked, it will remain an awesome archive of go knowledge.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #4 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:57 pm 
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I agree with Topaz. When I first found it, I'd wander through it for a half hour or so every day, just to see what I could find, but that gets old fast, because it's just so hard to find stuff. There's a lot of good stuff on there, but it's all so scattered that it's hard to use it seriously. That said, even as is it's a very valuable resource to turn to from time to time. I've also edited some pages, added some examples to some, and Wikified others.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #5 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:05 pm 
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Would it be possible to drum up some sort of enthusiasm for an overhaul? I'm thinking something a bit like a sprint, where we try to get as many people as possible over one week to edit and reorganize? About a year ago the 33 invasion pages underwent a major overhaul, thanks mainly to tapir, and not too long ago I tried to write and reorganize some introductory life & death material. I think both pages are better for it.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #6 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:13 pm 
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Sensei's Library is incredibly helpful. Most of what I know about go I learned from SL, and it's still the first place I'll visit after a game if I think I screwed up an easy sequence.

(SL also, in common with many websites that were well-established before 2003, is well-entrenched in PageRank, which makes it very easy to find SL pages.)

These would be an example of the sort of pages that make SL extremely helpful:

http://senseis.xmp.net/?44Point33InvasionJoseki
http://senseis.xmp.net/?4463Enclosure33Invasion
http://senseis.xmp.net/?LGroup
http://senseis.xmp.net/?BeginnerStudySection
http://senseis.xmp.net/?BeginnerExercises

This is the sort of page that strikes me as representative of the more whimsical pages on SL, not quite as systematic/complete/helpful as the above pages:

http://senseis.xmp.net/?364463Enclosure33Invasion
http://senseis.xmp.net/?HaengMaTutorialForBeginners

That is to say, some of the pages on SL are the platonic ideal of what an explanation of a Go concept should be, while others remind me of an AOL homepage circa 1995; sometimes very interesting, sometimes irrelevant, but always very idiosyncratic.

I've added comments on discussion pages for SL tsumego, but I haven't added anything to other pages... which is as it should be. If I tried editing or adding to the main pages, I think I'd be far more likely to create an AOL homepage than to attain a platonic ideal. Maybe I'll be dan level player someday, at which point I'll feel competent to add to SL. (For example, it would be lovely to make the family of pages on the 3-3 invasion as perfect as the L-group family, but I'm not going to join in some crusade to do that, because I would make a horrible mess of it.)


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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #7 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:04 pm 
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It is very useful if you already know that the page exists. I use it a lot in game reviews as a source of prepackaged info. I don't have to keep rewriting the basics; I just provide a link to the appropriate SL page.
But to try to find information on it that you don't already know about is difficult. To try learning the game from it would be horrible.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #8 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:41 am 
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When I started to learn go, I often looked at the beginner pages of SL and indeed found some useful starting points. However, as time progressed, I found myself using it less and less. Why? Basically, it's because I no longer expect to be able to quickly and reliably find what I want.

My typical experience on SL is that I start by searching for a term or concept, and end following and opening a series links that appears somehow related to what I am looking for. Some of the material is useful, but doesn't go into enough depth, other material seems interesting but off the point, and often the sheer number of diagrams on the page encourages me to click something else. In any case, although I sometimes find something I wasn't looking for, I rarely find exactly what I was looking for and usually I end up browsing instead of studying.

Another problem is that when looking for information, what I often find is a discussion. Nothing against discussions, but that's not what I look for in a reference library. In contrast with Wikipedia, on SL discussions take place in the open, instead of behind closed doors. While this may be a welcoming policy that encourages activity, it has seriously detracted from reliable readability.

Besides discussions, there are other things that SL offers that are better presented elsewhere. Non-interactive non-clickable presentation of Go problems, josekis and games for example.

I have participated very little on SL, and partly it is because I don't really "get" the working-on-a-wiki dynamic, and partly because many of my thoughts on go are not suited for posterity or permanent reference. This is also the case with some SL posts, but it is easier to shut one's own mouth than somebody elses.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #9 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:13 am 
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I've always used it and still do. What's frustrated me of late is a "corrosion of content": topics are not presented locally anymore but referred to with "there's a very interesting discussion on this topic in this thread at godiscussions." Those threads are long gone and nobody distilled whatever their content was into Sensei's pages.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #10 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:34 am 
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I think it's an amazing resource. I haven't actually added anything to it because I've never had anything to say, but I refer to it often. When I help beginners being able to refer them to certain pages is invaluable (eg. Lgroup).

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #11 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:39 am 
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I've always found it to be very uneven. There aren't enough authoritative editors, and the organization could do with a serious overhaul to provide a semblance of a "table of contents" rather than just links and searches. I've done a fair amount of work on Wikipedia, abut subjects I know well, but I don't feel competent to say anything on Sensei's, so I've rarely posted anything. Too many of the articles are discussions rather than articles (like on Wikipedia). The discussions should be kept on talk pages, not on main pages. Many articles therefore are inconclusive, which gives less authority to them.

But with such a small population of editors, it's unlikely that it will change.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #12 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:48 am 
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Everybody wants SL to be as good as Wikipedia and as complete as the union of all go books existing or written in future. Not surprisingly, SL is by far not that good and exhaustive.

