Good WIKI software for govt agency?
March 21, 2011 1:06 PM   Subscribe

I need WIKI software that is good to use for a large U.S. federal government agency. Recommendations?

I am trying to propose that the state branch of the USDA agency that I work for adopt a wiki system as a way to track the information, technical resources, and programs that we provide to the public.

Since it's the federal government, I need something that will plug-in to the Microsoft user authentication system that we use so that creating separate user accounts or logins are not needed. For instance, when we log into our workstations, we have access to Outlook, Office Communicator, and Sharepoint without having to log into each of them individually. I will not consider anything that cannot plug into this system, because it has to be easy for people to use or nobody will use it, and if they have to remember yet another username and password, forget it.

I would like a wiki that is flexible and powerful, yet easy to administer and edit pages. I myself am very technologically proficient, but most people in the agency are not. My vision is to have at least one person in each office in the state to be the liaison for editing the wiki (to add/subtract information to each statewide page, and to possibly administer a page with information about the local office, for example).

It should also be able to create pages that are accessible to the public, and pages that are private to the agency (only viewable to employees who are logged into their PC at work). Ideally there could be one page that serves dual purposes, such that the page serves certain data to a public request, and different data to an intranet request.

What are the best wiki software packages that I should look at?

And yes, I know Sharepoint has a wiki feature, but it is terrible.
posted by buckaroo_benzai to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Of course, if NO wiki systems exist that can plug-in to the Microsoft user accounts, then please let me know and recommend the next best thing. Thanks!
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 1:11 PM on March 21, 2011

Best answer: MediaWiki was originally built for the Wikipedia project, and is now in use by many organizations large and small. (I've worked at several companies that used MediaWiki internally, including large companies like Mozilla and

There are extensions to let MediaWiki use various standard login systems, including the LDAP Authentication extension.

I don't know if there's an easy way to host private and public pages in the same MediaWiki instance.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:16 PM on March 21, 2011

Best answer: Further, MediaWiki is the basis for Diplopedia (the State Department wiki), Intellipedia (various intelligence agencies), and Bureaupedia (the FBI).
posted by jedicus at 1:45 PM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: Wow, great info. Thanks!
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 2:09 PM on March 21, 2011

Best answer: One other option you have, if you have any flexibility on the sign-in requirement, there are some good options at which would eliminate having to go through the procurement process at USDA.

The great thing here is that you can have a GSA-approved (actually, GSA-provided!) deployment of MediaWiki without having to do any setup or purchasing. They also offer Twiki, another good and popular wiki platform, and you could easily evaluate both options.
posted by anildash at 2:33 PM on March 21, 2011

Best answer: we use confluence at my work, and it ties in and uses AD authentication.
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:41 AM on March 22, 2011

Response by poster: I looked at Confluence and like what I see. I think that is the one that I am going to recommend since it looks much easier to set up and use. MediaWiki (like a lot of OSS) seems too confusing in comparison.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 3:29 PM on March 22, 2011

There appears to be an extension that will restrict access and extensions are painfully easy to install. We've done two small-corporate wikis using mediawiki and I've got one at home for long-form bookmarking. Pretty easy to use and work with: getting buy-in from the membership is always the toughest part. Configuration-wise, looks about the same as confluence.

While Mediawiki has an absolutely astounding amount of configuration possibilities it works pretty well out of the box and can be deployed in less than an hour on most machines.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:12 PM on March 23, 2011

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