Supporting collaboration in branched articles

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Having a way of maintaining branched articles would be a great benefit to wikis that have overlapping scopes. For example wikiHow has how-to pages on all topics, including sustainability, international development and appropriate technology, and Appropedia has pages on sustainability, international development and appropriate technology, including how-tos. Rather than duplicate the work (and neither site have a full collection of complete articles) it would be ideal to share edits made on each site.

Supporting collaboration in branched articles[edit]

Main article: OLPC:MikMik

There may be a solution now (or very soon), a software solution developed by Benjamin Mako Hill:

...a new wiki-based research project from the MIT Media Laboratory designed to allow collaboration between partially diverged documents or articles. The system is based on ideas and code from software-based distributed revision control systems but provides a text-based and wiki-like interface of branch tracking and accounting, history sensitive merging, and conflict presentation and resolution. The system has important applications for collaboration between forks of Wikimedia projects (e.g., the original proposal for Citizendium), collaboration between branches of articles within Wikis during major revisions of articles, and conflict resolution during normal editing or extended offline work. - Benjamin Mako Hill, Supporting Collaboration in Branched Articles, abstract of talk at Wikimania 2007.


The latest version is available at the Bazaar repository. Once you've installed bazaar, you can just use the command:

bzr branch


There is at least one other way of maintaining synchronized pages, but without the ability to branch (maintain points of difference); other methods are in development:

Scary transclusion[edit]

Transclusion from one wiki to another is enabled with mw:Manual:$wgEnableScaryTranscluding.

It can be enabled for all wikis on the interwiki map, or (with more effort) set separately for each wiki.

For example, this page at the Open Sustainability Wiki is transwikied using a transclusion template.


These are a work in progress. See mw:API, and also Hey, Wikipedia, Save Us From Googlebot! Give Us an API! (January 10, 2008 )

External links[edit]

Links for "Supporting collaboration in branched articles"[edit]

  • Wikimania 2007 - Benjamin Mako Hill's blog.
  • [okfn-discuss Re: Collaborative development of text documents], Feb 1, 2007, mailing list post - discussion of various relevant issues.
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