Bouquets; Brickbats


I still don’t like online editing too much, but here’s why I love MediaWiki anyway:

As far as I can tell, the software is mature enough to have moved well past problems with doubly or triply escaped ampersands and so on. This sounds fairly trivial, but a lot of wiki software is still in the land where you need to go back through a page every time you edit it and change all occurrences of & to &, lest they be escaped to & on the next page submit! Similarly, I’ve never encountered problems with entering non-ASCII characters into a MediaWiki page.
Talk pages
Every MediaWiki page has an associated talk page, which it’s customary to use for criticisms, meta-discussions, and todo lists. (Not for first drafts though, these are wikis.) It’s amazing how productive I find the ability to make notes of my decisions, rather than silently worry about them.
Edit conflict notification without page locks.
Rather than giving an editor a time-limited lock on a page, a MediaWiki site will let two people start editing a page. However, if the page changes between you beginning to edit it and you submitting your edit, MediaWiki notices and presents you with two input boxes: your edit and the new version of the page. I can see how in some circumstances edit locks are nicer than requiring hand merges, but I generally prefer the latter.


I wasn’t going to do this after the last couple of times, but boo hiss to St George and Optus for having pages incompatible with my browser when they used to work. In the first case at least, it’s due to a buggy commercial browser detector.

Also, a brickbat to Australian English vowels for making it hard to spell. We use the neutral so much that I find it very hard to choose when to use ‘a’ versus ‘e’ in unstressed syllables.