The Wiki Way: Chap 10

Summary, including publishing info, and other works of authors and in similar vein.

Comments and considerations on TheWikiWay, chapter 10: Insights and Other Voices

This chapter of TheWikiWay focuses on wiki writing practices and the wiki community that engage those practices. Cunningham and Leuf develop the chapter as a set of tips (Tip 10,4: Encourage Contributions), but do so in a framework of more general topics about writing style and style guidelines, writing modes (ThreadMode and DocumentMode), refactoring (the source of our ReFactoringPages), and creating structure on wikis. Wikis are inherently full of tension, as as illustrated by counterpoising two topics: When wiki works and When wiki doesn't work.



a consideration of composing habits and TheWikiWay
One aspect that gets downplayed too often is that writing on a wiki demands a change in writing practices from writing in traditional settings and spaces. It's not just using affordances of links, headings, lists but of considering the contribution to make: add new stuff? edit? refactor? add heads to create an organization?

Then there's a change in the pace of working. TheWikiWayOfWriting expects multiple visits to the project, spaced out a little, rather than a single shot, or DeadLining. DeadliningIsNotTheWay. The alternative is SynchronousComposing, as made possible in Google Docs. SynchronousComposing requires all composers to be present at the same time. Wikis support AsynchronousComposing, which requires making multiple visits. This is a fair exchange in getting things done

There's also a change in ownership of the text tied to habits of development. Those who are in the habit of spending one episode drafting a page define the task as done once their session is up. Closed, finished. Nothing to add or change. But WikiPages are ongoing, wide open. Never really finished. (There's a connect between this idea and the one-draft-perfect work of novice writers and the 50 minute block of time that HS writing is typically defined in. That is, the habit of do-it-0nce-never-to-return, and defining the writing task as taking about an hour is a cultural artifact of HS.)

ThreadMode, DocumentMode, and ReFactoringPages are offered as a way to change these paper-based, school-based composing habits.


Cunningham said it's important for students to learn through design, construction and analysis. It's almost the perfect definition of a wiki. Because by correctly doing the above three mentioned things, one can get a wealth of information and theory from a wiki.

One of the key words is visual when it comes to wiki building. True, there may not be any colorful pictures or other gadgets to make it stand out, but it's how you stack things together that counts the most. When reading a book, you have to scroll gallons of ink and pages to find out what the points are to the story. In a wiki, you have bullets, headers, bold print and other things to set the highlights apart. You write in short spaces, not reams of pages. Also, with books, the written word is the gospel truth. It can't be changed. The written word is forever, while wiki's are constantly changing, evolving, into something that can take new shape or have a new meaning everyday.

One also has to make things easy to read that enable others to go in and add their own "TwoCentsWorth" of information or wisdom. Scaffolding is the key. Put the most important fact on top and keep reworking the article.

ThreadMode and DocumentMode
The two main writing modes are discernable in a multi-user wiki: DocumentMode and ThreadMode. In the document mode, the writers view the piece of text as community property that can be changed as the community consensus dictates it. In the thread mode, it's an exchange of information like one would use an email. The document mode seems to be the better of the two, however, as the wiki makes an opening statement that declares wisdom or asking for a clarification of something. Then, the feedback can be continuous.

A wiki, though, isn't a thing of beauty and one has to know the tools of the trade in order to make your thoughts simple in being able to communicate them. An editor, or reader, also has to be careful because rewrite can obscure an entire meaning and make a good statement into a bad one. It can turn a positive into a negative.

Refactoring content (an attempt to distill valuable information from earlier unfocused discussions, may not be ideal but it is a way as they said to "mine useful patterns." The keys to this would be to add a signed comment furthering the conversation. If comments seem to be converging, suggest single paragraphs that capture the ideas present in the discussion. These are better anonymous or collectively signed so that all contributors know they are welcomed to fine-tune them.

Don't keep writing comments to clarify someone else's points, either. KeepTheFocusOnTheConcepts, not on the distracting discussions.

I can see the wiki being a great thing of the future. It's another avenue for communication and will offer competition to other media technology.

BillProznik

Further reading and links.
WikiAsCulture



Below the DoubleLine

The following set of threads need refactoring, organizing, moving to appropriate pages. Some look like they will fit under Points of discussion on this page, but need refactoring, summarizing and organizing.

Wikis provide context. Wikis develop a CollectiveConsciousness. Wikis create community. And the list goes on.

But does the wiki provide for IndividualIdeas? Should it?

