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manual_of_style:unmanageable_matrioshka_namespaces

Bad Editing Habits : Unmanageable "Matrioshka" namespaces

This is an article that explains often recurring issues with the method of stacking too many namespaces into one wiki page adress.

Starting point info

Namespaces on DokuWiki can be (for lack of a better term) “stacked”. For example, instead of creating just [[offtopic: ]], you can create [[offtopic:mynamespace1:mynamespace2:mynamespace3]]. This stacking of namespaces means you're adding an additional namespace to an already existing namespace in a page's adress.


Explanation of the issue

Unfortunately, this can be abused a little too much, rendering searching the wiki and especially linking to wiki pages a real hassle. Just imagine that this page, with its already long name, consisting of three rather long words, also included up to three, five, maybe even seven namespaces, and potentially more.

“But… But… Aren't namespaces sort of like folders on a computer's operating system?”, you might ask in defense of the practice. Well, yes and no. Yes, they are this in theory. Unfortunately, in practice, this namespace stacking doesn't really function the same way as folder stacking would do on an OS. You're ultimately not putting a page into more and more subfolders. You're instead just expanding the number of namespaces in a wiki page's overall address. The more namespaces you add, the longer and more complex a wiki page's address becomes. And the more complex its link on the wiki.

What you get as a result of that, especially if the number of additional namespaces gets increasingly absurd, is a sort of “Namespace Matrioshka” page that has an overly long address. This makes it difficult to type in its full address when adding a link to it (you're often forced to resort to copying the link or address every single time)


In conclusion, less is more. This counts doubly for namespaces on a wiki using the DokuWiki software. Rather than thinking of additional namespaces as additional folders, think of them as additional identifiers. Ones that can be helpful at times, but are usually wholly unnecessary for creating new wiki pages.


Better alternatives to this approach

As an alternative to using too many namespaces, try to instead use wiki page adress variations that can form logically connected main pages and subpages, all within the same namespace. For instance, you've written an AH story series about ATL developments in the New Netherlands colonies. You decide to create an info page on the series in the [[stories: ]] namespace. Once you finish it, though, you suddenly remember you also want to make a separate page which features a list of characters from the series. Instead of going wild with namespaces, modify the adress of the character subpage in an appropriate way (even if the title of the page will be different). E.g. if your story is called “Tales from the New Netherlands” and the main page of this project has the adress [[stories:tales from the new netherlands]], you could try combinations such as [[stories:tales from the new netherlands - characters]] or [[stories:tales from the new netherlands characters]]. Maybe even something suitably shortened, such as [[stories:tftnn characters]], etc. - though bear in mind that the more similar the adresses of a project's pages are, the more likely they are to be easily found by readers.


See Also

manual_of_style/unmanageable_matrioshka_namespaces.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/14 13:01 by max_sinister