Wiki Q and A

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

05 Jan 2013, 12:02

Ask your wiki questions here — syntax, style, convention, anything.

User avatar

21 Oct 2013, 20:19

Took some photos of a Olivetti ANK 27-102 N that I have. Do we want wiki pages for this kind of mildly interesting RD keyboard?

User avatar

21 Oct 2013, 20:26

The "notability" debate.

The Wiki won't run out of pages anytime soon. I'd say if something is interesting enough for anyone to write about it, that's all the notability it needs. Certainly on Wikipedia there are arguments about this. Some like to pretend a Wiki is an encyclopedia, so it had better not be too wide to fit on a shelf…

Let the domes have their day.

User avatar

21 Oct 2013, 20:45

So if you interested enough to write a proper page about it it's ok. How about half finished pages? I think there is some kind of value in being able to brows the wiki and only have interesting stuff showing up. But it's also value in having lots of information in the wiki for doing research.

User avatar

21 Oct 2013, 20:54

Wikis aren't random (unless you like to hit the random article button of course) so interesting stuff leads to interesting stuff quite naturally, by linking to each other and sharing categories.

What we're really weighing up is half finished pages vs. nothing at all. There's nothing wrong with stubs, I think. They reassure klutzes like me that we at least have the name right! Once something is in there, it's much easier for the next contributor to add to than starting from scratch.

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

21 Oct 2013, 22:32

tlt wrote:I think there is some kind of value in being able to brows the wiki and only have interesting stuff showing up.
So then you have to define "interesting". I'd like to see a bare minimum of one of everything that's different from everything else. That alone will keep us busy for years. [wiki]Alps integrated dome[/wiki] for example is already up to five documented variants; this product range has also earned itself its very own clone, the [wiki]Maxi Switch integrated dome[/wiki].

There is a bias in work on the wiki towards higher quality and more interesting keyboards, whereas I try to be as fair as possible and cover even the unpopular subjects such as pad printing and rubber domes. At the very least, does that not fall under knowing your enemy? After all, if we're expected to shell out £100, £200, £300 or more for a keyboard, it helps to understand what's wrong with the cheap ones. It's also obvious from the number of people who conflate "membrane" and "rubber dome" that few people actually know how normal keyboards work. Membranes and rubber domes are of course completely orthogonal.

And even then, opening up a cheap keyboard can be an enlightening experience. I opened up my [wiki]BTC 5149[/wiki] purely out of a sense of completeness, and was amazed to find that it's dome over PCB, not membrane. (Like with a number of other pages, I still have more photos to post of that.)

At the very least, the photos of your G81-3000 suggest that you're likely to get some much nicer pictures of membranes and domes that I've been able to pull off so far; my primary reference page for domes is [[AppleDesign Keyboard]], and the photos suck. (Your G81-3000 photos are nice; the only thing I noticed was that the slight blur on them gives the legends a raised appearance, like Cherry's infilled lasering :) The legends in reality are of course completely flush.)

There are plenty of photos still required across many pages, not necessarily of whole keyboards, but other concepts, and any keyboard can be used to illustrate many of them. For example, I don't think there's anything yet about the "media" keys common to many cheap boards (E-mail, Web, Calculator), nor audio keys (pause/play, stop, mute etc), nor integrated volume knobs, nor the issue of moving Insert/Home/Page Up down a row to make room for power keys, or so many other topics. Many of these subjects don't even have a page yet.

User avatar

22 Oct 2013, 07:29

I have tried to take photos indoor before but it's very hard to get decent lighting so I took these outdoors in the middle of the day. There is still not that much light outdoors this time of the year in Sweden so I should have used a tripod. I also don't have an optimal lens. Product photography is its own art form :-)

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

22 Oct 2013, 23:20

For me, it's about accuracy, so far as the wiki is concerned.

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

04 Nov 2013, 22:01

tlt wrote:Took some photos of a Olivetti ANK 27-102 N that I have. Do we want wiki pages for this kind of mildly interesting RD keyboard?
I see that the pictures are up — the page does need at least one picture showing the domes, for identification purposes.