The wiki was designed to be the simplest of databases--a database anyone could find, read, gain information from, and ultimately contribute to. And it has been a success. For proof, look no further than the extensive Wikipedia. But the wiki has also evolved from simply being a database. It now aims to be the single product of thousands of voices--a collective consciousness that is seemingly capable of tackling the most polarized of issues--politics, religion, Vikings / Packers, etc.

It sounds wonderful. Though everyone does not have to agree on each issue, in fact, disagreement is the heart of these wikis, the "final" product will reflect the views of all and be seen as one.

It sounds like a great idea. But wiki users and readers must also exercise caution. Though the wiki is a relatively new idea, the melding together of ideas, opinions, and even prefrences, is far from a recent development. For years, major media sources have been compressing information into packages that can be universally understood and accepted.

Even as many are crying out against the conglomeration of media corporations and their shallow news stories, the wiki and its corporate ideals are being hailed by the same crowd.

And I realize the two are different. I just wonder if it will remain that way.

AaronReini



Though I wonder if these ideals can really be compared. If you look at the UltimateStructureOfMedia and American politics today, you're looking at a system of heirarchies - systems that depend on the leadership of one person or the influential few. Companies like CBS, Disney, Turner: they rely on the conglomeration of media, that's for sure, but what they also do is leave things out. They filter the media and information that we are fed, whether to support a certain political agenda or not - it depends on your point of view - I'd go with the former.

The Wiki on the other hand, does something quite different. Though there is a measure of filtration, there is little evidence to suggest that it is in any way detrimental to the reader who is looking for different points of view. I would argue that it's the other way around. Without a "mogul" at the top to make sure information doesn't leak out, Wiki's tend to accumulate all sorts of information from sources that can be fairly unpredictable. If I think about a model for this comparison, I would liken it to a beehive (fitting, isn't it?). Should I follow it up with an explanation? No. I'll let someone else explain the metaphor.

(BeeHive = collaborative, bees working together to produce honey. Constant activity and change, not static...at least that's what I think -BerneChristiansen)

Getting back to the point of my argument. I'd focus on the possibilities for a truly democratic way of dealing with the infinite amount of information that we are subjected to as beings in this world. Who better to write the history books than the people who are making history happen? To me, it's almost similar to the blog phenomenon, except there isn't an emphasis on particular voices, which happens pretty often in the blogosphere. I only need to point to people like Biz Stone, Rebecca Blood, and our own Dr. Morgan to make an example of that trend.

The excerpt from the book we were assigned to read says that some people are scared of the Wiki because "for them the Wiki system is simply too open, too anarchistic." I love to disagree with people who are published. My take on that sentence? "For them the Wiki system is simply too collaborative, too communistic." Yup. That's about all I have to say for now. - JonathanHatch



How melded do wiki voices become? When one enters a wiki to edit and/or contribute, does one's voice automatically become the voice of the wiki more than one's own? Is the insertion of a signature representative of an individual voice simply an occasional break in the text of the wiki? I suppose some of it depends on whether you're in thread mode or document mode.

But it seems more political -- more semblable (new word!) -- to an actual community of human beings than one would first think. Different people, gifts, personalities, resources are brought to a community, but the line between the individual's identity regarding what he/she offers and what is simply the property of the entire community...well, it depends on where you live and how you're ruled. How are wikis ruled? Maybe I should know better after reading, but the line is still fuzzy. - LindsayLarson



Looking back at Bill's statement, I wonder if there might be some considerable value in learning and teaching children how to write in a multi-conscious state, like the Wiki. Writers adapt, and I wonder if we could adapt our writing skills to be able to glean the overall message of someone's work, and then with the use of our god-like transitioning abilities, work a paragraph or two into a previously (assumed) finished work.

This brings up some questions in my mind:

*Can one writer adapt their voice or writing style to fit another person's original work?

I don't believe any person can speak for the other. Every voice has it's own DistinctiveSound./BillProznik

*Is our writing voice a fingerprint of our mind?

Like the prints on our fingers, our voices give us away. We speak as we write. We have different tones. A voice print is totally different in the RealWorld./Bill Proznik

*If not, then do we really need a "Wikimaster" to "mine the data" and document a thread?

I think we need WikiMasters to manage and make sure things are flowing well and in tune with the subject. We need someone to point out we may be getting off a certain subject. Yes, we need the WikiMasters./Bill Proznik

*Does our identity driven society prevent us from teaching children to collaborate in voice and style?
*
What cultures might learn to benefit from this sort of collaborative composition easier?

