Why wiki?

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WhyWiki Session.jpg



[session over -- pls summarize me!]

Raw notes

  • [mark d] it's easy -- no tech knowledge; no/less markup, etc.
    • vs blog: blog's like a toilet paper roll! broadcast-only; wiki more collab/collection
      • linear vs iterative writing mode
      • old pages can be brought up to date and re-publicized -- they're live documents
  • you can make a blog _on_ a wiki -- you can't make a wiki on a blog!
  • [pascal] you're already doing it, just with two hands tied behind your back! [docs over email... painful]
  • [mark d, others] "mistakes are the fuel that drives edits" -> some potential cultural issues... are mistakes an invitation to fix it, or something that makes people think the system's wrong? Balance nicely. :)
    • ^ ditto w/ redlinks
  • [sharon k] Have wikis and things like wikipedia changed how information will be sourced, created and shared? The information making all our awesome future inventions... will it be what we thought 20 years ago?
    • democratic information sourcing -> engine of change -> development of new technologies, politics...
    • [mark d] "where's the edit link?!" wiki changes your mindset from consumer to builder
    • ...
  • discussion & document separation or combination, different in difference environments
    • [mark d] some folks discover talk pages on wikipedia and are excited! :)
    • [bayle] string of comments gets too long on forums -- on wikis, discussions get collapsed when they get too long!
      • there's some danger that old comments will just get discarded instead of used to build the summary
    • [marc p] "facts are known consensus" ;)
  • [krystle] example of an 'only on wiki': wikihow's "how to survive federal prison" page, has real tips from real ex-cons!
  • [nelson] some people unfamiliar with wikis are more comfortable with a 'comment' system than editing. it's a cultural thing, and people need encouragement
    • [nancy, nelson] -- sometimes it's comment vs nothing: comment is at least something! (but easier for other people to clean it up if it's in the page rather than a distinct separate comment)
    • [krystle] -- wiki markup complication can also discourage people from the actual article editing; can help to ease people in, show them some links and examples
  • [sharon] how do other wikis survive when there's wikipedia?
    • [mark d] a lot of small wikis don't last very long. some make an actual explicit effort to check out other folks working in the same area and consolidate -- example appropedia
    • [mark d, brion, bayle] there's different cultures, goals, communities; a lot of stuff just doesn't fit well in wikipedia. Organization, original research, political groups, etc.
    • [mark d] original wiki more 'emergent', wikipedia-likes are more 'documentation'; room for both cultures

add'l notes


  • Collaboration, not broadcast
  • A group creates something smarter than any individual
  • Cooperative culture: builders, not just consumers
  • Democratic flow of information
  • Separate consensus from debate
    • Refactored debates are easier to read and enter
  • Fractured collection of comments/opinions vs. organized content
  • What is the purpose of talk pages? Are comments welcomed? Do they encourage people to participate in editing, or give them an easy way to NOT participate?
  • Diff pages = powerful tool for introducing nature of wiki, shows incremental changes
  • session idea - etherpad plays history of page + wave
  • tangent - session idea - monetizing open content
  • wiki index = coverging wikis. Example - several sustainability wikis joined to form Appropedia
  • wikis can be welcoming to mappers (vs. packers)
  • teaching people about wikis without computers (e.g. use notebook, paper)
  • Wikis in plain english video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dnL00TdmLY
  • why NOT wiki
    • linking
    • anyone can edit
    • good transition: Word -> Google docs -> wiki
  • wikiHow - percentage of people who click edit but don't publish = 70%+
  • session idea - barriers to entry
  • consensus wikis are more reliable than forum posts - facts, not opinions
  • new idea: a wiki forum (not consensus as such, but a search for consensus. Opinions are welcomed. Shows circularities and paths between opposing ideas.
  • Diffs let you see hwo consensus was reached
  • Each contributes according to ability and inclination
    • Mapper-friendly, packer-friendly
  • It branched to a new topic? Double brackets.
  • Wikis in plain English video
  • What is the one thing that you can put on the wiki to attract contributors from an existing group?
  • Edit abandoning rate on WikiHow: 75%-95%
  • On WikiHow, addition of comment box degraded the quality of comments
  • Universal edit button universaleditbutton.org
  • or WYSIWYG from the start? without having to click an edit button
    • Going full screen: make the browser disappear

Why not wiki?

  • Syntax is difficult
  • People don't get "anyone can edit"
  • People don't get spreading content across linked pages
  • Mass wikis: lowest-common-denominator style


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