Managing a zWiki

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The audience for this document is a site administrator. We assume you have already Created Your Own zWiki. If so, you are now ready to learn how to generally manage your system.

1. Assign Manage Users

The MediaWiki software upon which a zWiki is based is prone to spam and user misuse. One way to help control that is to require all posters to a site to be authorized users.

As a site admin, you assign new users via pages within the Special Pages section. It is a two-step process to assign a new user:

  1. Go to the Log in/create account page and choose the Create an account option. You will assign both a user name and a password. REMEMBER and NOTE the user name! It will be the basis for your later management of that user's account. The user may later change his own password. You may also assign the user's real name at this time as well
  2. Then, again under the Special Pages section, under the User rights management link, enter the user's name (from #1 above) and assign the new user rights such as 'administrator' or 'bureaucrat'. (See further the general MediaWiki documentation on user groups and rights if you want to do more involved things with user groups and rights.) This will ensure the new user now has edit rights and can add and modify content on the site.

2. Maintain the Category System

There is already a category system for the initial imports of a zWiki installation. You are encouraged to use and modify this baseline, since new open source material from the main zWiki site will be easily incorporated into this structure.

Many MediaWiki installations have significant category problems:

  1. There is often a proliferation of way too many categories
  2. Existing categories are not well-related to one another, nor often adequately defined, and
  3. Many individual documents are not adequately and sufficiently tagged with the categories that ARE available.

As a site administrator, it is important to be cognizant of these possible issues and to ensure that your site category system is well designed AND used.

3. Import Periodic Content

The main zWiki site is constantly being added to and expanded. It is important to keep up with the Recent changes on that site and to ensure new or modified content (as may be useful) is identified and re-imported into your local zWiki installation.

See further the exporting contents document on the specific export steps to follow; then you should follow the specific import steps for that content.

4. Update System and Extensions

It is important to update your base MediaWiki installation on a periodic basis. It is also important to check the existing extensions for new versions and upgrades. Direct links to the various extensions may be found in the first column of the Special:Version page; checking these periodically will show if key extensions are out of date.

5. Maintain QA/QC on Tagging, Naming

Many site contributors do not do an adequate job of tagging and naming their content. It is important that quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) be done on newly entered content to ensure it is usable and findable by others.

For checking the proper use of document category tags, a couple of techniques are helpful:

  1. Periodically check the Recent changes link and see if newly added pages conform to standards; if not, add categories
  2. Also periodically check the Uncategorized pages link to see if page have been added to the system with no category tags; again, add if necessary.

It is also useful to keep document (page) naming consistent. The current zWiki attempts to use intial capitalization (title case) in titles and to keep titles short and descriptive. Further, some category areas, such as concepts, follow naming patterns (e.g., OWL Concept).

Though MediaWiki provides a convenient redirect mechanism whereby pages can be renamed via the "move" editing option, it is actually better to create an entirely new document with a new name, copy the existing material into it, and then delete the previous version. (This approach keeps the proliferation of pages that are merely redirects down.) If done, it is important to check all cross-references (via the What links here link) are also updated to the new name as well.

6. Other Site Maintenance

To convey a professional look and to help ensure longer-term usability, it is also important that coding and styling changes be adhered to across the site. It is therefore useful to monitor new content as it is added by others to see that existing styles, heading conventions, and other standards are being followed with the new content.

Using the zWiki

With these maintenance suggestions, it is now time to review specific contributor editing and authoring guidelines.