Less developed countries as well as our own InnerCities could benefit greatly from this./BillProznik

*What are the pros and cons if and when such ends are achieved?

These things are racking my brain. I wish I had more time to research this stuff. - JonathanHatch



When was the last time both ABC and CBS met up in a discussion boared or in the same room to discuss a top news story, comparing ideas, borrowing each others quotes?

It doesn't happen. But let one or the other make a mistake and they swarm the company making the goof like flies to rotten meat. Just look at what has happened to Dan Rather at CBS News. Just look at the stir it caused and how everyone including AmateurBloggers got into the act. ABC and CBS are like anyone and everyone else, competition fuels their desire to be first and sometime last./BillProznik


A Wiki wants them to have that option, but will it work? Probably not. One point of view, one voice, one pencil.

Cunningham deals with both sides of this issue, yes it would be nice if ABC and CBS (or any other communication side) gets together and create OnePerfectNewsStory or news cast, it would make it easier on them, and the viewers. But the possibility of them getting along? um no. If someone brings up a opinion, down the line, someone will disagree, so they argue. Sure they both will generate good facts for each of their own opinions and the readers will get a brain full of knowledge from both sides, but what makes either one right or wrong? In a wiki, there is no right or wrong and for some people,they can't handle it.

It'll never happen because there's no such thing as OnePerfectNewsSory. Everyone has a different angle when they cover a story. If everyone wrote the same thing we'd be looking like a book that was written called, "TheBoysOnTheBus". No one wrote any different that the other. It was just a piece of CannedJournalism"./BillProznik

For an example, someone writes a Wiki entry with the title "Elvis is still alive, I saw him yesterday at Burger King." Most people would assume that the author of that entry had too many beers that night, but you have to keep in mind that people still do believe that he is alive. It's silly but its true, so you get the whole entire post full of non belivers and the belivers. The postings will go from crazy, to stupid very quickly.

That's true. Elvis is dead, right?/BillProznik

Much of the previous posts on this matter has givin some hope to Wiki, there is indeed postings that are relevant and quite intersting but I would hope someone can point them out so we wont have to read the crap inbetween. -JenniferPettitt

Wiki is fine for some and not for others. We should be able to choose what we want to do BlogsOrWikis? And we do have a choice. I like having a voise where it's my opinion. I need to blow off steam. If I allow a WikiWriter the ability to change what I wrote, that's not me. It's the wiki writer. My time and effort of posting are useless. My opinions are my opinios. If I want to read someone else's stuff I'll go to their Wiki./BillProznik



I like JP's use of the CBS/ABC example. It shows that using a wiki can start to cause us to think critically about how we get information. After all, if what the networks are reporting truly is "news", shouldn't the networks be working together? Would society be better served if news media was like a wiki? All about collaboration instead of competition?
-BerneChristiansen

Where would competition come in, Berne? All we would have is a giant television corporation. We'd all be printing the same stuff and listening to the same stuff. There's be no different angle, no different perspective and no ability to make a change in anything we do. I think the WikiMasters would have something to say about this. There's no room in the media world to play by the same rules. Look at putting the Bemidji Pioneer against USAToday. Should they be the same? Are they the same. The Pioneer certainly doesn't give me the news perspective on what's happeing as does my USA Today./BillProznik


I think answering that gets into questions about human nature (wikis seem to require a dive into these contemplative waters anyhow): "The generally optimistic Wiki view, however, maintains that people are on the whole better behaved than one might imagine" (pg 328). This obviously raises some questions about what humans are inherently like.

Now you're talking about human behavior. Bad things will happen regardless if you're on a wiki or anything else. The question of ethis arises when you talk about WikiCommunities. Are the people in these ethical or have an agenda to perform. Most would probably be well-behaved, but like a neighborhood you live in you have to be carefull about the company you keep in a WikiCommunity./BillProznik

Are we built to compete? Wikis seem to ArgueNay...but the society (I struggle with the broadness of that term) we live in seems to argue the opposite. Emphasis in the wiki is on the whole rather than the individual building blocks. Is that why some of us (myself included) balk when we first enter wiki-land? We are used to saying, "This is mine and I alone receive credit for it." Now anyone and everyone is allowed to touch it, fix it, ruin it, send it flying into oblivion. Am I wrong in my assessment that this is uncomfortable for most?