User avatar
Fancy Rank

15 Nov 2013, 00:30

How do you create a new page? (eg. for a new keyboard or switch)

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

15 Nov 2013, 00:35

I finally wrote this up the other day, under Help:

(The Help section of the wiki still needs a lot of work)

User avatar
Fancy Rank

03 Dec 2013, 16:57

Thanks Daniel. I think I've learned a little on how to edit articles in the wiki now.

User avatar

14 Dec 2013, 18:10

How do we handle picture quality in the wiki? I did a quick search but couldn't find requirements.
I guess it's: rather a shitty one than none, only a better one to replace a shitty one and only the best if a good one is already there, -but maybe I'm wrong?
I've got some pics of keyboards/switches not yet pictured in the wiki yet, and I can take pics of stuff that will go on sale/into the dumpster soon, but those are cellphone pics and I'm a total noob to pic editing apart from size and hit the "autocorrect" button in irfanview.

As for the objects:
* Apple design keyboard with Alps comatible sliders (and how to tell them apart from incompatible ones)
* all three Cherry MY switch variants (and a rough guide when they were produced -maybe)
* "White Cream" Alps in an AEK II
* Fokus Fk-2002 in a different color scheme (Escom branded bicolor caps on black case)
* tactile Mitsumi mechanical switch
* some keyboards not yet pictured /mentioned in the wiki yet,
* plus some info on all the above.

Unsure what to do, shall I just create threads in the forum about the topics and you'll decide what to take? cheers.

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

14 Dec 2013, 21:53

Wow … I had no idea IrfanView had automatic colour adjustment, and having tried it on a number of photos, the results range from passable to good. Photoshop's auto-levels always gave me laughably absurd results, but IrfanView typically improves pictures!

There are no actual requirements for image quality. I am not sure that there any requirements for images at all, other than that watermarks are frowned on, and personally I insist that they always have a stated source and preferably licence terms.

I would always prefer to having pictures than having none. I tend not to replace an image unless I can genuinely produce something significantly better (i.e. more than a marginal improvement).

User avatar
Topre Enthusiast

02 Jan 2014, 23:32

Incognito wrote:On the front page of DT I see a line saying something like "Deskthority Wiki" followed by number of "topics" and number of "posts" and then datetime for the "last post" (latest?).
OK so this part that you're talking about actually refers to the last *edit* of the wiki, not the last post in this thread. The value here (currently me) is taken from the most recent change here:

The latest posts in this thread will appear in the 'Latest posts from the Deskthority wiki talk forum' section at the bottom of the main page, but it won't update the value you're talking about on the home page. It's all working how it should, but I can see why you're a bit confused because the labels on the main page don't really have anything to do with a 'Last Post' being made. I'm sure you can understand though that you can't really change it because the 'KNOWLEDGE BASE & MEDIA' section has sub-forums where the titles do make sense.

User avatar
Wild Duck

02 Jan 2014, 23:39

Topics, Posts, Last post and By used to be blank for Deskthority Wiki, I hacked it to something more useful and made those columns reflect total number of wiki articles, total numbers of edits and last wiki change (the best matches).


31 Jan 2014, 05:01

I have been mercilessly editing a few wiki pages without giving much citation/credits where there are due. So that brings some questions:

1) Photos were "ripped" from various sources for and . Most of these photos are not mine and I do not own them (except for one keyboard), those other photos belongs to various owners respectively with the bulk of it comes from this forum in particular:

a) ... t4861.html

b) ... -t749.html

Are these "ok" for use along with certain sources from Japan and other notable websites? I mean one of the issues I guess with the deskthority wiki is the fact that one cannot link photos or files from other websites or even specific deskthority forum attachments for instance which I think is a bit of a pain in hindsight as one would need to do extra work. By extra work I mean download the images first from another site, upload it onto deskthority wiki and then edit accordingly hoping that the other authors of respective sites are ok with it. Then there is the question of better asking them for permission which may become a bit of extra work along with having to deal with language barriers for instance.

2) Certain keyboard manufacturer sites posts intricate information about their keyboards, keyboard switches and various other related paraphenalia. Sites like PFU website which provides lots of information about their range. Now there is a catch:

a) The source of information is in Japanese which foreigners cannot understand without either learning the language and/or getting the information translated so that they can understand.

b) Diagrammatical information provided on website most likely would bear licenses which maybe incompatible to for use with deskthority wiki for instance.

