A basic wiki system is now available for groups
Friday afternoon just before an American long weekend probably isn't the best time for me to announce a major update, but oh well, I'm doing it anyway:
There is now a basic wiki system available, with each group being able to have its own set of pages. I think this should help a lot for letting people collaborate on information through the site itself. @deing has been running an unofficial wiki (thanks!), but having it natively on the site should be much easier for people to find and help edit, so hopefully we can transfer over most or all of that content.
As always, a number of aspects are pretty rough and I'm sure I'll keep tweaking it over the next little while as I see how it starts to be used, but it should be decent enough to get started with. Various things to know about it:
- As of right now, permission to create and edit wiki pages must be granted manually. So if you'd like to get involved with editing wiki pages, please either comment here and say so or send me a message and I can give you permissions.
- The editing history is being stored in git, which will give us a lot of neat functionality for "free". You don't need to know anything about git at all (or even know what it is)—it's all done internally, but it means that I can do things like sync the wiki pages to GitLab and take advantage of their existing interface to display changes, page histories, etc. instead of needing to duplicate all of those functions from scratch (which might be nice to do someday anyway, but it's neat to have them all already with this method).
- I'm going to duplicate all the pages from the Tildes Docs site into the ~tildes.official wiki. This will allow people to be able to contribute changes to the docs without needing to figure out all the pieces for making changes to that repo directly. It won't update automatically or anything (and I wouldn't want it to), but I'll review any changes made through the site wiki and move them onto the Docs site.
I think that should cover the main points, but let me know if you have questions. Also, it's been a while, so I've topped everyone back up with 10 invites again. Thanks!
I probably should have put it in the post itself, but I'll make a separate comment with some information about how to add/edit pages for the people that requested permissions:
The interface is definitely awkward right now, especially when the group doesn't have any wiki pages yet. If you want to create a new page on an empty wiki, you'll have to go to the url manually for now, something like https://tildes.net/~tildes/wiki - that will take you to a page that lists the group's wiki pages, and will initially be empty. If you have permissions, there should be a link for creating a new page there.
After at least one page has been created, they will show up on that page and in the group's sidebar under the New Topic button when you're inside that group individually (not on the home page). For an example of this, see ~tildes.official, where I've copied across one page from the Docs site so far. You can click into the individual page from the sidebar, and then there's a button to edit the page in its sidebar, and a link to the page list at the bottom.
Currently, pages can't be deleted or renamed through the site, so if you mess something up and need that done, just send me a message and I can do it for you.
(Pings for people I've given permissions to: @dubteedub @alyaza @deing @Amarok @Bauke @cfabbro @Kelsier @CALICO @Whom @suspended @Algernon_Asimov @umbrae @tiz @cadadr @LukeZaz @Eylrid @sniper24)
Holy shit dude, this is a major milestone. I'd no idea you were so far along on this already, so just let me say great fucking job. Now we finally have collective history capability. I see that as critical for any online community's health. Thanks so much for prioritizing this feature. I can't wait to see what people do with it. <3
Edit: What are people's thoughts on allowing for users to have their own wiki pages once they've got some basic level of trust? What would you use them for? Would they have the same license? I haven't really thought much about this because I figured this stuff was much further down the line. :P
Well, I wasn't far along, I hadn't even started on it until this week! So it's definitely very minimal, but it should be passable, and taking advantage of git helps a lot.
You can thank @cfabbro and @Bauke and @alyaza and @Algernon_Asimov and others for being pesky about trying to get me to put more emphasis on adding things that will let other people help out more. This will help a lot for that, because I know there are things like writing documentation that people are eager to help with, and I haven't made that easy.
That wonderful moment when you realize something you thought was going to be a large undertaking just falls down like a line of dominoes. It happens all too rarely in IT.
What's the backend, MediaWiki?
Oh, nothing nearly that major. It's text files (markdown) and git.
Hah, simple as dirt. You didn't add a wiki. You added a wiki-like system made of simpler parts. That neatly sidesteps running a database backend for the wiki and all of the hassles of, for example, linking the wiki-of-choice's user/permission systems into the Tildes user data. I rather like this. It means we don't have the baggage of what a 'wiki' is hanging around our necks. This is just a version of markdown-enabled multiplayer notepad. :D
I just played with it a bit, now I get it. That is a really cool implementation.
