How to Start a Wiki

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15-11-2020, 09:40
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This wikiHow teaches you how to create a wiki-style website. You can do this by using a free wiki creator such as Wikia, or you can host your own wiki site if you have website hosting experience.

Using Wikia

  1. Open the FANDOM Wikia site. Go to http://fandom.com/ in your computer's web browser. This is a service which allows you to create a Wikia-supported wiki for free.
  2. Sign up for an account or login if you already have an account. Select the profile of a person in the upper-right side of the page, click REGISTER in the drop-down menu, and enter the following information:
    • Email — Enter your current e-mail address.
    • Username — Create a site username, such as BluDoggy.
    • Password — Enter the password you want to use to log in. Make sure it's memorable, but not easy to hack into, such as Yahoo.
    • Birthdate — Enter your date of birth.
  3. Click REGISTER. It's a blue button at the bottom of the window. Doing so will create your account.
  4. Confirm your email address. Before you can create a wiki, you'll have to prove that your email address is valid. To do so, open your email inbox, click the "Confirm your email" email from "FANDOM", and click the blue CONFIRM NOW button in the email. This will take you back to your profile page.
  5. Click START A WIKI. It's a blue button on the upper-right side of the page.
  6. Enter a name. In the text box near the top of the page, type in the title of your wiki.
  7. Create an address. Adding a title will usually generate an automatic web address for your wiki in the "Give your wiki an address" text box, but you can edit this address if need be.
    • Your address must be unique; attempting to create a wiki with an address which is already taken will result in an error message.
    • Since Wikia offers free hosting, your wiki's address will be in the "www.[name].wikia.com" format.
  8. Select a language. Click the "Language of your wiki" drop-down box, then click your preferred language in the drop-down box.
  9. Click NEXT. It's in the bottom-right corner of the page.
  10. Enter a wiki description. Type your wiki's purpose into the top text box on this page.
  11. Select a category. Click the "Choose a Hub" drop-down box, then click a category for your wiki.
    • You can check additional, more specific categories after selecting your main category.
  12. Scroll down and click CREATE MY WIKI. You'll find this blue button in the bottom-right corner of the page.
  13. Select a theme. While Wikia is creating your wiki, click the theme you want to use.
  14. Click SHOW ME MY WIKI. Doing so will take you to your wiki's page. At this point, your wiki has been created and published!

Hosting Your Own Wiki

  1. Choose a software package. There are two main Wiki Farm software packages you might want to use:
    • MediaWiki — This is the most popular wiki software on the net, and runs wikiHow, Wikipedia, and many other wiki sites. Many of the most popular wiki farms use the MediaWiki software as well.
    • TikiWiki — This is the second most popular wiki software available, and runs a large number of wikis and wiki farms. TikiWiki has strong plugin support, allowing you to add features such as forums, image galleries, calendars, and more.
  2. Upload wiki software to your own server. If you decide you want to host your own wiki, you will most likely need to transfer the wiki software onto the server. Some hosts come with wiki software ready to be installed, but it may not match the software that you want to use (for example, they may offer a quick TikiWiki installation, but you want to use MediaWiki). The following steps are a basic guide to installing MediaWiki.
    • Follow this guide for detailed information on MediaWiki, or follow this guide for TikiWiki information.
    • The wiki software will come in a compressed file. You can either extract this file on your computer, or extract it on the server.
    • Place the extracted wiki software folder into the "web" directory on your server.
    • Rename the uploaded folder to what you want the URL to look like. For example, if your website is www.example.com, renaming the folder to "w" will make your wiki homepage www.example.com/w/index.php.
  3. Create a database. MediaWiki supports MySQL and SQLite. If you are using SQLite, you only need to choose a name for the database and it will be installed automatically. If you are running MySQL, you will need to download it for your server if it is not already installed, and then create a new database using the following commands:create database wikidb;grant index, create, select, insert, update, delete, alter, lock tables on wikidb.* to 'username'@'localhost' identified by 'password';
    • Replace username and password with the username and password you want to use as the wiki's owner.
    • localhost Can be left as "localhost" unless your database is located on a different server than the web server you're installing your wiki on. In that case, replace localhost with the address of the database's server.
    • See this guide for more details on creating a MySQL database.
  4. Run the installer script from your browser. Once you have the MediaWiki files uploaded and the database has been created, you can visit the index.php page on your server through your browser to run the automated install script. After Mediawiki finishes the configuration tests, you will be asked to fill out a form with your wiki information:
    • Wiki name — This is the name for your wiki. It will show up in the metadata for your wiki, and will be integrated throughout the site.
    • Contact e-mail — This is the main administrative email address. It will be displayed on all email notifications and on some of the error pages.
    • Language — Use the drop-down menu to choose the language of the wiki interface.
    • Copyright and Licenses — Choose your license information. GNU Free Documentation License is the license compatible with Wikipedia.
    • Admin username and password — This will be the first admin account that can block users from editing and perform other administrative duties. You can create more later.
    • Database host — This is where the database is located. If it is on the same server as your wiki software, set it to localhost.
    • Database name — The name of your database.
    • Database username/password — The username and password used to access the database.
  5. Customize your wiki. Once you've got the base wiki up and running, you can change the visual appearance using user-made skins or by playing around with the CSS code.
    • You should also change the logo on the wiki to match the function of the wiki.

