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This is both a wiki (a website editable by all) and a blog (an online diary about the stuff Alex Schroeder reads and does). If you’re a friend or relative, you might be interested in reading Life instead of this page. If you’ve come here from an RPG blog, you might want to head over to RPG. There are other similar categories to be found on the SiteMap.

Für Rollenspieler gibt es ebenfalls eine eigene RSP Kategorie.

2018-08-16 Conversation Modes

From some toots of mine on the topic of conversations, in conversations with @deshipu, @ckeen, @saper, @loke, @skalman, and others.

Some people are weird. Somebody posts “I really love X and have been using X for many years”. Half the people replying: “Have you tried Y? I’m really happy with Y!”

What kind of conversation is that? What is the expected outcome? “No” – “Well, you should?” – “But I just said how I’ve been using X for years!” – “But I’m happy with Y! You should try it!” – I could go on. Don’t do this.

What if you think X is objectively worse?

The person is telling you that they love it and that they have been using it for many years. At least tell them that you also used it, and it was bad because of a list of reasons which you then provide, and recommend an alternatives, and provide a list of benefits. That is minimal viable response on this track, I think.

It also depends on whether change is a goal of conversation. There are of course many other reasons for conversation.

As a teenager I started calling this “conversations to learn about things” (um etwas zu lernen) and “conversations to learn about each other” (um sich kennen zu lernen). I really had to learn the difference because I was getting it wrong often enough.

I keep thinking of some esoteric trivia I once heard: helping other people only ever works if they ask for it. Extending this to other kinds of situations helps me navigate the “unwelcome advice” problem people sometimes experience. It was also good advice for me in my relationship, haha. 😅

Anyway. I’ve become very careful (or anxious?) about jumping into conversations with strangers. If it looks like they might be venting, for example, that’s an instant red flag. I think it’s a legitimate use of the platform but it’s on us to read the bird flights and goat entrails, however. 😇


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2018-08-16 Biomass

Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals – study – “The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.”

The biomass distribution on Earth has a good visualisation of the current numbers:

Image 1

Also relevant: The Average American Ate (Literally) A Ton This Year (2011). But think about it: one day eight billion people (nine?) might be eating a ton per year, with cattle also eating plants and all that, so how much of the biosphere is being “used” in order to feed us, even if we don’t eat it all ourselves? Bill Gates writes a review of the book Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken From Nature by Vaclav Smil and says:

Smil tries to figure out what portion of the biosphere’s primary productivity—the amount of plant life generated each year by photosynthesis—is consumed by humans. He estimates that we will harvest roughly 17 percent of what the biosphere grows this year—mostly plants. (He admits it could be as little as 15 percent or as much as 25 percent.)
Humans are Using Up Earth’s Biomass

@dredmorbius has the following to add:

HANPP aanswers that question: human appropriation of net primary productivity.
Measured by use of carbon-fixation capacity, it’s about 20% presently.
Fossil fuel use counts for another 20%, roughly, of biomass equivalent, though it’s based on a vastly larger store of ancient stored growth.
Each year presently humans consume about 5 million years of petroleum and natural gas accumulation. This from Dukes’s Burning Buried Sunshine paper.

And later, also on Mastodon:

See Jeeffrey S. Dukes, Burning Buried Sunshine (2003). One of Smil’s sources, FWIW.


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2018-08-12 Trunk for Mastodon

So the last two days I’ve been working on Trunk. Trunk allows you to mass-follow a bunch of people in order to get started with Mastodon. Mastodon is a free, open-source, decentralised micro-blogging network.

I’m imagining something like Google+ Circle sharing. Remember that? If you had a good bunch of people you wanted to share, you did, and others could subscribe to all of them in one go. At first I thought Mastodon Lists could serve the same purpose. But then people told me that public lists can be a means to harass people: put victims on the same list as know idiots, put victims on lists with an insulting name, point followers at a list and invite them to tell victims off, etc. But I still want a list of cool people to recommend for newbies to instantly follow. So now I’m trying to find a compromise. Trunk is a web app based on a public, curated list for all to see and maintain. Does better accountability solve the problem? I hope so!

