For the Openmoko wiki to be organized effectively it must use a good hierarchy of categories.
Getting things better organized will take time. An ideally organized hierarchy may not be possible right away, but significant improvements can still be made working from the existing structure.
A few principles should guide the reorganization:
- A category in which almost everything could be placed is not helpful. Such categories do not distinguish one page from another and thus do nothing to classify the pages or tell the wiki user what sort of page to expect to find in such a category. There is already a site-wide index that lists every page in the wiki, so multiple categories that achieve the same thing are a duplicative waste. Thus, the existing categories Information and Openmoko are prime examples of categories that are currently overbroad. Everything on the wiki is "information" so do not put pages in such a category. It's not a helpful label and every page currently in that category should be re-categorized into a more specific category. Also, everything on the wiki is related to "Openmoko" so putting every page in that category would also be a waste. However, if we redefine what kinds of pages are appropriate to the Openmoko category, this could still be a useful category. (See below). Additionally, the category Categories could be applied to every category in the wiki, so again, that's not a useful categorization, and the Categories category should really be renamed "Top Level Categories" and only such top-level categories put in there. Again, we already have an auto-generated list of every category on the wiki, so a special category to generate such a list is not needed and would be duplicative.
- Users should be able to browse the category pages as a useful way of navigating the wiki. Users should not be forced to rely on the search functionality of the wiki or on links from existing pages in order to find additional information. Instead, they should be able to navigate the various category pages in order to learn what all the wiki has to offer. If these category pages are over-cluttered or fail to contain relevant pages, then it makes it harder for users to find information on the wiki.
- In general, a wiki page should be placed in the most specific subcategory in which it appropriately fits. So, e.g., there are several hundred geographically-based Local Groups. Those pages should be placed in the subcategory Openmoko Local Groups and not in the broader Community category. Which leads to:
- Typically, a wiki page should NOT be placed in every category in which it could conceivably fit. So, e.g., if those hundreds of local user groups were to also be in the Community category (as they used to be) then when one visits the Category:Community page, one is totally overwhelmed by the giant list of local user groups and it is hard to find anything else community-related. There will be exceptions to this where, instead, it makes sense to list a page in multiple categories, but think about this carefully before putting pages in numerous categories in which they don't really fit.
So, if we were starting the wiki from scratch, we might choose a different organization, but, given that the wiki already contains thousands of pages, we can start the process of improving the organizational structure by working with what we have. That existing structure currently best lends itself to the following set of top-level categories:
- Openmoko (the corporation)
- Wiki Editing (Use & Maintenance of the Wiki itself)
Almost everything that could go into the wiki can appropriately be broadly categorized as falling into one of these. Pages about the handheld devices are largely about either hardware or software. Pages related to the people using and working on those devices are either related to people that work for Openmoko the corporation or are related to the user/developer community. The primary point of the wiki is to serve as documentation, so it seems an important top-level category too. Finally, some people will always need help understanding what a wiki is, how to use it, what the syntax for editing pages is, or how to get involved with maintaining and contributing to the wiki, so some Help pages should be prominent and easy to find.
Note that in the above, the currently overbroad Openmoko category is redefined to be specifically a counterpart to the Community category. Instead of listing every single page about the Openmoko software distribution (which can be better categorized under the Software category) the Openmoko category can include pages about the corporation, e.g., History, Employees, Legal, Sales, Sponsored Events, etc.
If one looks at the Categories category right now (August 2008) it roughly approximates this structure. By pressing the + button next to each top-level category one can see the 2nd-level subcategories under each and even those are beginning to have an almost reasonable structure. Work remains to be done. Individual pages and even category pages need to be categorized or recategorized to fit into something approximating this structure. Please join the effort with the above principles in mind. Once we get a mostly usable wiki we can think about a larger overhaul that might improve the existing structure, but for now, we need to just get the thing where people can actually find all the useful information that is buried in this wiki.