The desire to be competitive. To be first. To know-it-all is in a lot of people. I think there are some people in the WikiCommunities who strive to be the smartest, the wisest on the block. You can see it when even some of our fellow classmates indicated they love to edit, they love to change and it kills them to see errors. Do you think they're going to leave what they consider to be errors alone. Heck, no./BillProznik

Are humans built to handle a MeldedIdentity? - LindsayLarson

Some people can't take the criticism given out and they really hate it when other people change their work. I think a lot of people have the MeddledIdentity./Bill Proznik



Most wikis work, so I thought I'd look at some of the situations mentioned in Insights and Voice that caused problems.

"Thread mode can go on for too long (probably referring to loss of focus or not spinning off tangential topics to seperate pages)." Most message board threads I read digress after just a few postings. The thread can become very long, and it is often difficult to find material that relates to the topic of the thread.

You have to know when to quit. ThreadMode can be a good thing gone too far. I mean, you can only talk about something so long before everything you said is redundant and there isn't any good coming out of it. ThreadMode has some good points, but it can kill WikiCommunities in a hurry./BillProznik

(I must say that I totally agree with this assessment. The message board I maintain has become an absolute disaster area. Thread after thread with singular posts and almost no organizational structure. This has to be the paramount flaw of message boards and thread mode. -BerneChristiansen)

"Page refactorings don't always take place when needed." Or, "Major rewrites can obscure or eliminate good contributions." I don't know any wiki writers that are being paid to write wiki content. Without a loss of income threat, I think it would be very esy to make a post, and then later neglect obvious refactoring needs. I would also worry that rewriting a post could change the original topic altogether.

"Emotions can prevail in arguments, or enthusiasm overwhelm discretion." I think of the dreaded Internet "trolls." The posters that hate everything and everyone. They think everyone is stupid, and often purposely make antagonizing, absolute comments. They troll for victims that they can enrage. They get a rush making others angry. The troll could be the wiki terrorist.

WikiCommunities have their own vigilante (sp?) groups. I think they have ways of emininating the bad eggs. I don't think there are any serial killers living in WikiCommnities, though. But you never know. Every society has stalkers./BillProznik

"Later authors may try to alter the meaning of a (controversial) page or topic. (Political correctness is everywhere.)" This could be seen as antithetical to wiki freedoms. The wiki is nice because it accepts all voices, and then treats them equally. I can see where a few trolls could really test those freedoms. It's a hard act to balance.

The pschoes in the WikiCommunities don't treat everyone equally. They enjoy searching and destroying opinions to meet their own needs. Some of them are looking for errors and not content./BillProznik

JeppeBundgaard


The simplicity of the wiki is probably it's key to staying alive. It's easy enough for people with little background in web design to use. This feature is also a safety net of a sort; it provides little challenge for someone to go in and mess with it, so it is not interesting enough for many troublemakers to bother with. As the book says, "The openness might make it less of a tempting target--it's so easy to wreck, there's no kudos in doing so." No one's going to be impressed if someone manages to delete a wiki page. A handful of people (or perhaps more) will be a bit irked, but eventually if someone cares about it, it'll be put back up, no problem, and life will go on.

I like BloggingCommunities, better than Wiki communities./BillProznik

However, as this chapter says, it's not so easy that you don't have to put in a little effort to learn how to use it. The chapter claims that the interface is an "intelligence test of sorts to be able to edit a wiki page." I like the idea of SimplicityAsAFilter, weeding out all the mindless and mostly uninterested sorts of people and allows those who are intelligent and have something to say to get through. I must disagree with the comment in the chapter that wiki is a "pain to use", though. It's not all that hard; it just takes a bit more effort than simple typing on a word processor, that's all. Compared to learning a bunch of HTML in order to be able to make links and nested lists and such, wiki "codes" are easy.

Like anything else, you need to learn about it. But there are things one is comfortable with and are things they aren't. Everyone should have the right to choose what they want to do in BlogsAndWikis. Some people after taking BlogsAndWikis from Dr. Morgan have said, "I'll stick to writing my journal on paper. That's fine. They've chosen not to do either.The point is MakingAChoice./BillProznik

I get the feeling from the chapter that the whole wiki thing runs on a sort of honor code for wiki-ers (is there a term for people who write on wikis?). People follow the rules, not because they're strictly enforced, but because it appeals to them to keep the wiki from devolving into a shouting match/editing match/whatever.

Like any society, you have honest people and dishonest. Fences are built to keep the honest people out./BillProznik

One final note: the chapter mentions that there is a "long tradition in academic circles of having completely open systems [similar to wiki, I assume] that function". I'm personally not aware of any similar systems (anyone care to enlighten me?), but I don't find it hard to believe. Wiki ideals are a lot of what knowledge is about: questioning and debating ideas, working together and sharing information in order to have fuller knowledge of things. So it makes perfect sense to me that this sort of thing would develop in academia.

