Social Software

First thoughts on Wiki

A few thoughts on Wikis:

  • There aren’t enough simple sets of instructions for people who are completely unfamiliar with Wikis. It’s quite hard to make the mental leaps necessary to get past that very initial stage of frustrated apathy. But once you do it’s tremendously easy to use and has essentially no further technical learning-curve. Suggestion – someone writes a guide to starting a wiki in non-wiki format for a change.
  • The most significant aspect for me is this sense of pottering, of idle investment – that it’s not important to achieve perfection, consensus or conclusion and so any small piece of work you do feels like a valuable contribution – a step in the right direction. They’re even faster to use than weblogs, and more flexible (with all the benefits and problems that involves).
  • The next stage in development would seem to me to be an aesthetic one and a usability one – there’s clearly work that needs to be done before they go fully mainstream, and if publishers are going to approach this kind of stuff then they’re going to want some reassurement that the content won’t simply be lost – so some kind of collaborative moderation system will probably have to emerge there (at least for commercial applications).