Creating a wiki!

we just had a meeting today for phase space (our small diy collective in brooklyn), and one person brought up the idea of an online place for shared reference material. i remembered that in the past, i have installed my own instance of mediawiki (the open-source software that wikipedia runs on) – it didn’t end up being the best solution for my personal research needs, but i think it might be cool to set one up for the scanlines community (which overlaps with the phase space community).

the wiki posts function/category has worked well so far, and we have a lot of really great reference material gathered in there now. but i feel maybe it’s time for a dedicated wiki, perhaps things would be easier to find, and i think it would be simple to port our existing documents over.

it would also be neat if we could figure out how to link it with scanlines for SSO (single login) – it seems like it would be possible because there is a plugin for that.

but basically, i just wanted to see if this idea interests people and if it seems like it would be useful? let me know if anyone has any thoughts !

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I think a wiki would be rad! I’ve run trac in the past a lot for small group wikis, but it had some scalability and maintenance problems. Mediawiki is probably better in general. I have seen some mediawikis get attacked by spambots; I don’t know if that was just old instances or if there’s work that needs to be done to mitigate that.

Something I liked doing was encouraging users to have a namespace prefix for their own pages. Something like username/some_page. It was a neat way to let people curate their own stuff. Various wiki software I’ve used at work have had different levels of enforcement of namespaces, but I’m blanking on all the details.

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I was just thinking about a dedicated wiki too!

I’ve spread some of my wiki work between here and LZX forums and made a meta post that gathered all those links up into one place already but it would be awesome to just have everything in one place period.

the wikis on github seem pretty decent and I’ve been seeing them get used more recently,

I’ll take a look at mediawiki

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well, i think that’s probably enough interest for me to get started looking into server options so we can try this out ! mediawiki is very powerful, although it can be a little complex, i think it would be a good option for us. i think i should have some time to get it running some time in the next couple weeks, to start out we can just make logins by invite / request only (this will help with spam and ease of moderation too) then look into SSO down the road.

i like the idea of namespaces for users. it’s a nice way to give someone their own “space” but still have it all remain part of the main wiki. will also look into automatic backups and other anti spam features as well.

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happy to help with this, especially around figuring out the sso - as you know already single sign on is my passion

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that would be awesome @cyberboy666 !

i installed mediawiki on a new digitalocean droplet. i used their one-click LAMP option, then i followed this guide:
https://www.linode.com/docs/guides/install-mediawiki-on-ubuntu-1604/

i had to install php-mbstring, php-xml, and php-intl using apt as well.

i also installed an SSL certificate and pointed this subdomain: wiki.scanlines.xyz to the droplet IP.

after that i just had to follow the install guide that automatically showed up at the new wiki’s URL.

i made a test edit and uploaded an image to make sure everything was working ok.

right now there is no configuration to send outbound email, no signups allowed, and no default creative commons licensing for content. i figured we could take those things one step at a time. i think i’m going to experiment with the install a bit before we move forward with editing content, just to make sure i don’t accidentally mess everything up while configuring things, but i wanted to write down what i did here before it escapes through the holes in my brain.

more soon!

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actually realized i created this digitalocean droplet in my personal account instead of the scanlines account. whoops. will look into porting it over via a “snapshot.”

right now this project is just continuing when i have free time, but i will put out the word once it’s time to give more people access to edit the wiki. and i would like to consult @wednesdayayay about how to organize the information, so that we can create a hierarchy with an index on the front page to make things findable. and also @danyel has some tech experience and offered to help with this project also.

again, more soon :slight_smile:

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i was able to re-create the droplet from a snapshot within the scanlines digitalocean project. this means that billing and access will be the same as our other servers.

i also installed a dark theme. i definitely need to change some of the colors though. (this orange is terrible) i am going to install some more plugins and stuff, including one called “gadget” in order to use this to create some global CSS for fonts and stuff (so i don’t have to do it separately on the light and dark themes): MediaWiki:Gadget-site.css - MediaWiki

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cant stop laughing at the orange

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here are some things i did today. logging here for reference. the tl;dr is that there is a mobile theme and things are slightly more configured.

  • removed index.php from the urls using this guide (followed instructions for apache using .htaccess)
  • installed Gadgets
  • installed MobileFrontEnd extension and this theme for better mobile layout
  • set the default theme back to vector (gave up on re-styling the dark theme, it was too annoying.)
  • installed a dark mode extension but disabled it because i didn’t like it (just noting for posterity)
  • applied a global dark mode in common.css (we might want to change this later, i just don’t like looking at white screens but we should probably allow users to toggle, plus it inverts images i think?)
  • changed font

things i will probably do soon:

  • create a banner image
  • try and get the global css to apply to mobile view

…but i have to go cook some dinner now.

