Re: Wiki for Customer Facing documentation?

Subject: Re: Wiki for Customer Facing documentation?
From: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 12:41:53 -0800

Matt was right and I was wrong. Not all wikis are inherently
free-form. Confluence and MindTouch both have hierarchical page trees
that can be used as tables of contents.

Both are a bit doc-unfriendly in that you can only specify a new
page's parent, not its position relative to other child pages in the
node. In Confluence, you have to go to the page tree editor and drag
the new page into position. MindTouch has no page tree editor, you
have to kludge page order by editing URLs:

http://help.mindtouch.us/kb/Reordering_the_hierarchy_within_MindTouch

On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 10:36 AM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com> wrote:
> A wiki is by definition free-form. You can impose (or superimpose) a
> form, but it's a lot of work, and if you get it wrong at the
> beginning, reorganizing can be difficult or impossible. The more
> important organizational structure is, the less sense it makes to use
> a wiki.
>
> Crowd-sourcing is the main reason you'd want to use a wiki rather than
> a help authoring tool. How big is your crowd? In particular, how big
> is the crowd of people who will be heavy contributors? If your crowd
> is small and organizational structure is important, a wiki could be a
> lot more work to maintain than a Flare / RoboHelp / FrameMaker /
> whatever project.
>
> If I were evaluating a wiki for documentation purposes, I'd look
> closely at the wiki's own documentation.
>
> On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 9:27 AM, Matt Moore <MMoore -at- connectwise -dot- com> wrote:
>> I am not sure I understand "Any time a table of contents would be helpful".  I have seen several wiki's that have table of contents.   I am not intending to argue, I just want to understand.  I do believe from my research that mediawiki does not have a TOC out of the box and it requires extensions to implement a TOC.  There are other wikis that seem to provide it out of the box and some with documentation in mind.
>>
>> http://help.mindtouch.us/
>> http://confluence.atlassian.com/display/ALLDOC/Atlassian+Documentation
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: techwr-l-bounces+mmoore=connectwise -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mmoore=connectwise -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Robert Lauriston
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2011 11:57 AM
>> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>> Subject: Re: Wiki for Customer Facing documentation?
>>
>> I think wikis are appropriate only when there's no hierarchy or logical sequence for the topics. Any time a table of contents would be helpful, a wiki is probably the wrong tool.
>>
>> A wiki can be a good tool for a knowledge base so long as you can and do set up permissions and approvals so that everything runs past an editor before customers see it.
>>
>> On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 6:42 AM, Matt Moore <MMoore -at- connectwise -dot- com> wrote:
>>> As we are evaluating documentation solutions (moving from a failed content management solution), we are also considering the use of a wiki such as mediawiki or mindtouch.  It does appear that wikis are commonly used for this purpose and do present many benefits over a HAT but of course HATs provide benefits as well.
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