This is definitely exciting. Apart from all the meta discussion and documentation that might be written, I am more excited about it's use for groups like ~music (and I think @Amarok had somewhat similar plans for it).
Anyways I would also like to get involved :)
Yeah, once ~music is popping I can see an entire galaxy of music charts stored there, auto-updating based on the content people are sharing.
This can also be used to share stats and data from other programs. As an example, radd.it used the listentothis wiki to store charts and analysis from the listentothis posting history, such as who our top submitters were (with real counts), what the top tracks and genres were, that sort of thing. Once the wiki is there as an 'export target' it becomes a useful tool for disseminating data to the users.
All I did was ask if you could put a link to my "how to" guide in a sidebar. It's not like I've been that pesky! :P
I think those other people deserve more credit.
Lukewarm indifference. I can't imagine user pages would become a hotbed of content, but I suppose if they became a thing I'd just make an extended bio page with some links giving background or expanding on some of my specific interests. Maybe that counts as content though, idk.
(Hello @Deimos can I have superpowers pls)
I like the idea of noteworthy users have their own wiki pages (for example highly prolific posters or people who consistently share and engage the community in their personal creative endeavors). I don't know how I feel about any random user who's been around for a month or two having one, though. Maybe I'm spoiled by Wikipedia's relatively strict rules, but I feel like there needs to be something noteworthy about the user other than "they are a trusted member of the tildes community". If it's the latter it seems like it would quickly devolve into little more than an internal socialization platform, which seems redundant with the purpose of tildes itself.
Then again, maybe that's what the majority of people here want it to be. I don't know. Tell me why I'm wrong, everybody. It's the only way I'll learn.
Well, that and a firm hand, as the saying goes.
What would a personal wiki page be for?
As one of those supposedly "noteworthy users" (too many people keep telling me this for me to deny it), I have no idea what I would use a personal wiki page for. I had to scrape to come up with content for my user bio (and it's less than half full). A whole wiki page is just too much. I don't think that I, as a person, am interesting enough to have an entire wiki page devoted to me. I'm here as a participant on Tildes. I'm not here to big-note myself and to build a following.
What would you expect to see on people's personal wiki pages?
Here, look at this user page on Wikipedia that I picked from a random edit page. I think it's a nice little thing that has a short bio, some interesting little nuggets about them in the userboxes, an overview of significant work they've done, and a bit on their philosophy toward what they do on the site.
You might not want to take advantage of all that, but a lot of people appreciate the ability to express ourselves in these little ways.
I don't see a need to. If you want to see what I've contributed to Tildes, look at my posting history. If you want to know about me, read my comments. If you want to know my opinions about what we should do on Tildes, just open any topic in ~tildes. I'm already out there, all over Tildes. Everything I want to share is already being shared. I don't see what extra I'm supposed to put on a personal wiki page.
I think the best analog for this would be wikipedia's user pages. Since I don't spend much time there I honestly don't know what the benefits and perils are either.
Give me userboxes or give me death! (Not entirely serious but god I love those things)
I really enjoy user pages on Wikipedia, any additional dynamics that they add that bios don't already have (or at least don't encourage in the same way) are pretty harmless like letting the projects you work on be badges of pride. Plus they're just a lot more expressive. I don't know if we'd want the direct communication aspect or not, though.
Well, we have personal pages now. Kind of. We have user bios, which serve the purpose. They are not a specific page, but many users still use it and as far as I know, there is no character limit.
Why is the user bio not enough? Or did you mean something like wiki page which would be list of important contributors?
The latter is closer to what I was envisioning.
Now that there's been a bit of activity, I can show what I mean by git and GitLab giving a lot of functionality for free. I'm syncing the wiki up to GitLab every 5 minutes right now, and that will give us access to things like these (I'll probably add links to some of these from wiki pages soon):
Right now it's not separated and just gives permission to edit/create pages in all groups. Splitting it up by group would be reasonable in the future, but I'm not too worried about it for now.
And it would be nice to for example grant everyone permission to edit ~test wiki.
But not all of us can, so it's good you asked the question and got the answer where everyone can read it. Thanks.
I think it's totally fine to have in the ~tildes wiki (not ~tildes.official) as long as it's clear that they're unofficial. I'm not opposed to the chats existing, I'm glad that they do and that people are using them. I just don't want to officially endorse them, for reasons I've discussed before (that's for other people's benefit, I know you know that).
