(Virtual) Wiki Farms….a proposal

A wiki farm is a collection of wikis. They (seem to) exist so that users can participate in different communities. In essence tho’, what a wiki farm really is is a way of an individual “managing” the virtual space that one is operating in so that one feels comfortable with the size of the community with which one is participating. When there is “too much” content around one then one does not feel connected to the overall flow of what is going on and disconnects from the sense of community. …. And ultimately stops participating.

So, this “space management” issue is dealt with by some wiki’s by being set up to have completely separate spaces (i.e., Wiki Farms). In a community sense tho’ that is very different from our everyday lives where there is often some overlap (and sometimes much overlap) between the different communities we operate in.

How, then, can a wiki allow an individual to manage the size of the community they operate in? (this would be useful, for instance, if one was working with 3 or 4 other people on a project)

We might consider developing code to allow users to create a “virtual” wiki farm….in essence, a way of a user managing their space so that only the pages & pages of owners (& pages owned by, say, AdMin) they are interested in “exist” in their domain when they go to PageIndex, Text/Comment Search, RecentChanges, RecentlyCommented, etc.

I suspect this might be possible using the following approach….

Wiki Farm Management could be done using an interface like this.....


Page or Contact


Page / Owner Name


Owner Name

developing wiki

erase / edit



tools for searching text

erase / edit

Coding wise this is clearly beyond me. But is it feasible? Could it be done using a filtering function? Or is it too much work? Does it distort wikka too much? Although wikka works well with small communities, I’ve had reservations about how it would deal with “large” communities of people and lots and lots of wiki pages. As an example of the problem with large communities, I look at the wackowiki site now and think it’s unmanageable from a user perspective. I think that this approach would be quite helpful…and would set wikka apart from other wikis. Right now, if you were a small to medium group of people that were looking at becoming larger, you’d choose a perhaps larger than necessary wiki so it had the potential for growth….the virtual wiki farm idea allows wikka to be used in both small settings AND in large ones if the community expands. (thanks to DarTar for getting me thinking about this with his UserPagesAction….his action would allow someone to make a list of pages belonging to individuals they work with on a project….once I started thinking about small community management with this tool, I got on to thinking about a “small circle in a large circle” Venn diagram for a virtual wiki farm (versus a traditional wiki farm)). --GmBowen

Your thoughts??

Mike, if I understand your proposal the idea is to be able to use a wikka installation as a host for several wikis invisible to each other. Although I like very much the idea, I think that this should be discussed in the more general context of a discussion about how Wikka might address the following issues, that are related to your proposal:

  • Group ACL management
  • Categorization system
  • User management

I'm personally reluctant to implement some modifications in the direction you are suggesting without a solid development plan for these related issues. -- DarTar's 2 eurocents

DarTar...as a host for several wikis invisible to each other...not what I meant really. If somebody didn't check off "use wikifarm approach" then they would get wikka like normal (like we see it here). All that the checkbox would do was activate the function being used to filter output of query statements so that a user saw only the output for pages/authors that they put into their preference list using a working version of the form above. Think of it as a kind of extended "mywatches" feature that just allowed them to see a subset of the wiki that they designated using the form. There would be only one wikka really, and one wikka_pages etc.....it's the output that's filtered for an individual. Does that help clarify what I was describing? -- Mike (GmBowen)

My Town

I have been further developing the idea of a way for a user to form a subcommunity they can participate in (rather than the entire wiki site). This is intended, in part, so that project groups can better interact with other members in their projects & better track changes in the projects. Current development includes a series of new actions (with associated mysql tables) that allow the user to keep a list of page "favourites", page watches (for changing pages), blog watch list, & a buddy list. Associated changes to pageindex.php, recentlycommented.php, header.php, recentchanges.php, usersettings.php, mypages.php & textsearch.php allow the user to see by default output on "all" pages or just the "My Town" pages (ones own pages, those belonging to buddies, those on favourites or pagewatch lists, and those belonging to administrators) depending on whether the "My Town" feature is checked off or not on the usersettings page. This allows parsing of lists of pages, comments etc in a cascading heirarchy from all-->mytown-->individual user so that users can quickly pinpoint subsets of wiki pages, changes & comments by project members, etc. Users can always navigate back and forth between output for "all" pages versus "My Town" via menus at the top of pages no matter what the default setting is. Code will follow within the next month (and the page will be a honking huge one.....I'm thinking of just posting a link to a zip file rather than posting all the code directly). If anyone wants to see a test site, email me at testspamfilter@gmail.com . -- GmBowen

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