In regards to Happy Hacking Keyboard pages for instance:




Most of these are lacking diagrams which maybe useful for researching. I have tried my best to edit these pages accordingly to give a more useful information where possible, even provided some translation for various documentation pertaining Happy Hacking Keyboard series (via my broken Japanese) however more work is required to bring out more useful information.

My question now lies in whether or not is it possible to use images from PFU website in regards to HHKB for wiki purposes? I could write an email to them I suppose and hope they would be open with the idea but at the same time I am unsure how they will react considering:

a) HHKB Pro is not listed on their North American website, in fact that respective link seems ancient along with vendors that retails such keyboard.

b) HHKB Pro keyboard warranty is not honoured outside Japan (or US if purchased from when respective owners are not residing in either of those countries.

Could these be a sign of PFU unwilling (or even be somewhat hostile)? I guess I will act accordingly after hearing your opinions. In hindsight I also wish there would be more volunteers whom can help donate time and effort into translating technical documentation written in a foreign language. Translations I find gets both tiring and difficult when one does not know the language they are dealing with fully besides we all know translation softwares are like. I know the aforemetioned example above is in Japanese but I am sure there are potentially other keyboard manufacturers whom may provide more information on their respective sites but using their own language.

3) After doing a bit of minor editing on the Cherry G80-5000 keyboard I was thinking of maybe discuss a bit about the designs of keyboard. Should these information be documented on the wiki for possibly HHKB and G80-5000 for example? In terms of the design subsection I am proposing discusses the specific layout of the keyboard. Notably the HHKB is a compact keyboard for instance but then there is HHKB Pro JP (which is what I have - well close to it) whereas the G80-5000 has split layout that allows raising of the keyboard and therefore the ability to "tent" the keyboard. This then brings me some questions:

a) What are the thoughts of a "Design" subsection? I am planning to create it as a subheader via something like:

Code: Select all

b) A possibility with this subsection may break the formation with the rest of the deskthority wiki, on second thoughts maybe the new subsection may not be needed.


What are your thoughts on these? thanks also for reading this excessively long post.

User avatar

31 Jan 2014, 13:12

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

31 Jan 2014, 22:42

  1. I noticed that you were taking images from forum posts and other websites without permission. I won't comment on the use of images from forum topics (I don't have a clear view on that one, as the images are simply being re-used within the same community, albeit without any clearly-defined licensing) but taking images from other websites is not sensible. That upsets people, and I don't know how Fair Use would stretch to that. I restrict the use of images from commercial entities to company logos; I won't even use marketing material as, while Fair Use will likely permit it, it sullies the wiki's neutral point of view with the suggestion that manufacturers might be pushing their own products. Edgar Matias has authorised me to use Matias marketing images, but I won't use them for that reason.

    My rule is that I will always cite references to pages (in whatever language) with the relevant illustrations, until I have obtained permission to reproduce them from the author of the work.

    Hotlinking to images on other websites is not a solution, because websites have a nasty tendency to vanish. Sixty's website is gone, along with all the photos from his forum posts. Wellington's website and domain also vanished, leaving tons of forum topics at geekhack deprived of very useful illustrations. Sandy's website also has a lot of links to sites that have since died. Seeking permission to reproduce photographs on the wiki, and taking original illustrative material, is the best way to ensure that pages are properly illustrated with inline images that will remain forever.
  2. Technical images may be covered by Fair Use. Translation simply comes down to the lack of wiki participation, as plenty of people at DT speak more than one language. mbodrov (?) did an amazing translation of Sandy's old Alps page, but that came after Sandy explained that he'd removed the page due it containing outdated and incorrect information!

    There is a lot to be learned from the Far East where translators could help, for example having another go at trying to get Alps clone switch manufacturer out of Ortek, MacAlly etc (for Chinese speakers), switch specifications and details from Sejin (for Korean speakers), and switch specifications, history and details from Alps, Futaba, SMK, Omron etc (for Japanese speakers).
  3. The reason I went back and removed chimborazo's keyboard key markup on the Focus FK-1001 (?) page was not because it's hideous and distracting, but simply because he had neglected to apply the same change to every single keyboard page across the whole wiki. You just had this one page that, for no apparent reason, looked different to every other. Why he updated just that one page, I have absolutely no clue. I certainly have no plans to apply complex and extremely painful to maintain markup across the whole wiki to bring all the other pages in line, so it had to go. No-one was going to consistently and vigilantly remember to apply it to every mention of every keyboard key in every article everywhere.

