Wiki Writing Workshop

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Wiki Writing workshop.gif

A little history

borrowed from Michael Murtaugh and the PZI wiki

Wiki Wiki Web

1995, Ward Cunningham

"Portland Pattern Repository" and

  • About speed, of moving from read to write
  • Inspired by HyperCard (and HyperText)

Software with an attitude

You're browsing a database with a program called Wiki Wiki Web. And the program has an attitude. The program wants everyone to be an author. So, the program slants in favor of authors at some inconvenience to readers.

Posted on the original "wiki", the Portand Pattern Repository; sadly the original seems to no longer be online

Which Wiki Was Which

"WikiWikiWeb" for a while referred to four things: the website hosted on, the software used to run it (written in Perl), and later any user-editable website (what is now known as a wiki), and any application used to run such a site (now known as wiki software). There was no greate distinction for the first five years or so between the code used to run a wiki and the content on it, partly becuase there was nearly a 1:1 correspondence between the two: many of the original wiki administrators were programmers, and they tended to create their own new, or modified, version of the software to run their own wikis. [1]


  • 2000 Jimmy Wales creates Nupedia, a failed attempt to create a free online encyclopedia
  • Wales hires Larry Sanger to edit
  • launched January 15, 2001
  • 2001: first subdomains for non-english (
  • August 2002 all content tranferred to
  • Wales and Sanger fall out


Mediawiki is the software that runs Wikipedia, and the Digital Craft wikis

UseModWiki, like most wiki software at the time, was the work of tinkerers: it was based on AtisWiki, which was based on CvWiki, which in turn was based on WikiWikiWeb, Cunningham's original application. And again, like most wiki software of the time, UseModWiki used flat text files to store all page revisions. ... In late 2001 Wales hired Magnus Manske, a German programmer and active Nupedia contributor, to rewrite the software in PHP, now storing edits in a MySQL database. [2]


Two kinds

  • Internal (to other wiki pages)
  • External


This sentence contains a link to [[another page]].

You can customize the displayed text (label) by using a "pipe": At first [[Mediawiki | the software]] used in wikipedia was written in [[PERL]].


  • Use single square brackets
  • No pipe, just a space to specific a label, see Wikipedia
  • If no label is given, the link appears in "footnote" style [1]
  • Raw URLs (that start with http://) will be made automatically clickable (
  1. Yaron Koren, Working with Mediawiki, p. 2 website
  2. Koren, p. 3




this is everyone in the course...


Significantly, wikis allow links to pages that do not (yet) exist. These are called "redlinks" (typically they appear in red to differentiate from "blue" normal links). In this was editors can write with links without knowing (or caring) if a given page exists. Redlinks can form a "potential page" or "todo" articles that when created in the future, will already be linked. Non-existent (redlink) Pages do display backlinks even before they are given any content (though they will not appear in Special:AllPages, they can be seen via Special:WantedPages)


How to make new pages

pages are made by:

  • clicking red links
  • making red links and clicking them
  • searching for a non-existent page (will give you a redlink which you can click)

How to edit a page

  • click 'edit' on the top right of the page you want to edit
  • will show you the wiki markup of the page
  • show preview is useful to see what the effect of your changes is (use it a lot!)
  • but your changes will only be saved when.. you press save page
  • use the summary to comment on your edit, mostly used when collaboratively editing a page. Will show up in the edit history.
  • which brings us to..

Going back in time

  • for each page one can view the history of edits and deletions (View History tab in the top right)
  • nice if you made a mistake
  • on wikipedia the edit history of an article is often more interesting than the article itself
    • because they are testament to the edit wars between people who have different opinions on the subject or reflecting the changes in events.

User Pages

  • Pages that belong to users. Can be recognized because they have the 'User:' selector in the URL:
  • user pages, subpages of user pages and the content of user pages are not findable through the search bar, therefor ideal for personal notes etc (they are still public however!)
  • other than that they are the same as the other pages

Special Pages


How do images work

  • images are in essence 'special' pages.
  • Can be recognized because they have the 'File:' selector in the URL:
  • upload via the upload file option on the left menu (Special:Upload )
  • supported filetypes: png, gif, jpg, jpeg, svg, zip, gz, txt, pdf, ogg, ogv, mid, oga (not only images!)
  • Rainbowbg.gifRainbowbg.gifRainbowbg.gifRainbowbg.gif gifs! Rainbowbg.gifRainbowbg.gifRainbowbg.gifRainbowbg.gif
  • can be embedded by simply making an internal link: [[File:Tim_scooter_small.jpg]]
  • always try to credit the original author or source of the image.
  • Images have many options for embedding and styling. For more info and examples have a look at: this