Frequently asked questions about wikis, MediaWiki and its extensions

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General questions

What is a wiki?

A wiki is a website allowing each authorized visitor to modify and enrich its pages using a simple syntax. This authorization can be granted by the administrator upon invitation or be automatic subject to conditions (registration, validation of the email address, etc.). A wiki site uses hyperlinks linking wiki pages together, a markup language, and is editable using a web browser.

A wiki can also be called a collaborative online knowledge management platform, not to be confused with collaborative project management platforms.

What do wiki, MediaWiki, Semantic MediaWiki, Wikimedia, Wikipedia mean?

  • A wiki is a website that has a collaborative functionality, allowing as many people as possible to enrich it even if their computer knowledge is limited. Its collaborative functionality can be disabled on [Create_a_private_wiki_for_your_company_or_organization | private wikis].
  • [MediaWiki_the_open_source_knowledge_base_software MediaWiki, is a free and open source software or wiki engine] which installs on a server and has many extensions.
  • Semantic MediaWiki is a (major) extension of MediaWiki used by more and more wikis, including Domotiki.eu, the home automation and connected home wiki.
  • Wikipedia is a wiki - the best known - running with MediaWiki and hosted by the foundation Wikimedia.
  • Wikimedia is an American foundation hosting several wikis working with MediaWiki including Wikipedia.

What are the differences between MediaWiki and DokuWiki?

We do not provide any services around Dokuwiki however we have accompanied some of our clients during their transition from DokuWiki to MediaWiki. This passage can also be done quickly thanks to a script converting DokuWiki pages to MediaWiki syntax. The main difference is that DokuWiki has a classic hierarchical structure whereas a wiki structured with Semantic MediaWiki allows tagging each page with custom data.

See also a comparative.

What types of wikis can be used by a business?

Two types of wikis can be used by a business:

  • The public wiki: intended for external people (customers, suppliers, etc.), it simplifies their search for information on your company and allows them to express themselves on your offers.
  • The private wiki: intended for your employees only, it may contain confidential data. Indeed, collaborative does not necessarily mean public! (See below).

Can a wiki be private in order to collect confidential data?

Wikis can be closed (or private) and thus only authorized persons will have access to them. They will then have to connect with a login and a password to consult it. So a wiki can quite collect confidential data.

Learn more about corporate-private wikis and security from A9curit% C3% A9_de_la_ferme_wiki hosting offer in partnership with Wiki Valley

What elements are visible to everyone on a private Wiki?

Anyone who knows your private wiki url can see:

  • The logo
  • Navigation links (Home, recent changes ...)
  • The notices (MediaWiki:Sitenotice ...)

What does working in wiki mode mean?

Working in wiki mode means working collaboratively on a knowledge management platform, and replacing all other non-collaborative means of communication such as emails or means of storing knowledge such as office files by the wiki. Structuring your wiki with metadata allows you to abandon the classic hierarchical organization for an optimal structure.

For example: before you used files stored in directories, to classify your documents according to the department of your company you create two folders: the first called Marketing and the other called Communication. All is well as long as your documents contain information on only one of the two areas. But where do you keep a document talking about both areas? You must arbitrarily choose one of the two folders. Another employee who wants to consult your document will then have a one in two chance of finding your file the first time.

With a wiki structured like a database, you create a document that can be tagged for two functions: Marketing AND Communication. When one of your colleagues searches for the document, it will appear in the results that your colleague clicks on "Marketing" OR "Communication". To find the document even more quickly, he can choose both Marketing AND Communication, then only the documents dealing with the two fields will be displayed. Logically, the number of documents displayed will be much lower and the document much easier to find in the list.

How reliable is free open source software MediaWiki and Semantic MediaWiki?

Wikipedia, with its millions of pages and users, is proof of the robustness of MediaWiki software. Click here to see the statistics of Wikipedia sites by language.