    It's of less importance how you want to approach a subject, than that you ensure that you apply this approach consistently and that you don't introduce excruciating upkeep to existing and future pages.

    Of course, sadly, I've done the same too — in the back of my mind, is a collection of notes of things that need to be changed for consistency where I've had different ideas over the past year.

    I also found a number of keyboard pages that didn't have the current layout (infobox, fixed size gallery in its own section, etc), and I've restructured them, and there are still quite a few needing infoboxes; I added one to the G80-5000 page last night, and one day I need to add one to Cherry G80-3700 also.


01 Feb 2014, 07:36

1. Thanks guys for your inputs as well as OO2 for providing feedback on IRC when my connection was getting "maintained" by the ISP (I couldn't browse deskthority at all at the time). For the credits, I have now sent out apologies with request for permission to use the images for the deskthority wiki. I should have probably realised better on how wiki usually are. Thanks for pointing it out by the way - I guess I was too brash/rude on it.

I will try my best I guess to seek permission from corporate entities on certain pictures that is suitable for wiki entries. Thanks Daniel for informing how you went about it with your instance with Matias. I will only for the time being (if and when that day comes) use photos from PFU for photos of HHKB. I am unsure of how much of the rest of the stuff are really marketing but would be interesting to see what would be made available to the public (for pictorial purposes) without turning wiki into a marketing page.

As with the idea of hotlinking, it is true that over time pages disappear and then many photographic or otherwise illustrative images are gone as a result. However I guess what is also a little inconvenient is to feed through one image at a time for wiki entries and hence possibly double handing (by means of having to download a copy of the image first for instance then re-uploading). If say it was possible to tell the wiki to "grab" the photo from some online source (for instance one of the popular image sharing sites has this functionality as well) without requiring one to manually save the file onto their machines. Maybe also an option to "mass upload" images rather than uploading one at a time I guess.

2. Ah I see what you mean there, I think I read something similar on an edit by you on a page that I shamelessly ripped a whole bunch of images and stuff from. Hence I guess that is where without proper source verification it seems that I may have as a result inadvertedly put up the wrong information.

That is true but the lack of translators seems to also be the one thing that I guess is a missing feature on maybe having useful information on the wiki. I recently saw webwit's old thread I think or post on seeing more Korean and Japanese visitors to the site or wiki. In some ways I sort of wish that they could contribute more rather than just spectating. OO2 mentioned that it is easier to consume rather than to contribute (or something like that). I noticed what OO2 meant when I was searching for sandy55 on deskthority forums (turns out sandy55 has account only on geekhack - which might be the actual sandy55 that people were talking about), I noticed that there was a Japanese thread which seems to be a little old: ... t3977.html

3. I don't think I have seen that Focus FK-1001 page. Though I can definitely see what you mean there, maybe instead of creating a subsection within each keyboards maybe it might be better to create a new category and add specific keyboards to that category. Possibly. There is a definite amount of upkeep I suppose when having to maintain each specific pages with a slightly fancy information when maybe it is probably easier to add categories and categorise them as such. I mean for instance one can probably create a new category "compact keyboards" and then within compact keyboards have all those 60% or whatever keyboard within it. Just a thought here maybe if that is too much work I won't bother pushing ahead with the thought.

Thanks for adding infoboxes and tidying up the wiki. Seems like the internet connection is stable on my end and I will eventually start ditching excessive infoboxes on HHKB {Pro,Lite} pages respectively and use table format similar to that found on Realforce page. I was talking to OO2 last night about the same thing but couldn't do anything to wiki (or even visit forums) and apparently OO2 agrees on the idea.

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

01 Feb 2014, 15:21

I didn't explain how I went about anything with Matias … I don't remember how the issue of photographs came up in conversation. I may have asked directly, but I don't recall for certain. Matias product photos are typically clean (just plain photos), but they're all isolated on white, and while there will be people here capable of producing images to that quality level, few people do. I prefer a natural background for keyboards; I only attempt a plain white background for switch disassembly. That's only my personal preference, though.