I agree that good structure is missing but linking all existing pages would not solve this problem - rather structure must include also still missing contents so that there is more motivation to add it and fill the black holes.

Voluntary contributions cannot be unlimited. Therefore a friendly enviroment is all the more important. However, fresh contents tends to be attacked in endless discussions about the immaterial or devalued by factual anti-corrections rather than welcomed. This view should change. Welcome new contents as saving you from having to spend voluntary work yourself. If you need to criticise, concentrate on factual aspects you are sure about. Better yet, explain what you think cannot be readily understood.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #13 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:14 am 
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kirkmc wrote:
...the organization could do with a serious overhaul to provide a semblance of a "table of contents"


There is this: http://senseis.xmp.net/?ReferenceSection

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #14 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:05 am 
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People may remember me as a very active user and librarian of SL. I quit some time ago, mostly because I quit active Go, but also because maintaining SL became a bit of a drag. The main issue is fairly straightforward: critical mass.

There has been one guy doing all the programming and about 5 people acting as content administrators. Without bots, with masses of pages created without keywords, with loads of duplicate content, it was very hard for us to maintain the site. You should look at a page I created for doing something about it, called "Library Work": it's rather discouraging.

Also, the people that were active were not strong enough on average to publish content that was authoritative and the policy to not credit people, by removing signatures from contributions and make the content speak for itself, may have scared away a fair number of those who were authoritative.

It would be good if all those who find issues with SL would gather and do what lies within their capabilities, but I can't blame anyone for not spending the crazy amount of time I've spent on it.

The task wasn't made easier by contributors who refused to at least consider that their major overhauls were actually detrimental, against a whole community, and which the evil administrator then had to carry endless discussions with, reverting edits ad nauseam. On WP the administrators are not nearly as lenient, because the critical mass can afford to lose the occasional bone head.

I'm happy that people still see value in it. Its stature now is definitely much more than the SL-community ever dreamed off.

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Post #15 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:44 am 
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Quite some pages need master-edits. I could have master-edited some but was supposed not to do it because significant contributors to a page are supposed to be partial. The effect years later: Those pages are still not master-edited. A counter-productive situation.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #16 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:18 am 
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I find it a mix of fun and useful and frustrating.

If you can find the page/section/discussion on what you want it can be a great in-depth discussion of a given specific topic or aspect of the game. But that is if you can find it (and if it exists in the first place). The 'referenced by' feature is pretty good for making the semi-obscure connections, but I agree that a big overhaul would be great.

I also enjoy the random page feature sometimes so I can try to stumble onto something new and interesting. Kinda chat-roulette for SL...


Bruce "Sashay sensei" Young

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #17 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:53 pm 
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Thanks all for your responces.

I am a bit confused by

(1) I cannot find what I am looking for.

- is it because you are looking for a certain position?

You are looking for a subject:
- gives to much results (using normal search)
- but it has no page (title search)
- or is not an alias (title search)

The first is a problem that can happen with any big wiki.


(2) Structure
This is a problem with any big wiki but how can we solve it?
was thinking about more paths/ keywords (but which? and how)
just the number of pages (around 20.000) is allready to big for an index
What other solutions are there?

(2) Discussions in a Wiki
- sensei's library is not wikipedia, but i do agree sometimes a page is more a discussion than a decription of the subject.
I do prefer a seperate / discussion subpage above the talkpages forum. (that is mostly uneditable by others)

(3) uneven content (sometimes you get more than you hope for sometimes not enough)
There are quite a lot of pages of "stub" quality.
(this is a stub itself as well)

(4) Corrosion of context.
That is a problem, but has also to do with copyright (or at least the ethical dimension of it)
Sometimes I see on here nice articles (especially by John Fairbairn) , am i allowed to copy them to Sensei's?

(5) Editing and improvemnt.
A problem here is than sometimes things that are clear for a specialist not at all clear for an beginner, can we add more explanation to the specialist page?

(6) people
Yes sensei's needs more people at sensei's, there is a lot to do. Even for the suggested "serious overhaul" i don't think there are enough deshi's

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #18 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:58 pm 
Oza

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Quote:
Sometimes I see on here nice articles (especially by John Fairbairn) , am i allowed to copy them to Sensei's?


In my case, I prefer this not to happen.

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Post #19 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:35 pm 
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20000 pages is still small enough to put each page into a good structure and reference by all relevant keywords from their pages manually.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think of sensei's library
Post #20 Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:40 pm 
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Willemien--search works poorly on Wikipedia, but they get by because
1) they are so often the first Google result, (so Google provides a virtual search).
2) the pages are densely hyperlinked, meaning that once you've found something on your topic, you'll often just find other pages you're interested in
3) their aliases and redirects are quite complete, so that you can often just type something in the location bar and get where you need to be.

I do not think Sensei's scores particularly well on any of those counts.

Btw: I don't really use much of the top-down navigation on Wikipedia--it's just too buried. I suppose this depends--if I went to the wikipedia page on philosophy, it has so many links that this is like a form of top-down navigation. The big exception is the templates that accompany articles--these often are helpful, especially for browsing. I feel the same way about sensei's, except we don't really have the templates. Even though I know about the reference section, I don't start there.

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