  1. people need to volunteer for the list, I don’t want to put anybody on a list without their consent
  2. as a person, I’m going to try and make sure we don’t have any spammers, idiots, or sinister figures on the list
  3. I also want these to be quality lists, so I’ll check the timelines of suggested accounts to make sure that (at least at the time I added them) they actually posted on topic

I know this “tagging” of accounts is weird. I personally also don’t like too many accounts that just post about one topic. But when I was new, things were different. I had some topics I knew I was interested in: role-playing games, Emacs, pictures. I would have loved to find a way to quickly follow a few dozen accounts and fill my timeline with stuff I cared about.

Also, the list management interface for the Mastodon web client is atrocious. Perhaps I’ll turn Trunk into a kick-ass list-management tool for Mastodon. 🙂

I’ll be collection ideas on the Software Wiki.


Comments on 2018-08-12 Trunk for Mastodon

Ugh, about two days if implementing this stuff – famously the first 80% are done in 20% of the time, of course – and then another two days of basically updating lists, manually. This is time not well spent. If only there was a way to automate this!

Perhaps a kind of bot with a conversational interface? “hey bot, please sign me up to Javascript and Lisp!” and it would do just that? But surely spammers would then abuse the system. So we’d need a review system? A rollback and ban mechanism? In the end it would mean using a wiki backend, perhaps? Or version control?

I like ephemeral data, of course, so a wiki that kept forgetting old revisions but kept some around, just in case, that might make sense.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-08-14 14:55 UTC

Well, I added the ability to add more lists and to add people to lists via an admin interface and two people volunteered to do this! Yay! Thanks! And now I’m off to a break.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-08-15 13:50 UTC

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2018-08-11 Packages have been kept back

The dread of weird messages: run sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade and find yourself staring at the cryptic message.

The following packages have been kept back:
  bind9-host dnsutils libbind9-160 libirs160 libisc169 libisccc160 libisccfg160 liblwres160
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 8 not upgraded.

I don’t know how I ended up in this situation. I found something related on Ask Ubuntu.

sudo apt install bind9-host dnsutils libbind9-160 libirs160 libisc169 libisccc160 libisccfg160 liblwres160
sudo apt-mark auto bind9-host dnsutils libbind9-160 libirs160 libisc169 libisccc160 libisccfg160 liblwres160

The first one forces Debian to install the newest versions and resolves dependencies, but it also marks the packages as manually installed. You typically only want this for the tools you use yourself. That’s why the second command marks all the packages I just installed as installed “automatically”. If no other package needs them, they can be auto-removed.


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2018-08-10 Podcasts

I subscribed to a bunch of new podcasts!

@simon_brooke recommended the following, all from the BBC:

@frankmeeuwsen recommended the following:


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2018-08-10 Information Security Practice

Christina asked a question on her blog, Infosec and Data Privacy:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, where do you rate your personal infosec practices? Name three practices you do to define that level.
  2. If you rated yourself above 6, name two practices someone at levels 2 through 5 could do to raise her level.
  3. If you rated yourself below 6, name two practices of yours that most people should do but don’t. What would you like to learn.

I guess I rate myself above average, so... 7? I am tragically aware of Illusory superiority. Specially now that I know Christina rated herself a 4. 😢

Here are three things that I do which most people don’t do:

  1. My laptop disk is encrypted. My backup disks are encrypted.
  2. I have two sets of backup disks and one set is always at the office.
  3. I deleted my Facebook account, got rid of Messenger and I’ve moved nearly all my friends and family away from WhatsApp to either Signal or Threema.

Here are two simple things you can do to raise your security level:

  1. Make backups and keep one set of backups outside your home in case of fire, flooding or break in.
  2. Use a password manager with a long, unique, randomly generated password for every service you use.

