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MediaWiki by Daniel J. Barrett

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Chapter 10. Practical Wiki Design

So, you’ve installed the wiki software (Chapter 9), but what happens next? Just invite people and see what happens? How do you make your wiki succeed?

The answer depends on your goals. Is your wiki just for fun? Or does it need to become a serious information resource? Can anybody write articles, or is membership restricted? Can anybody read it, or only authorized users? Do you care about a consistent look and feel for articles? How much time do you want to spend on maintenance? Consider these questions in advance, and you’ll save a lot of work down the road.

In this chapter, we’ll discuss:

Using MediaWiki (or not)

The challenges of adopting MediaWiki.

Planning the wiki

How much structure should you set up in advance?

Standards

Setting standards for articles, categories, templates, and more.

Governance

Who should be in charge?

Note

This chapter, unlike most others in this book, is largely opinion. The ideas are based on successful wiki deployments in corporate, university, and fun/informal environments, as well as general experience in organizing information.

Adopting MediaWiki

MediaWiki is a fantastic system, but not appropriate for every application. It’s easy to use but not necessarily easy to learn, particularly for nontechnical users.

Some of the issues that can cause difficulty for new users are discussed below. These things aren’t bad; they just take some getting used to.

Ownership and access control

On a typical wiki, articles have no set “owner,” and anyone ...

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