Wiki Wednesday

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Welcome to the Wiki Wednesday Workshop!

This workshop and this wiki[edit]

The Noisebridge wiki is using free/open source Mediawikisoftware, one of the most commonly used wikis around the world. It's a powerful tool for collaboration.

This workshop will teach you some basics of MediaWiki and the Noisebridge wiki. That knowledge will also help if you ever want to edit Wikipedia or various Wikia sites.

Wiki history[edit]

Wikis were invented around 1994 by Ward Cunningham. You can read a bunch of really neat early ideas about wikis on the c2 wiki and there's even more on MeatballWiki. And here's some further interesting thoughts on wiki as Ostrom Commons.

What if the entire web were world-editable and had version control built in?

It's worth exploring these ideas! They are fairly radical approaches to information!

Getting started[edit]

Let's get you set up on the Noisebridge wiki!

New account[edit]

  • Create an account
  • Check email for confirmation link
    • I am not actually sure our email hookup is working correctly so we should test that
  • Log in

Your user page[edit]

  • Now that you made an account and logged in you should see your username in the navigation bar at the top of every page. Click on your username! It takes you to your blank userpage.
  • Every page in the wiki by default is editable!
  • OK, so, edit your user page and add some text. Save!
  • This is a useful home base.
  • Click edit again!
  • Add some info or be weird and cryptic, I don't mind.
  • Try out your wiki signature by typing four tildes like this: ~~~~
  • That will add your username with a link to your user page and a date/timestamp!
  • At this point, let [User:lizzard] or another wiki admin (ask on Discord or Slack) know your username so we can give you editing powers (limited for newly made accounts to stop spammers)

Basic markup[edit]

The editing interface is very basic. For now, it uses wiki markup.

Make a link from your user page to another page in this wiki: double brackets, like this: [[Wiki Wednesday]].

You can create a new page this way, by putting double square brackets around a word or phrase for a page that doesn't exist. Try doing that now, on your user page, and save. The link will be red. Click it to make your new page! Once a page exists, the link should be blue or purple.

You may notice I had to escape some wiki markup on this page in order to explain how to do wiki markup! to do that, I used <nowiki></nowiki> tags.

Try the formatting buttons at the top of the edit window on your user page.

You can also use some basic html markup. "Help" in your sidebar will link to formatting / markup tips!

Some basic tools[edit]

Check out some of the obvious links in the navigation bars at top and side.

  • Contributions (top nav)
  • * Shows wiki pages you have created or edited.
  • Recent changes (sidebar)
  • * Shows all edits by everyone, most recent to oldest. You can see this without being logged in!
  • Random Page (sidebar) Just for fun.

Now pick a page you are interested in. Click "view history" at the top. You can see everyone who has edited the page and some other info, like when a page was protected by an admin. You can use this log to detect vandalism or simply to revert changes, or, if you have admin powers, to block a user. On many wikis you can block by IP address but we are set up not to record IP addresses.

More amazing tools[edit]

Special pages. Please just click them all at some point and see what's there! But here's some highlights:


This wiki has a few templates which might come in handy. Or you can look at them as models to create new useful templates.

Try Special:UncategorizedTemplates

Or look at the Noisebridge page and see what it uses.

For example, at the time I'm writing this, it's using {{FrontPageHeader}}. To edit that header, You will need to go to the url for the template. You can make that easy by making a link to [[Template:FrontPageHeader]], which will look like this: Template:FrontPageHeader.

Confused? It is a little confusing.

  • Curly braces make the template print in the page.
  • Square brackets make a link to the template itself, and you can then click on "edit" at the top of the page to edit it.

Events, Classes, and Transclusion[edit]

You can add any page to a Category by adding a special link to it. The convention is to add these Category tags at the bottom of the page.

For example, adding [[Category:Accessibility]] to a page will automatically add it to this page:

You can edit Category pages and add more stuff at the top!

Notice on the Noisebridge home page we have that Events section. Click the header where it says Events and Classes! It's a link! It will take you to the page.

Notice also - when I put that link above into this page, it added this page to Category:Events!

When you add one of those Category links you can make the link work without adding the page to the Category, by adding a colon in front, like this: [[:Category:Bullshit]] (For a test of this, here's the link, [[:Category:Bullshit]]. ) Back to Category:Events. This page has some more useful stuff in it. Click its edit button to view the source. Scroll down a bit to find the <nowiki><onlyinclude> tag and its closing tag. The stuff between those tags is transcluded into the main page, using partial transclusion. You can include entire pages, part of a page, or exclude only certain parts of a page depending on which tag you use.

Now let's go look at the main page and edit it to see how the transclusion is set up.

Somewhere in that source, there's a template link, in curly braces, like so: {{:Category:Events}}. That's it! That pulls in the stuff between the onlyinclude tags on the Category:Events page.

  • If the source is in the Template namespace (e.g. "Template:Welcome"), just use the name itself, alone: Template:Welcome
  • If the source is in the Main article namespace (e.g. "VisualEditor"), a colon (:) must be added in front of the name: VisualEditor
  • If the source is in any other namespace (e.g. "User:Example"), you must use the full name, including the namespace: User:Example

(Personally, I never remember this markup, so I just fuck around and use "preview" till it looks right. Lizzard (talk) 01:00, 13 August 2021 (UTC))

Meeting notes[edit]

It's clunky but it works. Here's how to do the meeting notes.

You will want a few tabs open.

  • Open the meeting notes template, and click edit. Copy the text in the edit box. Then close the template tab!
  • Open up the riseup pad, and paste into it.
  • Find the last meeting, open it, note the number of that meeting and the date.
  • In the riseup pad:
  • * fix the meeting number where it says the XXXth meeting of Noisebridge.
  • * Fix the date
  • * Fix the links to previous meeting and next meeting
  • Now you are ready to take notes in the riseup pad!

After the meeting:

  • Clean up the notes in riseup
  • Go back to the tab with last week's meeting notes
  • Click on the link to "next meeting" which should create you a page with the correct date
  • If it wasn't set up correclty, fix it :) Then make your page
  • Now paste in the notes from riseup

Maintaining this wiki[edit]

Add some stuff here about:

  • where this wiki is hosted
  • how to get access to help maintain it
  • backing up the SQL database
  • what plugins we're running, etc.

The WikiWay[edit]

You know how I mentioned the weird history of wikis? Deep philosophy! Idealism! Read on!

"A wiki, at its most efficient and most stunning, is not a category. It is not a technology. It is not a notebook. It is not a website. It is not a medium. It is not a community. It is not a place. Rather, it is the sum totality of everything, including all those things; and all those things centre around the dynamic of its essential parts and dimensions: community, content, code, network, atemporal, place."