ASCII by Jason Scott

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Just Keep Solving the Problem Month —

Theproblem

 

I had hoped “Just Solve the Problem Month” would be a yearly thing. In my original entry about this event and how it would go, I expected us to aim ourselves at a new direction and throw people at a problem that just needed some attention. Every year. So each year would bring to a crashing halt the endless yammering about a known issue that just needed a few hundred sets of eyeballs on it to go away.

The fact is, my life’s been pretty busy, what with the JSMESS and the documentary filming, and the awesome job in general and a stupid amount of travel (over 180 days away from home this year so far, with another few weeks still to not be home) … well, there’s just been no time for me to sit down and devise what might make the 2013 Just Solve The Problem month worth working on. That, well, that is a bummer.

So, I’m going to punt, after a fashion, and instead point you in a different angle – basically, last year’s Just Solve the Problem has turned out to be amazing.

Now called fileformats.archiveteam.org, the File Formats Wiki is full of over 2,500 pages covering all aspects of formats, be they digital, analog, organic…. old, new, just-discovered and long-forgotten.

You see, long after the few dozens who were working on it faded into other efforts, a small handful of folks just kept going. The two biggies are Dan Tobias and J. Summers, but a few others have helped along as well. That Wiki is rocking.

The dream still holds – put all the file format information we can into one wiki, referencing all the pages of the Internet or coming up with our own original resource to try and insure both notification of the existence of formats, but also pointers for places like the Internet Archive to vacuum up these reference pages into the Wayback Machine. In this way, a body of work could truly grow and be of use. And since it’s all Creative Commons Public Domain, it can be absorbed into all the file format wikis with limited scope or budget or government oversight, so the information is protected.

It’s a great dream. In many ways it’s come true and it still is.

So maybe, this year, a bunch more people can hop in and refine it. Not cut off “useless” or “unwanted” pages – the whole point is that everything stays up, even if it’s ref links. I mean more along the lines of getting the front page of the Wiki to be very helpful to getting to sub-pages and subsections. Cleaning up the look where possible. Maybe making some template boxes to add to the others. Finding inter-page links worth making. In other words just improving the wiki.

You can register to join the Wiki today, and all month. The File Formats Wiki welcomes your help. It’s a problem worth tackling. Let’s see what November brings us.

Let’s keep solving the problem.


Categorised as: Archive Team


One Comment

  1. […] The project began in November 2012, and at the time of writing this blog, the Just Solve the File Format Problem wiki has 2,272 entries created by the community in just one year’s effort, and it’s still going strong. […]

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