Semantic MediaWiki, on the other hand, runs smoothly even with millions of lines of data.
(However, it can reach its limits in case of overly complex queries)

Do you have any examples of sites running MediaWiki and Semantic MediaWiki?

The site http://smw.referata.com references sites that work with Semantic MediaWiki.

To date, there are more than 320 active sites referenced.

Here are also some semantic wikis created by Semantiki and their pages presenting semantic data:

Who can use a collaborative website?

A wiki can be useful to companies, administrations, educational establishments or even communities, for different purposes.

What types of websites can you create with Semantic MediaWiki?

The applications of a structured wiki are multiple, the websites that can be created with Semantic MediaWiki can take the form of:

What knowledge is required to navigate and edit a wiki?..

Visual editor logo No need to know HTML, CSS, PHP web languages...

You don't even need to know wikicode if Visual Editor is installed: each page will have an input toolbar similar to Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Test Visual Editor online See the possibilities of Visual Editor

However, learning the very simple MediaWiki syntax is recommended for administrators.

...What about entering structured data?

Most of the data is entered via a form which may include:

  • Text boxes (with autocomplete)
  • Checkboxes
  • Radio buttons or Drop-Down lists
  • Infoboxes

So it is also not necessary to have technical knowledge to enter structured data.

Type of data entry in forms Open choice Closed choise
Multiple values Text box with suggestions Checkboxes
ListBox
Unique values Combobox Radio Buttons
Drop-down list

Why does Wikipedia often appear first in search results?

Can Semantic MediaWiki be used within a company?

Yes, click here to learn more and discover the applications and benefits of setting up a wiki within a company.

What are the possible applications of Semantic MediaWiki?

For businesses and organizations, a wiki can take the form:

  • An intranet platform that can allow you to benefit from the advantages of collaborative work and teleworking
  • A social CRM platform that allows you to exchange and communicate about your offers and to express your customers
  • A structured knowledge base to find information more easily and keep all the data useful to your company up to date in a single place.

See all user testimonials of Semantic MediaWiki.

What are the differences between Semantic MediaWiki and Microsoft SharePoint?

Is Semantic MediaWiki an alternative to Microsoft SharePoint?

You can read the comparative study between Microsoft SharePoint and its open source alternative: Semantic MediaWiki

Can we install MediaWiki locally?

Yes, it is quite possible to install MediaWiki and its extensions locally, but it may make the remote administration and telecommuting impossible.

Contact us Contact us to find out more.

Why use the same technology as Wikipedia?

We believe that offering a tool known to users (if they are already familiar with Wikipedia) speeds up their learning and increases their acceptance rate of the new software.

Moreover Wikipedia, which technically depends on MediaWiki with its immense community of volunteer developers, is a guarantee of the software's durability and the maintenance of its quality.

Questions about wikis in SAAS mode

Wiki Valley offers a wiki offer in SAAS mode see prices

Regarding the setting up of the wiki: what are the deadlines for making the wiki available?

Your wiki can be created in a few minutes during business hours (French time). Its creation requires human intervention.

Is it possible to add / remove new readers / contributors at any time?

Yes in a few clicks with an administrator account (There is no additional cost when a contributor becomes an administrator, it is always 5 € / month).

What are the deadlines for making the wiki available?

Currently a few working hours. But this duration will soon decrease to a few minutes!

How to get the same skin as Wikipedia?

In your preferences, Appearance tab, select "Vector" among the skins.

Technical questions

Can you easily migrate your existing data / information to a wiki?

Yes, there are many tools that allow you to import office files (Calc and Excel type spreadsheets or Word or Wrtier type word processing) into MediaWiki syntax.

Same for Dokuwiki and SharePoint

What does Semantic MediaWiki include?

In addition to the Semantic Mediawiki extension itself, this term is often used to also define extensions that require Semantic MediaWiki and which expand their capabilities like Page Forms or Semantic DrillDown. Our offer includes all the semantic extensions allowing to get the most out of your wiki (see the list here)

What is the definition of the semantic web?