AngelBatterman



It seems to me that there is one thing that is an extremely important, and that is TrustInTheWikiWorld. Unlike a blog, where we choose what we say, who is able to comment (if anyone), and even can delete those comments. Wikis seem to be fundamentally different in the respect that they are free and open.
That's what the WikiWorld evolves around TrustInTheWikiWorld. Without that, you'll have no order./BillProznik

Therefore, we wiki users must place a great deal of trust in one another. In order to feel comfortable posting our thoughts and works, we must believe that people are good, reasonable, and responsible...that they will not just up and decide to delete or drastically alter our work. It takes more than a belief in the "honor system." It almost requires a deep down belief that people are naturally good.

If you don't think that people can behave, then you probably won't be happy using a wiki. I don't know if this example makes sense, but editing in an open wiki brings with it a sense of power. It's like having the keys to a vast kingdom or the answers to the SATs. How will we use the keys? The knowledge? The power? At our core, do we believe that people will treat this public space honorably? If we believe in the concept of Wiki, our answer to that question must be yes.

Oh, and what's up with this quote: "Wiki participants are by nature a podantic, ornery and unreasonable bunch..." I don't know about everyone else, but I consider myself the complete opposite. Podantic, ornery and unreasonable? Come on, Ward, you can't be serious.

They're people who are very intense and need a fix like anyone else who is focused on doing what they're supposed to be. Some WikiCommunities are very geekly./BillProznik

BerneChristiansen

(That struck me, too. It seemed out-of-place in comparison to the rest of the chapter's schema of the wonderful wiki community. But he did warn readers beforehand that that list of quotes was likely to be contradictory. LindsayLarson)



There seems to be a general consensus with wikis that you either love them or hate them. There is no in-between or common ground. They’re either a brilliant addition to the web or quite simply, a pain to use. The entire idea of wikis is contradictory. In fact, Cunningham’s article makes this statement:

“So that’s it--insecure but reliable, indiscriminate and subtle, user hostile yet easy to use, slow but up to date and full of difficult, nit-picking people who exhibit a remarkable CommunityCamaraderie

CommunityCamaraderie is the key to any successful wiki. Without it, you won't have law and order, and eventual death of any real reasoning you have./BillProznik

When I initially began using the wiki I was almost repulsed by its weirdness. I wanted something with more rules and regulations. The wikis were just too open. I wanted something with a little more structure and some more security.

But I’ am beginning to see the merit in wikicommunities. You a’re able to share information, give helpful tips or suggestions, make corrections …and all of this is great, but I think it greatly depends on what you’ are using the wiki for. If the wiki is being used in a collaborative effort for a group project at school or in a work environment, wikis can be extraordinarily useful. But suppose it is just put together for absolutely anyone to contribute to; merely a wiki for those with similar interests. Where’ is the incentive to keep up the wiki and ensure its protection? Like the article states, “People using a shared resource such as a wiki do no’t treat it as well as they treat their own private stuff.” When wikis are used for work or educational purposes they’ are more likely to be more reliable and helpful tools of the internet.

I think wikis are helpful tools but only in certain situations. It all depends on what they are used for.

People have to take them or leave them. WikiCommunities aren't for everyone. The people who survive are those with thick-skinned psyches, as well as those who don't mind change and babbling over scholarly issues or mindless endeavors ./BillProznik

SueanneDolentz



I thought I would highlight some key points from the chapter, and tell what I found interesting. I know very little about wikis thus far, so this all may sound incredibly wrong (sorry). Wikis are foreign territory. The readings and the wiki itself is slowly helping me grasp just what exactly my role in this secret society is, but I am not there yet. It is going to take time, without a doubt.

There were a couple of key phrases I found relatively early in the chapter that peeked my interest. Here they are:

The chapter points out that wikis can be too open and chaotic for some, and that it can be an acquired taste. As far as Wikipedia is concerned, which is the only wiki I was aware of prior to this course, I think people are drawn to it but most would steer clear of actually making changes/corrections. I do not know what "wiki culture" feels or looks like (yet), but I have a feeling I will find out soon and will be able to make a judgment towards the "acquired taste" aspect. It feels as if this is true, but I refuse to make that call just yet.

