Collaborative text editing on Git

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Git for Plain Text Collaboration

[Went round: Who? Where from? One sentence: Why came?]

"Git is a good place for content to end up."

Pain point: Git is really painful to use.

Doing collaborative editing outside, and putting into Git at the end.

Programmers collaborate on text with it, but not particularly painlessly.

Clarify Terminology

Git --- version control software

GitHub, GitLab --- sharing code

Interfaces vary.

A new participant arrives. Spontaneous, cordial greetings.

Metaphor: Git is a filing cabinet or a librarian that keeps track of all revisions of work. It keeps not just every changed copy, but a note about which copy _that_ copy started from, who saved it, and what reasons they gave for their changes. Git itself doesn't edit files or put them on the Web.

You can use whatever program or service to edit and collaborate on text, and then put it into git.

Can we get text into Git earlier, and do editing there?

What is the painful part?

Commenting and collaborating on text.

"Push Pull" is explained.

Forks are hard.

Simultaneous editing.

One participant just uses Google docs, Ehtherpads and social rules like an "editing baton".

Need feedback and help from non-Git people.

Graphical interfaces are easier.

What was the apparent appeal?

Make it available.

Keep the document "alive".

Do we need new tools?

Specifications for text editing tool for others to build.

Why Git? Coders are already there. Lots of freemium services available, like website hosting, for stuff tracked in Git.

Can be values aligned. Fork and remix.

Can be compliance aligned. Like making all past versions of terms of service available.

Microsoft Confluence and wikis - lots of appealing visual elements - WYSIWYG - internal tool - easier to learn

Everybody uses Google Docs

Lots of changes make it a nightmare

Who contributed what?

How to go back in time?

Etherpad: baton passing system, even when working in person on laptops

Metaphor: Scrabble Where tiles stack

Can work offline, but feels like a side benefit.

What's in it: Ease of presentation for easy copying. Not making people go to Google Docs. Easier linking among different parts of things.

Markdown transformations.

Hungry for: Filling out outlines collaboratively. Then editing to make them flow, etc. Management gets crazy.

[Went round: Pain Points]

- Wanted to know reasons for changes years ago. History.

- Retain notes attached to materials.

- Having someone from the outside collaborate.

- People have to sign up for services.

[/Pain Points]

Don't have people use the command-line version.

Branch model explained.

Need a visual representation of everybody's changes.

Are we fine the way we are?

Human work can integrate changes of all kinds.

Git is very specialized to source code. Very hard to make it work for prose. A few dumb tips: - press enter between phrases and at ends of sentences - use Markdown - use a service like GitHub that displays changes in a nice way

What spec for developers?

Choose the changes that you're seeing, and the author of those changes.

Add commenting.

"Reimplement Google Docs on top of Git."

CoKo book publishing platform demo, but saved it into its own database.

Past attempting:

Need multiple people in a document simultaneously.

Lawyers use and share robust Word and folder based protocols to do the kind of management you're after.

[Go around: Any "aha!"s?]

- ...emit the impulse through the main reflector dish...and it will all be fine.

- Actually want to try it more now.

- Why doesn't just wiki stuff work? Doesn't fork, branch, etc.

- There are markdown based wikis.

- I am not alone.

- I am not alone either, but it's not a great place to be.

- Want to believe in the pipe dream.