In a wiki that has the objective of covering a subject area in detail it is natural to organize information under a Table Of Contents which contains the Chapter Names and at the Chapter Names pages we can have an index of Page Names?. These are related Page Name subjects. Every page can also be a "parent" of many other related pages. These child pages may be indexed and if so then the Page Name of the Index Page? is one of the Chapter Names.

This looks a bit confusing. Is there a better way to say what I am trying to say above? - Sola Roof Guy

A derivative try

In a wiki that has the objective of covering a subject area in detail it is natural to try to organize the information to make it easy to discover for new users. Often there is a Table Of Contents which contains the Chapter Names and at the Chapter Names pages we can have an another table of contents with Page Names?. The chapters would contain related Page Name subjects. Every page can also be a "parent" of many other related pages. This parent - child relationship and then the child becoming a parent to lower level children can continue to as many levels deep as you need to describe your subject.

All these chapters, parent pages, and child pages may be indexed and if so, then the Page Name of the Index Page? is one of the Chapter Names.

This still looks a bit confusing but is a try at fleshing out the explanation. (Often is is useful to be standing on the shoulders of giants.) - Bobby


I was taught we want to clarify first, simplify later. Clarifying usually means taking out pronouns ("it") and spelling out the ideas in detail ("the soap solution") even if it is boring to the reader. Simplifying can be done later, once the ideas are (painfully) clear.

So, if you don't mind, I'll be a fly on top of the hat on top of the giant:

In wikis we store and edit "content": the information we're interested in. To do that, we just create normal wiki pages and we call them "content pages".

When there's a large number of "content pages", accessing the one you need becomes a problem, so we create "index pages", which are just ordinary pages too - but their content is links to real content pages. "Index pages" can also be called "Table Of Content" pages. Just keep in mind they are ordinary pages - only they contain links, not real information.

There are many ways to get a list of pages: all the pages in a group are listed by entering "Group Name/" into the Wiki Search? box; or paste a Page Name in the search box and not only the similar pages in this group but pages with similar names in all groups will be listed. Our "Linked From" search (this is in the footer) seams to be broken but it should list all pages that link to the current page.
The thing about an Index is that it is created by the members of the group and so it is intelligently linking pages together in an order that is best for absorbing the content. It is not a search generated list. I am fasinated by the potential of the Wiki Trails feature and how it could be used as we are discussing here - to enhance the navigation of the wiki groups. - Sola Roof Guy

"Index pages" provide a structure that is useful so we can access the "content pages" more easily. (Yes, you can also use the "search wiki" box to search for specific words directly - as long as you know those specific words.)

These "index pages" can be created hierarchically, with one index that links to several sub-indexes which, in turn, link to many content pages. We can have 2-3 levels of indexes; more levels usually means you may want to rethink the structure.

"Index pages" can be created before we create any "content pages" - this way of working is called "top down": you know what you want to cover, but you just haven't filled it up yet. You may create the index (perhaps a list of countries) and wait for many others (a person or group from each country) to provide the content.

Main Index and Sub Index pages are useful as places to plant the seed page links that are still in the "edit page" form which has the ? link following the suggested Page Name. One member can suggest a Page Name but not have time to start it - so in that case someone else could make a first draft of a page.

"Index pages" can also be created after the "content pages" are already there - "bottom up". Of course, given a number of "content pages" you can create different "indexes", one for each "way of telling the story". You may want to:

  • have an "index page" with links to all "content pages" related to a specific technology,
  • create another "index" linking to content about a specific area of the world, etc,
  • even highlight (link to) your current projects from your "home page"!
    As Wiki Trails, these Main Index or Sub Index pages also can link the Content Pages? in a specific order for reading so that you get the basics first and progress to related pages that provide more detail or set out relationships to other content. I have used this to organize some chapters within the Sola Roof group. I have the Sola Roof Tech and the Sola Roof Apps as Chapter Names. These are two Main Index sections of the knowledge base. The first is content about the technology (what is the technology) the second is concerned with how to apply the technology.

Now, can someone give it a try and explain "groups" in this specific wiki implementation? Or at least link to the relevant help pages? Thanks!

I will give that a try. My comments above are also indented. I am really enthused about groups! Each group is a separate Name Space. So the content that we generate in each group has a context in relation to the situation and purpose of that group. This gives a richness and depth to our wiki that others cannot accomodate. You can see what the technical aspects of groups are at Wiki Groups - but what we are exploring at the Sola Roof wiki is the social dynamics of this feature. Groups are also sub divisions of our content - perhaps we refer to them as "Books" if they intend to be "authoritative" or as "stories" if they are in a less formal style. I will make some further specific comments in the text above - Sola Roof Guy

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