I think it’s important to look at your threat level. What is most likely to cause you harm in the near future? I’ve heard a lot of people complain about lost pictures and documents because they didn’t do backups. That’s why deleting Facebook is not as important as making backups. It’s also why encrypting disks is not as important as making backups in the first place.

Same with your accounts being hacked because you used simple to guess passwords, or hard to guess but popular passwords. Remember that there are enormous lists of passwords out there with all the passwords other people have used: thus crackers start with those passwords because chances are, somebody will have thought of the same password.


Comments on 2018-08-10 Information Security Practice

One more - Use 2fa (not SMS based), especially where password restrictions make strong passwords painful...

– Kristopher Browne 2018-08-10 18:48 UTC

Yeah, that’s true. I use the Google Authenticator app for a few things but I hardly ever get asked for it so it didn’t seem like a big deal in my life. But yeah:

Authenticator app for the big service providers would be a good idea. Using it for your mail provider is specially important as mail is the universal password reset mechanism these days.

  1. Google
  2. Amazon
  3. Facebook
  4. Apple
  5. Dropbox
  6. Domain Name Registrar

– Alex Schroeder 2018-08-10 18:54 UTC

Now that I’ve seen Christina’s list, let me see whether I can find things that are easy to improve upon.

  • I update all priority security and technical patches ✔
  • I use Linux ✔
  • I use KeePass for my passwords ✔ (I use a GPG encoded text file)
  • I use EFF dice and handbook for my passphrases F (I just mash the keyboard...)
  • I use PGP keys and command-line GPG for emails to my penpals F (I try to, but not many of the people I write emails to have a public key on a key server; in fact I recently used a public key I found for the former maintainer of a big software project and it turns out he had forgotten his passphrase!)
  • I don’t set up Gmail or any email on my phone and I turn it off when I am travelling without a geocache purpose. F (I use Gmail via IMAP on the phone; my phone is always on)
  • I use Firefox Focus on my phone F (I have it installed but anything that needs bookmarks I open in the Firefox app; and any URL I open from other apps get opened in Safari – and I don’t know how to change that)
  • I actively opt-out of commercial data sharing when invited ✔
  • I geocache, which literally is about sharing my positions through data so I’ll never be above a 6 until I get a refurbished Garmin 162 GPS unit ✔ (I regularly go through all the apps on my phone, limiting permissions where possible and the apps which do get access to location services only get it while I’m using them)
  • I encrypt my HD when I take my PC over the border ✔ (I wonder whether that’ll help at the border, though...)
  • I use a flip phone with no internet over the border F (I use my regular phone and connect to all the free Wi-Fi networks)
  • I have a Keybase account F (I have one, but I don’t use it)
  • I have at least one Tails USB drive F (I haven’t even tried it)
  • I back up my system at least occasionally ✔
  • I use Tor Browser on occasion F (I installed it but never used it)
  • my GUI mail clients present messages without HTML F (I love to use bold and italic)
  • my Gmail (18 year old account) is delivered via Thunderbird F (I try to use Gmail via Gnus, an email client in Emacs, or the Mail app on my phone, but when checking private mail at work I’ll use the Gmail website)
  • I buy my 2600 magazines with cash! F (I try to buy as much as possible with cash, but I have never bought a 2600 mag.)
  • I have a protonmail account F (Just Gmail. In fact, I gave up self-hosting my email.)
  • I have five-six active do-not-track and ad-block add-ons on my Firefox browser F (I have uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, HTTPS Everywhere, HTTPS by Default – somehow uMatrix got lost somewhere; I also don’t have a good control over my config settings: sometimes I’ll follow some instructions online but never systematically)
  • I empty my caches and destroy the cookies regularly when using other browsers F (I should do this more often, definitely!)

Looking at all the points where I failed, which one would be the easiest to fix. I guess getting rid of Gmail and moving to Protonmail? Or a better browser setup, I guess?