Wouldn't adding an unofficial chat section in the ~tildes.official be kinda weird?
It makes more sense to have a "things tildes users are sharing/doing" section. Then you can include the chats, or minecraft servers, or whatever else that's officially unofficial comes along. Having the central record seems to be the important thing, so people don't go off and create five more of whatever it is. It'll help concentrate effort.
Well, if it's unofficial and unapproved, what really prevents someone from just putting another one there? There's really no reason to reject it or well, you can't reject it if none are approved.
If there's already a discord server, I doubt people will make another one, they'll just use the one that's listed. The problem is when people don't have that list, so they can't find it. Then they'll make one and post a thread about it only to have ten other users give them the link for the first one, wasting effort. It's about keeping track/tabs on things, rather than about gatekeeping. Someone certainly could create a second one and add it to the wiki, but at least then they'd be doing it for some other reason than not knowing.
I guess you make a point but that might become a point of debate, won't it?
"This server is bad, they did X" and then creating another and possibly suggesting to remove it from the wiki. I think we should either keep it off from there or make rules for how we handle that situation in a way which is respectful to both entities involved.
Fair points. Honestly, I don't expect to see that sort of cliquishness around here until Tildes is a lot bigger. Edit wars are a possibility but we'd need to have a war on first and things are peachy right now. While it's a small community, we've got time.
I think the sooner we can think about it the better because if we do it after such an event happens, it could turn ugly.
I agree. Let's give it a little while to percolate and work out the kinks, tweak the UI, get some pages built. I'm sure by the time we've imported all the unofficial wiki pages, the docs site, and the rest of the early 'gold rush' activity that's about to happen, we'll have a good idea what else we want. I'm also sure some users here are heavy wikipedians (not me) and will have some insight based on their experiences there to share with us.
neat. i guess as one of the people who has wiki editing powers on UTW i should probably ask for perms since otherwise i can't continue my work, lol.
Unofficial Tildes Wiki
I'm guessing Unofficial Tildes Wiki.
Thank you. This is a HUGE step forward, and much appreciated. Thank you!
I can't make bullet-points in the wiki. They show up in the preview version of the wiki page but, when I save the page, they're not visible.
Will the wiki have a Table of Contents feature, using the formatted headers on a page?
Is every wiki page going to show in a group's sidebar? I might want to make subsidiary pages, where Page A contains links to Pages B, C, and D which provide more detail about certain concepts on Page A. But, for simplicity's sake, I only want Page A showing in the sidebar, because Page A is the entry page, and the other pages are only subsidiary pages. And I don't want to clutter up a group's sidebar with subsidiary pages.
Is the wiki page name editable? If someone stuffs up the title of their wiki page when creating it (or changes their mind later with a better idea), can it be fixed?
Thanks, I'll fix that shortly (and the existing ones will show up, it's just a visual bug).
That should be possible, but probably not trivial to implement. I'll add an issue for it.
I just did that for simplicity for now, but yeah, I don't think it's a good plan overall. Maybe it could just be as simple as adding a checkbox on each page for "show this page in the sidebar"? Or do you think another method would work better?
Not through the site yet, but I can edit it manually if needed (and @deing already asked me to edit a bunch of the ones they created, which I'll get to eventually).
I'll need either the Table of Contents feature or the subsidiary wiki pages feature for my "how to" guide (possibly both in the long term). It's too big to skim through, and it's not intended to be something people read from start to finish anyway. I need a way for people to navigate quickly to the section they need, and I'll want a way to link people directly to a particular section. I can use either a Table of Contents or subsidiary pages to achieve this goal.
For subsidiary pages, the decision about whether to include a link in the sidebar could be driven by where people create pages. If they create a page from the group's front page, that's a top-level page which gets listed in the sidebar. If they create a page from within another page, that's a subsidiary page which does not get listed in the sidebar.
But, in the short term, a checkbox would work.
I've been looking at the "how to" guide with fresh eyes now that it's on the official wiki, as well as looking at other wiki pages - and I've realised that I really do need a Table of Contents feature for the "how to" guide to work at its best.
At the very least, each heading and sub-heading needs to be its own independent URL. I need to be able to link people to specific sections. I'm also relying heavily on cross-links within the guide itself, so as not to have to write the same information twice in two different places on the same page.
