Using MediaWiki as a SAFE Information Platform

@hillbicks got in touch late last week to offer his help updating the FAQs that we currently have scattered about various places. Not only was the gesture very much appreciated, as he has been hugely generous with his time already with the system docs translations, but it is also very timely as I have been spending a bit of time considering launch planning of late. @hillbicks, @frabrunelle @polpolrene and I had a call today to discuss the issue and got to talking about where the FAQs should go. We agreed that it would be great to have a lot of the support material (system docs, faqs, help articles…etc…) in one place as it’s obviously easier to market and publicise 1 URL rather than several and we think that MediaWiki represents a decent solution.

MediaWiki was originally written for and is still used by Wikipedia, as well as Bitcoin Wiki and many others. The intention would be that the MediaWiki would act as a first point of help/support for end users/farmers/developers as a way of reducing those asking for direct help via the forum. This will help reduce the burden on the community while mitigating against the forum being cluttered with support questions.

This is very much at proposal stage so please let me know what you think? Maybe you have an alternative idea or are aware of a platform that is better than MediaWiki? Thanks!


Just to add some thoughts that we exchanged today as to why mediawiki offers a good solution.

  • It is relatively easy for anyone to add to the knowledge by editing the wiki page.
  • Language support is an essential part of the mediawiki
  • people are already familiar with the look and feel of the wiki
  • It is very easy to scale and extend the use for any other documentation related to the SAFE network

One concern that I had was the inability to set permissions on a per page basis, but a quick google search suggests that even that is possible with extensions now. Furthermore we could set up watchlists for specific pages of categories so users can be alerted when changes occur.

On the other hand wikipedia is able to maintain order and prevent vandalism on his pages, so with the help of this great community we should be able to do the same.

Btw. another great example for very high quality documentation with the help of a mediawiki is the arch wiki, which is seen as the best documentation of all the linux distros out there.

In the meantime, frabunelle and I are already getting familiar with the possibilities mediawiki has to offer (test installation on VMs). So if anyone else has suggestions for alternatives, please let us know so we can test these out as well.

We’ll keep you posted.


i think that’s a very important point. after all project SAFE will be community driven.
I’m all for the mediawiki :wink:


I just talked to @frabrunelle about the different aspects of the mediawiki and alternatives. Here is sumary of our discussion.

  • comparison between mediawiki and twiki. tl;dr mediawiki came along way and it seems to be the better alternative.

  • we need to agree on a license for the documentation

  • There already is a wiki for the developers, hosted on github, called gollum. It is very limiting in features, offers no ability for translations or permissions.

  • mediawiki has an extension for a mobile frontend.

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I have used MediaWiki on a number of occasions at different workplaces as well as for personal use. While I frequently go searching for something better, I always end up installing it, as it seems the best of a bad lot.

However, it occurs to me that Dokuwiki [1], which I have no experience with at all, would be interesting for you to do a test install and see how you liked it.

The reason Dokuwiki is interesting, is that it’s flat files, instead of a database. That seems like it would lend itself, later, to easy porting to the safe network, when the time comes.

[1] dokuwiki [DokuWiki]

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Maybe you use “compare them all” :wink:

Regards the license, I think the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International is a decent fit, allowing others to use and make adaptations to the content provided they share it under the same license and it also likes commercial uses of the content.

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But you control it right? It can’t be used as a springboard for negative PR about SAFE by say the Storj people?

I saw that with Onlive, that firm faced a massive smear campaign and the wiki was one area that never got fixed. For context it would be like even today the BS saying that David Irvine is patent trolling and not being able to get that nonsense removed. They didn’t want a netflix of gaming and they with crazy with the misinformation.

If you mean who has permissions to edit the wiki @Warren then @hillbicks is looking into that right now. This is an important consideration on which platform we migrate to.

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We (@hillbicks @polpolrene and myself) continued discussing the migration and management of all SAFE Network documents yesterday. We agreed that MediaWiki would appear to represent to best all round solution to get everything into one place and discussed the following points:

1/ What we propose putting in the wiki
Intro to the SAFE Network
System Docs
Manuals (how to use the wiki, app manuals)
Community related topics (how to get involved)

2/ How open should the wiki be: Permissions (who can edit what)
Although we never reached a resolution on this point we agreed that there is not a lot of information that will be going on initially that we will not want random people to change. It would be good to understand who from the community is willing and able to get involved and help set up and maintain the media wiki.

3/ Who hosts it
@hillbicks has kindly offered to do this. During this part of the discussion we were also trying to think of ways to decentralise this so plans are in place should something happen happen to the equipment, domain name or @hillbicks. This is probably also a relevant point for this forum as well, does a contingency exist should something happen to @frabrunelle?

4/ Who is(are) responsible for it
As above, who from the community would be willing and able to get involved.

5/ Confirm FAQ categories and start to add specific questions
Main categories discussed are as follows:

Getting Started
Trouble shooting
Comparison to other technologies

The next task is to continue work on the questions.

6/ When do we propose to transition to the wiki
Our thoughts were as soon as it is ready, but this is very much something for the community to agree to

So, it would be good to get feedback on the idea in general, the transition is a pretty big job and therefore should be something that it is generally felt will be worthwhile. Additional feedback and ideas on the 6 points listed above would also be appreciated :smile:


I’m really excited by this and hope more folk from this forum will feel confident enough to come forward and get involved. Editing a wiki is a good skill and not hard to learn, so anyone can help in at least this way.

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Bootstrapskin brings responsive design and many other great features to mediawiki.

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Cheers @happybeing. I have seen quite a few non-coders on the forum search for ways to help and get involved with the project in a meaningful way, I think this represents one such opportunity.


Nice find @TylerAbeoJordan, we’ll definitely check this out!

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@nicklambert :

Nice find @TylerAbeoJordan, we’ll definitely check this out!

I’ll say! This looks bloody marvellous, and I’m thinking something based on this, or bootstrap itself, might be turned into a website building tool for SAFENetwork.

Bootstrap is twitter’s open source framework for creating responsive websites across all devices using CSS preprocessors (from what I just read). So maybe it can be used without a CMS to create great websites on SAFENetwork? Uses MIT license. Thoughts @janitor? @hillbicks?

BTW There’s a similar MediaWiki framework based on bootstrap here, though I don’t know how they compare: MediaWikiBootstrap

I definitely like the look of it and considering the fact that google now ranks site that don’t have an optimised mobile interface lower, this is something we should look at. With that being said, I think having the look and feel of good ol’ wikipedia is definitely a huge plus and lowers the entry barrier for new user, especially when it comes to contributing.

But I haven’t looked closely at it, so we’ll see. I have to get some technical things out of the way (backups, monitoring, there are still issues with iptables) before I can look into that. So it will take me a couple of days, but I’ll keep you guys posted about the progress.