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Author Topic: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?  (Read 9459 times)

mouser

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Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« on: October 30, 2005, 12:24:32 PM »
i've been reading more and more about configuring mediawiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki)

one of the most well respected wiki software.

and i'm having one overriding general impression: i'm really not feeling love for it at all.  in fact i'm feeling what could probably be termed strong dislike and disrespect.

the central concept of a wiki, that you have content that people can collaboratively easily edit, is one i whole heartedly endorse.  but looking at the pathetic level of user control and organization of mediawiki, which people seem to think is the bees knees has left me nonplussed.

just two example from the disorganized wikimedia "manual" pages:

Quote
Revoking user's privileges
In its current development stage, MediaWiki has a web-based interface to create users and make sysops and bureaucrats, but it has no interface for revoking privileges.
Currently, the only way to downgrade user's privileges is through SQL:
update user set user_rights='' where user_name='yourusername';
Version 1.4 Mediawiki:
UPDATE user_rights SET ur_rights="" WHERE ur_user=1;
or using Program phpMyAdmin read a textfile into the "TINYBLOB" ur_rights of table user_rights that contains the proper user-entries "sysop,bureaucrat,developer"
permissions are actually a hell of a lot worse than that, but that's just a flavor of how nonexistent any facilities for managing users are.

heres another nice example, the comparison page on the official mediawiki page:
http://en.wikipedia....t_management_systems

oops - no values for mediawiki itself... wtf?

and this is the official software for wikipedia?!? holy christ that's not good.

i spent many hours customizing the mediawiki "skin" to fit into donationcoder (www.donationcoder.com/wiki) but don't get too used to it, i think there's a very good change i may uninstall mediawiki.

it's just a total mess as far as i can see.

let me recap - i love the idea of collaborative editing of content, but for the love of god it's not that hard to imagine that you are going to need to be able to do some minimal amount of permission management, even if its just to restrict the editing of certain areas to certain groups.  apparently wikis are suffering from huge amounts of spam lately and part of the problem is no one anticipated this or decided that it might be useful to have some moderation over content..  who are these people coding this stuff?

am i a wiki hater?

mouser

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2005, 01:05:03 PM »
i'm going to try drupal, that might match better my expectations.

[edit] drupal is suiting my tastes a lot better - i think we may use this for collaborative writing instead of wiki.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2005, 01:31:09 PM by mouser »

brotherS

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2005, 04:15:09 PM »
[edit] drupal is suiting my tastes a lot better - i think we may use this for collaborative writing instead of wiki.
:o

I strongly disagree: Drupal is a "Web Content Management System" and, while it could serve as an alternative for the DC blogs, it can not replace a powerful wiki.

Also keep in mind that with millions of people experienced in editing wiki pages (wikipedia etc.) you'll attract new users willing to improve wiki pages more easily when you don't force them to learn yet another syntax/way of editing pages. This is not just my opinion, I speak from experience here.

Drupal looks like a powerful CMS, but it just can't possibly replace a real wiki IMHO.

If you want to discuss stuff with more experienced wikimedia users, I suggest the mediawiki-l@Wikimedia.org mailing-list. To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit http://mail.wikipedi...listinfo/mediawiki-l .

Please don't give up on mediawiki just yet.

mouser

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2005, 04:20:43 PM »
i noticed some wiki addon modules for drupal -
that might be a good compromise.

having played with drupal for only a couple of hours though i have to say i am very taken by it and it just feels right to me.

there are things about wiki that i really really like, but so far i can't bring myself to accept the poor support for managing users and content that i've seen so far.

if we can find nice wiki + blog + issuetracking modules for drupal it may be the ideal solution.

brotherS

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2005, 05:41:38 PM »
i noticed some wiki addon modules for drupal -
that might be a good compromise.

having played with drupal for only a couple of hours though i have to say i am very taken by it and it just feels right to me.

there are things about wiki that i really really like, but so far i can't bring myself to accept the poor support for managing users and content that i've seen so far.

if we can find nice wiki + blog + issuetracking modules for drupal it may be the ideal solution.
Before you make any decisions: I was not able to really find out what's possible with Drupal's wiki-module. Did you stumble over a page like http://en.wikipedia....a:How_to_edit_a_page for Wikimedia, so we can compare?

mouser

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2005, 05:53:39 PM »
i'm quite new to wiki so it's a little hard for me to compare;

there are some pages though:
http://wiki.bryght.c...iki/drupalwikirecipe
http://wiki.bryght.com/tags/wiki

i found this thread particularly useful in arguing pro and con:
http://drupal.org/node/15588

brotherS

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2005, 02:33:30 AM »
i'm quite new to wiki so it's a little hard for me to compare;
Ok, then please don't delete http://www.donationc...hp/Screenshot_Captor before we can be sure the alternative is just as powerful!  :Thmbsup:

Carol Haynes

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2005, 08:03:39 AM »
Actually I agree here ... I like Drupal (and the more I play the more I like) but the simplicity of the interface with MediaWiki is so nice.

