Corporations have documents describing various aspects of their technical systems, including:

  • Custom Applications
  • Custom Development Frameworks
  • Third Party Applications
    • Accounting
    • Bug Tracking
    • Network Management
  • How To Guides
  • User Manuals
  • Web Browsers
  • Software Tools
    • Development
      • IDEs
    • Graphics
      • GIMP
      • xv
    • Text Editing
    • File Transfer
      • ncFTP
      • WinSCP
  • Hardware
    • Servers
      • Web
      • Database
      • Exchange
      • File
    • Network Devices
    • Printers
  • Drawings

If you had to use a Wiki to manage the documentation, what other items would you add to the list, and how would you organize it? (For example, would Software Tools make more sense under Third Party Applications?)

A few constraints:

  • The structure should not go beyond three levels deep.
  • Avoid the word "and" in favour of two different categories.
  • Keep the structure general: it should appy as broadly as possible.
  • Target audience is primarily technical, but could be visible by anyone.

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Instead of a hierarchical structure like the one above, I use the Categories feature of MediaWiki to tag my wiki documents. For example, if I have a document about setting File Security Status in Citrix, I would add something like the following to the bottom of the document:


Anyone else can come along and add categories as they see fit. On my main page, I have a link to the Special:Categories page for those who want to find documents by category. My repository is kind of small right now, and most of my team either searches or uses the Special:AllPages page. As it grows, we might decide a hierarchical structure is best. For now, we're more concerned with adding documents to the wiki than we are with organization.

One category we're using that seems to be missing from your list is "Drawings". We use this category for diagrams, floor plans, etc.

  • 1
    +1 I made the conversion from a system like the one described in the question to a wiki and after a lot of frustration, discovered that the solution Rob explains above really works the best for a wiki. It isn't intuitive at first if you're used to a more formal menu-driven organization but it works great once everyone gets used to it. – icky3000 Apr 2 '10 at 0:08

Corporations who have a how-to for GIMP do not exist in this planet.

  • I'm not sure I follow your comment, given the structure provided above. It is not intended to read that How To guides for The GIMP are located somewhere. But "How To" guides, in general. The GIMP already has its own documentation, and tutorials for it abound. – Dave Jarvis Apr 2 '10 at 6:44
  • I'm just humoring the use of GIMP. In reality the structure depends on a series of factors. One of these is the type of corporation and the audience. A HR firm which outsources most of its IT would have a different structure than a software consulting shop. – Iraklis Apr 2 '10 at 8:13

I run a one-man shop for a small firm. I recently reorganized my documentation wiki to use IT specializations as the first-level groups. Prior to that, it was arranged by usage type. I definitely prefer having things organized this way, and find it's easier to bring other people into the fold. I also think it would be more approachable for somebody to start reading from scratch this way, if that was needed. From memory, it goes something like this:

Organized by IT specialization (how I do it now)

  • Desktop Support
    • Telephones
    • Printers
  • Server Admin
    • Active Directory
    • WSUS config
  • Network Admin
    • Traffic monitoring
    • VLAN setup

Organized by task type (how I did it previously)

  • Routine
    • New user
    • New computer
  • Reference
    • IP allocation
    • Applications
  • Emergency
    • Network outage
    • Server failure
  • I tried Mediawiki categories (like Rob's suggestion) but it didn't work for me. It's a matter of personal preference. – Nic Apr 2 '10 at 7:58

Are you really sure you want to use a wiki for this? From what I see it's just screaming out for a database. Far easier to build and maintain and infinitely more flexible.

As for what to put in it, that's something you really have to decide for yourself, as we all have different environments and needs.

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