– Alex Schroeder 2018-08-10 21:22

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2018-08-06 No Google Plus

I was talking to @BenKramer about Google+ and I started wondering. I haven’t been truly active on Google+ for quite a while. Sure, I sometimes still look at my home stream, but these days I check Mastodon obsessively, not Google+. Why is that?

On Google+ I had 2239 followers and I was part of 26 communities! It was wonderful, for a while. But perhaps here’s a first indication of why I don’t like it any more. I tried to figure out how many people I was following and I didn’t know where to look. On my profile? Only the number of followers are listed. People? Only the “Following” circle is listed (ten people, they’re all here by mistake, I’m sure). Circle Streams? Nope. Argh, fuck it!

So, here’s reason number one: the user interface is not great. And this goes for many things. Popular wisdom has it that you need to put all the people you are following into a circle and read the circle stream in order to avoid timeline reordering, suggested pages, people you might be interested in, and missed posts. And the event invitations! All of this is terrible! I am reminded of @dredmorbius’s The Tyranny of the Minimum Viable User.

The very next reason is, of course, surveillance capitalism. Why should Google know so much about me? In order to make money, of course. This relies on the fact that I look at their ads. Which is why they don’t like ad blocking. Which is why they cannot allow any clients that circumvent their ads and their tracking. At least that’s my explanation for the eternal beta and no open API and all that. Also, whenever I tried to use a Google product as a developer, it was always so damn complex. The result of all that is that nobody is allowed to write a better Google+ client.

Meanwhile, look at me over here on Mastodon. I like the Web UI, it looks like Tweet Deck, but better. Oh, and Amaroq on my phone. Other people use other clients. There’s somebody who wrote an alternative web client called Brutaldon which is so simple it can be used with lynx, the text browser.

And here’s something else. Over time I got the sinking feeling that too many of the people I liked reading disappeared. They no longer write about the games themselves. There’s a lot of shilling of products, theirs or their friends’, Kickstarter announcements, conference pictures, pictures of old books bought, unpacking videos of new things bought, a lot of hype everywhere. At the same time, I was unhappy. I hardly ever used the products I bought. I didn’t use them at the table, and some might think that doesn’t matter as long as I enjoyed reading them, but I don’t. Material for role-playing games does not excite me as a literary genre. I don’t read rules, settings or adventures for fun. In other words, I’d rather read a book, or a blog, or – more likely – social media. I wanted to reduce the power of consumerism in my life. Remember the screenshots of They Live? I started to see every post as a message: “Consume!” I didn’t like it. I was disappointed.

And so things came together: I was given a tool that degraded over time, and I was unable to fix it, and I knew nobody else was allowed to fix it, and the reason for joining Google+ – role-playing games – was slowly being poisoned by capitalism, and over there was a new thing that promised to be different in every respect.

I joined Mastodon, and instead of emphasizing role-playing games, I created a main account to talk about everything except role-playing games, and a separate account for just role-playing games. And it turns out that not many people talk about role-playing games.

Perhaps all I cared to say about role-playing games has been said. I don’t post much about role-playing games on this blog. I just continue running my games and writing my little web apps, and updating the campaign wiki, and expanding my Halberds and Helmets house rules document.

I guess I just don’t miss Google+.

33 weeks ago, I posted on Google+: “You might find me posting a whole lot more on Mastodon these days. The account linked below is my account for anything that’s not RPG.” → @kensanata (with replies)


Comments on 2018-08-06 No Google Plus

Here is something interesting from Wikipedia: “Tsundoku (Japanese: 積ん読) is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them. […] It combines elements of 「積んでおく」 tsunde-oku (to pile things up ready for later and leave) and 「読書」 dokusho (reading books).”

