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Wiki Mindset

To work in a wiki environment, it helps to understand the philosophy first.

A wiki is essentially a book that is created by a group of editors. One of the editors acts as the administrator. The administrator creates the book's structure–its table of contents. Then the editors begin creating and editing documents that are linked to the table of contents and to each other. Its easy to see how free editing can cause conflicts. So here are a few principles…

Understand the basics

  • Hyperlinks are one color if they have a page associated with them, and another color otherwise. The default colors for Dokuwiki are green and red (respectively), but this can be changed by using a different wiki theme.
  • Always be sure you're logged in. Some wikis don't require you to login before editing, but doing so will ensure the system can communicate with you via email about important events.
  • Hit the “Subscribe Changes” button on any page to get emails when the page is edited
  • The “Recent changes” button or link shows the revision history of the current page
  • The “Search” function works really well. Pages can be searched as soon as they are saved. And you can use advanced techniques like regular expressions.
  • The bread crumb trail at the top of the page helps you remember how you navigated to a page

Use your signature

When editing a document, clicking the right-most icon in the button bar will insert your signature. You can use your signature to:

  • sign your work
  • claim an empty document as yours (for future editing)
  • provide feedback to others (in the form of a question or revised text)
  • etc…

Important realizations

  • A wiki requires you to create a hyperlink first, then click on it to edit a new document.
  • You will work faster if you focus on the content first, not how it looks.
  • The wiki creates a table of contents automatically (based on H1, H2, and H3 tags).
  • You can edit a section of a document by clicking the EDIT button next to that section.
  • The file upload feature is a “picture frame” icon in the button bar of the edit page

Things to Avoid

There are some things that editors should not do:

  • avoid big edit sessions. Make many small edits + saves instead.
  • avoid overly-complex page designs.
  • Don't expect to have complete control of anything.
  • Don't undermine others. Their work is just as important as yours
  • Don't upload files if their content needs to be edited over time. Paste their content into a new wiki page.

Things to Do

Equally important, there are things editors should do:

  • Use a consistent style. H1 for page headings, H2 for subject headings, etc…
  • Create links in your documents to other documents (this builds cohesiveness)
  • The “Preview” button is your friend. You'll understand soon enough.
  • Save often. There is no penalty for saving many times.
  • If you delete information from a document, say so in the edit summary when you save. You'll be able to find the deletions easier later on.
/home/cfreyer/public_html/data/pages/wikiisms/mindset.txt · Last modified: 2010/03/01 11:43 by Chris Freyer