The problem with Far East visitors is that Asian cultures simply don't pick up English like Europeans do. I communicate with Sandy in English, but his English, while sufficient for conversation, is not adequate for wiki articles, and communicating in English for him is quite time-consuming. doesn't speak any English at all (so it's a horrible Google Translate dance, with Sandy actually able to provide better translations), and nor does MouseFan that I know of; there are other Asians here (rzwv and yab) who can only communicate in English using translation software. My view is this highlights the value of illustration of the wiki, with not just photographs but also diagrams, as it's much more helpful to anyone using Google Translate if they at least have clear pictures of what they're trying to understand.

MediaWiki has an API, so there is nothing to stop anyone from writing a program in VB.NET or PHP that just shows a form for URL, author, source, description etc, and then retrieves the image, builds an {{imagedesc}}, and uploads the image with the constructed description. I would suggest that having something that just leeches images is a bad idea as it would make it all too easy to simply steal work from other websites.

In terms of a new Design section on pages, I am still unclear on your rationale — what would it contain that would no longer be placed in the Description section? I do feel that there's still something of a haphazard approach to page structure, but I don't presently have any clear ideas for a sweeping redesign. The only changes I tend to make in this regard are normalisation of heading names, e.g. Pictures → Gallery, for page-to-page consistency.

User avatar
Topre Enthusiast

02 Feb 2014, 00:20

When I was looking for inspiration on how to lay out the Realforce page, I think I got the 'Design Details' bit from the IBM Enhanced Keyboard page. Maybe it would be better to use 'Description' instead on all pages but I don't think it's a big deal personally.
These days when I make a new page I generally look back on the last few pages I worked on and copy and paste from there because I know they've been cleaned up by or copied from Daniel so the Gallery section and infoboxes are at least very close to most other things on the wiki.
If you want to use 'Design' I might suggest using 'Design Details' but only because two other sprawling pages use it, but otherwise 'Description' is probably better and more commonly used. You could always use 'Description' as a main heading with sub-headings if you think something about the design is interesting enough to deserve it's own little rant :)


02 Feb 2014, 03:47

Daniel, apologies (sounds like I needed coffee when I started writing responses). I was referring to the photos to be used in wiki and the licenses in where they stand. I guess that is more or less is where the source of my concern was. It probably would be harder to source cleaner photos initially but personally I stick by to the theme "pictures describe 1000 words", so even if dirty/soiled/etc it is probably still a start. I guess with wiki and files uploaded to wiki, one can always later on upload a cleaner photo if desired (I sort of did that at one stage).

I agree on the point with Far East visitors, just as it is hard for sandy55 to communicate in English for me it is hard to communicate with my defunct languages (that I know of), nonetheless if one could meet halfway it would probably be nice at least that is my own perception. I mean for Far East visitors to try and somehow explain some complex words as such to be used and for us wiki editors for instance to try and make better translation so that it is understood for Western people (predominantly). Think of say for instance, Cherry MX Brown - it is referred to as "tea" switch. For East visitors they could say that it is known as brown (not tea) and say that the word 茶 is used for instance as a drink, the colour of it. Then for those who meet at half point finds out that it is literally tea but because tea is brown colour it is nicknamed/used as such. Maybe I am probably going a bit overboard but I believe somehow a compromise has to be made for both sides considering professional translators cost money and in some ways free contributors who are keen to share knowledge across borders for instance ideally would be preferred to make compromises to meet things at half way so to speak. Heck they may have bad English, and we (wiki contributors) may have bad understanding of East Asian language, so why not meet at half way?

On the subject of making wiki download images from sites directly, I haven't dug deep on that. Whilst true that it makes stealing work from other sites easily, maybe restrict the access to such features to "power users" of wiki? I mean from trustable users whom have contributed noteworthy information to have access to such functionality in order to make their lives easier. Anyhow it is just a thought really.

About the Design subheader, initially I was thinking of writing keyboard's distinct features such as when compared to an average mechanical keyboard. For instance with HHKB/Poker/Keycool 87/"kishsaver"/etc I could talk about the fact that they are compact keyboards that in some ways mimick keyboards found on laptops for instance where they use Fn keys and are well known for compact design. In addition to things like being smaller than the size of say an DIN A4 paper (notably most modern 60% are more or less complying with such form) it retains minimal layout which may offer keys that are easier for one to access within their reach. For instance, I could then compare about how a normal full sized keyboard has Function keys separated from the "main block" of keys, the arrow cluster is also separated, etc. On a 60% or compact layout all these are brought closer so that one does not have to "stretch" their limbs to reach the various cluster groups that are normally evident on a full sized keyboard for instance.