If you are worried about security why don't you simply restrict editing/posting rights to a WIKI editing group. You can choose who is involved, and add people when you feel you have got to know them.

I like the idea of a collaborative wiki, but I really think it would become disorganised and unmageable if it were open as a free for all.

You could have a WIKI forum where no eidtors could post articles for inclusion, then one of the eds could tag it moved when it is done.

brotherS

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2005, 08:21:05 AM »
Actually I agree here ... I like Drupal (and the more I play the more I like) but the simplicity of the interface with MediaWiki is so nice.

If you are worried about security why don't you simply restrict editing/posting rights to a WIKI editing group. You can choose who is involved, and add people when you feel you have got to know them.

I like the idea of a collaborative wiki, but I really think it would become disorganised and unmageable if it were open as a free for all.

You could have a WIKI forum where no eidtors could post articles for inclusion, then one of the eds could tag it moved when it is done.
I suggest getting as many existing forum members to signup in the wiki NOW and then add some kind of protection.

Examples:
http://meta.wikimedi.../Help:Patrolled_edit
http://meta.wikimedi.../Access_Restrictions


Edvard

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2005, 12:04:39 PM »
Quote
apparently wikis are suffering from huge amounts of spam lately and part of the problem is no one anticipated this or decided that it might be useful to have some moderation over content
No one anticipated this? The one thing that keeps amazing me about human nature is the denial that such human nature exists. All over the internet, forums and 'shout boxes' are now being spammed into non-usefulness. Come on folks, think of how many Usenet forums are now wastelands of spam and have been for nigh on a few years now. Without some form of access restriction, how is Wiki to fare any better? Like you Mouser, I appreciate greatly the usefulness that Wiki promises, but had no idea that it required such sql kung-fu for a basic lock-out. Yeesh.

mouser

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2005, 12:12:42 PM »
after playing more with drupal i have to say it is not ideal for collaborative editing.
so i'm still really torn.

i think what this site would benefit from most is a kind of collaborative editing system that wiki is meant to be.. but i think our intended use (collaborative reviews) would really benefit from some more access control options, including who can edit which sections, upload file permissions, etc.

brotherS

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2005, 12:15:03 PM »
Like you Mouser, I appreciate greatly the usefulness that Wiki promises, but had no idea that it required such sql kung-fu for a basic lock-out. Yeesh.
It doesn't. To be safe, one only needs to set it to only-allowed-to-edit-when-logged-in. This works very well, I don't think so, I know it - been there, done that. :)

brotherS

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2005, 12:16:54 PM »
i think what this site would benefit from most is a kind of collaborative editing system that wiki is meant to be.. but i think our intended use (collaborative reviews) would really benefit from some more access control options, including who can edit which sections, upload file permissions, etc.
Well, the way I see it you trust a user or trust them not. When they need to register first they'll think more than twice if they should really do bad things (very, very, very few do). You could even disable uploading files completely and get users to use external image hosting services like http://imageshack.us/

Edvard

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2005, 01:45:11 PM »
To be safe, one only needs to set it to only-allowed-to-edit-when-logged-in.
Well, that would cut it, huh? Perhaps I should be set to only-allowed-to-post-when-I-know-wtf-I'm-talking-about :)
Anyways, I'm all for keeping wiki and sanity on the same page however it works.


brotherS

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2005, 02:53:36 PM »
To be safe, one only needs to set it to only-allowed-to-edit-when-logged-in.
Well, that would cut it, huh? Perhaps I should be set to only-allowed-to-post-when-I-know-wtf-I'm-talking-about :)
Anyways, I'm all for keeping wiki and sanity on the same page however it works.
Limiting the access sure does reduce the amount of changes a bit (especially for people just stumbling over the wiki) but mouser wants some protection anyway, so this should be quite perfect :)

I don't feel the need to have several access restrictions in the wiki on top of that - never saw a problem with that even in highly frequented wikis.

mouser

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2005, 03:51:40 PM »
i am going to set the collaborate button above to go back to the wiki for now..

It's the only tool I've found that allows the kind of collaborative editing that we are after, and i think brotherS may be right that we won't need more fine grained access control than simply limiting it to members of the site..

mouser

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Re: Confessions from a Wiki Hater ??!?
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2005, 12:38:26 AM »
ok..
i'm not a wiki lover yet...

but i feel obligated to point out that i've become a bit charmed by the accessibility of editing a wiki page..
i can see why people get addicted to it.

i stand by my position that the people implementing these wiki systems have completely dropped the ball in terms of administration support, but the management of version control history and rollback is very good, which makes up for some of this.

as brotherS kept saying - it is the ease of being able to just jump right in and edit a page that is the charm of it.

i will try to add some stuff to share login info between the wiki and the forum so people don't have to sign up at the wiki to be able to edit.

and let's see if we can get brotherS to give us an online lesson in wiki editing this month on the irc channel.

[for those who haven't seen it yet, you can visit the wiki here by clicking the "COLLABORATE" button on the top row of buttons on the forum]