Sunday, September 12, 2004

Meatball Wiki: WhatIsaWiki

Meatball Wiki: WhatIsaWiki: "WhatIsaWiki
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Consider first the social metaphor of WikiAsRoom. A wiki is not a heck of a lot, really. It's simply a place for people to do their work.

But if you are focused on the actual code, then a wiki is Simplicity above all. Wikis are a very pure reflection of a digital text. A single wiki page is just a buffer sitting on a network that anyone can edit--in the sense that it doesn't distinguish between authors and readers. This is like a piece of paper, except without palimpsest.

Everything aside from that is tacked onto a wiki, but some things have proven useful:

From the single simplicity principle:

* Universal editing (simple access)
* Uncluttered syntax (simple writing/editing)
* Easy linking with backlinks (simple structure)
* Recent changes (simple event tracking)
* Version history (simple data tracking)

From these simple features, organization follows social norms and rules that we all grew up with. (simple governance)

If it's not simple, it's broken. People asking for more features don't understand that they are actually often limiting what they can do with a wiki, not expanding what they can do.

Thus, wikis only work for simple (uncomplicated) people.

The outcomes tend to be quite complex, however."

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