Designing Wiki Output : Defining the Wiki Content Maintenance Process : Reviewing and Managing Changes to Wiki Content
Reviewing and Managing Changes to Wiki Content
In most out-of-the-box Wiki installations, modifications to content on Wiki pages display almost instantaneously. There is no built-in content review workflow process to use when users make modifications to content published on a Wiki. If you plan to allow users to add their own information to Wiki pages, consider creating a process that will help you ensure that the added content is correct, appropriately categorized or labelled, and added in an appropriate logical structure on the Wiki. You should also have a process in place for relocating pages or deleting orphaned pages as needed. An orphaned page is a page with few or no links from other pages. For more information about orphaned pages and relocating or deleting orphaned pages, see your Wiki server documentation.
Most Wikis keep a record of changes made to Wiki pages. When a content contributor updates a Wiki page, the Wiki displays an entry in the recent changes list that shows the change made. For example, in Confluence, you can see recent edits or page additions in the Recently Updated area for a space. In MoinMoin, you can see recent changes on the Wiki on the Recent Changes tab. In MediaWiki, you can see recent changes on the Recent Changes page. This allows Wiki users to quickly and easily see when specific changes were made and by whom.
In addition to providing default pages to display recent changes, some Wikis can filter the recent changes list to remove minor edits and edits made by automatic importing scripts and content deployments. For more information about options for configuring the information displayed on the Recent Changes page for a Wiki, consult the documentation for your Wiki.
Many Wikis also allow users to include a short edit summary that describes the changes they made. The edit summary is not displayed on the Wiki page, but this information is retained as a part of the page history.
If you have a group of editors or reviewers that you want to review and approve changes to Wiki content, you will have to define your own processes for this workflow, and then configure the Wiki manually as needed to support this workflow. Some Wiki software allows users willing to maintain pages to be warned of modifications to the pages, allowing the user to verify the validity of new editions quickly. Some Wikis also allow you to set up an RSS feed so that recent changes can be monitored from an external application.
Most Wikis also provide simple revision control functionality that saves and stores a copy of every version of the page. Using the revision control functionality provided by the Wiki, users can see previous page versions and also use the diff feature to quickly and easily compare versions of a page and see precise changes made to a page. The diff feature highlights the changes between two versions and allows you to view and restore a previous version of the page as needed if a user mistakenly or maliciously adds incorrect or inappropriate content to a page.