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Making Wikis

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Some standalone posts, like the premium articles in the supporter lounge and Bob Peter's guide to Jackson Hole just to name a few that I'm familiar with, are natural-born Wikis: you could just export one of these posts and you would have a fully formed article.


But these posts are the exception rather than the rule. Granted, the Export as Wiki feature under every thread post is a great place to start when creating a new article, but there is a HUGE amount of useful information peppered throughout Epic that requires sifting through multipage threads, condensing out the chaff, and adding some extra words to stitch it all together. 


For example, every so often someone starts a great thread in the fitness section on some new exercise program -- crossfit, body-weight exercises, circuit training suggestions, and so on. The threads run their course, and have a lot of useful information in about every 5th or 6th post, but few solitary posts have enough depth or context to stand on their own as separate Wiki articles.  But there is enough information overall in the Fitness forum for several excellent Wiki articles.


Any ideas on other tools or capabilities (other than Ctrl/C + Ctrl/V that is) for creating summary/overview/best-practices types of Wiki articles from existing content that allows you to quote or lift from dozens of existing posts as opposed to just exporting a single post to a Wiki?


Edited by Gnarlito - Tue, 03 Feb 09 07:01:50 GMT
post #2 of 10

I have done a few of the wikis now, and unfortunately, there is no real easy way to assemble these other than multiple browser windows, or off-line editing.  On the other hand, I have had members like Comprex edit and improve wikis I started, and I can see how they will continue to grow.   I think in time they will be a sort of community property.  There may be occasional vanalism, but we can revert the history, or over-write.  It will be very interesting to see how it goes, certainly not every forum has the commitment to information and maturity to have sucha project. 


I think we need to look at the terms of service or posting guidelines and consider whether we need to specifically adress wiki behavior.  All of the EpicSki tutorials, terms and guidelines are in Wikis at the letter E.

post #3 of 10

I think it really boils down to tedium, multiple copy, pastes, editing and formatting. Maybe using text editor with html, text wrap and image can be useful for 'staging content'. I use a utility a lot called Copy/Paste which has multiple clipboards, but it did not carry over html info and mucked up the formatting. It is very handy and a time saver and if there is a multiple utility that can transfer images and html, it'd be a huge time saver.

Edited by Alpinord - Tue, 03 Feb 09 14:05:17 GMT
post #4 of 10
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

I have done a few of the wikis now, and unfortunately, there is no real easy way to assemble these other than multiple browser windows, or off-line editing.

It is very common to have dozens of tabs open while editing wikis.


The wiki is missing some incredibly important features both in software and in the folks editing it.  The single largest is the failure to wikify.  Looking over a bunch of the articles, none are wikified at all.  Probably because attempts to wikify don't work because the software doesn't actually work as a wiki.  Surrounding a word while editing with [[brackets]] should result in that word becoming a link to that topic in the wiki.


The next biggest is the missing discussion page linked to each item.  These are critically important for avoiding and solving editwars, as well as coordinating development of an article.


I've also noticed that many articles are locked with little apparent reason.  That would be antithetical to the point of a wiki.  It isn't supposed to be an article repository, and if it is, you shouldn't call it a wiki...that confuses people who know what wikis are.


There are a bunch of other annoyances, like the edit revert doesn't actually work, but those are comparatively unimportant.  As it stands right now, several of the things that make a wiki a wiki are completely missing.


Homework for developers:  Use MediaWiki.   I mean actually go and register at Wikipedia and edit some articles, get in trouble for screwing up, and learn how the software, culture, and process works.

post #5 of 10

Excellent point.  In trying to organize the Wikis, its not possible to input internal links in the article.  Seems to be a large over sight.  Our moderation tools in the wiki area are pretty weak as well.  Outside of direct editing, about all I can do is redirect an article that is not really suitable for a wiki to a wiki-graveyard.  Equally important, our terms and posting guidelines haven't been reevaluated to work with product reviews and wikis.  I'm concerned about spam, maintaining the quality and focus of the articles, and at the same time being fair with contrubutors.

post #6 of 10

There's an insert link icon on the wiki toolbar.

post #7 of 10

The problem nolo is pointing to terms and chapters within a wiki, not outside of it.  For example, in the Boot-fitters-glossary, We should be able to have a list of terms at the top, and each term in the list is hot linked to that. I makes navigation easier than scrolling what may someday be a very long list.  We have a link at the top, but no way to make a word within the wiki a target link.

post #8 of 10

I see. Let's get that on the list, then.


(Oh well, I made two wikis to test the links as I understood them.)

Edited by nolo - Tue, 03 Feb 09 16:31:54 GMT
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

There's an insert link icon on the wiki toolbar.


 Use MediaWiki.   I mean actually go and register at Wikipedia and edit some articles, get in trouble for screwing up, and learn how the software, culture, and process works.


I am by no means an expert on wikis; I only have a few thousand edits in wikimedia projects, but I know enough to say that this particular wheel should be reinvented by people who know how it is supposed to roll.

post #10 of 10

One quick point is that Garrett is absolutely right, our "wikis" don't function exactly as a MediaWiki implementation, but calling them "Collaboratively Editable Articles" throughout the site doesn't exactly roll off the tongue or make for good tab names.


Those who _really_ know wikis (as in one of our lead developers) wholeheartedly agree with you that what we provide isn't exactly a to the letter definition of a wiki, but we opted for WYSIWYG/HTML rather than any of the dozens of flavors of wiki markup and the miracle is that my mother has created and maintained articles on our other sites along with other users. I'm not confident that would happen in a typical wiki implementation.


We actually have the "talk" pages for every wiki article already set up, just not turned on because we weren't sure if they would confuse folks. Cirque and Nolo, all that means is that we would add a link to every article that says "Talk" that would take you to a discussion forum thread for those who are working on that article to discuss what it needs, whether edits should be reverted, etc. If you think they would get use, we could turn them back on, but in the past we've had folks get confused as to whether they should be talking about the content there, or about editing it.


Anyway, point is, the vision is to make the collaborative advantages of wikis more accessible, which I think could be very cool for this community.


Lastly, in terms of intra page linking, there are ways to do this now (e.g. I ported this over from a static HTML page on the old site: http://www.epicski.com/wiki/epicski-instructor-and-coach-listing), but they're really sort of ugly work-arounds. We'll think about ways to improve.

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