The Rukapedia

I decided that it was time to dive headlong into the world of the wiki. I’ve been a passive observer for a long while, but several recent developments have made me think I need to wade into the flow. Okay, so that’s a lot of conflicting water metaphors.

First, Jimbo Wales’ talk at reboot about Wikipedia inspired me to learn more about that project (conversations with my friend Oliver last year inspired me in this direction too).

Second, Olle and I are hatching several schemes that will use a wiki to document themselves. I need to learn more about wiki-wrangling to get ready for all that.

Third, I’ve started working on a group project at to document code, hacks and the like for Plazes.

And finally, I decided it would be nice to have a sort of “footnotes” area for the blog: a place I can link to when I need a quick reference about some person, place or thing in my life.

And so I’ve set up the Rukapedia as a combination testbed, wiki education and dumping ground for all matter of miscellaneous text about the things in my world.

Of course, as it’s a wiki, you’re all welcome to join in.


oliver's picture
oliver on June 19, 2005 - 14:19 Permalink

Look! I’ve made the URL my Rukapedia entry my default website for when I make comments on Isn’t that civic minded of me? Now to go embellish the entry a bit. I’ve always wanted a Nobel.

oliver's picture
oliver on June 19, 2005 - 14:26 Permalink

On second thought, I’m not sure I want to do that, even if it costs me the Nobel. A Wiki like this is unstable and unauthoritative, and with all the comments I make here I might displace my real site’s spot on Google from #1. Plus, only the rukocognoscienti need know my nefarious connections with Mr. R.

Lou Quillio's picture
Lou Quillio on June 19, 2005 - 21:14 Permalink

I’ve been running Instiki for awhile now; never considered MediaWiki. Dunno why. Installed it (remotely) this morning. I’m gonna like this.

The cool thing to me about having a personal Wiki is that it’s hierarchical. You can monkey with Drupal’s taxonomy module all you want, but you’re still retrofitting taxonomy onto a chronology-based web.

Frankly, I think my personal Wiki is destined to become my personal site, rather than an adjunct. I got tired of blogging a year or more ago. There’s stuff I want to get down — and I don’t care who sees it — but I’d rather just rotate the new stuff through MainPage and let the (Wiki-based) web expand in all directions.

Probably should have been using a free-form hierachical tool all along. Less interested in “news”, more interested in a personal “web”. Natch I’ll be leaving out the collaboration parts; the idea, in this case, is to collaborate with myself. From anywhere, any time.


Olle Jonsson's picture
Olle Jonsson on June 20, 2005 - 10:42 Permalink

I like the light-weight aspect of the 90Kb PHP implementation DokuWiki. Its GUI is far superior to MediaWiki’s, but its category system lacks MediaWiki’s ease-of-use. But it’s great for just installing: look Ma, no database.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 20, 2005 - 13:24 Permalink

Leaving out the requirement to have MySQL and PHP already in place, MediaWiki was a pretty easy install — all done from within the browser. The allure of a 90Kb wiki is strong, however, simply on elegance grounds. In the end, I didn’t want a software orphan, and I figured MediaWiki had staying power.

John Boylan's picture
John Boylan on June 20, 2005 - 14:01 Permalink

Hi Peter,

I’ll be interested to see where your wiki experiment goes.

The wiki page is rendering strangely for me. The tabs and “create an account…” link are covering the top part of the text on the intro page. A problem at my end? I fully admit to being an unenlightened Internet Explorer end-user.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 20, 2005 - 14:11 Permalink

John, your problems are, in fact, my problems — I haven’t tested the meshing of the MediaWiki style and the style in browsers other than Safari. I’ll handle this. Thanks for pointing it out.

John Boylan's picture
John Boylan on June 20, 2005 - 14:43 Permalink

Cheers Peter. The beauty of your wiki is that there is no doubt in the mind of the reader about authorship. In fairly short order you can learn something of who Peter Rukavina is. This is in stark contrast to my experinece with Wikipedia. I hate reading an article, only to find it’s been authored by PlasmaCluster79. I guess I’m hung up on the notion that, in a research sense, a source is only as good as your ability to assess it.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 20, 2005 - 15:55 Permalink

John, you should find the Rukapedia renders properly in Internet Explorer on a PC now. Let me know.

John Boylan's picture
John Boylan on June 20, 2005 - 16:55 Permalink

Looks good Peter

Lou Quillio's picture
Lou Quillio on June 20, 2005 - 18:33 Permalink

I’m taking a real careful approach to re-styling my MediaWiki Wiki, because the CSS and generated XHTML — though valid — is idiosyncratic — and that’s before you get into the cross-browser measures.

I started by replicating all of the MonoBook stylesheets in MySkin, and selecting MySkin in Preferences (as Sysop). Thought I could then tack selector over-rides at the end of main.css and be done.

But `skin` is a user-level election, so everybody else is seeing Monobook. Guess I’ll have to fully develop MySkin, then make it the universal skin.

There are semantic problems with MediaWiki’s markup, too. Check out the auto-generated inline TOCs. They’re not nested lists, they’re nested and styled <div>s. So you can’t just over-ride, say, paragraph tags in #bodyContent, because some of those TOC elements are paragraphs in styled divs.

Now I’m thinking I should wrap each page/item/post in my own unique id and style within that context, so as not to break the elaborate cross-browser nav outside each page’s unique content — a wheel I’d rather not reinvent (heh).

Where the heck is /* generated user stylesheet */ coming from, anyhow? Guess that’ll be solved by having only one available skin. This ain’t gonna be easy.