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I hate wikis

November 16th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

I dislike wikis. At work we were using them. Now we're changing from wikis to an article management system. The idea on paper sounded great, but I'm realizing the pitfalls about the implementation.

There are some traits that wikis have that I like. There's also plenty of bad traits. Also, I'm thinking of MediaWiki when I say this stuff.


  • Interlinking and updating
  • Anyone can edit pages by design
  • Templates and categorization can be done by anyone, inline
  • Every page has a discussion option


  • Lots of overhead
  • Semi-proprietary syntax (= makes h1, == makes h2, * makes one level lists, ** makes it a two level list, etc.)
  • Inconsistent syntax - some HTML works, some bbcode-ish wiki stuff works, some __HEREDOC__ stuff works
  • Forces everything to be CamelCase
  • No attachments per page, only global
  • By default, wikis have no page-level security, since their mantra is "anyone can edit"

So now that I've said that - I have to say that the ideal approach would be to take the existing CMS approach but add in a few wiki features. Specifically the interlinking. We already have a comment feature on every page. Attachment management is per-page too.

Late night half dazed thoughts:

Link syntax couldn't be something like foo:bar - since javascript:foo would conflict. Perhaps something like [foo:bar] would be a good idea? For links to file attachments, [file:fileID] or [article:slug-title]. This would make life simpler for tracking what files are orphans, can display information about the file in-line in the documents (file type, size, etc.)

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