The semantic web firstly allows an expression to be linked to a meaning, meaning which has been defined beforehand. Secondly, it allows users to search for this expression with a given meaning.

Indeed the same string of characters can have totally different meanings. Like the word boat which can mean a boat or a lowering of the sidewalk.

It is important to distinguish the semantic web at the level of the global web which consists in reusing existing ontologies like that of schema.org in order to allow the search engines that use them to find the relevant information sought and no longer just a simple string of characters..

Semantic MediaWiki, on the other hand, allows you to create a semantic intranet for your wiki by creating your own ontologies according to the characteristics of your organization or the content of your website.

What are the advantages of the semantic web?

Semantics makes it possible to link a term (or number or data) to its meaning, by annotating this term. For example, the term "orange" can have several meanings and designate:

  • a town;
  • a telecommunications company;
  • one fruit;
  • a color...

By removing the ambiguity of the meaning of important words, search results are much more precise and save the user from having to perform a second (sometimes substantial) sort after the computer. Thus, it is much easier to find the information, but also to compare it, organize it, display it in different forms... It is possible to do the same thing for the files.

By being collaborative, a semantic wiki allows any authorized person to complete and / or correct each information, to enter a new element... The facilitated and constant re-reading of information by many people reduces the risk of error.

What is an ontology?

Wikipedia definition of an ontology in computer science: an ontology is the structured set of terms and concepts representing the meaning of a field of information.

How are semantic triples created within the wiki?

In semantic web, triplets are composed of 3 elements:

  1. a subject
  2. a predicate
  3. an object

In Semantic MediaWiki

  • the subject is the element described in the page which therefore bears the name of the subject;
  • the predicate is the property;
  • the object is the value given to the property.

Example: Within a company wiki, in a page describing a store, you can annotate the products it offers for sale, for example product A, as follows:


What is an ontology?

Wikipedia definition of an ontology in computer science: an ontology is the structured set of terms and concepts representing the meaning of a field of information.

  • the subject is the name of the store itself;
  • the predicate is "sell";
  • the value is "Product A".

Can we change the color of the text with the visual editor?

No it is not yet possible except through wikicode.

I would like to use the visual editor on wiki installed on one of my servers, what should I do?

On our wikis, the visual editor is enabled by default. If you have a wiki installed on one of your servers, we can help you install and activate the Visual Editor by allowing you to use our Parsoid. Parsoid is an essential service for the functioning of the visual editor. ( Learn more)

How to stay connected to the wiki for several days / weeks?

On a computer to which only you have access, when you log in, check the box "Keep my session active"

How long are old versions of uploaded files and pages kept?

Old versions of uploaded files and pages are kept indefinitely.

What are the advantages of using a wiki over office files?

Office files such as Word / Writer Articles within a wiki
Classement Classified in hierarchical files. Cannot be classified in 2 folders of the same level. Tags and transversal themes: an article can belong to several themes / tags
Accès Depends on your installation, but sometimes you need to be connected to your corporate network or be on your local computer. Votre wiki est accessible de manière sécurisée depuis n'importe quel appareil connecté à internet et à tout moment.
Version management Manual version management with the possibility of creating duplicates and "no longer knowing where we are" One last version, possibility to go back to any previous version, to compare different versions...

Frequent problems

Troubleshoting

On a talk page, the new discussion form loads indefinitely

Purge the page cache by pressing Ctrl and F5 at the same time on your keyboard.

I created a new article but I do not see the link

When an article is created, this link appears after a few seconds. you can press Ctrl and F5 at the same time on your keyboard to display it faster. Or click on the link "Modify this table with Form" at the top of the infobox summarizing the themes and tags of the article.

I copied the contents of a word processing file (Word or Writer) but some parts appear framed on a gray background

  1. Edit the page with the visual editor
  2. Select a framed part
  3. In the toolbar of the visual editor choose "Paragraph" instead of "Preformatted"
  4. Repeat the manipulation for the other framed parts



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