Thinking in wiki

December 30, 2012 — 2 Comments

I’ve been really into wikae lately, as is apparent by how much I written about it. A wiki is a particular set of features and workflows, and it has its own mindset.

I am thinking in wiki.

This site is becoming more of a journal, where my posts are either about flash in the pan events, or part of longer thought out articulations. The frequency of posts has gone down, because I am doing more mind-mapping in other places, like text files in git repos, and in various wikae.

It has brought a few things to light for me, about how I write, and what I am trying to create. Here are a few examples:

  • Temporality – A lot of the things (most?) I blog about are not important to me after a few months. That means I have old announcement posts and tons of broken links that have no value, but I keep them to provide temporal context. I am not convinced it is that useful.
  • Anti/Social – I think blogging is very important, but it does bother me that blogs are essentially silos. This isn’t really a critique, just that instead of loading up blogs with like buttons and allowing people to leave comments with their social network credentials, it is probably more worthwhile for the majority of bloggers to assess what collaboration looks like for them.
  • Our tools are aging – The software that runs some of the most important spaces on the web, like MediaWiki and WordPress, were developed a long time ago. It is easy to find feature requests from years ago, still being pleaded for. Again, not a critique, just an observation of what popularity does to software, and how dominance affects the culture and motives of the community that supports it.

These aren’t new, obviously. It is just me glancing at the gap between two software projects/workflows (WordPress/blogging and MediaWiki/wiki). Then I think about StatusNet, and how it looks like it could be practically abandoned for other projects. In one sense, that is a bummer, and I’ve invested a lot of time in it. On the other hand, maybe it isn’t so bad for things to get torn down and built back up, especially considering the transient nature of status updates, almost all of which are unimportant to me a few days afterward.

I’ve really pushed MediaWiki hard in the last couple of months. I’ve bumped up against a lot of walls, and some of them stopped me. But overall, I am happy with the result, which is a system to collaborate with those that want to, and a relatively decent way to create bodies of useful content. I am rushing as fast as I can to configure all the extensions I think I will need, so I can eventually just focus on creating. That will be the real test.

2 responses to Thinking in wiki

  1. Completely agree, except that I’m certain temporal context worth retaining.

    Blogging almost completely failed both as a distributed social network and as a vehicle for collaboration.

    The tools are aging, but my are they good at just what they do, and we do just that. I’m not sure how far they can/should be pushed, before rewriting something new.

    Anyway these thoughts are timely, as I’ve been looking at WordPress plugins and practices that might constitute nudges in the direction of distribution and collaboration for installation on my pathetic blog. AFAICT not much exists — a few protocol related things like PuSH, and (silo) workflow and annotation stuff like CommentPress and Post Forking.

    • Post Forking was what got me back into wikae. Groovy idea, and I think should be a feature of all web software.

      I know there have been times when I found something useful in a post that was 5 years old, and I know that there is computer-readable data for processing that can serve a purpose. But I can’t shake the idea that at some point, we switched from creating useful data to being packrats. Or maybe that is just what humans do.

      Or maybe it is me. ^_^

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