Cleaning up pages on this wiki

There are many thousands of pages on this wiki, each with a unique title.

When creating new pages, keep the following in mind:

  • pages can not easily be renamed (well... see below)
  • pages are cheap, dirt cheap, feel free to split pages up
  • empty pages are cheap too - feel free to move content and clear the old page

Choose page titles wisely

Apart from chronological order in page numbering, a wiki really has no start or end. People are bound to enter it from every conceivable angle, via search, URL references, and browsing. Reaching a page called "My app" on this wiki will probably confuse almost anyone, probably best not to pick such a page title.

In essence, you'll need to walk a fine line between assuming too much context and being too verbose. Perhaps this helps:

  • when choosing a page title, assume people are coming from some other web site and expect a Tcl-related page
  • do not assume they come from some specific page, don't pick titles like "Example 1", "Next step", and so on

Cleaning up page titles

Pages never disappear completely from this wiki once created. Combined with the fact that pages can not easily be renamed, the only way to fix or alter a page is to copy its contents to a new one with the correct title.

Having said that, you can easily make a page become unnoticed:

  • remove all other references to the page on this wiki
  • i.e. when renaming, adjust all references to the page

Once all references are gone, the page title will stop being a hyperlink and will (on most browsers) become black.

Restoring previous version of a page

When a previous version of a page needs to be restored (e.g. due to spamming) this can be done using these steps:

  • Go to the page you want to restore
  • Select History from the menu on the left
  • In the history table, try to find the version you want to restore. You can click on the revisions in the Rev column, look at who did the modifications, ...
  • When you found the version you want to restore, click on the link to it in the WikiText column. Now you can see the raw wiki text for the revision you want to restore.
  • Copy the wiki text
  • Go back to the page you want to restore
  • Choose Edit from the menu on the left (or at the bottom)
  • Replace the wiki text with the one you copied
  • Save the page

Cleaning up page contents

Feel free to move pages around, split long pages up, and move obsolete content to pages with a proper title ("Old discussion about vwait", etc).

LV I do suggest that, before doing a LOT of this kind of thing, you might ask around to see what others think of the idea. It is rather frustrating to start a major project and find out that someone with more time than you objects and plans on undoing whatever you do. Note that I understand this might discourage the more timid of the readers. I really regret that, because I'd love to see more people working on pages. But I am trying to be realistic, after seeing projects of my own and others kiboshed because of conflicting expectations.

Removing content which is not absolutely totally blatantly outdated or clearly offensive is usually frowned upon in wiki-land. While a lot of contributions are unfortunately anonymous, people might resent seeing stuff deleted which is at best perhaps merely disagreeable to some.

But yes, you can remove content, that's what wikis allow after all. There is always the revisions link at the bottom of each page to find deleted conten and allow it to be brought back (every change is recorded there once a day).

And there is a way to make a page essentially gone: replace its contents by a single space. When there are no more references to the page and its contents is one space, it will cease to be a hyperlink on the Recent Changes page. After a week or so, it will have dropped off the Recent Changes page, at which point very few people will ever bump into it again (it will no longer show up in searches either).

Such empty pages take perhaps 5 bytes or so on disk (plus the title). So do pages which have not yet been filled in.

Renaming page titles

While the web interface has no way to rename pages, the Tk interface does allow this. So if you have your own wikit set up, you can run it with Tk and rename as needed - referencing pages will also be adjusted.

In the case of this Tcler's Wiki, if there is a page which needs to be renamed (an obvious typo, say), send me an email with the page number and I'll do it for you (long live SSH X11 forwarding!).


This Wiki has a lot of dead links. In some cases they can be updated, but in many cases this is hard or impossible (the page has gone away completely). Is complete removal then OK?

There is also a lot of badly dated discussion ("the link is dead", "no its back" and similar) which clutters up a lot of pages. See castle for an example - at the time of writing the first part of the page consists of a dead link and discussion about whether the link works. Everything useful requires scrolling down.

LV In my opinion, it would be useful to attempt to locate the resource in question. There is at least one web site which captures contents of web pages over time (isn't it called the "Way back archive" or some such thing?). Lars H: That's the Wayback Machine. — And if a specific file name is mentioned, there might be debian, etc. archives (or even some of the people on comp.lang.tcl, the irc, etc) who might have copies of the files.

Is it your intent to remove all information about the item - or just the "dead link"? Knowing that someone has, in the past, done some work in an area might be useful to know, even if the urls and email addresses are removed...

Just a few thoughts.

Feel free to add more tips -jcw