New Wiki System: Deki Wiki

Christopher Rawlings rawlinc at
Tue Jul 22 10:00:10 CEST 2008

On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 11:55 PM, Torfinn Ingolfsen <tingox at> wrote:
> IMO, the content is more important than the tool (wiki engine) itself.
> There will always come new and better tools, but without content they
> are worth nothing.

I agree that the content is more important than the tool, but it
certainly doesn't make the tool irrelevant (e.g. notepad and vi both
get the job done, but one offers a superior text editing experience).

> No, I don't think a change of wiki system is in the works.
> With regards to the Wiki Mainatainers team, our goal is to iprove the
> content and organization of that content, as can be seen here:

A wiki tool can be just as important in the organization of content as
those who organize it.  For example, a lot of wikis do not store
information hierarchichally, so it is very difficult for end users to
explore the content on the wiki.  Media Wiki is great for documenting
thousands of different subjects because a user will almost always use
the search box to find the initial content they are looking for, but a
non-hierarchical wiki does not make a very good documentation tool.
Products like Deki Wiki store information hierarchically so it easy to
dig down into certain subject areas to find information.  Plus a
site's taxonomy tends to grow over time and a wiki that allows the
taxonomy (hierarchy) to change over time as well is very helpful.

Just a couple more thoughts on why the tool is important as well as
the content...A site could have the best content in the world, but if
searching for and adding content is a hassle then users won't bother
using it (poor search results in the current wiki have been a subject
of several messages on the community mailing list).  Poor search
results can lead to duplicate information being added to the wiki
(hierarchical organization of content also helps reduce duplicate
information).  Also, a user's willingness to contribute information to
a wiki can be heavily influenced by the barrier of learning the
system.  A user is much more likely to add content to a wiki if they
don't have to learn yet another wiki syntax.  Wiki's with WYSIWYG
editors can greatly reduce this barrier.  Users can spend time
focusing on adding content rather than struggling with a specific wiki
syntax (not all users are wiki syntax experts, nor should they be
expected to become one).

Also, if converting content to another wiki format would make the
maintainers of the Openmoko wiki shy away from even considering such a
move, also consider the fact that products like Deki Wiki have a
MediaWiki-to-DekiWiki converter.  I certainly am not saying that a
change to Deki Wiki needs to take place, but a wiki system more geared
towards the type of documentation you want/need would be much more
beneficial to those adding content AND those searching for content.

Anyhow, just my thoughts.  I don't think the possibility of a
different wiki should just be blown off without knowing what types of
alternate systems are out there and how they might be better geared to
documentation efforts like this one.  And again, I'd be willing to
help out with the effort.


More information about the documentation mailing list