Once engulfed in the wiki it is said that we discover a sense of community that expresses itself through its archived writing and the continual editing of content. I certainly see why, and just like in any community there is going to be mistakes, animosity, frustration, discovery, growth, failures, rebirth, etc.

Is a wiki a forum for debate? Perhaps. Not all wikis are open for debate I would imagine. I am sure there exist some that are run by one man, one woman, or several people who choose not to step on each other's toes. I do not know enough about them yet, but I feel as if it will difficult to edit other people's hard work with my own that could be equally incorrect.

Overall, the view of wiki's involvement is seen as positive. Overall, I agree how they could be. These interactions through wikis can have dramatic effects on knowledge, understanding, self-worth, skills, etc. There can always be a negative underlying in there, but I image that overwhelmingly the affects of wikis are positive.

Leuf and Cunningham believe that wikis mimic true/real community efforts. The members of these communities have to deal with ethics, abuse, change, conflict, coexistence, diversity in views, rights, etc. But that is not what actual communities go through day-in and day-out, really. There is family, disease, actual love, blood shed, face-to-face human contact, and so on. I see the point they are trying to make, but I doubt a sense of true community will come as a result of my involvement in a wiki. However, there are going to be other things that come about as a result that are just as formidable as a true sense of community. Time will tell what those things are.

"Wiki is change." Constant, never-ending, tiring, educational, disheartening, uplifting change. It does not stop, but that is the point. They can't stop. They won't stop. They won't blink, nor should you. It is a lot to take in, I am certain, but if you embrace the madness and worry none than the result will be knowledge and understanding.

There is a perfect quote from the chapter that illustrates the feelings of probably 90% of our class two days following our submergence into wikis, "Especially when new to a wiki, visitors can feel uneasy and therefore hesitate to edit pages. For them the Wiki system is simply too open, too anarchistic." I will end on that note.

JackTuthill



JackTuthill I also feel the same way, it has taken me some time to get used to the whole format of wikis and using the different typing/input lingo. It most definitely is an acquired taste. I thought your pont on 'Leuf and Cunningham believe that wikis mimic true/real community efforts.' very interesting. Although I think this to be true, I think that they mostly reflect happenings. When I think of the word mimic, I think of a doppelganger or a copy of something, which can be seen in wikis, I see wikis as more of a place for people's view on everything. Whether their view is biased or unbiased, they are giving their their 2 cents on the topic at hand.
JoeStusynski



JackTuthill I likes your key phrases list because I could feel all of those phrases being repeated throughout the articles in some way or another. As for your notes about wikis being used for debate, there was some debating going on right above you on this page. But I'm using the word debate more loosely. I don't think that things were really getting that heated.

My own notes and contribution

Not having much experience with wikis myself, I thought that this assigned text presented a lot of necessary information in how to use a wiki, navigate a wiki, and the proper ways to write on a wiki. I highlighted this passage
In academic settings, scaffolding has proved important in guiding student users in how to post and what to post where.

Okay. Makes sense. Scaffolding for us would be the wiki that McMorgan has already set up. The further guidelines would be posting our notes and comments here, practicing ThreadMode and DocumentMode. The explanation of these two modes of writing helps to give me a clear idea of what it expected of what we contribute/write.

LeahFleming


Notes
Wikis have their own sort of culture when it comes to posting. It seems difficult to describe but there is a definite sense of growth when Wikis are handled with care and without adding too many limits. With the ability to change and share some resemblance of intellectual ideas, plenty of wikis become a greater whole.
The open concept of wikis sometimes seems too much for new users. It does feel weird to completely alter what someone has written, especially since a change to one sentence can change what the original author meant to say. The unwritten request to be polite to one and all on a wiki does seem to prevent a few people from editing or correcting pages. It seems that even with the open aspect of wikis, it is capable of building a community. By submitting content, users tend to have an actual interest in working on the wiki as well as encouraging others to do the same.
Writing styles tend to fall into two types: Thread Mode and Document Mode. Document Mode is seen on Wikipedia and other wiki pages that are meant to provide information to visitors. Threads are designed for discussion between authors and are usually signed.

Thread
I never considered wikis as something people could use for discussion or as something that can have culture. Most wiki's I've visited were either Wikipedia or else something based on a TV show, video game, or comic book characters. All of those wikis were written in Document Mode and were meant to provide information, not debate. There were links to forums created by the wiki but I never had a reason or desire to investigate.
On thing that interested me in the notes were how wikis don't work. It seems that anyone that abuses their power can easily ruin a good system for people who want to try and have good discussions or know when enough editing is enough.

PederAalgaard

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