Wiki Management Discussion Article

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This is a discussion and overview of issues of managing the WorldVistA Wiki.

Control of Users - malicious and uninformed contributions

Wiki is traditionally wide open and philosophically adament in some quarters about this openess.

One argument is that there should be no inhibition to contribution in order to maximize input.

Truth is judged by the community and authority of experts - by their persistence ? This does work amazingly well(IMHO)in venues such as the WikiPedia on an amazing variety of detailed subjects. I was amazed at the level of information in taking a course on genomics and bioinformatics to find very useful things, well organized, in the Wikipedia articles. These supplemented what was covered in my course, by making it easy to look up - and I added my two cents in the process of taking the course.

Malicious stuff is easy to reverse and usually obvious to spot by legitimate readers and writers.

But, this takes time and misinformation/malicous information could be used in the interim. I would propose ultimately some changes in the Wiki software and policy to better control quality in some critical Wiki venues. I believe a level of sophistication can be achieved, however, with little inhibition to contribution, - maybe less. It involves policy an software enhancements to add editors to articles and authorship - responsibility (with limits) more analogous to standard textbooks or journal articles, but with the full power of contributions by many.

One relevant issue which hasn't been addressed is the idea of building a community. This wiki for a while was invitation only. however no one seemed to be using the wiki. then it became available for registered to use the system. however no one seemed to be using the wiki. then it became freely editable however no one still seems to be using the wiki. I'm not sure what the next Action should be.

More discussion is (will be) under OCTEM, the emergency medicine WikiBook, if you are interested. Discussion is Here.

Article Naming

Articles are created in a somewhat backhanded method of creating a link with double square brackets to an article that does not yet exist, then clicking on the link and getting an edit this page screen for the new article.

Selecting the Article name, is done by what you put in the brackets. The article name can be edited later, but not without some hassle- moving the discussion, correcting links here and there, ... things the Wiki software helps with, but is not perfect.

A convention would be useful to keep some coherence to the system. This Article's name is an example of how context suggests one phrase which is probably not the best Article Name.

Short names have the advantage of efficient use in Go vs Search box which is always available to find the articles. This would be useful when users watch an article and go there frequently.

Again, the issue of central control and coherency, vs not inhibiting or slowing down anyone with content to contribute, raises its (ugly?) head.

An interesting idea is that the article title is only one one way to find the article. Other pages with other titles provide alternate indexes to the same information. The use of the #REDIRECT [[Old Article Name]] command allows the new titles to redirect the reader to the original title. This only works with a single level of Redirection, ie: redirecting to a redirect page won't work. But one could argue this forces people to know what they are are doing.

System Specific Articles

Issues such as mode-dependent information, like which MUMPS system is being used may be managed coherently. Thus a GTM use vs a Cache user could select efficiently articles tailored to thier MUMPS system when this is important.

A hospital installation versus a clinic or community clinic or emergency department (ED)installation, may select different articles. Perhaps markers within pages might make these distinctions and be useful then in searches.


Creating categories and managing them effectively for efficient use is an acquired art in Wiki.