Wiki

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The terms wiki (pronounced "weekee", /wiki/ in SAMPA) and WikiWiki are used to identify either a specific type of hypertext document collection or the collaborative software used to create it.

Wiki (pronounced "wickee") is also a common forename among female Maori in New Zealand. In Hawaiian, wikiwiki means "quick". This particular Wiki uses the MediaWiki software also used by Wikipedia and most of the other wikis of the Doom community. The ZDoom wiki is designed so everybody can pitch in and document features for ZDoom by Randy Heit.

Key characteristics

A WikiWikiWeb enables documents to be authored collectively in a simple markup language using a web browser. Because most wikis are web-based, the term "wiki" is usually sufficient. A single page in a wiki is referred to as a "wiki page", while the entire body of pages, which are usually highly interconnected, is called "the wiki".

"Wiki wiki" means "fast" in the Hawaiian language, and it is the speed of creating and updating pages that is one of the defining aspects of wiki technology. Generally, there is no prior review before modifications are accepted, and most wikis are open to the general public or at least to all persons who also have access to the wiki server. In fact, even registration of a user account is not often required.

Pages and editing

In traditional wikis, every page has two representations: the form in which it is displayed (usually HTML which is rendered by a web browser) and the form in which it is edited (a simplified markup language, the style and syntax of which varies from wiki to wiki).

The reasoning behind this design is that HTML, with its large library of nested tags, is too complicated to allow fast-paced editing, and distracts from the actual content of the pages. It is also sometimes viewed as beneficial that users cannot use all the functionality that HTML allows, such as JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets, because of the consistency in look and feel that is thereby enforced.

Wiki syntax (MediaWiki) HTML Rendered output
"''Doctor''? No other title? A ''scholar''? And he rates above the civil authority?"



"Why, certainly," replied Hardin, amiably. "We're all scholars more or less. After all, we're not so much a world as a scientific foundation – under the direct control of the Emperor."

<P>

"<I>Doctor</I>? No other title? A <I>scholar</I>? And he rates above the civil authority?"
</P>
<P>
"Why, certainly," replied Hardin, amiably. "We're all scholars more or less. After all, we're not so much a world as a scientific foundation – under the direct control of the Emperor."
</P>

"Doctor? No other title? A scholar? And he rates above the civil authority?"



"Why, certainly," replied Hardin, amiably. "We're all scholars more or less. After all, we're not so much a world as a scientific foundation – under the direct control of the Emperor."

(Quote from the book Foundation]] by Isaac Asimov)

A wiki page has two representation forms, the wiki syntax used by the wiki engine and the HTML rendered from it and sent to the user's browser, which in turn uses it to render a formatted page.

To help creating and maintaining pages, this wiki also supports the use of templates.

Linking and creating pages

Wikis are a true hypertext medium, with non-linear navigational structures. Each page typically contains a large number of links to other pages; hierarchical navigation pages often exist in larger wikis, but do not have to be used. Links are created using a specific syntax, the so-called "link pattern", in this wiki words that are put in [[double square brackets]], or for transcluding pages or using templates, between {{double curly braces}}.

Creating a new page in a wiki is usually done strictly through the same process as linking to it: a link is created on a topically related page; if the link does not exist, it is in some way emphasized as a "broken" link. Following that link opens an editor window, which then allows the user to enter the text for the new page. This mechanism ensures that so-called "orphan" pages (which have no links pointing to them) are rarely created, and a generally high level of connectedness is retained. The ZDoom wiki, however, contains many articles that correspond to discrete items and relies on categories to automatically sort them in up-to-date lists. Lists that are maintained by hand tend to be forgotten or neglected; so having an orphaned page on this wiki is only a problem if it is also an uncategorized page.

Wikis generally follow a philosophy of making it easy to fix mistakes instead of making it hard to make them. Thus, while wikis are very open, they also provide various means to verify the validity of recent additions to the body of pages.

The most prominent one on almost every wiki is the so-called "Recent changes" page. It is simply a list of either a specific number of recent edits or a list of all edits that have been made within a given timeframe. Some wikis allow filtering the list to exclude edits that have been marked "minor" or which were made by automatic importing scripts ("bots").

From the change log, two other functions are accessible in most wikis: the revision history, which shows previous versions of the page, and the diff feature, which can highlight the changes between two revisions. The revision history allows opening and saving a previous version of the page and thereby restoring the original content. The diff feature can be used to decide whether this is necessary or not: A regular user of the wiki can show the diff of a change listed on the "Recent changes" page and, if it is an unacceptable edit, load the history to restore a previous revision. This process is more or less streamlined, depending on the wiki software that is used.

History comparison reports highlight the changes between two revisions of a page.

In case unacceptable edits are missed on the "Recent changes" page, some wikis provide additional control over content, such as "watchlists", a form of internal bookmarking that is used to generate a list of recent changes to a set of specific pages only. In extreme cases, many wikis allow protecting pages from being edited. Protected pages on Wikipedia, for example, can only be edited by so-called administrators, who can also revoke the protection.

Searching

Most wikis offer at least a title search, if not a full text search. The scalability of the search depends highly on whether the wiki engine uses a database or not; the indexed access of a database is necessary for high speed searches on large wikis. On this wiki, the "Go" button allows readers to directly view a page that matches the entered search criteria as closely as possible, while the "Search" buttons always provide a list of result that match the searched term.

External links