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What is MediaWiki?
MediaWiki is a free software open source wiki package written in PHP, originally for use on Wikipedia. It is now also used by several other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and by many other wikis, including this website, the home of MediaWiki.
Many of us are familiar with Wikipedia – the online, ever-growing encyclopedia. Wikipedia is developed on the understanding that open collaboration without bottlenecks provides the widest range of accurate information.
What you may not know is that Wikipedia also developed MediaWiki – open source software that organizations and groups can use to build a knowledge base. Some of the most successful organizations are using an internal MediaWiki to store institutional knowledge and share expertise. If it can work for them, why not you?
What is New in MediaWiki 1.25.2?
This is a security and maintenance release of the MediaWiki 1.25 branch.
- SECURITY: Compare API watchlist token in constant time
- SECURITY: Escape error message strings in thumb.php
- SECURITY: Don’t leak autoblocked IP addresses on Special:DeletedContributions
- Fix InstantCommons parameters to handle the new HTTPS-only policy of Wikimedia Commons.
- Setting a configuration setting for skin or extension to false in LocalSettings.php was not working.
- API action=opensearch json output no longer breaks when $wgDebugToolbar is enabled.
- Using an extension.json or skin.json file which has a “manifest_version” property for 1.26 compatability will no longer trigger warnings.
- Running updateSearchIndex.php will not throw an error as page_restrictions has been added to the locked table list.
- Special: Version would throw notices if using SVN due to an incorrectly named variable. Add an additional check that an index is defined.
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Why You Should Use MediaWiki?
Have you ever wondered how you are going to transfer information about a project to new resource? Or how to keep important information up to date? A wiki may be the answer.
Here’s why using a tool like MediaWiki could make a difference:
Knowledge is Power
We’ve all heard this adage before, but it’s still a good one. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you are, the more likely you find the opportunity, the better chance you have to succeed. The more people in an organization with knowledge the better the company performs. A wiki helps because many people can access the same information any time they want to, without having to request information from other resources.
More Accurate Information
How many of you received a printed document of company benefits on your first day, only to find out the information is already out of date? How effective is incomplete information and the resulting search to find the accurate information? Wikis allow constant updates, so information is more likely to be accurate and up to date. It also doesn’t rely on one person or one team to check and update the information; anyone can do it.
Reducing bottlenecks and increasing efficiencies is common language in the business world. Why not apply these foundations to knowledge? The more people share, the more people contribute, the more efficient and effective our institutional knowledge. Dispersing the ability to share and document knowledge directly correlates to an open, transparent, and efficient business. Wiki’s make this happen.
Expert Knowledge Becomes Institutional Knowledge
This is huge. In every organization, there are some people who have a wider breath of understanding or a deeper expertise of knowledge. These people can be extremely effective in helping an organization succeed. But what happens when that person leaves for a new opportunity? Or calls in sick? All that expert knowledge is inaccessible. However, if the information is stored and shared among colleagues, the expert knowledge becomes institutional knowledge that can be shared across the organization.