Why is Wikipedia's layout the way it is

MediaWiki (Wiki)

Available since: Version 0.20.0

1. Via MediaWiki

MediaWiki is the software that supports the Wikimedia suite of wikis.

Read more about MediaWiki on Wikipedia.

2. MediaWiki on FreedomBox

MediaWiki is designed to be publicly readable and privately editable on FreedomBox. Only registered users are allowed to make changes to the wiki. Such a design prevents spam and vandalism in the wiki.

2.1. User administration

Users can only be created by the MediaWiki administrator (user "admin"). You can also use the "admin" user to reset passwords for MediaWiki users. If you forget the administration password, it can be reset at any time via the MediaWiki app page in the web interface.

2.2. use cases

  • MediaWiki is very versatile and can be used for many creative purposes. It also comes with a lot of extensions (plugins) and beauty themes and is very customizable.

2.2.1. Personal knowledge store
  • MediaWiki can be your personal knowledge store on FreedomBox. Since MediaWiki offers good multimedia support, you can write notes, save pictures, create checklists, save references and bookmarks, etc. in an organized manner. You can save the knowledge of your lifetime in your MediaWiki instance.

2.2.2. Community wiki
  • A community of users can use MediaWiki as a common repository for knowledge and reference material. It can be used as a notice board for the university, a documentation server for a small company, a shared notebook for study groups or as a fan wiki like Wikia.

2.2.3. Personal wiki-based website
  • Several websites on the internet are just instances of MediaWiki. MediaWiki is read-only by visitor on FreedomBox. Because of this, it can be customized to serve as your personal website or blog. MediaWiki content is easy to export and can later be moved around to use a different blog engine.

2.3. Editing of wiki content

The MediaWiki attachment on FreedomBox comes with a basic editor with a toolbar for general options like bold, italic, etc. Click the Advanced section to see more options like headings, bullets, and more.

2.3.1. Visual editor
  • MediaWiki's new visual editor offers a WYSIWYG user interface for creating wiki pages. This is still a beta feature and is not provided by default in MediaWiki. As a workaround, you can write your content using the visual editor at Wikipedia's sandbox, switch to source edit mode, and copy the content to your wiki.

2.3.2. Other formats
  • You don't necessarily need to learn MediaWiki's formatting language. You can write in your favorite format (Markdown, Org mode, LaTeX, etc.) and use Pandoc to convert it to MediaWiki format.

2.3.3. Upload pictures
  • Uploading images has been enabled since FreedomBox version 0.36.0. You can also use images from Wikimedia Commons directly with a feature called Instant Commons.

2.4. Adaptation

2.4.1. Skins

MediaWiki's default skin is usually Vector. The default skin set by FreedomBox is Timeless.

Vector is a skin that is best suited to be viewed on the desktop browser. However, it is unsuitable for mobile screen sizes. Wikimedia websites host a separate mobile site. A separate mobile website is not worthwhile for small MediaWiki systems like the one on FreedomBox. Using a mobile-friendly skin like Timeless is a cheaper solution.

Administrators can set a standard skin for the "Settings" app. However, users of the website can choose to display it with a different skin.

3. External links

Back to Introduction to Features or Manual Pages.