[pmwiki-users] RFC: Indexing categories and links

Peter Bowers pbowers at pobox.com
Sun Mar 7 06:10:31 CST 2010

2010/3/7 Oliver Betz <list_ob at gmx.net>:
> To me, [[!Name]] always was just a shortcut (and an abstraction of the
> category group name).

Yes, obviously with the abstraction being the more important idea as
compared to the minimal benefit of saving a few keystrokes.  An
administrator could easily change the group for profiles or categories
or etc. (for instance, if the wiki is in a different language and
"Category" needs translation) and the prefix operators will still

> I can't imagine why someone could like to link to [[Category/Name]]
> but not want the link listed in the "backlinks" to the category page.
> Could someone explain a scenario where the separation useful?

You have a set of pages which are tagged with various categories.
Call them data pages.  Then you have other pages which access those
pages.  Call them view pages.  The view pages will certainly reference
the various categories, but they aren't really part of that category
-- they are USERS OF/POINTERS TO the category rather than MEMBERS of
the category.  I don't want to try to find MEMBERS of my category and
find instead a long list of various pages that ACCESS that category
but are not really part of it...

> Besides this, the ! shortcut is something one has to _learn_. Someone
> using also other wikis (without such a shortcut) might not consider
> the ! shortcut and use the long version to get a page listed in the
> category.
> "Backlinks" used as "Category" links is a basic, old Wiki technique,
> likely some users are confused if PmWiki changes this to a tagging
> tool.

In a world of too much data and not enough information I would argue
that any method of organizing data into information is probably going
to find many more creative uses than we initially envision.  If a
given wiki or community doesn't see the value then they simply don't
use it...

> [...link prefixes...]
>>the wiki, like for example
>>  [[:Name]] = [[Projects/Name]] or
>>  [[@Name]] = [[Tags/Name]] or
>>  [[+Name]] = [[ToDo/Name]] etc.
> [...]
>>So my second question is should we enable this link-prefix feature?

The initial discussion (http://pmwiki.org/wiki/PITS/01095) came up
because [[~Sam]] is implemented in separate code/rules from [[!Sam]]
and different code/rules again from [[Profiles.Sam]].  This resulted
in [[Profiles.Sam|My Profile Page]] working but [[~Sam|My Profile
Page]] not working -- or the [[...|+]] or etc.  So the idea was to
change the handling of [[~Sam]] and [[!Sam]] to re-use the code from
standard links, thus arriving at a greater degree of consistency.  A
side benefit, depending on how it is implemented, was that it would
then be easier for an administrator to add additional prefixes through
a standardized configuration.

>From there we've gone on to the somewhat related concept of
differentiating between [[Category.Fiction]] and [[!Fiction]] in
pagelists  (http://pmwiki.org/wiki/PITS/00447).

So these 3 concepts (re-used code for links, configurable capability
of adding prefixes, differentiating prefixed links from normal links)
built one on top of another are not necessarily "all-or-nothing".  We
can still implement something that makes [[~Sam|+]] work, even if
there's no way to differentiate between Category.Fiction and !Fiction
in a link...  And if it complicates things it doesn't have to have a
configuration for additional prefix operators.

Hope that clarifies rather than muddies the waters...


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