Creating a Successful Wiki

  1. Determine what your wiki is for before creating it. Knowing the purpose of your wiki will help decide the software and hosting options to choose from. Wikis can be personal pages, sprawling communities, or anything in between. You can use a wiki to track your life goals, create a product manual for your business, collaborate with coworkers on a project, create a neighborhood newsletter, create a discussion place for a hobby, and much more.
    • Wikis work best when they have a broad focus that allows as many knowledgeable writers and editors to contribute as possible. If you are trying to build a popular wiki with lots of community involvement, then the focus should be open-ended enough to allow for lots of expanding.
    • For example, it would be better to start a wiki about a game company and all their games than just one of their games.
  2. Check for duplicate wikis. It would be useless to create a wiki which is a double of another one. The target of a wiki is to write together, not isolate each other.
    • Be sure to check wiki services other than the one you've chosen. For example, if you're creating a Wikia wiki, check both Wikia and Wikidot for duplicates.
  3. Make a team before creating your wiki. Your wiki will need advice and motivation, so talk about your project and make other people follow you. They are more likely to contribute to the project if they are called before the creation of the wiki as they will feel like co-creators.
  4. Adjust your permissions. Your wiki will come installed with a set of default permissions that may work for your needs, but many people will want to change who can access and edit what. This is especially important in business settings where you want multiple collaborators to work on a product page, but don't want it vandalized by anonymous users.
    • You can generally use your wiki's settings page to determine who can post or edit, both on a wiki-wide scale and on a per-post scale.
  5. Start creating content. As soon as your wiki is up and running, it's time to get to work writing articles! When your wiki is born, it will have no pages and no other contributors. To change this, you'll need to start adding some content. Good content will drive other people to your wiki. As more people come, other visitors will begin contributing their own articles and edits to your wiki. It will take some time, but you'll have a community before you know it!
    • Remember, when you're starting out, it's up to YOU to create the content that will bring people to your wiki. Be sure that you are well-versed in the topic you are covering so that you can have comprehensive articles available from day one.
  6. Create the categories. Category pages contain lists of related pages. In addition to categories containing the main content, you may want to create a category page called "Organization" for pages of your site like the front page, and maybe create a category page called "Help" for the help articles of the site. Remember that categories themselves can have sub-categories by categorizing a category page.
  7. Create a policy guide for your wiki. A policy guide is the general rules for the writing on your wiki. This policy guide will allow other contributors to see how the information on your wiki should be represented to the readers. You don't have to be rigid while creating the policies; try to make them flexible, as people won't be able to easily work or contribute well to a wiki with overly strict rules.
    • You may want to write standards on how weaving the web of links should be done, and on article noteworthiness standards.
    • Not all of your contributors will follow the style guide you create, but it will aid in patrolling and editing articles.
    • A guide is more friendly than verbally reprimanding. It's more social to be corrected by a text than by a person.
  8. Brush up on some wiki syntax. You will find creating articles much more efficient if you learn some basic wiki syntax. This will let you edit pages directly without having to use any guided editors, which can let you adjust the layout and style to your liking.
  9. Copy from the other wikis. Although copying content from other wikis is plagiarism, reusing the styles and the templates of other wikis is encouraged. Templates are pages that can easily be appended to other pages. Some uses for templates include nominating articles for deletion, marking an article as a stub, or making simple notes.
  10. Patrol your site. The main draw of a wiki is that anyone can edit it, but this is also its biggest challenge. The more people that come to your wiki, the higher your chances of being vandalized. Luckily, almost all wiki software allows for quick rollbacks of articles to their previous versions.
    • Be as much tolerant as possible. If your version and the new version are both correct, keep the contributor version. It will enlarge the wiki point of view and welcome the contributors.
  11. Promote active community members. If your wiki is interesting, you will find that certain people come back often to create and curate content. If you find that people are enthusiastic about your wiki, then give the dedicated ones more control over the site. Be supportive and nice to your editors. It is important that they have a helping hand to guide them and to motivate them to work on the wiki.
    • By creating admins from your community, you relieve a lot of the pressure that you face when it comes to patrolling and maintaining your content.
    • Set up forums and talk pages to allow your community members to discuss the wiki's rules and style.
    • Allow your admins to vote on policy and style changes.
    • Run community events such as editing competitions to get all your loyal editors excited.
  12. Get the word out. Do everything you can to spread word about the existence of your wiki:
    • Describe your wiki on WikiIndex (wikiindex.org).
    • Search smaller wikis and suggest collaboration.
    • Do not hesitate to ask questions on the other wikis.
    • Advertise your wiki through social media.
  13. Expand as you grow. As your wiki becomes more and more popular, continue adding features that benefit your site. Things such as forums, chat rooms, polls, calendars, and more can all add good functionality to your wiki. Be creative with your content!
    • You should also ensure that you are updating to the newest version of your wiki software package whenever possible to get the latest features and security fixes.
  14. Have fun! A wiki is a collaborative, community effort. Enjoy the community that you create with your wiki, and always strive to make it better. The Internet was built in order to facilitate communication and the wiki is currently one of the most effective environments for collecting and sharing information in a positive manner. Congratulations on starting your own!

Tips

  • Learning HTML, CSS, and jаvascript will help you change your wiki's appearance free of guided editing restrictions.
  • Wikis are predominately about the community. Once you've created a wiki, you're free to take a backseat and let the community dictate the direction of the wiki—albeit within the restrictions you've set.

Warnings

  • Submitting copyright-violating information on your wiki can get you into legal trouble if your wiki is publicly accessible.
  • Some people will remove or vandalize your wiki's content. While you can usually roll back edits, make sure you have an off-site backup of your hard work. If your wiki uses MediaWiki or FANDOM, you can use the “Protect” function to prevent unauthorized people from editing said page. You can also use “blocks”, which will prevent an IP address or user from editing any page, regardless of protection status.
  • Failing to comply with your wiki service's Terms of Service may result in your whole wiki being removed.
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