10 Things You Didn't Know About PBwiki (Tip #22)

7 Jun

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Ramit Sethi (PBwiki marketing guru) and I spoke recently about doing something a little different before I continue with your regularly scheduled Tip programming, so this is what we’ve decided: PBwiki has a lot of information spread out all over the place, and it’d be nice to pick a few of these things and consolidate them all in one place for users to reference. If this is helpful, I may do it once or twice more in the future. Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or e-mailing me at jason.nguyen@pbworks.com

Now, I’m not saying that you won’t know all 10 of the things on the list, but for the average PBwiki citizen, a lot of these things might be new. If none of them are new to you, then you’re probably as much of a PBwiki geek as me and you need to get some air *wink*. Anyway, on with the list:

10. Upcoming Features List

Our upcoming features list can be accessed at the official PBwiki wiki, Yummy. It’s updated fairly regularly and gives users a road-map to see where PBwiki might be headed. If you’re looking a job, you might even look at our job listings in the same wiki.

9. New Features

New Features has now moved here to the PBwiki Blog as its own category. Look here first to see what new stuff we have up our sleeves.

8. The New Official FAQ

For the past few weeks or so, I’ve joined PBwiki’s excellent Tech Support staff (clearly made MORE excellent by my presence), and I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t even realize that the PBwiki FAQ exists. It’s a wonderful resource and in some cases gives much more comprehensive help than the help system is capable of. Some highlight pages:

7. Curious about PBwiki privacy and security? (Blog post)

A fairly recent entry (April 26th, 2007) in this blog in which David Weekly gives some of the details of PBwiki’s security measures. There aren’t enough details there for you to pull an Ocean’s 13-esque heist, but it’ll definitely give you a little piece of mind.

6. my.pbworks.com – PBwiki Identities

Most PBwiki users still log in using the wiki-wide password, and that option is always available, but for people involved in multiple wikis, you probably want a cleaner solution. Use Identities to manage all your wikis under one password. For more information on Identities, see:

5. “The problem is not access controls!” (Blog post)

A poignant post to the PBwiki blog by Ramit Sethi on controlling access to a wiki (or rather, how it might not always be as important as you think) and wiki philosophy in general. A lot of people try to use their wikis like any other webpage, which in some cases is justified, but many others are limiting the possibilities of their wikis by worrying too much about controlling things. As Ramit states, “The problem is not access controls! The real problem is figuring out how to get people to contribute to a community.�

4. PBwiki launches tagging

Tagging has been around for a while on PBwiki now, but it’s been pretty hush so far. Even though changes to the tagging system are not high on the priority list at the moment, I think many users can still find uses for the awesome organization power they afford. For example, I describe in this blog entry how to use tags to help categorize your existing pages.

3. non-educational.pbworks.com

This wiki is basically a giant PBwiki SandBox open to any user. If you’re trying out a new layout or would like someone else to help you with something, try creating it in this wiki and then writing a post to the PBwiki Forums to point it out to other users there.

(BTW, it’s called “non-educational” because when it was created, it’s category designation was something other than “educational,” although I forget what it was. The reason for this distinction was that only “educational” wikis were being tested with the new 3-tabbed SideBars, and forum users wanted a way to test both. For that reason, educational.pbworks.com also exists as a public sandbox, and after the launch of the Point-and-Click Editor, forum users created wysiwyg-test.pbworks.com)

2. Widget PBwiki Extension Library

Michael Brutsch, the official PBwiki Forum Troll, and I have teamed up over the past few months to create a library of unofficial Javascript functions that add new features and functionality to PBwiki. Although it’s a 3rd party product, my inside knowledge of PBwiki and Michael’s troll-icious hacking abilities together make for a pretty reliable set of scripts.

You can visit our wiki in the link above or drop by our thread in the PBwiki forums.

1. Meet the PBwiki team!

When I started working with the PBwiki Team, I swear that page had maybe 5 names on it. Now it’s growing quite a bit, and I think it’s cool to know who’s working behind the scenes on such a great product.

Conclusion

I’ll go back to explaining CSS to you next time, and then maybe take a break for something a little simpler for our newer users. In the meantime, I always welcome your comments, either here, or by e-mailing me at jason.nguyen@pbworks.com.

See the rest of my tips here.

-Jason Nguyen

3 Responses to “10 Things You Didn't Know About PBwiki (Tip #22)”

  1. Gladys June 8, 2007 at 1:24 pm #

    My favourite features are my.pbwiki, tags and the widget extension library (growing day by day, right?). It’s been nice to read about all of these features here, and I certainly needed a break so that I can “digest” your previous post on CSS before you go for more!

  2. Jia Jing June 9, 2007 at 7:27 am #

    Thanks for the highlights :) I have one tiny problem here but have yet found the solution. May I know how do i remove a page from my PbWiki? I mistakenly created two similar pages and need to deleted either one. Please advise. Thanks again!

  3. David June 11, 2007 at 12:20 pm #

    Unfortunately, the problem is access controls. As the Jan. 12th Tip 5 notes, if someone’s still proving themselves, you don’t want them having unfettered access to your wiki. I’ve had participants in the past get into nasty editing wars, and deleting others contents before I knew about it!

    As nice as Ramit’s post is (and I do acknowledge, building a community is key), without the option to have a more limited author-level, even a single bad egg (or argument) can destroy a wiki. Mine never recovered from the contributor’s quarrel, as the people involved stopped participating. Now, that’s clearly a social issue – but the situation wouldn’t have gotten as out of hand if they had been unable to delete pages and revisions.

    So it’s truly regrettable that PBwiki’s free wiki’s don’t include Contributor access levels to allow people to throw open the doors and invite anybody to come and participate — without risking their entire site.

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