I can try to work on adding table of contents before too long, or at least adding anchors to the headings so that you would be able to link to them like https://tildes.net/~tildes/wiki/how_to_guide#sorting_the_topics and so on.
Alternatively, you could split it into a page for each section, but I don't know if that would be more annoying than useful.
"Anchors"! I knew there was a word for what I was trying to say! Yes: anchors on the headings is what I'm after. Thanks for that.
Splitting the wiki into multiple pages is okay, but not quite granular enough. I wouldn't want to create a page per section, for instance, so each page would still have multiple sections. It might make things slightly easier for people to find what they need, but it's still a far cry from being able to link directly to the appropriate section.
Yeah, I think adding anchors won't be too difficult, and it's a necessary piece of building a table of contents anyway, so I'll try to do at least that much tomorrow.
Alright, all the headings have anchors and link to themselves now.
The styling looks bad since they just look like large links now, but I need to work on that anyway so I'll try to do that soon.Some work on the headings done now.
It works! Thank you.
I would love to be able to edit the wiki pages.
Ooooh, exciting!!! Community resources are such a big deal and I'm glad to have a place to build some up!
I would love to have perms to help out :)
Well this was a nice surprise! You're post is making this sound like it's not a big deal but this is fantastic, and you implemented it in a lightweight manner to boot! I can't promise I'd be able to do too much, but if you don't mind I would like to be able to edit the wiki should I see or come up with something to contribute. Thanks for adding this!
I'd love to have some superpowers too! So far I have been lazy and let holy spirits handle updating the wiki list of "what are you reading" threads. Also I want to make a list of books mentioned, and the wiki would be the best place for that, wouldn't it!
Great feature anyways, thanks a lot!
docs.tildes.net will stay and be the official location of those pages. I want to use the ~tildes.official wiki as kind of a "staging area" that will allow people to be able to submit changes to the Docs site more easily, and I'll review and transfer over any updates people make here.
I’ll take permissions, no idea when I’d use it but I imagine I’d fix a typo or two if I saw them
Yo wikis are awesome. Glad to have them here. I'd like perms for them :)
I would like to be able to contribute.
Any plans on making submission/wiki eddits open to everyone pending review by trusted users? like GitHub?
No specific plans for that. I think it's a good idea, but it would add a lot of complexity to implement a review process.
Yeah fair enough, now that I think about it, it's kind of a big ask considering it's one the main features of GitHub and that's it's selling point -- not a seldom used additional feature.
I can't find a way to navigate from the wiki pages to GitLab, or from GitLab to the wiki pages.
And I can't find out who has edited a wiki page, and what they did.
If I look at a wiki page, there's no way to get from that wiki page to the editing history of that page (who created it, who last edited it). I have to navigate separately through GitLab to find the whatever this is (and that took some trial and error) - but it still doesn't show the edit history of the page. The history of "commits" is all-inclusive, and not separated by page, and doesn't show which "commits" are for which pages. And then I can't get back from GitLab to the real wiki page.
Where's the single list of changes made to one, and only one, wiki page? How do I get to this edit history from the wiki page? How do I then get back to the wiki page after I've seen the edit history for that wiki page?
The links aren't there yet.It'll be the "History" page for an individual file, which looks like this: https://gitlab.com/tildes/tildes-wiki/commits/master/science/laypersons_intro.md
How does someone navigate to that history page from the landing page? I don't really want to have to save that URL you provided and edit it every time I want to see the history of a different page.
I've added the links now, they're in the sidebar when you're viewing a wiki page. One goes to that history page I just linked, and the other to the "blame" view which shows which edit last affected each line/section. I set them to open in new tabs, so you can just close them to get back to the page.
Excellent! Thank you!
Still the best admin. Even on reddit he was this fast. :P
I would be happy to help out with the wikis, I was actually thinking of ways to implement exactly this recently.
Coordination on the wikis might be relatively hard since creating topics for the wikis in the ~group would be unappealing to those who are not interested in the wiki.
Do you think it could be interesting to have a topic available from the wiki interface so people can post comments about certain issues they have in the wiki? Currently there's no real way to communicate appropriately about changes you want to make.
Yeah, coordination will probably be a little tough for now, but there really aren't that many users involved yet so I don't think conflicts will be very common. Any of these are probably fine options if needed: