I want to write an article on the Roman cult of Mithras for my website, using the material that I originally contributed to Wikipedia, since I am reluctant for that to disappear. But of course I also want to add to it as I learn more on the subject.
The article will be what the Wikipedia article should be, if that place were not today overrun by trolls intent on forcing any contributor to spend more time on edit wars than on contributing. It must be balanced, objective, informed, and contain nothing of my own opinion. As an amateur, my opinion has no value, of course. But the opinions of scholars can be quoted, provided that they specialise in the subject. If they make a statement of fact, that statement must be tied to the primary data, and if it is not, then it too must be treated as suspect. There is so much nonsense in circulation, that a very sceptical approach is necessary.
So how to do it, physically? The Wikipedia mechanism is very easy to use, and indeed is designed to be compelling and addictive. But using Mediawiki is not really an option. I always feel that the also-Wiki’s look rather forlorn. But the footnoting mechanism of Wikipedia is very convenient, and I need to make sure that I can do something similar with this. I don’t want to manually renumber footnotes, nor generate a table of contents.
I have a text file with the last reliable version of the Wikipedia article, back from February, and I started knocking together a Visual Basic utility to turn it into HTML, as an experiment. It is trivial enough to convert the headers, for instance. But anything that goes over a single line is harder to do.
But ideally we would retain the text version as the master, and just regenerate the HTML as required. VB is not a good choice for this — something in PHP would be better. But little by little.
I also want to have a page for each image I use, which I can reference properly itself.
Finally there needs to be the equivalent of a “talk” page, where I can express some kind of opinions about the material, or an explanation of how it is put together or what is not there and why.