Home » Assignments » Notes on Preparing for Wikis

Notes on Preparing for Wikis

Notes on the assigned reading

Thoughts and highlights on Common Craft video about Wikis:

  • One of the strengths of a Wiki page is the ability to coordinate.
  • Two essential buttons are “edit” and “save”.
  • Can add pages with “link” option.

Thoughts and highlights on Wiki’s own definition of Wikis:

  • “A wiki is an application, typically a web application, which allows collaborative modification, extension, or deletion of its content and structure.”
  • A change to the text or page is called a “wiki markup” or “rich-text editor”.
  • A Wiki is not a blog.
  • There is no author or owner for a Wiki.
  • There are different kinds of Wiki software.
  • “Wikis can serve many different purposes both public and private, including knowledge management, notetaking, community websites and intranets.”
  • There are different levels of access for certain pages.

Thoughts and highlights on Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not:

  • Fundamental principles: anyone can change anything, they use simplified hypertext markup, page titles are mashed together, and content is ego-less, time-less, and never finished.
  • “What’s unique about wikis is that users define for themselves how their processes and groups will develop, usually by making things up as they go along.”
  • There is a wild variety of uses for a Wiki page, from creating a job board to documenting research.
  • One of the biggest concerns for a newcomer is the fact that anyone can change their page. However, “wikis save copies of successively edited versions; thus, work that has been deleted or defaced can be recovered with a couple clicks of the mouse. Changes are readily detected, and deleting flames or unconstructive contributions is usually easier than creating them” and “an open environment also encourages participation and a strong sense of common purpose”.
  • Open-access encyclopedia Wikipedia is the biggest and best-known wiki project.
  • The “recent changes” list and the search box are extremely important tools.
  • An issue that might slow the use of wikis in higher education is the specification of IP rights by contributors. Three common IP schemes are Community Copyright (allows individuals to assert rights over their work while allowing their contributions to be modified within the wiki), Public Domain (dictates that any contributor to the wiki space surrenders all copyright), and Copy Left (allows anyone to use the content of the wiki for any purpose and to make derivative works, under the condition that all copies and derivative works are released under the same license as the original).

Thoughts and highlights on Above and Below the Double Line: Refactoring and That Old-Time Revision:

  • “Thread Mode is a discussion.”
  • It is not an opportunity to preach and it has a more open-minded nature to it with its use of first person. It is also signed, typically.
  • “DocumentMode is an exposition.”
  • It is more active and formal in its use of third person. The ideas are the center rather than the author. It is usually unsigned.
  • “Refactoring is something like revising” and “less opportunistic. It is a conscientious technique for developing a page, for moving it toward document mode”.
  • It is important to use double lines and page patterns! (These are pages born of discussion.)
  • Being a contributor to a wiki involves not only continual additions and changes but also returning to the page and keeping track of the changes that have been made by others.
  • “WikiWord is a… potential to be filled.”

Notes on the assigned wiki pages

At c2.com:

  • Amount of links is overwhelming.
  • Difficult to read because of text coloring. Very bright.
  • Seems to be in Document Mode, since first person is notably absent. The reader is often addressed as “you”. This matches definition of “pages and sections of pages become the collective property of the wiki. They are in third-person and unsigned.” (Source.)
  • However, this isn’t unsigned. Author of the page isn’t anonymous, and Ward Cunningham even offers information about himself.
  • There are no Double Lines to make things more organized on the main page.
  • The deeper I delve into the links, the more I see bullet points. Once in a while, there’s a bolded word. And finally, the author utilized double lines. Is this the work of a different contributor? How am I able to tell, if that’s possible?
  • Find Page link is convenient and makes navigation easier. There’s also a helpful link to the main page.
  • Apparently this page isn’t open to just anyone making changes. There’s a link that offers the reasons for this, but isn’t the purpose of a Wiki page making it available to everyone’s editorial whims?
  • The writers are very direct and no-nonsense in the information being presented. Not a lot of creative content visible. Is this a result of the writers or the natural structure of a Wiki?
  • Very helpful information on formatting rules. Style seems to differ slightly from the main page; it’s more list-oriented and even the layout of information is different.

At Meatball Wiki:

  • Very different feel from c2. Content is a bit easier to take in, since it’s organized beneath headings.
  • The authors have taken organization further by using numbers.
  • There is a discussion option on this Wiki. Gives the site a more Thread Mode feel.
  • Appreciate how the “Recent Changes” is right at the top of the page. Makes it easy to find the newest content.
  • However, this is also to the site’s detriment because it’s the main way to navigate through the pages.
  • The mission of this site is immediately noticeable.
  • Meatball is more welcoming toward contributors, it seems. As long as you’re a member, you can make tweaks and additions to the information.
  • Formatting for both sites is very similar, in the limited navigation options and the use of links for redirection. Is this the only option Wiki offers? Or is it just a coincidence Meatball and c2 are so alike?

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2 thoughts on “Notes on Preparing for Wikis

  1. So how does what you’ve read about writing on wikis strike you as a BFA in creative and pro writing? Wikis really push the idea of individual authorship to the edge. Is that an issue on a wiki?

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