Revision as of 23:09, 25 October 2012
Editing wiki pages
There are many different ways in which wikis have users edit the content. Ordinarily, the structure and formatting of wiki pages are specified with a simplified language, sometimes known as "wikitext". For example, starting a line of text with an asterisk ("*") often sets up a bulleted list. The style and syntax of wikitexts can vary greatly among wiki implementations, some of which also allow HTML tags. Designers of wikis often take this approach because HTML, with its many cryptic tags, is not very legible, making it hard to edit. Wikis therefore favour plain-text editing, with fewer and simpler conventions than HTML, for indicating style and structure.
|Afropedia syntax||When this code on the left is typed, the words on the right is what shows up.|
|What is the point in writing the name ''Africa'' in English with a '''k'''? What is the difference between ''Africa'' and '''Afrika'''? Obviously one difference is the visual appearance of the two spellings of the same name. The two sound identical but look different.
It was not until I met the author of the "Afrikan Alphabets" book, Saki Mafundikwa, that such a difference became rather embarrassing to me. In fact, I cannot recall any ''African'' language that spells ''Africa'' with a c. Africa is spelled '''Afrika''' in ''African'' languages....
At first glance, this may appear trivial, but it is not As you read through this wiki, you will discover that this is a fundamental issue which is part of ''African'' identity and reflected in the writing systems devised by ''Africans'' over the centuries for their own languages.
|What is the point in writing the name Africa in English with a k? What is the difference between Africa and Afrika? Obviously one difference is the visual appearance of the two spellings of the same name. The two sound identical but look different.
It was not until I met the author of the "Afrikan Alphabets" book, Saki Mafundikwa, that such a difference became rather embarrassing to me. In fact, I cannot recall any African language that spells Africa with a c. Africa is spelled Afrika in African languages....
At first glance, this may appear trivial, but it is not As you read through this wiki, you will discover that this is a fundamental issue which is part of African identity and reflected in the writing systems devised by Africans over the centuries for their own languages.
We keep a record of changes made to pages; often every version of the page is stored. This means that authors can revert to an older version of the page, should it be necessary because a mistake has been made or the page has been vandalized. Many implementations allow users to supply an "edit summary" when they edit a page. This is a short piece of text (usually one line) summarizing the changes. It is not inserted into the article, but is stored along with that revision of the page, allowing users to explain what has been done and why; this is similar to a log message when committing changes to a revision-control system.
Within the text of most pages there are usually a large number of hypertext links to other pages. This form of non-linear navigation is more "native" to wiki than structured/formalized navigation schemes. That said, users can also create any number of index or table-of-contents pages, with hierarchical categorization or whatever form of organization they like. These may be challenging to maintain by hand, as multiple authors create and delete pages in an ad hoc manner. Wikis generally provide one or more ways to categorize or tag pages to support the maintenance of such index pages.
Most wikis have a backlink feature, which displays all pages that link to a given page.
It is typical in a wiki to create links to pages that do not yet exist, as a way to invite others to share what they know about a subject new to the wiki.
Linking and creating pages
Links are created using a specific syntax, the so-called "link pattern" (also see CURIE). Originally, most wikis used CamelCase to name pages and create links. These are produced by capitalizing words in a phrase and removing the spaces between them (the word "CamelCase" is itself an example). While CamelCase makes linking very easy, it also leads to links which are written in a form that deviates from the standard spelling. CamelCase-based wikis are instantly recognizable because they have many links with names such as "TableOfContents" and "BeginnerQuestions." It is possible for a wiki to render the visible anchor for such links "pretty" by reinserting spaces, and possibly also reverting to lower case. However, this reprocessing of the link to improve the readability of the anchor is limited by the loss of capitalization information caused by CamelCase reversal. For example, "RichardWagner" should be rendered as "Richard Wagner," whereas "PopularMusic" should be rendered as "popular music". There is no easy way to determine which capital letters should remain capitalized. As a result, many wikis now have "free linking" using brackets, and some disable CamelCase by default.