What is the Point of a Wiki?

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Leader
The problem with Wikis is usually the aspect of people not knowing how to do the manual coding in entries.
 

Le Chiffre

Quite Involved in Discussions
Nice summary Pancho. It's worth putting a wiki and MS Word head-to-head as documentation techniques to help people better understand how a wiki can be used in a business environment - Wikipedia has been a great introduction for many but often people can't see the other uses for it.

The collaboration scenario you describe is probably my favorite - Communication in busy organizations is so important and yet easily breaks down between the departmental silos or even office partitions. A document created in a wiki can be reviewed at any time by anyone, keeping others aware of what's being developed or decided. People appreciate being able to give their input early in the cycle, before the document is complete and a formal review is being held. It also helps the author remove their ego from the work with early exposure and input from others.

It overcomes another common problem, the eternally-unfinished document that never gets properly reviewed or disseminated because it's never finished. In addition, once it finally does get approved, there's a tendency to let a Word document stagnate and become obsolete rather than remain a live and editable reference like a wiki article.
 
N

Neil V.

I can only see wiki's gaining in popularity over time and find it pretty exciting.

As Marc pointed out, I also see the biggest obstacle being user know-how. That should diminish as exposure increases and user-interfaces (which aren't THAT terrible as-is) are simplified. Remember, it took a while for folks to learn how to 'surf the web' as well.

I am reminded of (broken link removed)- one of the points being "accept that everything is a draft, it helps to get things done". This is a pretty fitting notion for a wiki.
 

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Leader
There's a Wiki here if anyone wants to practice. I remember a lot of folks here were saying we needed a Wiki. Eventually I did get Mediawiki setup (and even integrated into the forum software) but no one used (or uses) it.

Like I say - People have to know the markup language. I think that throws most people off.

My bet is here in the forums there are a lot of people who would find it a bit challenging if there wasn't a WYSIWYG editor interface. (See: BB Code)
 
I

ISO 9001 Guy

I like the wiki idea. I've seen companies use SharePoint very effectively. It seems very wiki-ish. Does wiki describe the format--in other words, does SharePoint use wiki technology, or IS SharePoint in some sense wiki?
 
L

LNeJame

I have a very limited use of wikis, and i saw some of your other posts pancho and have been curious and that short article you wrote definitely was informative and helpful. Thank you!

I'm curious though, it seems that a wiki would be great for control text based documents. What if you wanted to control something like a diagram or video or just any other "document" that isnt in a text format? how would that be approached with a wiki?

Thanks again!!
 
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Neil V.

Like I say - People have to know the markup language. I think that throws most people off.

For clarity, that's what I meant by user, someone who accesses and adds/edits content....What is preventing wiki's from being wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get)?

Good question on Sharepoint similarities. Correct me if i'm wrong, but parts of Sharepoint can be opened up for editing to members of a group (allowing for instant updates) and it contains information accessable to users. So I would say it's features overlap with a wiki.
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
Thanks for the comments.

I like the wiki idea. I've seen companies use SharePoint very effectively. It seems very wiki-ish. Does wiki describe the format--in other words, does SharePoint use wiki technology, or IS SharePoint in some sense wiki?

I think the tools are quite different. Here's one article that talks about these differences. I'd miss the "easy linking" advantage of the wiki and being able to edit right on the browser (instead of Office).

it seems that a wiki would be great for control text based documents. What if you wanted to control something like a diagram or video or just any other "document" that isnt in a text format? how would that be approached with a wiki?

There are tools to be able to edit diagrams and graphics on a wiki. See, for example, TWiki Draw Plugin and Gliffy.

Alternatively you can upload a screenshot and the accompanying source file. Then the user can download the file, edit it, take a screen shot and re-upload both. This uses the wiki for its accessibility and version control.


I am reminded of (broken link removed)- one of the points being "accept that everything is a draft, it helps to get things done". This is a pretty fitting notion for a wiki.

Love that manifesto! I've got it posted on my corkboard and, naturally, linked from our company wiki.
 
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Neil V.

Love that manifesto! I've got it posted on my corkboard and, naturally, linked from our company wiki.

I get a lot out of it as well. I did a little research and turns out I first heard of it from YOU! I didn't remember that at the time of my post, else I would have given you credit. Thanks for the great link.
 
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