The Future of the QL Wiki

A place to discuss general QL issues.
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The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby RWAP » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:25 am

Taking account of my ongoing health issues, I have been considering what would be best for the QL Wiki and other community projects which I currently run (such as the Z88 forums, the ZX80/ZX81 forums and the Sinclair QL GitHub).

Looking at what happened with World of Spectrum when Marjin was unable to continue with the site, it is important to consider the long term viability and what should happen if I (for example) were to walk under a bus tomorrow. My health issues also mean that I no longer have the time or energy to continue in the way that I have been.

My family would not really know what to do with the forums - and would not continue to pay for the hosting. There is also not really anyone else involved in the administration of the site. I also think that the QL Wiki is itself a barrier to people being involved, as there are certain people out there who cannot see beyond the fact that it was set up by me initially and is hosted on my server - so seem to think that it is my duty to update it!

After deliberation, I think the answer is to set up a non-profit organisation (Sinclair World ?) which could then own these resources and be responsible for their maintenance, improvement and upkeep. It would take some fund raising to set up the organisation, as well as willing hands to set everything up and create the necessary constitution, book-keeping etc to keep it viable.

What do others think - and who are the willing hands?


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby RWAP » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:34 am

I don't think the answer is Quanta because that model is not all-encompassing enough (and is based on membership)


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby swensont » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:14 pm

I have been on the Board of 4 different non-profits and I'm not sure if a non-profit is the right answer for this. The right answer might be getting others involved in the running of the projects (QL Wiki, ZX81 forums, etc) and making sure that they are all hosted on systems that don't rely a single person. Those willing to step up and help could come from the large Sinclair community. There are many that would be willing to chip in funds to offset the cost of the hosting.

You might considering making a posting on each site looking for volunteers, with some breakdown of what the "job" entails, what technical skills are needed, etc. You might be surprised by the responses.

Tim Swenson


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby RWAP » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:30 pm

swensont wrote:I have been on the Board of 4 different non-profits and I'm not sure if a non-profit is the right answer for this. The right answer might be getting others involved in the running of the projects (QL Wiki, ZX81 forums, etc) and making sure that they are all hosted on systems that don't rely a single person. Those willing to step up and help could come from the large Sinclair community. There are many that would be willing to chip in funds to offset the cost of the hosting.

You might considering making a posting on each site looking for volunteers, with some breakdown of what the "job" entails, what technical skills are needed, etc. You might be surprised by the responses.

Tim Swenson



The problem with not using a non-profit organisation is that the continuance of any website depends on the person who owns the domain name and hosting etc. For example, I use one set of hosting for the QL Wiki, RWAP Software, RWAP Adventures, RWAP Services, Z88 Forums, and SinclairZXWorld - so ideally it needs to be split between my business interests and the community interests.

If something happened to me tomorrow, then my family would take a few months to even work out what to do with my business etc (let alone how it all works and fits together) - they would probably just look to sell it as a whole, without realising that QL Wiki is a community project unless someone was struggling to get hold of me and then managed to make contact with my family (who live a distance away) to find out what had happened.... There is also the issue of payments for monthly fees on dropbox and github would not be continued (as my cards would be cancelled), and even worse if my hosting came up for renewal in the meantime.

This applies whenever the hosting and domain names are in the name of an individual - none of us are planning to kick the bucket tomorrow, but we have to be prepared.

I don't have the time to organise this, so it takes a group of people to get together and decide to run with the suggestion.

Unfortunately, my experience of asking for volunteers has not been very rewarding - if I ask for help and comments on the QL Wiki, there are very few updates done by anyone other than me, and the only feedback is "You have not put any information about X software". That is why the QL Wiki needs to be separated from my business interests and me in particular - people seem to think that because I set it up, I am responsible for all work on it.

Dilwyn probably feels the same way about the SInclair QL Homepage - I know he gets criticised that there is not enough information or screenshots of all of the software on there, but people don't offer to add any of the information or pictures.

The other issue is that both I and Dilwyn get approached by numerous people with questions on the QL, its software and hardware - it would make more sense for those questions to be directed to the QL Forum (although not everyone is willing to do so through a forum), so this could be something else the organisation could offer.

A fresh overall approach could be ideal - maybe looking for a better system for offering Wiki information, downloads and screenshots of QL software - but you are talking of many many months work to do that alone. As I say, the main concern is ensuring the information that we have at the moment in the hands of a few individuals is secured for the long-term future.

As to how that information is presented and developed is then something for the future - possibly even paying web developers to create new sites, themes, and functionality. Who knows.....


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby NormanDunbar » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:13 pm

Just for "fun", I decided to check out a free,hosted wiki site, and with the benefit of Wikipedia, I found that we can have a free system set up for us. I took the liberty os using the name Rich suggested and we can have http://sinclair-world.wikia.com.

This way,nobody has to pay anything and even better, we - the community - can upload photos, video, etc to the wiki. And editing is done in plain text,so no fancy command or formatting is required, it's all done relatively easily.

Take a look,there's just a single page at the moment, pretty much default, bug you get the drift. Don't like the theme? No problem, we can change it. Etc etc etc.


Cheers,
Norm.


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby RWAP » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:45 pm

The trouble is that it is not just the QL Wiki which needs to be owned by a body which will ensure its survival in the future.

