Wikis Are Ugly


"Wikis are designed to make reading while editing as easy a possible." - SentencesAboutWritingOnAWiki

As I keep researching Wikis vs. Blogs, my understanding of Wikis has improved. At first, I thought they were pretty useless and, yes, ugly. The simple, mainly text only format to me was too blah. Why create a wiki when you can create a blog that looks better and can do some of the same things. I found a table on Wooster that breaks down the main differences between a Wiki and a Blog. This table supports the quote that I put above this paragraph. I would use this quote if anyone were to ask me what the purpose of a Wiki is. During my undergrad in one of my methods class, we had to create a lesson plan a week and post it on a blog. Now that I am more familiar with Wikis, I wish we would have used that instead.

While writing this I also thought of our discussions and posts about presentation and representation. Is a Blog more of a representation of ourselves in a current time, situation, or experience and is a Wiki more of a presentation of information and ideas that can be constantly changed or edited?
Wiki's are more professional looking than blogs which is why they can be considered boring. They are a great way to share information in a more organized fashion because wiki's are very simple and easy to use. A blog is a bit more personal because only the writer can edit it, but in a wiki everyone can edit which can be dangerous. Most people will only contribute positives or recent, relevant, information about the subject but there are also people, known formally as "Trolls," who will mess with a post because it's funny.

Wikis are viewed as "ugly" because of the way it looks. Wikis are created for multiple users at a time. It is made to used easily and edited much easier. Wikis are also about the facts or information to be shared. It is not about the appearance of the text but the text itself. Blogs are different in that way because it is usually by an individual and the way to for people to get interested in a blog is if it appeals to our eyes. People use wikis to share information with the community. Wikis are about the information, not the looks.


Kaitlyn's question above,"Is a Blog more of a representation of ourselves in a current time, situation, or experience and is a Wiki more of a presentation of information and ideas that can be constantly changed or edited?" is a great one. Blogs are definitely more of a representation of ourselves. The readers are engaged by the pleasing layout of a blog, chosen by the bloggers, as much as they are engaged by the content of the blog. The bloggers are making a specific choice about what information to include on their blog so they are giving a current representation of themselves involving the chosen topic. Comments can be made by readers, involving them on a secondary level. Wikis on the other hand allow readers to become involved on a primary level because wikis are used for a different purpose than blogs. Wikis are intended to be used more as a drop-box for information. Readers are allowed, in fact encouraged, to add their two cents worth to the topic to make it better for future readers. Wikis are developed to keep in time with our ever-changing, fast-paced world of immediate gratification. Want to know something, google WikipediA. It's an almost guarantee that what you are looking for is there, updated with the most current information available. Do you care that the format is ugly? Not really, because the most important factor is that you get the information you want, immediately!, without having to search around a bunch of images and fancy fonts that no one can read anyway.

While it is true that wikis are designed for ease of editing rather than aesthetics, there are ways to make a page "pretty" if you must. It just takes some time to learn the formatting. A good starting point for learning more is at FormattingRules. I was able to make my page more pleasing by using a few of these simple techniques. Including some aesthetic formatting into a page you create or edit won't deter from the ease of editing by others in the future because if they have information to add to your page, they can simply go in, follow the formatting code you have established to add their bits and pieces and store it. Just don't go so crazy with the formatting that it makes it nearly impossible to edit if you are encouraging others to add to your information.
Wikis were certainly not made to be pretty or even nice looking (like blogs are). Wikis are instead a way to collaborate on topics and create a bank of information created by different people in order to obtain different points of view and different pieces of knowledge. Wikis have an entirely different purpose than blogs. They are set up to be formatted enough so people can edit and read the information. They are a team-effort, blogs are more of a personal journal. Yes, there are different ways to format a wiki slightly (as explained in the above comment), however, wikis aren't meant to look as aesthetic as blogs.
Being adverse to wikis because they are ugly is a shame. Wikis are a convenient and efficient way to work, either solo or collaboratively. The purpose if a wiki is not to capture attention in the same way as any old website. Generally, websites are designed to appeal to the viewer and to ensure the viewer has a pleasant viewing experience. The difference here is that wikis are a tool for information, not just a pretty face. The goal of a wiki is not be attractive to the eyes but to be attractive for the brain. Wikis are generally organized for information, not for casual viewing. Wikis, being a collaborative work environment are best set up for (as stated by the others above) ease of editing.
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