Collaboration Primer

Wikis, by nature, encourage the altering and merging of text. Trust is essential for all who work in and contribute to a wiki community. For a wiki to be successful, there must be an understanding among its contributors that work on the wiki is shared, and that any editing of text is done so to improve the wiki in some way.

In ThreadMode, the fragments may be signed, but DocumentMode is a reflection of this collaboration of texts, therefore, it is not signed.

When working on a wiki, it is important to keep in mind that the focus shouldn't be so much on the writing itself as on the ideas included in the writing. In addition, the focus is not on the individual, but the learning process and content. Lamb also states that, "Content is ego-less, time-less, and never finished. Anonymity is not required but is common."

If a contributor is dissatisfied with the way their original text has been refactored or altered, they always have the option of going back refactoring it again until the ideas originally included in the text are retained. Some worry that the wiki is an open invitation to have material stolen or ruined, but Lamb states, "Think of an open wiki space as a home that leaves its front door unlocked but doesnÂ’t get robbed because the neighbors are all out on their front steps gossiping, keeping a friendly eye on the street, and never missing a thing."

A big problem is that people are used to having their own space where others can only leave a message. Many people are used to their writing being only theirs. It is difficult to get the idea of sharing into your head.

Lost in the Wiki?

Being within the wiki can be confusing at first. Many beginners don't know where to go to find the information needed. Others get lost in the white page covered in black text all looking fairly similar. This is a normal feeling. There's all sorts of ideas that one must sift through in order to get to some decent text, but that is why refactoring can come in so handy.

Lamb says that it's normal for people using the wiki to feel lost, but he also claims that "recovery is supported by a loose collection of contextual signposts that can be remarkably descriptive."

Piaget said that learning occurs when we move from disequilibrium to equilibrium. In other words, we are exposed to something new and feel lost. Our cognitive system doesn't like that. We need to change. So we accommodate by exploring, and figuring out what something is. As that occurs, our cognitive system sees the end of the tunnel. Things make sense. We have arrived at equilibrium. Then, of course the process begins all over again.

When you feel like screaming INeedAMap, remember that it's difficult for everyone at first, and the only way to get over the frustration is to keep trying, linking, reading, and typing.

What are Wikis For?

Lamb gave lots of examples of how wikis are being used:
Lamb says, "the users decided for themselves how the wiki would fulfill their objectives."


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