Several people have suggested something I’ve been thinking about for a while: general pages for background information in addition to the People and Places pages. Given the amount of general information that is posted to diary entries that will be of use again in the future it seems an extremely sensible idea. It should help people who are new to the site find out common information without it having to be repeated too often (although we should accept this will happen nevertheless!).
There are two questions however: What pages should there be? And what should be the policy on annotating the pages? To address these in order…
It may be useful to divide the pages into categories, with more specific pages within each category; these pages should be usable for some years to come, so several shorter pages in a category may be more manageable than a single very long page. Going by things that have been posted so far my initial suggestions for categories/pages would include: money, weather, maps, general reference, London, clothes, food, politics, royalty, religion. I’m not sure whether language should be included though — it’s a huge topic and I’m not sure how such a volume of small amounts of information (word definitions) could be usefully organised to allow annotations. Maybe the search function means there is no need for this?
As for annotating policy I tend to think that fewer “good quality” or “useful” posts would be better than a large amount of chatter and questions, especially given the length of time over which the pages need to be available. I’m tempted to forbid questions on these pages and only allow information/explanation and links to other sites.
So, what do you think about all this? Any thoughts on the annotation policy? What other categories would you like to see?