Please suggest a simple wiki platform for many users
May 24, 2013 3:13 PM   Subscribe

There are a lot of wiki platforms/software available, but I'd like input on which would be easier for a broad usergroup, with a good management element. More thoughts inside.

I'd like to start an unofficial wiki to collaborate with people in my field of work from around the US, but I've never managed a wiki before. I know there are some sites that offer free wiki hosting (with ads), but I've seen them littered with spam, and apparently suffering from lack of management. Ability to port the content to a more robust/commercial system is a plus, should my crazy idea take off.
posted by filthy light thief to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You might want to narrow it down by deciding whether you need wiki software with WYSIWYG editing. If your colleagues don't already write HTML or other markup on a regular basis, you'll probably need WYSIWYG to reduce the barrier to contributing.

In general, the way to avoid wiki spam is to ask people to email you for a login instead of letting anyone register online.

I had a class that used PBWorks for our group wiki, and it worked OK. It's hosted software with a free version (up to 20 users) and commercial versions. I don't know enough about it to fully recommend it, but it's an option to look at.

MediaWiki is kind of the thousand pound gorilla of wiki software. I don't know how easy it is to set up, but if you do get it running, it's plenty robust and has lots of plugins available. If people have edited Wikipedia before, or are likely to want to learn how to edit Wikipedia, using MediaWiki can be convenient.
posted by dreamyshade at 6:18 PM on May 24, 2013

Or maybe it would be a good candidate for Wiki Spot? It's a hosted service for non-commercial community wikis.
posted by dreamyshade at 6:42 PM on May 24, 2013

If you have the capacity to host it yourself on a server that handles Java web applications, JAMWiki is a well-designed open source project targeted to be a solution for corporate use. It's much more compatible with MediaWiki/Wikipedia than the other software I've looked at but it didn't have a WYSIWYG editor the last time I checked.
posted by XMLicious at 11:29 PM on May 24, 2013

Response by poster: I'm imagining a WSYWIG editor would be helpful, as I imagine some people have ideas to share, but not the computer skills, time, and/or patience to deal with even basic HTML coding. Then again, if there's decent update logging, someone else could follow along and add coding to plain text.

My specific interest is in a wiki for transportation planning professionals. Every state is dealing with the same relatively new federal regulations, and my work is trying to figure out how to deal with them. I imagine every state is doing the same thing, so this would be a format to collaborate and share ideas. If decently formatted, it should be easy enough to find cross-referenced information on a topic or field.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:35 AM on May 25, 2013

Response by poster: Wiki Spot looks like a good fit, thanks!
posted by filthy light thief at 2:45 PM on May 28, 2013

Cool! Re WYSIWYG, part of the challenge is that a person unfamiliar with handling markup could click the edit button, see a funky mess of text and code, and hesitate to add something new. But you can give people a printable cheatsheet PDF with explanations of the markup, set up a dedicated "sandbox" page for markup experiments, reassure people that they can't damage anything since the wiki system keeps a version history, etc.

Another option that I just noticed - Wikispaces is mostly aimed at teachers with classrooms, but it has a $5/month plan that might work for this type of project.
posted by dreamyshade at 4:20 PM on May 28, 2013

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