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Some key elements for a growing wiki

Originally a comment at User blog:Meighan/Best Practices & You.
Thunder bluff from the sky

Like a growing city needs the right services, a wiki needs the right pages.

I learned alot about what it takes to support wikis as they grow from my experience at WoWWiki. Without the right kinds of pages, your users may become lost or not know what to do next. Visitors need something to help them navigate to the info they're looking for. If your best contributors have a way to quickly find out how best to help grow your wiki, they can do their best work with less doubts that the wiki is directed, maintained, and organized.

Here's a list of useful things admins and founders should consider in some form on their wikis as they grow (currently in no specific order):

  • A nice about page with the general purpose of your wiki and maybe some history, e.g. WoWWiki's about page
  • A manual of style for a guidelines of how most pages should be formatted, e.g. WoWWiki's manual of style
  • A guide to commonly used templates with brief examples, if possible, e.g. WoWWiki's template guide
  • At least some written down policies about what admins are likely to enforce by deleting, editing, reverting, or undoing, e.g. WoWWiki's list of policy pages. Policies should try not to conflict with your manual of style or any guidelines.
  • A few guidelines about how to create or edit pages for consistency, organizational, and streamlining reasons, e.g. WoWWiki's list of guidelines pages. Guidelines may repeat or enhance stuff in your manual of style.
  • A page about what your wiki is not, e.g. What WoWWiki is not. This is sort of a standard thing on many wikis that usually goes with the about page.
  • A page for handling requests for adminship, e.g. WoWWiki's Requests for adminship page. It is usually a good idea to have some criteria for becoming an admin and a process for promotion. This makes it more clear that admins were not chosen mostly by favoritism.
  • A page to track vandals and point to editorial or vandalism policies that might get a user banned/blocked, e.g. WoWWiki's Violations page. These kind of pages often can include some kind of info on how to dispute a ban/block.

Note: WoWWiki's versions of these pages have been developed over years, so your wiki's version doesn't need to be nearly as extensive.

Lastly, other wikis may have more concise and better versions of the above for your wiki, I just used WoWWiki stuff because that is what I'm most familiar with. If I think of more stuff, I'll add it in this blog entry.

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