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What is a wiki?

From Wikipedia:
A wiki is a medium which can be edited by anyone with access to it, and provides an easy method for linking from one page to another. Wikis are typically collaborative websites , though there are now also single-user offline implementations. Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki, WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest online database that could possibly work".

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A wiki enables documents to be written collaboratively, in a simple markup language using a web browser. A single page in a wiki is referred to as a "wiki page", while the entire body of pages, which are usually highly interconnected via hyperlinks, is "the wiki". A wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing and searching information.

A defining characteristic of wiki technology is the ease with which pages can be created and updated. Generally, there is no review before modifications are accepted. Many wikis are open to the general public without the need to register any user account. Sometimes session log-in is requested to acquire a "wiki-signature" cookie for autosigning edits. Many edits, however, can be made in real-time, and appear almost instantaneously online. This can lead to abuse of the system. Private wiki servers require user authentication to edit, sometimes even to read pages.

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  1. The name of an article is embedded in the hyperlink.
  2. Articles can be created or edited at anytime by anyone (with certain limitations for protected articles).
  3. Articles are editable through the web browser.
  4. Each article provides one-click access to the history/versioning page, which also supports version differencing ("diff") and retrieving prior versions.
  5. The most recent additions/modifications of articles can be monitored actively or passively.
  6. Easy revert of changes is possible.

What is Confluence?

Confluence is a commercial wiki from Atlassian

From Confluence:
Confluence is an enterprise wiki that makes it easy for your team to collaborate and share knowledge.

  • Enterprise security
  • Simple installation and management
  • Attractive, user-friendly WYSIWYG interface
  • Powerful tools for structuring and searching your wiki
  • Professional features such as PDF export and automated refactoring
  • An open API for extension and integration
  • Atlassian's Legendary Service.

What's so great about wikis anyway?

Wikis are simple, efficient tools for managing knowledge and collaborating. They're particularly convenient in today's busy and international workplace.

  • They're easy to learn and use. Wikis aren't as complicated as other types of content management systems.
  • With wikis, knowledge doesn't get buried in emails, locked into file systems, hard drives or servers, intranets or extranets, or closed in more specialised data management systems and knowledge management systems.
  • Wikis are online so users can access, collaborate on, and share content, knowledge and files anytime, anywhere.
  • Wikis are also exceptionally flexible. You can customise them and also connect a wiki to other applications, databases, and file systems.
  • And, most wikis are a fraction of the cost of most enterprise software.

Why use a wiki?

A wiki lets you and your teammates collaborate online. It's easy, efficient, and intuitive to use. Every user gets a voice and everyone's contribution is seen, heard, and can be commented upon. In this way wikis improve and democratize communication – no one misses the 'memo' and anyone can send it. Wikis get information to the right people – important information (documentation, processes, ideas, communication, etc.) is available to the people who need it, not locked and buried in one person's in-box.

  • Wikis make it easy to keep all your information current and accurate.
  • Information stored in wikis is dynamic. With wikis, anyone can edit a page (however, with Confluence, administrators can control view, editing, and content privileges) so content is current.
  • Wikis keep your information safe. It's virtually impossible to lose information. You can view changes made by different users or rollback to previous versions.
  • Even as members of your team turn over and new employees are hired, the wiki can be an unbroken repository of knowledge that evolves with your growing organisation.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • No control
  • Simple markup

Cons

  • No control
  • Simple markup

What is Confluence syntax?

Simple text markup, special characters that give text semantic meaning (like simplified html). The wiki then knows how to render the marked up content.

Wiki strategy

  • Flat authority structure
  • Organized chaos - growth by community
  • Visibility & publicity

Best practices

  • Spaces
  • Templates
  • Labels versus hierarchy
  • Let Confluence do the work

Tips and Tricks

  • Favorites and Watches
  • Daily summary of activity
  • Revisions
  • Page anchors

What about...

Annotation

Use the revision history and/or comments

Glossary

Create a glossary page and link terms to glossary entries. Vote for the enhancement to Confluence for pulling definitions from the glossary page to the "tool tip".

Linking screenshots/attachments

Attach documents to a page. Syntax for embedding images into the page. Syntax for showing attached documents. Image gallery.

Deleting files

Configured on the space. If delete permission is not publicized, pages and files can be moved to the "Trash".