[MediaWiki-l] Reorganizing your wiki when the whole world changes...?

Daniel Barrett danb at VistaPrint.com
Mon Nov 3 14:45:31 UTC 2014

Imagine the impact on Wikipedia if, say, the periodic table of the elements from chemistry was completely revamped, changing the name of every element, the groupings of elements, etc. It's easy enough to fix the Periodic Table<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodic_table> article, but what about the thousands of other articles<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ASearch&profile=default&search=hydrogen&fulltext=Search> that include the word "hydrogen"? They are all instantly wrong. Fortunately this doesn't happen often!

However, this kind of situation happens all the time in companies that have internal MediaWiki sites. The company reorganizes, changing the names and missions of all the teams, repartitioning into groups that don't map one-to-one with the old teams. Suddenly, in one second, thousands of wiki articles are wrong.

I'm wondering if anybody has been successful at getting a company wiki to survive this kind of change...?

My company has a very successful wiki with 200,000 topics, and these company reorganizations are extremely destructive to the wiki. Thousands of article titles contain the names of teams. Tens of thousands of articles include team names in their content. Every article that doesn't get fixed is an error, waiting to confuse a new employee.

Automatic search-and-replace does not really help except in the simplest cases.

We've mostly relied on recategorization and mass article renaming, both using Pywikibot. But this does not fix the article content. In an ideal world, each page would have an "owner" who would take the initiative to fix the content; but in companies, everybody is busy with other work, and pages don't really have owners... some were even written by ex-employees.

Any suggestions appreciated!

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