– Alex Schroeder 2018-08-08 05:37 UTC

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2018-08-06 Leeches

That’s weird:

Apache accesses are up

Server load also went up to 3-4. Let’s see what the scripts say:

$ sudo cat /var/log/apache2/access.log | bin/leech-detector | head
           IP Number       hits bandw. hits% interv. status code distrib.
		***	  25840    69K  55%    0.3s  503 (58%), 200 (22%), 206 (15%)…
		***	    904     6K   1%   16.4s  200 (40%), 404 (39%), 301 (20%)
		***	    643     6K   1%   30.4s  200 (96%), 302 (1%), 301 (0%)…
		***	    573    25K   1%   29.4s  200 (100%)
		***	    306     3K   0%   63.5s  301 (35%), 200 (32%), 302 (32%)
		***	    260    10K   0%   74.8s  200 (54%), 404 (19%), 301 (19%)…
		***	    256     2K   0%   76.4s  301 (50%), 200 (48%), 404 (0%)
		***	    238     5K   0%   80.8s  301 (54%), 200 (35%), 404 (9%)…
		***	    229     9K   0%   35.9s  200 (80%), 304 (8%), 302 (7%)…

OK, mystery IP number! What the fuck is wrong with you.

$ sudo cat /var/log/apache2/access.log.1 /var/log/apache2/access.log | grep *** | bin/time-grouping
      06/Aug/2018:08       7601    10%
      06/Aug/2018:07      13509    18%
      06/Aug/2018:06       9070    12%
      06/Aug/2018:05       6954     9%
      06/Aug/2018:04       7983    10%
      06/Aug/2018:03       8441    11%
      06/Aug/2018:02       7894    10%
      06/Aug/2018:01       8951    12%
      06/Aug/2018:00       4135     5%

Who are you?

$ whois *** | grep OrgName
OrgName:        Time Warner Cable Internet LLC

Welcome to my block list, idiots!

$ sudo ipset add blacklist ***

See 2018-07-16 Blocking IP Addresses for more about blocking IP numbers.


Comments on 2018-08-06 Leeches


Ynas Midgard 2018-08-06 11:11 UTC

One wonders what they were up to. Trying to see whether I’m offering any warez!? Will I be receiving a cease and desist letter, soon?

– Alex Schroeder 2018-08-06 14:45 UTC

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2018-08-05 Recipe Wiki

I was thinking this Recipe Wiki, again.

How do we want to proceed?

As a general principle, I think we need to focus on “stories” – or “use cases” if you want. If we can talk about the kinds of things to do on the site, then people writing the code (like me) can then use the tools at their disposal, make their own decisions regarding database, architecture, and so on. In my specific case, for example, I’m not ready to spend the necessary time and effort to write a new app from the ground up, or learn a new technology or framework. That obviously limits the scope of what I can offer to do significantly. It basically has to be doable with some hacking of Oddmuse, or I won’t have the time to do anything. This is a terrible position to start a project, I know. But we’re all constrainted in various ways, and these are my constraints, unfortunately.

Why do we need a simple recipe wiki?

  • Most of all I hate the fact that my wife suggests chefkoch.de when we’re looking to do something with whatever is at hand. Right now it’s pumpkins and zucchetti.
  • I hate the fact that many of these sites are full of ads.
  • I hate the fact that many of these sites are agressively using copyright to protect themselves. This of course is only necessary because they are making money using ads. If they weren’t making money, what would be the point? In Germany in particular, the entire business of Abmahnungen is a disaster.
  • When I look at the Cookbook at Wiki Books, the best contender so far, I am confused. I am confused by the size, the many people on the site, the namespacing, the user interface. I think I’d do a bad job moderating such a site. How can I check all the edits, defend against vandalism and spam?
  • And yet, when I see pictures of what people cook for themselves online, I often wonder: how did they do it? Would I like to try? So I ask them: is the recipe available online, on their blogs, or some other site? And when it’s not: I’d love to tell them that there is a site that would gladly take their recipe.
  • So now we have the criteria: the user interface must be simple (what this means is open to debate, of course – less widgets, sidebars, special pages); it must be small (for moderation, for community); it must be editable by strangers (so that I can tell others to put their recipe on it); it must be free (or nobody will use it); it must have no ads (or I will hate it).
  • As such, as a collection of timeless things, a wiki is best. An old recipe is neither better nor worse than a new recipe, which is why a blog would be the wrong thing to do.

