Why I learned to Love MediaWiki
It seems that Wikipedia’s are everywhere, from the parent site that has spawned them all, to countless wiki’s for TV shows, videogames, books, and other topics. They’ve become the go-to for information in the world.
I’ve often thought about creating a wiki for my own book series, but it always seemed so complicated with the hyperlinks and photos and hundreds of pages of lore in the series until I discovered MediaWiki.
MediaWiki is basically a wiki starter kit that can be downloaded and it gives you all the tools to create and maintain your own version of the classic website.
The project’s code is maintained by an active organization, and it is designed for large wikis that have an active following. This protects it from vandalism and malware attacks, and the content is also designed to be used and borrowed from.
Wiki’s can be edited, either by everyone or a select few, allowing the information to be kept up to date. Hyperlinks can snare a reader and get them lost in the pages of lore, and I found that maintaining the wiki was easy once I started setting up the pages.
Various extensions and add-on programs allowed me to change everything from the color of the background text to how I could manage edits that others made, and it was easy to tweak the user interface to ensure that my wiki was a world all its own.
Finally, all my world building and backstory wasn’t something I had to toss down the tubes because it would bog down the story. Instead, I could write out my knowledge and lore to my heart’s content and then stick it on the wiki where it would be valued.
My expert knowledge began to become public, allowing the people who were deep thinkers like me to really delve into my process of world generation and understand the rich backstory behind the characters and settings.
I could let them get lost in countless battles, lore, feuds, kings, and the aftermath and prequels of the events of my series, making it easy to understand and putting all the data in one place for me to see it when I needed to reference my own universe.
The best part was when superfans came to the wiki and wanted to correct errors I had accidentally made or wanted to help me keep it up to date. I could say yes and use the wiki to build my community, while also working on my next book.
By connecting with the readers of my books and not only filling my wiki with worthwhile information that they wanted to read, but also sharing my knowledge and treating the site like one big reference section, I feel better about introducing complex lore.
Now my universe is all in one place and I can keep adding to the monster it’s become as I expand my series, and without MediaWiki making it easy, I wouldn’t be able to focus on my work.