5 ways to build effective Wikis

By , December 6, 2007 12:15 am

Simply Wiki

Wiki is a platform that allow anyone to quickly edit web pages. Repeat after me: anyone & quick.

I doubt that you don’t know Wikipedia. Yes, it is the most successful Wiki instance today.

To know more of Wiki, please see the following video:

[gv data="http://www.youtube.com/v/awxYqXI3x1A"][/gv]

Potential problems with Wikis

Disorder

The fact that information can be quickly edited by anyone is the primary reason why wikis grow like weeds instead of carefully tended gardens.

Large scale wikis become chaotic and disorganized

Multiple collaboration means no one owns anything — organization comes from someone having a vested interest to organize and maintain.

Information is hard to navigate consistently because there is no unifying vision to the structure.

Large scale wikis turn into a flat hierarchy of documents with no hierarchy.

Information transfer

It is hard to import information into a wiki from other sources.

It is hard to export information out of wikis (eg: RSS feeds).

5 ways to build effective Wikis

1. Make it Search-intelligent

Make URLs human-readable permalinks

Navigation clues

2. Manage Version Control

Version control for every change

Rollbacks of edits

Notifications, watch lists and logs

Discussions of changes

3. Enable Information Management

Refactor and maintain information

Document management: attachments (documents, images, media…) should be treated the same as pages when it comes to search and version control.

Provide import/export functionalities to standard-compliant format (XML).

4. Build an Organization that best supports

Wikis are not built to be used in top-down organizational hierarchy. However, all-are-equal model lurks serious problems. Click here to read more of the story…

We shall see if Larry Sanger’s experiment of Citizendium will make it more effective.

5. Develop a Process

Building Wikis is one activity of knowledge management. Knowledge management process should be developed, especially in tightly-organized groups, to support this.

Conclusion

Wikis are effective if built and managed the right way, and let’s.

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