Federated Wiki sites form neighborhoods that change dynamically as you navigate FedWiki space. Sites that are within your current neighborhood are special in two ways: you can link to them by names alone (versus full URLs), and you can search them.
Here’s one neighborhood I can join.
A row of flags (icons) in the bottom right corner of the screen (1) indicates that there are five sites in this neighborhood: my own and four others. The number next to the search box in the bottom middle (2) says that 772 pages can be searched. That number is the sum of all the pages in the neighborhood.
From each site in the neighborhood, FedWiki retrieves a summary called the sitemap. It is a list of all the pages on the site. Each item in the list has the page’s title, date, and complete first paragraph (which might be very short or very long). FedWiki’s built-in search uses sitemaps which means that it only sees the titles and first paragraphs of the pages in your neighborhood.
Here are the sites in this neighborhood:
Why are these five sites in my neighborhood? It’s obvious that my own site, jon.sf.fedwikihappening.net, belongs. And since I’ve navigated to a page on forage.ward.fed.wiki.org, it’s not suprising to find that site in my neighborhood too. But what about the other three? Why are they included?
The answer is that Ward’s page includes references to sites.fed.wiki.org, video.fed.wiki.org, and ward.fed.wiki.org. A FedWiki reference looks like a paragraph, but its blue tint signals that it’s special. Unlike a normal paragraph, which you inject into the page using the HTML or Markdown plugin, a reference is injected using the Reference plugin. It’s a dynamic element that displays the flag, the page name, and synopsis (first paragraph) of the referenced page. It also adds that page’s origin site to the neighborhood.
Two of the five sites in this example neighborhood — jon.sf.fedwikihappening.net and forage.ward.fed.wiki.org — got there directly by way of navigation. The other three got there indirectly by way of references.
To add a reference to one of your own pages, you click the + symbol to add a factory, drag the flag (or favicon) of a remote FedWiki page, and drop it onto the factory.
To illustrate, I’ll start with a scratch page that has a factory ready to accept a drop.
In a second browser tab, I’ll navigate to forage.ward.fed.wiki.org’s Ward Cunningham page, the one with the three references we saw above. Then I’ll drag that page’s favicon into the first browser tab and drop it onto the factory. Dragging between browser tabs may be unfamiliar to you. It was to me as well, actually. But it’s a thing.
The setup in this example is:
Here is the result:
How many sites are in this neighborhood? When I did this experiment, I predicted either 2 or 5. It would be 2 if the neighborhood included only my site and the origin of the referenced page. It would be 5 if FedWiki included, in addition, sites referenced on the referenced page. Things aren’t transitive in that way, it turns out, so the answer is 2.
Except that it isn’t. It’s 3! Look at the row of flags in the bottom right corner. There are three of them: jon.sf.fedwikihappening.net, forage.ward.fed.wiki.org, and mysteriously, fedwikihappening.rodwell.me. That’s Paul Rodwell’s site. How did he get into this neighborhood?
This closeup of the journal will help explain the mystery. The page was forked 5 days ago.
We can view the source of the page to find out more.
And here’s the answer. Early in the life of my scratch page I forked Paul Rodwell’s scratch page from fedwikihappening.rodwell.me.
So we’ve now discovered a third way to grow your neighborhood. First by navigating to remote pages directly. Second by including references to remote pages. And third by forking remote pages.