Likewise with the idea of design on ergonomic keyboards, although ergonomic keyboards are a very broad term to describe keyboards which adds a bit of a fancy flair to their design. Ergonomic keyboards for instance found on split keyboards are styled to limbs somewhat apart from each other as well as to possibly enable one to have their palms resting at various spots on the desk or palm rest for that matter (even floating if need be). In addition to all this split keyboards in some ways adhere to the form that it compliments touch typists whom hit keys from their respective groups (think of QWERTY and the home row keys - how the various touch typing programs teaches one to hit certain keys with certain fingers). For ergonomic keyboards this is really just pointing at the tip of the iceberg in comparison to standard keyboards, there are plenty more variations that an ergonomic keyboard could have.

As of writing this and thinking of maybe instead create a sub-category for such groups of keyboards to be categorised as, there is (yet) another category, chorded keyboards. The way they are designed is to prevent one having to hit excessive amounts of keys just to achieve the desired result (however it is also designed to depend heavily on the software as a result).

Nevermind, as I was browsing through category on deskthority wiki, I noticed there were categories made for those instances: (see 60% boards and ergonomic boards). Time to expand on those subcategories by possibly describing more on the topic of it. Thanks anyway for inputs on the Design idea. Those two categories should be more than enough to get me started. :D

OO2, Yeah I was thinking instead of writing a new sub-section (via as a sub header under a wiki page) I thought that it would definitely break uniform structure that the wiki already has. Besides the amount of information one may need to provide when discussing about a particular subject might be overwhelming. I wrote that Tai-Hao APC semi-mechanical keyboard page with all the information that I have amassed and writing from more or less a ground up I realised that it was quite overwhelming for the amount of information to make the wiki page look worthy enough.

Point is that my idea has been overruled, I noticed the 60% and ergonomic keyboards having their own categories under the "list keyboards by type".

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

02 Feb 2014, 04:50

I'm tired, but one thing I just noticed … actually, everything I've noticed to date:
  • The whole introduction is too long, as the table of contents has ended up too far down. The main purpose of the Description section in my view is just to work around the retarded way MediaWiki puts the TOC above the first subheading, not at the top of the page
  • "Availability" suggests "who stocks this?" which is why, for switch pages, I've been renaming it to "Keyboards", as most switches are obsolete now (production switches are in Category:Production switches¹); I don't even know what it means on a keyboard page, as the wiki cannot practically list all known stockists for every keyboard in real time
  • Further reading and patent sections lack bullets
  • The first patent reference (to your site?) does not lead to any mention or depiction of the patent
¹ I just spotted that I didn't remove AK-CN2 and AK-DN2 from production switches; they're now confirmed obsolete — I'll fix that now


02 Feb 2014, 14:23

  • I guess the introductory bits could be worked around by placing useful stuff into the Description section instead. I will look into fixing up the pages I am more or less active on.
  • True, however I somewhat think that it is nice to suggest of a link to give people some ideas. It may sound like unneeded advertising but for now some of the links maybe useful to suggest as a "placeholder" for models as such lacking pictorials, pricing, etc. I mean it is also inevitable that most availability pages are dynamically generated and therefore can be subject to change without much notice though in some ways I hope for the visitors would be diligent enough to go dig up relevant sources for themselves.

    Ultimately a wiki page that may show handy information I guess potentially allows viewers to cross compare things with ease. Contrary to that is it really gives the wiki editors more work even if it was there for temporary linking things that needs to be added soon (or later).
  • Yup, though for the pages that I am actively on I am trying to make it look similar to wikipedia in terms of that. Not sure on what could be done on the patents however but I guess one could sort of modify that within infoboxes for instance as needed.
  • I will correct that, it was to cite the patent number the actual board which bears that patent number. Thanks for pointing it out.
On latter thoughts I think all these points refer to the APC semi-mechanical clicker boards you were referring to. Ahh crap. :? oh well I'll address those soonish. In some ways I like to partly admit that it looks similar to another wiki page that I ripped the layout from. Anyhow it'll get fixed as I guess I was somewhat new to writing up a completely new wiki page. I still am sort of new at writing wiki stuff. I guess you can see my messy work in various stages as I am trying to improve the layout as well as making the pages more useful rather than a whole bunch of bric-a-brac (this and that) everywhere with pointers that seems to not get one anywhere.

