[LINK] RFI: Public Wiki Servers?

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Fri Dec 22 12:04:03 AEDT 2006

On Thu, Dec 21, 2006 at 04:58:18PM +1100, Roger Clarke wrote:
> I've now had a look at wikia and its cousins.
> But they don't offer what I'm looking for.  Notes at bottom.
> What I'm on about is the use of wikis by public interest 
> associations, such as dog clubs, privacy lobby groups, and of course 
> The Link Institute.
> Such organisations need wiki-spaces with a variety of management 
> models and privileges, e.g.:
>     -   create/read/write by anyone

discussion is best done on a forum (or bulletin board), not a wiki.  e.g. phpbb.

there are projects which link both fora and wikis (so that they share
the same login accounts, etc) - e.g. the Users Integration project to
link phpbb2 and mediawiki:


>     -   create/read/write by association members only
>     -   create/read/write by Board members only

appropriate for a wiki, as it's publishing, not discussion.

> In all cases:
>     -   delete by the Board Chair only (or their delegate/administrator)

most wiki and forum software allow administrator accounts to delete or edit

> Of these, most wiki services support only model no. 1.

why focus on wiki services when anyone can download the software and run
their own? there are dozens of wiki programs available, with varying

> Am I looking in the wrong places, using the wrong names?

if you focus on a service rather than the software, then yes. services
will be as generic as possible in order to appeal to a larger market.
if you have specialised needs (e.g. regarding who has posting/editing
privs), you may not match that market.

> Notes on wikia:
> http://www.wikia.com appears to be a fully open collaborative space, 
> comparable to wikipedia, but not restricted to encyclopaedia-style 
> entries.  Think 'collaborative fan-zine' (The Muppets, Harry Potter, 
> chess, even Macs - is anyone a fan of the Apple Macintosh any more?). 
> It's depicted in one review as "the commercial counterpart of the 
> non-profit Wikipedia".
> See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikia
> http://scratchpad.wikia.com/ is a small shared space within wikia, 
> set aside for experimentation.  Again it appears that 
> read/write/delete are entirely open, without the ability to restrict 
> privileges.

that's just a site configuration issue. the mediawiki software (which
runs wikipedia) can be configured to run anywhere from completely open
to completely closed, or anything in between.

the software is freely available and can be run by anyone who needs to
run their own wiki, with their own editing policies. it doesn't take
much to run it, any hardware capable of running a web server, php, perl,
and a database (mysql typically, although there is a port to postgres if
you want a non-toy database) can run mediawiki.


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>           (part time cyborg)

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