But what about demand? I have no idea. Is a site for a dozen active editors demand enough? It will never make financial sense, of course. In that sense, there will never be enough demand. But I would like it. Perhaps three of us would like it. Perhaps we’ll find more. And if we don’t, let there be an export function to get the plain text of all the wiki pages and we can do with the recipes whatever we want.

What about growth? What will we do when we’re suddenly popular? The simple answer is that we will deal with it when we get there. We could also encourage others to put up a copy of their own. We can write setup instructions and provide a way to download all the recipes so that they can upload them on to their own site. There are various ways we could interoperate. The following technologies already exist:

  • Sister Sites – this is an old concept where related wikis exchange their list of pages and when a visitor looks at a page X on one of these sites, links to all the “sister sites” having a page X will be shown. This makes sense if the topics are the same but there are natural variations. If one site were to specialize in desserts, for example, other food wikis could make the Dessert Wiki their sister site and whenever somebody looks at their Tiramisú page, visitors would also get a link to the Tiramisú page on Dessert Wiki.
  • Near Links – this is a later concept that works on the same exchange of page titles but now, if you link to a page X which doesn’t exist on the local wiki, you are automatically linked to the same page on a “sister site” or you are presented with a list of “sister sites” that offer the “missing” page X. This would allow me to link to a Tiramisú page and it would automatically redirect to Dessert Wiki unless I create a local copy. And if I do have a local copy, a “Sister Sites” implementation would make sure that a link to Dessert Wiki’s Tiramisú page still existed. “Near Search” is part of this: if you’re searching for Tiramisú, you might want to limit your search to the local wiki, or include all the “sister sites” and thus you might find Dessert Wiki’s Tiramisú page.
  • Transclusion – this is an old concept where we include pages from remote sites. We might want a local Tiramisú page but we don’t want to maintain it. We could create an empty page and just say: “include the Tiramisú page from Dessert Wiki” and it would always show the latest copy. It’s unclear how search would handle this situation, though. Is the Tiramisú contant actually available, locally? Maybe not. The current implementation doesn’t actually copy the content and so it cannot be searched for, locally.

These are related concepts which don’t actually exist. Prototypes were developed years ago and never went anywhere.

  • “Copy on Write” – this solves the Transclusion problem: on the master page (Dessert Wiki’s Tiramisú page), indicate the URL(s) where a copy of said page should also be posted. Posting on the Dessert Wiki now takes longer because all the copies need to be posted as well, or there’d have to be a copying queue.
  • “Subscribe to Feed” – have the wiki subscribe to a feed from another wiki and apply the incoming edits to the local copies. This will overwrite local content, of course, or we would need to implement some conflect resolution mechanism.

In short, many ideas exist but none actually got any traction. I think Wikipedia and the like all grew along the conventional axis: big, centralized, easier to maintain, no fragmentation, maximum value. That doesn’t mean other wikis have to follow that model, though.


Comments on 2018-08-05 Recipe Wiki

Well, Ward tries to solve this with his Federated Wiki. Or so I think. To be honest whenever I look at it I don’t really understand it.

But why do you need to solve this as a service? Set up your own wiki for your own recipes. Tell your friends to have their own (wiki, blog, github page whatever). Maybe maintain a “blogroll” (remember those?). And if you have someone without their own space, invite them to use yours.

Anyway, here are mine: http://notes.splitbrain.org/rezepte:rezepte

Andreas Gohr 2018-08-05 21:32 UTC

I like the way you are thinking! I guess for a moment I was hypnotized by the Mastodon/Fediverse groove I’ve been caught up in. Not everything needs to be federated, for sure. And perhaps the simple fact that almost no wiki is goes to show that no such need actually exists.

