00520: Distribute PmWiki with WikiWords disabled by default
Several people (including Pm) have commented that a better default might be to distribute PmWiki with WikiWords disabled, and have administrators explicitly enable WikiWords using
$LinkWikiWords=1; in a local customization.
See http://pmichaud.com/pipermail/pmwiki-users/2005-September/017571.html for more discussion (thread starts at http://pmichaud.com/pipermail/pmwiki-users/2005-September/017510.html).
The downside is that making this change suddenly may be a surprising upgrade for some administrators that will cause some sites to "break", and although the fix is simple (set
$LinkWikiWords=1) many administrators may not know where to look for it. But perhaps this would be a small pain -- which is why opinions are being solicited here.
I understand the backward compatibility issue but perhaps all that needs to be done is to alter sample-config.php as follows:
The lines that read
$LinkWikiWordsto zero if you don't want WikiWord links (i.e., ## all links are made using . #
$LinkWikiWords= 0; # disable WikiWord links
Could be changed to:
$LinkWikiWordsto one (1) if you want WikiWord links (i.e., ## links are made using ThisIsALink.
As any config.php files are not overwriten in an upgrade, this would not effect any current installations. Of course, I suppose as PmWiki works just fine with no config.php, the default behavior as defined in the core would technically not be any different. It would at least be a start, and possabley a way to gadge feedback on the change from those starting new wikis. Either way, I voted '5' for this feature.
I totally disagree. If you're using a wiki, then use a wiki, else get a blog. WikiWords are just part of wiki's. My vote is '0' - leave it the way it is by default, but for those that don't want this, let them set
$LinkWikiWords=0. In other words, make WikiWords an opt-out concept, not an opt-in one. RussFink
Default should be WikiWords off.
WikiWords are part of the hacker subculture, and hackers can be expected to know how to enable WikiWords if they want them.
I'm using PmWiki as an engine for a corporate intranet populated not by hackers, but by naive authors. To these naive authors, WikiWords appear as a weird alien concept they're unable to get comfortable with, and often downright unable to use successfully. As a result of my experience, I would not encourage anyone to use WikiWords for a PmWiki installation meant for use by naive authors.
Don't forget the easy-to-install PmWiki might be an administrators first Wiki. By the time experience tells him that he should have switched off WikiWords for the benefit of his naive users, he might have invested a lot of time in explaining the concept. He has two equally poor options then - spending even more time explaining to even more authors the concept, or telling the original authors to forget about WikiWords and generate links in a different way. The former is time-intensive, the latter has a negative impact on the author's confidence in the wiki.
Just as importantly, WikiWords work reasonably well in English, but may be poorly suited for foreign languages. German for example heavily relies on compound nouns anyway and is much more variable with regard to the declined forms of nouns, so WikiWords are really clumsy there.
WikiWords off by default and a warning about their effect on naive authors in the sample config file would really have made my administrator's tasks quite a bit easier.
I'd think that with the PmWiki philosophy making the requirements of naive authors a high priority, WikiWords should be disabled by default.
--~~~~~ --Henning September 23, 2005, at 05:29 AM
Not that it matters to me now that I have my wikis running, I think the default should be WikiWords off.
Particularly on wikis that contain many acronyms, it becomes a pain to have to turn off "accidental" WikiWords such as CPUs or OSes. It also requires teaching new authors two rules - one for WikiWords and one for free links. I would rather just describe free links which allow things to look like normal text? as opposed to ThingsToLookLikeNormalText. ;-)
NeilHerber September 29, 2005, at 09:52 AM
Definitely off. It's a *HUGE* pain when using pmwiki for documentation for things like SERVER1 to become links. We have now switched to turning wiki words off, however a script that converts existing WikiWordLinks to proper WikiWordLinks (using the explicit syntax) would be immensely good for large wikis.
--- I think it is easier for a site to ship with wikiwords enabled by default, that is how people that use wiki's expect them to operate (from my expereince) WHR
Page restored from http://web.archive.org/web/20060815014735/http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/PITS/00520 —Eemeli Aro June 29, 2009, at 08:29 AM