When it comes to wikis, many have tried, many have failed. I’m referring to experiments for people to produce public goods via wikis. With the exception of Wikipedia and the likes of Fluwiki, attempts at using wikis by news agencies such as Wired News (for readers to help edit together a news story) seem to meet with uncertain success.
So why do some Wiki initiatives work better than others?
Perhaps its when the wiki fills a real need. As with blogging, perhaps wikis demonstrate a case where the need for the contributions has to be internalized by a user or a pre-defined community of users. In my case, I’m trying to have students of my COM125 class whip together a study guide for their mid-term exams. On their own. I’ve merely provided the wiki platform and entered a skeletal framework for them to fill in with meaty content.
Will this end up better than any textbook? Or will it end in a mess?
Aside: The original photo for the graphic above was taken by my student Mariani Chen.