As we’re moving rapidly toward the point at which the class will divide into groups and begin working independently on projects, it’s time for me to break from just coding and examine practical issues with my suggested wiki-based fiction project. Our goal, first off, is simply to build fiction using the wiki platform. Our purpose in this exercise is therefore to examine the differences in the communal fiction of our wiki as well as to use it to guide writing a few traditional-form short stories — the opposite of how the practice normally works. The best example would be “A Song of Ice and Fire,” which is a deep and expansive universe. My encounters with that fictional world come from two sources: the show “Game of Thrones” and the wiki.
The practical issues involve building and hosting the wiki. As I’ve stated before, the easy way out is through Wikia, a free wiki hosting site. The obvious enticement is the “free” part, but I also wouldn’t have to build and maintain the structure supporting our content. The clear downside (beyond the whiney hipster in me going “but it’s Wikia! It’s so bad!”) is that the content is run on an existing tool and part of the group project is to build. We would still indeed be “building” in the same sense of Christine de Pizan’s city of ladies, but that’s clearly just circumnavigating the exercise, defeating its intention. However, this also means I won’t have to keep paying for the service if I find the project to be not worth showing off.
The other end is to suck it up and pay for hosting, which I need to do anyway. My idea pursuing this route is to host the wiki within a personal website (which I will build). This is effort, but I do feel it’s the right thing to do. However, I’m leery going forward in CS with the intent on “doing the right thing.” In my AI course a few years ago, my group decided this meant coding our project in LISP. This decision greatly complicated our project and resulted in a program that was not only dramatically less efficient than others in the class, but one which I barely understood (because, again, LISP is awful).
Flashbacks aside, I do know hosting is the right way to go but the decision is difficult for me.