wiki best practice

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Many wiki best practices have proven useful in small intranets. Here are a few known ones. For more detailed explanations of the most basic see new wiki user, wiki FAQ and intranet FAQ. See terms also for any terminology on this page that seems unfamiliar.

building on good examples[edit]

  • include good examples when explaining how to do something, e.g. of talk pages
  • choose the correct page names and write text that includes them
    • good page names fit into sentences, bad page names require awkward phrasing
      • redirect the name of every category as tags you can link to casually all over the place, which is easier than [[:category:trying to do this]]
    • avoid anchor text - if you need to change the name of a page to fit it into a sentence you almost certainly named it wrong
    • conserve capitals, in English these should only appear in proper nouns and acronyms, they are a deprecated style in titles and headings also (see academic journals and such publications for examples of proper title style, differentiate titles with fonts and bold, not with capitals)
    • standardize page name prefixes and page name suffixes to make it easy to remember page names and to copy the style of old names when creating new pages
  • writing style
  • support mobility by keeping page names short and making very short (50-250 word) pages fit for mobile devices
    • avoid spatial metaphor like "here" and "there" to mean this page and that - why overload the word "here" when someone is trying to find a customer's street address or detouring around a traffic accident?
    • avoid passive verb in page name because these vary based on tense and don't fit well into instructional text: a mobility-and-field-support interface should be indexed based on the action to be attempted rather than some passive description of the type of action (i.e. "catch" is better than "catching", "exclude" better than "exclusion" or "excluding").

user cooperation, accountability, and using wiki to reshape language[edit]

general intranet editorial policies[edit]

    • recognize senior editors with informal obligations to follow and enforce rules more closely than others
    • exploit open content: adapt works under open content licenses including especially CC-by but also the share-alike GFDL, CC-by-sa and (for nonprofit projects and commercial projects where the owners are already compensated) CC-by-nc-sa material. The obligations on these are minimal, usually just to share improvements to share-alike content at regular intervals. Adapting technology-oriented help files, wiki best practice and industry- or government-published knowledge has a huge ROI because the upside of owning this is near nil, and you can't afford to pay people to write every word in your intranet. So accept the minimal legal obligation to sharing improvements, invite others to improve the material on public forums and use the fact of your contribution to publicize your other activities and the value of working for your organization/consortium - see the Licensing section below for example which explains the origins of this best practice page.
    • avoid broadcast metaphor - not every page is for public consumption, reviewed pages are not necessarily published pages, you are not writing necessarily for a whole "community" and pages with names implying "donations' run the project should be renamed in corporate environments
    • avoid social metaphors for the same reason - a work team is not a community nor a family, it is a work team, it has objectives and goals and processes and not everything is negotiable - to pretend that it is only insults the intelligence of people and makes them pretend they agreed to things they didn't and weren't asked to - to seek consensus is a very good thing but it is not correct to describe every management or administrative decision as implementing some popular social decision, save social language for contexts in which you really actually seek real consensus


This page is based on CC-by-nc-sa licensed material and can be adapted and distributed freely for nonprofit use, or within this wiki and non-profit use in New Brunswick by entities obeying all international laws including protections of political expression, human rights, aboriginal rights, biodiversity and climate. Use beyond that may require other authorization. See copyrights for details of which licenses apply. The use of open content accelerates development of the wiki but requires sharing generic improvements. See NB public intranet terms of use for a description of the legal implications of editing this wiki.