Sometimes when it comes to amassing a large amount of information for making it suitable for reading, it is not easy in some ways for beginners (I must admit. :P) Thankfully I am not writing a thesis paper here or something. :D

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

02 Feb 2014, 15:41

That's one of the problems: the pages aren't truly dynamically generated. If you know your database normalisation, you'll realise that the wiki pages violate every normal form. There's virtually nothing useful that you can change without having to remember or determine what other pages need to be modified. Infoboxes, page content and categories all form a horribly denormalised space of multiple levels of duplicate data.

The only solution would be to confine the MediaWiki rendering and versioning engines to being internal components of a parts catalogue–orientated database application, with the categorisation and infoboxes generated dynamically from table columns (heavily based on foreign keys to permit global nomenclature revisions), and the ability to derive tables and lists from this data directly. Writing the database part of this would be fairly easy, but the hard part would be embedding MediaWiki, or creating a reasonably compatible MediaWiki markup parser with basic versioning; it may not be necessary to implement templates, as templates would be replaced with HTML generators running off the database (e.g. keyboard → infobox, switch family → table).

The new software might actually be worth releasing publicly for anyone else who needs a parts catalogue–oriented wiki, i.e. one where a formal database structure underpins the page content. You would gain the ability to add a powerful graphical interface to it, that would also help people enormously. This would of course add a large requirement to it that it be extensively generic, i.e. the software wouldn't know what a "keyboard" is, only that in the admin panel, you'd have it create a new database table "class_keyboard" and define all the foreign key relationships, e.g. class Keyboard has a one to many relationship with class Keyswitch (which would internally generate a table map_keyboard_keyswitch).


04 Feb 2014, 05:22

True though I am a little confused on second paragraph. I guess ultimately if such a parts catalogue-orientated wiki it might be far more of an upkeep as opposed to just having a (simpler) wiki showing photos of items that some of the manufacturers once had (either hosted on their server, etc or otherwise on other people's sites). Not that I oppose on your idea, just at a guess some ideal things maybe a bit of hinderence to maintain even though the basis of wiki is to provide some solid information on useful things.

Just a little minor update on image attributions issue. I have already sought permissions (along with writing apologies - I guess one learns something new everyday :oops:) from four authors. Two of them have already given me the green light :D , one of them has not responded (yet) and another one has an invalid email account. My question now is with the last one (the one that has the emails being bounced due to invalid username or account), I guess it is not ok to use their photos without their permission? :| The specific source is Qwerters clinic.

User avatar
Topre Enthusiast

04 Feb 2014, 11:36

tuxsavvy wrote:I guess it is not ok to use their photos without their permission? :| The specific source is Qwerters clinic.
Correct :)
I am not even sure who it is that runs Qwerter's Clinic (K.Tanaka perhaps?) but it's pretty old school and I've used it for a lot of Topre references myself. I at least think that whoever runs it has been active at least once in 2013 as I had to update all the links in December after they changed hosts from to

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

04 Feb 2014, 23:34

tuxsavvy: I don't mean that literally. MediaWiki, like most wikis, is oriented around fully free-text pages with fairly loose tag-style categorisation. The Deskthority wiki is different in that a significant portion of pages are parts or products with specific parameters where it's actually extremely useful to be able to index, tabulate and query these parameters, which is why were are supposed to be getting a dedicated keyboard database.

It's not what wikis were really designed for. However, even with Wikipedia you still have issues with the hugely denormalised data.

I don't know if K Tanaka is still around; maybe ask Sandy?

User avatar
Wild Duck

05 Feb 2014, 00:05

Daniel Beardsmore wrote:Ask your wiki questions here — syntax, style, convention, anything.
Should the wiki allow anonymous contributions to decrease the barrier of entrance, or not because of possible pollution and quality problems?

Post Reply

Return to “Deskthority wiki talk”