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One of the problems with LinkingBetweenNamespaces is the proliferation of long names, which hurts the ease of linking, especially AccidentalLinking. Moreover, just in the normal ebb and flow of things, long names like Wiki:ComponentDesignPatternsDiscussionTwo get formed. Is there a better way?

Contributors: JohnAbbe, CliffordAdams, DaveHarris, anonymous

Discussion of SubPages

As SubPages are mostly intended to be used like sub-sections of a larger page, they are not intended to be linked to directly from other pages. Subpages were intended to be used when a single page gets too big (to edit or comfortably read), but one doesn't want to split the idea into totally separate pages. If subpages are enabled (not on MeatballWiki), one can write /SubPageName within MainPage or any of its subpages as a shortcut for MainPage/SubPageName. Ironically, one of the major reasons for subpages was the proliferation of long page names on the C2 wiki like the Wiki:ComponentDesignPatterns set of pages (which includes pages like Wiki:ComponentDesignPatternsDiscussionTwo). --CliffordAdams

Well, MeatballWiki doesn't have SubPages partly because the names are more difficult and they break AccidentalLinking. As for making bad names, it's the same with any writing: just don't create bad names. See Wiki:RavioliWiki. So, really, the impetus is on you not the technology; the technology certainly doesn't prevent good names from being made. And I'd say it goes a long ways towards encouraging good names too. -- SunirShah

The technology does not prevent good WikiNames from being made, but if short is good then good InterWiki and SubPage links are hard to make. Chinese would not have this problem.

I am less interested in deep hierarchies than Wiki:MeaningfulNames. Some argue that letting anyone freely register TLDs is not confusing, but universally understood symbols are useful. I'm not suggesting limiting WikiNames in any way, that would be very un-wiki. I'm just wondering out loud with the rest of you how to extend wikis into one another elegantly. --JohnAbbe

In any language, writing clearly, concisely and meaningfully is difficult, including Chinese. Consider Chinese poetry. Or, if you aren't familiar with any, consider Japanese Haiku to demonstrate how that language family takes great effort into putting meaning in constrained space. In English, consider couplets as our equivalent. Technology can't improve your writing ability (significantly). Actually, it helps you greatly because it punishes you greatly for fluffy names. The best poetry isn't free form but highly structured for a reason. The constraints force you to try harder. (Pain is fun!) -- SunirShah

Ward's Wiki currently has a page: CommentingChallengeResponsePartTwo. Arguably it would be better as subpages: CommentingChallenge/Response/PartTwo. People not interested in the main page are unlikely to need links to the subsubpage, and links from within the CommentingChallenge heirarchy shouldn't need to keep specifying the full path redundantly.

Also, consider refactoring in the reverse direction. What happens to the PartTwo link when I copy it out of the CommentingChallenge hierarchy? Ideally it would convert itself to a longer form automatically - supposing the refactoring could be done by drag&dropping objects rather than ASCII text. Much of this would be easier if it didn't have to be web-based.

In many ways it is premature to think about this stuff until a wiki is big enough to need it (and Ward's Wiki isn't that big, really). On the other hand, design choices of today may rule out optimal choices for tomorrow. Some of this is basic architecture stuff - namespaces, recent changes, charters - so perhaps should be at least thought about upfront. -- DaveHarris

Use Abbreviations?

If long names are the problem, some kind of ad hoc abbreviation may be the solution. In HTML we can make the visible text be anything; in particular we can make it shorter than the full link. For instance, we already use BracketedLinks here.

Moreover, just in terms of sheer screen space we could use very short 3-4 character wide symbols such as [\|] and !$>~ and l_J that would allow for more names in fewer characters. We could use them for wikis, or people. ASCII art lovers would just wilt.

SmileySquatting, anyone?


Abbreviations are evil. Use Wiki:MeaningfulNames.


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