Wiki Life: Article revision

When you've published an article on Wiki, don't think your job as author is over...

It's a healthy tactic to check back on your articles once in a while.
And it also applies to articles which you aren't initial author of, but which you've been largely contributing to.

To facilitate the check, I would advise to add your own tag to these articles.
By using the tag search, like<yourtag>/default.aspx it's quite easy to list them.
Just replace the <yourtag> part with the tag of your choice (and replace spaces between tagwords with a +).

If you want a condensed list of articles you can use a powershell script to build a full list for you.
(See here: How to Use PowerShell to Create a Wiki Catalog Page)

Tag cleaning

This is the easy part.
No need to go in the Wiki editor to check and update the tags.
You can edit the tags on the article page itself.
But still, it's important to keep the tag list as meanigful as possible, to allow people to find your article quickly.

As the Wiki articles live by the community updates, the tags should also.
A good example of this principle are the Survival guides or resource collection articles on Wiki.
Take the Forefront Identity Manager Resources


And just to show what you can do with these tags: check the  FIM 2010 Wiki Articles page.

Content revision

The main reason for the Wiki to exist is cooperation by community.
So your article's content is very likely to evolve in time.

Make sure the article is kept consistent, well structured, both concerning content and layout.

A well structured and well build article makes it attractive to read and encourages your audience to contribute.

Your co-authors do not always care about nice layout.
And you should not chase inconsistencies for every single update, but check back on the article now and then.

Consistent layout

"Do more with less" is a universal principle.
You don't need advanced layout to make your article attractive.

There are very good reasons to use advanced layout, I will not deny that.
But the point is: a simple but neat layout works better then an multi-color hodgepodge.

Just a hint, if you use the minimum necessary on layout, it's easier to keep the article consistent over time.

HTML code revision

Let's be honest: HTML code revision is not easy (keep all tags in balance) and it's time consuming to do it well.
So keep your HTML code as simple as possible.

Keeping the HTML code healthy is a success factor for a stable Wiki article.

Quite some offline web editors plug in some custom tags.
And unbalanced use of tags like <span> tags, <p> paragraph tags can mess up your Wiki article when you try to post it.
E.g. bulleted lists will not lign up correctly when the span tags are placed incorrectly.

Although the Wiki editor can remove Word specific tags, it still is a good practice to check the HTML code in the Wiki editor.

The same applies to <font> tags, use them to the bare minimum required.
When you paste text with layout from Word, check the HTML code.

Just as an example, this few lines in Word:
(Yes, I know MS Word is NOT the real HTML editor, but it's a good demonstration!)

If you paste this into the Wiki editor, without cleaning, you'll get this HTML:

<p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family: calibri; mso-ansi-language: en-us;">Just a sample piece of text<o:O:P></o:O:P></span></p>
<p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family: calibri; mso-ansi-language: en-us;">And <span style="color: red;">another</span> <span style="background: yellow; mso-highlight: yellow;">line</span><o:O:P></o:O:P></span></p>

If you allow the Wiki editor to clean the code while pasting, you still get

<p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: calibri;">Just a sample piece of text</span></p>
<p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: calibri;">And <span style="color: red;">another</span> <span style="background: yellow;">line</span></span></p>
<p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: calibri;">&nbsp;</span></p>

TIP: copy the HTML source code of your article into an off-line HTML editor, clean the code and put it back online.

Content cleanup

It will not happen frequently, but if you notice that the content of an article has become redundant, consider removing the content.
Ultimately you can ask the Wiki admins to remove the article entirely.

A very good example of this is duplicate content.
If you notice that your article has (almost) the same information as an other (earlier published) article, better merge your content with the other article.

NOTE: This same principle is also used t tag and remove SPAM on the Technet Wiki. (Which is sadly an exception on the 'not happen frequently' statement.)
Check this article Wiki User Guide: Handling abuse for more information.


If every Ninja sweeps before his own door, the whole Wiki is tidy and clean. 

[Ka-jah Shakaah!]
The Identity & Security Ninja. ;)

Peter Geelen
CISSP, CISA, MCT, MVP Forefront Identity Manager
Community Lead - MS Security User Group Belgium

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