Wiki improvement – Split content into multiple sections?

Yup - I totally accept that. I just put that idea out there as a pipe dream, in case someone had an idea for implementing it, but I am not passionate about it.

I know @nbianca succeeded in respecting the cursor position when inserting canned replies. This fix has been a huge time saver and much, much appreciated on my end. More pipe dreaming, I am sure, but I wonder if it could be possible to do something similar with section headings, e.g. provide a link next to section headings to edit the post and take the cursor directly to that section.

1 Like

If the wiki features aren’t what you’re looking for, what’s stopping you installing mediawiki?

1 Like

I‘m not looking for a dedicated wiki. I really like the fusion of community features (60%) and knowledge-base (30%). The rest is optional :wink:

The right solution for knowledge exchange is the intersection of „records management“ and some kind of healthy / civilized participating.

2 Likes

Well you’ve got a couple of options here I guess:

  • accept the wiki behavior of discourse
  • develop a discourse plugin to extend the wiki functionality
  • deploy a separate wiki

At the point where your wiki post is so enormous that editing it is awkward, and you feel the desire to create a three level nested table of contents for it… I suggest either

  • breaking it up into multiple posts in the same topic

or

  • breaking it up into multiple interlinked topics

or

  • using a different software altogether that is designed first and foremost as a Wikipedia clone

The reason we don’t run into this here is because we don’t write enormous wiki topics.

4 Likes

That makes sense for Meta, but do you see the potential value for Discourse users who do want to maintain longer wiki content?

I’m curious about the resistance to this idea. I love reading really long posts on Discourse with multiple headings, it feels very nice. Is there a specific argument for why editing really long posts with multiple headings shouldn’t also feel very nice?

If Discourse supports writing an enormous post in the first place, why wouldn’t we also want it to support a more convenient way to edit such a post?

2 Likes

Technically you can do anything with any software. You can write a novel on Twitter if you are willing to squeeze it out in an interminable series of 280 character replies-to-replies. That doesn’t, however, mean writing a novel is in any way the goal of Twitter or even a good idea.

Discourse has light wiki aspects, yes, but trying to turn it into a full blown Wikipedia substitute isn’t the goal.

5 Likes

That’s reasonable, but it’s also blowing the request here a bit out of proportion.

Let’s ignore the wiki aspect of this for a second though: at the core this feature request isn’t about wiki-functionality at all, it’s about post-editing.

Let’s say I write an announcement post in my forum about a release I do, and it’s just a long post by its nature. It’s not a wiki post at all, just a really really big post, with multiple headings.

The idea described here would make that much easier to work with, and Discourse supports the creation of that kind of post in the first place. Why is it a bad idea for Discourse to not support easier editing of such a post?

1 Like

Nope, I‘m not asking for rocket science. I‘m looking for a composer function (?) to collapse and expand (= hide) content I‘m not willing to edit. I‘d like to stay focused on some specific section - and - if possible:

  • The opportunity to link the specific headline
  • and have an always up2date automated TOC
3 Likes

No such features are on any of our known roadmaps.

3 Likes

Thank you @codinghorror for the clarity on direction.

@terraboss fwiw I think “wiki” in the topic here is causing some undue bias against your feature request. After reading here and thinking about this, I’ve realized that:

  • This request doesn’t have anything to do with wiki functionality. It’s a request for post-editing that could apply to to any post with multiple headings.

  • Post-length isn’t the primary factor that drives this need. A post with multiple sections, regardless of length, would benefit from section-specific editing.

  • The #release-notes topics here on Meta have some good examples where one might imagine the ux improvement to be gained. I hope the Discourse team might consider that such an improvement would be warranted (and yes, even a good idea) for a non-trivial amount of us who write and edit similar posts on a more frequent basis.

2 Likes

Note that release notes are broken up into several posts in the topic… as previously described…

2 Likes

Yes, but individual posts are often still split further. This one, for example, is 1 of 2 posts but itself has 5 different sections.

I make no assumptions on whether or not the Discourse team would actually welcome such a feature, I only hope that they might consider why others would.

1 Like

I can’t see how these requests would fit with Discourse’s core design/structure.

The post is the basic unit and the requests here propose changes to the core code that would effectively extend post features to multi-section posts or multi-post posts.

Multi-post posts should be rejected because it fundamentally alters the most basic structure of Discourse. While a plug-in could be developed it would add a new relationship that overlays the core structure and is, AFAIK, outside a key assumption assumption of every other plug-in.

Multi-section posts are a far more coherent addition to Discourse which is probably why they have already been mooted in relation to the TOC plug-in which, incidentally, only uses the first post in a topic. IMO multi-section posts would be a good plug-in for the few sites that really need it.

3 Likes

Precisely. This isn’t a limitation of Discourse, as much as a tug of war between what wiki posts are, and how the wiki-lite implementation within Discourse doesn’t align to very specific use-cases.

I’m grateful for the implementation of Wiki which exists in Discourse, there’s enough there for organisations who don’t need a full MediaWiki installation. If it were to get much more involved, then it wouldn’t be as accessible as it is right now.

2 Likes

Thanks @Remah, that’s a great explanation of why this is not a good fit with existing technical design.

@Stephen, upon reflection the wiki connection seems to be mostly noise. The tug of war I see is between whether or not editing a piece of a post, wiki-post or otherwise, is worth the effort.

I can appreciate the argument that given how posts work under the hood, that it isn’t. It’s still a limitation, but perhaps one that is prohibitively expensive to overcome.

It is possible there could be other minor improvements but I am not a fan of the request as stated.

2 Likes

Conceptually a lot of this request is simply on hold until we have a clean way to go from cooked markdown to raw. We don’t have a clean mechanism for this due to certain limitations of markdown.it

We will certainly not “hack something up” here to allow you to edit a section, but if we have a good reverse map this feature could be a trivial change. (as would be markdown syntax highlighting in the editor and a bunch of other interesting features)

11 Likes

Worth noting that Boochani wrote his novel from an Australian detention center using WhatsApp. It took almost five years and later won a significant literary prize. :upside_down_face:

I guess users will abuse any technical service if it somehow meets their needs?

Discourse is IMO for connecting people and conserving knowledge.The question here is primary about UX and usability. Not about writing novels :wink:

By the way: Have a look at this review

You could use a Swiss army knife for fruit :watermelon: :apple: segmentation or just do what ever you want until the requirements will fit. Some people are using 3D printers for weapon manufacturing . :man_facepalming:

1 Like