And now I’ll take a look at your recipes. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2018-08-05 22:25 UTC

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2018-08-04 Recipes

I recently asked @pinkprius: If there was a wiki where you could publish recipes, would you do it? @wion at one point mentioned he’d be interested; @tomasino has recipes on his gopher site – someday I think we need alternatives to the ad-ridden recipe sites we find online... But I only have two recipes on my blog, haha. So I wonder: where would I get others from?

Pink Prius created a etherpad for brainstorming. What would the ideal recipe website would look like and what features it would have? If you are interested to use a non-commercial recipe collection feel free to edit and expand.

My own thoughts:

  • easy to contribute means a simple, time tested format: a picture of the result, a list of ingredients, some paragraphs of instructions, possibly more pictures of the preparation
  • focus on the simple benefits of a printed book and a simple wiki: no automatic scaling for different number of people; no automatic conversion from metric to imperial; think of a target audience of active editors no larger than a dozen people
  • we can build federation on top of wiki technology
  • make it easy to edit means plain text or a simple form (”add ingredient”, “add step”)
  • no ownership of recipes, all can be edited
  • prevent vandalism using no administrator roles as far as possible
  • peer review using wiki technology: list of recent changes, page history, reverting to older revisions
  • editable block lists (admins only)
  • very long term storage means using plain text
  • very simple markdown (paragraphs, bullet lists for ingredients, italic and bold emphasis, images)
  • simple CSS (”brutalist look and feel”), no fancy layout
  • no mandatory Javascript
  • proof of concept: can it be read via gopher, can it be used via lynx?
  • full text search is good enough: ingredients, allergenes, cuisine, and so on are part of the text
  • tags are part of the text; we need tagging so that we can produce pages with lists of recipes for certain cuisines
  • assume multilingual entries: have language tags
  • have pages explaining cooking jargon

And now there’s a prototype...

Here’s what I would add:

  • The “new page” wizard (clicking on the “New” link) should offer to upload a main image and up to three related images.
  • Better “wizards” for the most commong tasks that don’t involve editign a page.
  • Right now the upload limit is 2M, so perhaps we should allow more but process agressively?
  • A better search such that you could quickly search for “all desserts in english without eggs”.
  • Improved CSS. Help definitely needed!
  • Write more help pages, a style guide, something about the license (I’d prefer CC0, i.e. a dedication to the public domain).

Here’s how I would work on improving the prototype (coming from a software development background):

  • Create a list of “stories”: use cases for the site describing something we would like to do, like quickly search for “all desserts in english without eggs”
  • Sort this list of stories so that the stories at the top can be implemented immediately


  • “I want to list all desserts in english without eggs”
  • “I want to skim all the soups in english with pumpkins in them”
  • “I want to replace this picture with another picture I have”
  • “I want to rename this recipe”
  • “I want to create a variant of this recipe”
  • “I want to save a link to this recipe on my user page”
  • “I want a random recipe”
  • “When I save a recipe, I want the system to tag it for all the allergenes it recognizes” (this requires a special page for known allergenes; it should be user editable, of course)
  • Tthe list of allergenes must know about synonyms, e.g. egg, eggs, yolk”
  • “the list must also know about hierarchies, e.g. milk → both dairy and lactose”
  • “When I look at a list of recipes, I want to see both the title and a very short description”
  • “I need a PDF of this recipe”
  • “I want to browse the category tree” e.g. Dessert → Brownies → Fudge Brownies (this simply requires a page for every tag so that we can tag them in turn)


Comments on 2018-08-04 Recipes

@switchingsocial suggested Cookbook (which is part of Wiki Books and it seems to be really close. It’s a wiki. It appears to have no ads. The user interface is crowded, unfortunately. But perhaps it would work? I was looking at Dessert → Brownies → Fudge Brownies. That’s pretty cool.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-08-04 22:54 UTC

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