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ok… so i made a banner, and got the mobile CSS going how i wanted. i think that’s about all i wanted to do for now in terms of configuring the layout.

next steps, i am going to start gathering and organizing the data we have in our wiki category, and picking how to organize a list of links to them from the main page.

if there is any content that we want to include from outside the scanlines forum wiki section, feel free to point me to it (@wednesdayayay you mentioned posts on the lzx wiki?)

or if anyone wants to help put data into the new wiki, especially if you are already familiar with using mediawiki, let me know here, and i can make you an account. i think @cyberboy666 is also working on setting up SSO (let me know if you want any help with that also tim!)

here’s the link to the wiki in its current state: https://wiki.scanlines.xyz

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I’m familiar with Mediawiki, both as user and admin, and I’m happy to help.
I’ve often spent even too much time writing wikis. Looking forward to another rabbithole! :sweat_smile:

:sos: I tend to overthink and sometimes overcomplicate the “how to structure this / categories / tags / criteria / processes” parts…it’s probably best if someone more pragmatic than me handles that

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spent some time today playing around with sso - couldnt get it to work yet with some existing solutions i found online… think it will end up being easier to just write it myself… but also php… anyway maybe next week will have some more time for this. if anyone else wants to take a look in the meantime hmu im happy to help

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do you think it will mess anything up for the future SSO if i manually create a couple accounts with the same usernames we have on the forum?

Nah wshould be fine - go for it !

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okay finally got the sso working for mediawiki.

in the end i went for using an existing (and slightly hacky) solution - as discussed here

spent most of a day tracking down a bug in the original code only to read later that someone else had already pointed this out later in the thread - doh!

anyway i fixed this bug, added the logout feature and documented it all a bit clearer (imo) in my fork

a nicer solution would be to write a PluggableAuth extension that handles the discourse auth flow - i started trying to do this but got a bit confused with how to exactly. still might come back to it at some point but what we have is working so im happy for now

one small thing that is bugging me still is the auto capitalization of usernames in mediawiki. cant explain why but seeing Cyberboy666 written like that makes me feel weird. ahwell haha - that will do for now

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woo! yay! i think this will be great for now. we can lowercase our names with css lol :slight_smile:

thanks for doing this! i never ended up creating any users or getting the chance to create the main page lists / links yet – back problems have been preventing me from using my computer “for fun” … i’m going on a camping trip for this week though, so hopefully i will feel better afterwards! in the meantime if anyone wants to get started on it feel free~

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:tent: :evergreen_tree: :evergreen_tree: :sparkles:

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hola!! i’m back from camping and i’m (mostly) ready to start using computers again.

i added a link to the wiki in the header of this forum, and i’ve begun gathering the data that i want to port over to the new wiki. below is a list of the pages i’ve grabbed so far. there are some pages which can probably be combined, and i want to organize them all into sections so that the front page can be broken up a little and things will be easier to find. there will definitely be a section for “historic media art” stuff (i created all those lists). not sure yet how to break up the rest, it is a little tricky to decide, i will probably just try to sort them by similarity first and then come up with titles for each section.

if there are any other resources that you’ve created that are not currently in the “wiki” category on this forum, which you want me to include in this, let me know! or we can add them later. it’s a wiki, after all :slight_smile:

after the wiki pages are created i will just comment in the original thread with a link to the new page, to keep things traceable.

list of pages (needs to be organized into sections and consolidated)

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i did some more work on the wiki today! i also saw that someone else (@csboling) already started adding to it also :love_you_gesture:

i set up the main page with sections and all the page titles from my list above. i then started off porting the data over from the “how to capture video” wiki post. i found this tool to be helpful since posts on the forum are markdown:

:globe_with_meridians: Markdown to MediaWiki converter
(i also added a link to this tool at the bottom of the wiki main page.)

i still had to check to make sure all the formatting was correct, and wrote a little custom html to make a collapsible element to replace the “show details” feature on the forum (will try to make a better one and make it into a template at some point.) but other than that, it was pretty quick! (note: i copied the markdown from the “edit” view of the forum post.)

i also created (or at least tried to create) a bot that posts to a channel in our chat when new changes are made to the wiki. this is based on the rss feed for “recent changes.” i mostly did this because it’s helpful as an admin to know how much activity is going on. but if it doesn’t work correctly i can just check the “recent changes” page instead.

the SSO is working great for me so far! the only issue was that i had a need to log in as “Admin” instead of myself at one point (so that i could update the links in the sidebar), but the “login” link just kept taking me to the scanlines forum login page. i figured out that i could just go to this url: https://wiki.scanlines.xyz/wiki/Special:UserLogin and then i was able to log in as admin. (just noting this for future reference)

next steps are to continue porting over data from the list of forum posts above to the new wiki. i will probably just keep doing this slowly as i have time. if anyone else wants to help port data over, create new pages, or do whatever, feel free! it should also be possible to upload images although there is currently a pretty low file size limit (not much local storage on the server, perheps we should consider hooking this up to cloud storage at some point if we want to be able to use it as more of a file repository also.)

any forum user can now log in and there is a decent start to an organizational schema, so i think we are good to go! :boom: i hope this can be a helpful resource unto itself, beyond what our wiki section could do.

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