Wiki Patterns - Best Practices for wiki use and adoption

At one point, someone created a great site that aggregated a lot of the best practices an adoption ideas for wiki usage and adoption called Like a lot of the good things on the web, that site seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Below are the links to the pages still useful and archived in the Internet Archive (Called the Wayback machine) for anyone looking for them. We may mirror some of the best content here and start expanding on it.

People Patterns

People Anti-Patterns

Adoption Patterns

Adoption Anti-Patterns

90-9-1 Theory Bully Agenda All wiki all the time
Acknowledge Goodness ContributorForHire Agile Lifecycle BeanCounter
Ambassador Copyright infringement Assess Wiki-Ability Branch Mess
BarnRaising Do it all Automatic Index Build it and they will come
Champion Gate Built-in obsolescence Bully
Contributor Leech Business Units - Buckets ButTheIntranet
DefendYourself OverOrganizer CamelCase ContributorForHire
IdentityMatters Records Manager Clean Permissions DesignByCommittee
Invitation SpeedyDeletion Communication EmptyPages
Maintainer TransparencyComplaints Community Portal Inconsistent Spaces
My Personal Info Vandal Community Write Manager Lockdown
PageMaintainer webpageChampion Conferences One Way Street
Patron (or Sponsor) WikiNoob ContentAlert One Wiki space per Group
Spectator Wikiphobia Corporate Directory OneHammer
Viral WikiTroll Critical Mass PageOwnership
Welcoming   Email to Wiki Records Manager
Wiki Charter   EngagementLadder Registration Required
WikiGardener   FAQ Sandbox
WikiGnome   Flying Under the Radar (FUR) ThreadMess
WikiZenMaster   FutureLinks Too much structure
    How to use this site Training
    Intentional Error Vandal
    Labels and Key Words wikiPaintBrush
    Lunch Menu Wikiphobia
    Manuals and Guides  
    Masters and Scribes  
    Naming Conventions  
    Networked Information  
    New Starter  
    Oh That  
    One Wiki space per Group  
    Permission Granted  
    Permission Patterns Overview  
    Quote Participants  

About Wikipatterns

There is no 'right' way to use a wiki. The fantastic thing about wikis, and the reason they have been so successful, is that they are built from the ground up by the people who use them. That way, the structure of a wiki, and how it is used, comes to mirror how the people using the wiki want to structure it, how they want to use it.

One of the most common misconceptions about patterns are that they are somehow recipes. With that misunderstanding, you would read this site as a list of instructions: how to set up initial content, how to encourage people to contribute, how to deal with disruptive elements. Wikipatterns is not an instruction manual, it's a set of tools. It's examples of techniques that have helped people, and of situations that people have found themselves in that they wished they hadn't. We want to help to identify a nail, and know you might want to hit it with a hammer. We recommend against grabbing a bag of nails and hammering them into every wall just in case it turns out to be a good idea.

What is a pattern?

The concept of a pattern was introduced by the architect Christopher Alexander in his book The Timeless Way of Building. Alexander described a pattern as "a three part rule, which expresses a relation between a certain context, a problem, and a solution".

Patterns recognise techniques and constructs that practitioners of a craft have come across repeatedly, and presents them in a particular format or "pattern language", which describes in what context these techniques arise, what problem they solve, and how they solve them.

A pattern is a model considered worthy of imitation (i.e., if it worked for others, it can work for you). Newcomers can benefit from their predecessors' experiences so they don't have to make the same mistakes fumbling around for the same solutions to the same problems. Just as importantly, patterns give adepts a shared language in which to speak about these common concepts.

For example, anyone who has used a wiki for some time knows that it's good to have people around who will fix up typos and broken links, and make sure pages are in their correct categories. A pattern makes it easier to talk about these people because it gives them a name (WikiGardener), and also explains that the best way to encourage WikiGardeners is to have a wiki where everyone is comfortable editing pages, and there is no rigid ownership of content.

Pattern Languages

One of the most important parts of any catalogue of patterns is the pattern language. This is the template to which all patterns should be written, ensuring that for each pattern, all of Alexander's "three part rule" is properly covered.

For information on the pattern language we use for wikipatterns, read The WikiPatterns Pattern Language.


Antipatterns are patterns that represent a negative behaviour or consequence. They describe situations that you'd rather didn't occur, but that are common nonetheless.

The most important part of an Antipattern is the refactored solution, which answers the question: "If we find ourselves in this situation, how best can we extricate ourselves from it and get back on track?"