Encouraging participation in the wiki world

The DAR wiki doesn’t have trackbacks enabled like a blog but I can trace some connections back through my webstats referrals. Thus I found two blogs which have picked up on my wiki facilitation page and added some thoughts. The irony is not lost, of course. There I am having written about how to try and facilitate collaboration on a wiki and one of the tips is “don’t do it all yourself” So somebody writes “is it just me or did you do all this yourself?” Ha! thanks for helping…

Then some more people find the page, possibly through Nancy White blogging it – and they seem to find it useful and have some comments of their own to make. But they don’t edit the wiki to enhance the information there, they blog or blog-comment about it instead!

Meredith Wolfwater: Encouraging participation in the wiki world

Agnese Caruso: improving-participation-in-wikis

Both of these posts have attracted some comments, so there’s a bit of conversation going on which would normally get buried in the archives after a few days.

Now that’s something which it is possible to get all frustrated about, but I don’t any more because it’s an issue I’ve been tracking for several years now, and I can switch between viewing through the group perspective and the individual one more easily now.

I started out wondering whether individual bloggers will tend to withdraw to their blogs and post less to discussion groups, to the detriment of the traditional listserv and other types of many-to-many community. (Dave Snowden has been wondering this more recently, but I can’t find the reference)

the-question-of-blogging-and-communities

control-in-blogs-and-communities-and-flickr

About a year ago I asked this question

How are we going to hold the more fragile communities together when some of the key contributors may be increasingly tempted to publish their ideas mainly on their own blogs to the detriment of the overall level of interaction?

It’s all to do with the ownership of spaces, both real and interpreted. So now I’m trying to pull together some seperate ideas which I’ve been mulling over for a long time, and I won’t succeed today, but will make some progress, and in public. My learning about collaborative wiki facilitation came originally from the ukcider wiki, about a domain which has clear goals, practical outcomes and tends to be subscribed to by people with a more naturally cooperative consciousness. The domain with which DARnet concerns itself on the other hand, is mostly on the meta-level and is perhaps mainly of interest to people who are generally more predisposed to owning and controlling their own spaces, even on the topic of collective knowlege building. I think I knew that when I started, deliberately setting myself a much harder nut to crack, but with contingency plans and other side benefits. So what I’m trying to say here is simply that this:

* the domain type affects the style and level of collaboration
* individual blogs are not going to bleed discussion groups dry anytime soon
* wiki proliferation has already ended the ‘field of dreams’ scenario
* webstats are invaluable for tracing backlinks

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