Posts Tagged “wikis”

Please read the next four sentences before letting the dogs loose on me.

I love wikis. Really. And I am not a SharePoint fan. Really.

Now, I only need four more paragraphs to explain.

First, a wiki is supposed to help us make information maintainable. One way we do this is by centralizing and restricting topics to one per page. In order to review and revise a topic in its entirety, all one needs to do is edit the topic page. All the links into the page automatically send readers to the latest revisions.

Second, a wiki is meant to make information more accessible. Topics can be linked to directly, from both within and outside the wiki. By linking to referenced topics at every opportunity, we allow the reader to enter into the conversation at any level of granularity. The reader can then follow links across topics to gather the necessary background information and focus on his or her particular area of interest.

Third, a wiki is an evolving conversation. Pages are created and revised by numerous authors to reflect the current understanding of and thoughts around a given topic. Many pages never, truly, leave a draft status. The goal is not to collectively polish. The goal is to communicate in a collaborative, efficient and effective manner.

Fourth, a wiki is NOT a forum where: (1) each page is a document instead of a topic, (2) the pages rarely link to one another, and (3) each page carries enough information to be consumed outside of the context of wiki itself.  If your wiki looks like this, then what you’ve constructed is a poor-man’s SharePoint (a wiki anti-practice). And your SharePoint wiki is not likely to thrive, since it has none of the benefits of a wiki (maintainability, accessability, consersational tone) and all of the drawbacks (clunky editing, clunky formatting, clunky or nonexistant permissions). If you want a navigatable hierarchy of polished, stand alone pages that do not converse with one another then you’d be better off using SharePoint and Microsoft Word (or open-source alternatives).

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