There is (off the top of my head)
- QL Wiki (RWAP)
- QL Forums
- QL Email Mailing List
- QL Home Page
- QL GitHub (RWAP)
- QL SuperBASIC / SBASIC Reference Manual Online
- SInclair QL and ZX81 Facebook Groups / Pages (RWAP)
- SinclairQL.net - Urs' large preservation project
- SinclairZXWorld (ZX80/ ZX81 forums) (RWAP)
- Z88World (Z88 Forums) (RWAP)
- ZX Team and German ZX81 forums, Wiki etc

Potential for the development of things which are missing:
- A new ZX80 / ZX81 Hardware resource site
- A new QL Hardware resource site
- A new QL Software resource site

And potentially bringing onboard other general support and SInclair-related sites of importance:
- Quanta website
- World of Spectrum (maybe)

At the moment, all of these resources are hosted on numerous web hosting companies, with domain names and hosting / adminstration owned and paid for by various people which means that they are reliant on that person being around to continue to make payments and/or transfer the ownership.

I am only the named owner for some of these (marked RWAP) and am happy to transfer them lock stock and barrel to a "Sinclair World" body to own and maintain. Others are owned by various people, so that would be up to them to decide what to do.

However, people need to come together to set up the organisation and take over ownership and make decisions as to how to best approach these, and maybe adopt one over-arching style to form a huge resource site for all SInclair computers. It may well be that a decision is taken to adapt a new Wiki format but then you need someone to adapt the existing mass of information (text and images) into that Wiki; which is something which would probably best be farmed out to a paid individual, as the amount of work would be over-powering for someone to do on a voluntary basis.

Let's face it - I started talking about the QL Wiki, asking for people to add information to it 10+ years ago - yet there are still vast amounts of information not included on the site and people seem to associate it as my project and therefore I have to do all the work. It is because of this (and all of the criticism that has been levied at me over the past few years) that I do not want to be involved in anything that is set up to run these resources - I do not have the time to spare, and there needs to be a clear break between my commercial ventures and these "community projects"

Maybe I should set a deadline to focus people's minds - say that from 1st January 2018 I will turn off the QL Wiki and other community projects, to leave me free to spend the precious time I have available on actual paid work, so something HAS to be done.......
Last edited by RWAP on Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby tofro » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:08 pm

Rich,

What you've written shows a lot of responsibility and discernment, and we all hope that any of what you have pointed out is not going to happen anytime soon. We all must accept that our descendants won't necessarily share our enthusiasm in the things we value.

Enthusiasm is the exact keyword - And I fear organisations like trusts or registered associations or whatever don't in my opinion really stand for enthusiasm, but rather for bureaucracy, administrative fuss and legal nit-picking, but that's maybe just my experience with such organisations - It's individuals, rather, that stand for enthusiasm, and in case an organisation works, it's still individuals that drive it with their enthusiasm. The Sinclair world has had a good example of what I'm referring to with WoS.

What I want to bring across is that you want to look for individuals rather than organisations.

Tobias


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby RWAP » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:26 pm

tofro wrote:Rich,

What you've written shows a lot of responsibility and discernment, and we all hope that any of what you have pointed out is not going to happen anytime soon. We all must accept that our descendants won't necessarily share our enthusiasm in the things we value.

Enthusiasm is the exact keyword - And I fear organisations like trusts or registered associations or whatever don't in my opinion really stand for enthusiasm, but rather for bureaucracy, administrative fuss and legal nit-picking, but that's maybe just my experience with such organisations - It's individuals, rather, that stand for enthusiasm, and in case an organisation works, it's still individuals that drive it with their enthusiasm. The Sinclair world has had a good example of what I'm referring to with WoS.

What I want to bring across is that you want to look for individuals rather than organisations.

Tobias


I am not saying an organisation is the overall answer - but WoS has had a lot of problems since Martjin has left, with huge sections of it still not working, but it is then left on the shoulders of one person, who is then criticised over not fixing bits or implementing it.

If an individual (or several ones) wants to take over the responsibility and cost / time of running the QL Wiki, the ZX81 Forums, the GitHub, and the Z88 forums - then that is great for the short term - but what happens when they are themselves too ill, or pass away..... You have the same issue again...

Yes enthusiasm is needed but unfortunately, mine has taken a substantial knock because of the strong critism and how this impacted on both my business and me personally - the lack of any real wealth of volunteers to help maintain the QL Wiki and continuing comments that it is missing information about X Y and Z does not help anyone who maintains it.

In the meantime, if someone wants to take on one of these, then give me the server details and I will move it across by FTP as it stands - although for the QL Wiki there is the issue that a new domain name is needed, and all references in the database will need to be updated to that new domain (with probably a redirect adding on my own server). This is therefore not the matter of a couple of hours work for the new owner.


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby Paul » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:33 pm

I am not familiar with the correct english words. But I think the main advantage of a "limited" (german Haftungsbeschränkt) organisation is that you don't have to fear legal issues.


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Re: The Future of the QL Wiki

Postby RWAP » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:47 pm

Paul wrote:I am not familiar with the correct english words. But I think the main advantage of a "limited" (german Haftungsbeschränkt) organisation is that you don't have to fear legal issues.


Yes that is correct - a limited organisation (a company) is a legal entity in its own right - any legal action is taken against the company itself and there are limited circumstances in which the people in charge of the company can be themselves liable.

A limited organisation costs more to administer, because of the need to complete an annual return as well as accounts, but it has the advantage that it could register for VAT or even charitable status. VAT registration is probably more than worthwhile, as the VAT on any expenses could be reclaimed - it is unlikely that the organisation would be selling anything, so there would be no problem of charging VAT on supplies it makes.



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