Hierarchal Structure

Most of the page below is specifically about the idea of a Wiki Page having a "Parent" page in Zwiki (and some other WikiEngine-s like TracWiki).

But it can also apply to

If you create a "hierarchal" zwiki web you will see that zwiki keeps track of parent-child relationships between pages. Context and overview links are displayed at the top of each page.

When you create a new page, it's parent will be the page on which you clicked the ? link. You can change the parent, or add more, by clicking on the page title.

Bill Seitz notes

I noticed Dave's comment too. Do you know of anyone actually making good use of Zwiki's hierarchy? I usually find it distracting (especially when people create unrelated children), but i haven't mucked around in Zwikis as much as you obviously have. I tried to play with it some, e.g. reparent Abbe Normal to John Abbe, but i needed a password. What are the consequences of something having two parents, or setting up a loop where A is parent to B is parent to C is parent to A? --John Abbe

  • reply: I find that if you've entered a wiki directly to a non-Front page (link from elsewhere, search engine, etc.), having the hierarchy provides some context. Even more often, I often find that making edits to a page may inspire me to make edits to a parent or grandparent page. So it's a quick way to jump.

  • I haven't tried making weird loops, but having multiple parents simply results in a bushier tree up top (in theory everything leads back to Front Page, so the tree starts there and generates two branches at the point where the ancestry of the two parents differs). I generally avoid having multiple parents, but it's occasionally not a bad idea (though the general BackLinks feature makes it less necessary). See Abbe Normal page for example (I changed the parenting just now).

  • A bigger concern for me is having too many levels taking up vertical and horizontal space. At some point, I may want to tweak the code to only show parents and grandparents.

  • (And yes, reparenting is like editing, I'm the only one who can do it.) -Bill Seitz

What does the parent-child relationship actually mean to you when you're looking at it?

Hey, i just noticed this page has no parent. How does that happen? --John Abbe, who has now Abbe Normal/001013803624.71-WikiHierarchiesRedux">blogged about this.

re Zwiki Hierarchal Structure vs Userland Manila directories (see Dave Winer 1 and John Abbe [2](http://www.ourpla.net/cgi-bin/pikie.cgi?_Abbe Normal/001013803624.71-WikiHierarchiesRedux) )

I personally find hierarchies less useful than they appear above a certain size. That may color this perspective...

I think of Manila directories as drill-down navigational schemas: you start at the top, looking for something, and drill down in hopes of finding it (maybe not a specific item, but some item that will server a certain purpose, e.g. a tutorial on CSS).

I think of the Zwiki hierarchy as a disperse-outward (Bread Crumb) tool: you start at an "internal" page, which you got to by some random means (Wiki Name reference on another page, search/find, RecentChanges, external search engine, etc), and you want a little context as to why that page exists. Just seeing the ancestry helps, and being able to jump to any previous generation in one click to browse makes it even better.

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