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Done: No clear way to browse wiki

Topic Type: 

I can only figure how to browse forums and tools. How do I browse the wiki? Are wiki links supposed to be embedded within tools and not independently browsable?

brshute's picture

I was wondering about that too-- also, if you are logged in, you can "Add Wiki page" on the top bar, which takes you to a form to make a Wiki entry, but I don't know how you would associate that Wiki entry with a tool, or a forum, or whatever.

I think this would be pretty confusing for a typical user.

R.J. Steinert's picture

Hi guys, I agree, confusing, but it's classic flexible wiki functionality where you can create Wiki pages and then you have to link to them manually otherwise they hang out in the black hole of cyberspace. I've threw a link up there to create wiki pages in that fashion thinking that some users might find it useful (I did for creating a wiki page of the notes on the last meet up). I'm on the fence about it.

R.J. Steinert's picture

Ok, I removed the "Add wiki page" link until we find a solid need for it.

Louis's picture

What's the intention of the wiki? My assumption was that if I was writing a tutorial about how to assemble a tool, I might make a Wiki page for each component explaining more in detail what does what, how, and why, in case somebody had more questions or needed the info for troubleshooting... The logic being that, for example, an LCD screen, a keypad, or a sensor, is not a tool in itself.

Would that of been accurate or is that comprised in the tool pages somehow?

R.J. Steinert's picture

That makes sense to me. Louis, if you want to go for that approach I'll reenable the Add Wiki page button. I'm all about figuring out what works as opposed to forcing users into a specific model until we figure out what works well. Perhaps we should add a pop up on rolling the mouse over "Add Tool" and "Add Wiki Page" explaining what each might be used for. Listing what pages link to a wiki page on a wiki page would also help.

R.J. Steinert's picture

Tim from Oxbow Farms inspired me to bring it back. It's not the most catchy name (any suggestions?) but I think it's pretty useful. I also added a notice when creating a "loose" Wiki page, "You are creating a loose Wiki page that nothing links to. You will need to link to this Wiki page from somewhere after you save it if you want anyone to find it."

Oxbow Farm's picture

OK, I tried it and created a loose wiki for the hoophouse wheels, but I'm not sure if it works in the context of meta tool/secondary tool because the loose wiki doesn't have a tool forum attached to it for discussion. The wheels are something I'd really like somebody else's skull sweat on. I'd love them to have their own discussion. I do like Louis' vanity wiki though and it seems like the loose wikis would have a value as informational packets like that. But maybe a secondary tool needs its own entry on the tool forum? Tim

Oxbow Farm's picture

Could someone do an example of creating a loose wiki and linking it so I can see how its done in the edits?

Louis's picture

I included an example on the Tool page of a project that I'm currently working on where I link to a wiki about myself (vain, I know).

I'll try to explain it here though. Currently, you can format your forum posts, wiki entries, and the main body of tools using Markdown Syntax or HTML - those are two common syntax that you may run into in lots of places on the web.

Markdown is especially convenient for links. This is how you do a link for Farmhack: [FarmHack](http://www.farmhack.net)

Now when you're pointing someone to other places on the site, there's an even shorter way to give links! Let's say I want to point you to the tool page like I did above, I wrote: [project](../tools/fido-greenhouse-monitoring-text-message-alerts). The "." prefix is basically a way of telling the browser to go from where I am (farmhack.net/forum) and adding another "." to it backs it up to the parent directory (farmhack.net). Then you continue to write the URL how you normally would.

R.J. Steinert's picture

Thanks for explaining further Louis. I see there is still an issue with that way of making links at the moment so I'll try to work the kinks out right now.

R.J. Steinert's picture

Ok, I found what might be a temporary fix. I turned off the "Convert URLs into links" filter for the "Markdown Syntax and HTML" text format. There might be a way to make the "Markdown" filter and the "Convert URLs into links" filter work harmoniously but for now we'll role without the "Convert URLs into links" filter. We'll look into some WYSIWYG like buttons down the road that will help folks create the necessary markup without needing to remember all of the syntax quirks. For example, there could be a button that you press that then prompts the user for a URL and text and then inserts the proper syntax. It's not true WYSIWYG but this technique makes the learning curve for the syntax easier to climb.

If this is the first time you've heard of WYSIWYG, it's a program that sits inside of a text box on a webpage that makes the text box act like Microsoft Word. Unfortunately it creates nightmares when used for documentation. Things like diffing (comparing) versions of a Wiki page become incomprehensible, you can never get what's in the WYSIWYG to look like what it actually spits out, and if you ever change the settings on a WYSIWYG you risk breaking every piece of documentation when you go back to edit it. WYSIWYGs do however work really well for writing blog posts that you only (theoretically) edit once and then is set in stone.

WYSIWYG example using the LATEX syntax from Wikipedia's page on WYSIWYGS:

R.J. Steinert's picture

The "Stream of Wiki Edits" on the "Farm Hack River of Activity" page gives us a place to track activity on the wiki pages even if they are not linked to from a Tool, Forum topic, or comment.

See http://farmhack.net/activity