I have had a recent discussion at Meatball Wiki. I wrote something about how communication features like this log that are integral to a Wiki Community can be a factor in overcoming a problem that has effected wiki - the question of if Communities May Not Scale. Here is what was said:
I will need to revisit my content below since it was edited by Sunir Shah? since some of the concepts that I was trying to get at are now less apparent - so when I can get a little more time I will comment further on my own text as it now stands. - Richard Nelson
- At the [Sola Roof Wiki?] I am exploring the use of Wiki Groups? that have an unknown potential. Wiki Groups? are Sub Pages? that fold like Page Clusters? in Recent Changes. Given that Grouped pages is basic to the structure of Pm Wiki then if we apply it to a common use - the result is simplicity. A little bit of knowledge such as I have is dangerous but it also lends to my freedom of thinking.
I would like to go in a different direction with this Sunir Shah?, than your understanding seems to be. I do not think of the Wiki Groups? at Sola Roof Wiki? as Sub Pages?. It is not about a kind of folders and file system to organize information. I am talking about allowing and encouraging Personal Space?? within the Wiki that is not part of the Name Space? of the whole community collaborative space that I think of as the "Wiki" proper. Changes in these Wiki Groups? report separately when you are in that Group's space. This can be a personal space or a team space but it is not there for everyone to reach consensus. It is there to present a personal View Point? or the perspective of a specific Sola Roof Project?.
- I am not concerned with the Technology Solution? - the less visible that is (to the User like me) the better. The "big idea" that has me excited is to combine, within a community both a Collaboration Medium (the "Wiki") and a distinct Communication Channel? for relationships. This serves as new structural pattern that produces synergy between recognized Personal Space?? (which is underdeveloped) as distinct from the Open Space?? (which is the Wiki that is a well structured Name Space?) where everyone is assembled for collaboration. The Personal Space?? at the Sola Roof Wiki? is more than a Home Page; it is more than a Front Lawn?; it is a personal website, taht can include my pages, my topics and my projects where we work individually or in teams and where visitors can incidentally contribute to our personal work. The Open Space?? is the opposite; it is not only the wiki as a whole but all the individual topics that are like ongoing conferences and the linked topics that are like seminars with natural leaders and we are free to walk in and out of all these meeting rooms as we like (guaranteed to miss none of the action because it is constantly documented).
I edited the above paragraph to get closer to the concept that I am trying to express. I would add that in the [Open Space?] of the Wiki it is best to not have Sub Pages? since this permits various Name Space? to exist and therefore Topics will have variations within the Sub Pages? that defeat the purpose of a single collaborative whole being created and developed together and with consistant meaning (the On Topic?? issue applies). But in Personal Space?? the On Topic?? is only in the Context of the View Point? of that individual or team.
- What goes wrong in a present wiki structure is that a topic at the wiki conference room is mistaken by an individual to be a place to work on his personal project (Wiki:WalledGarden). Or participants start a related but more personal Back Room Decision? and this "noise" conflicts with the effort for consensus. The thing is that any incidental communication going on cannot adjourn to a Personal Space??.
I am not referring to a Walled Garden??, which is an undesirable pocket of disconnected content within the Wiki. I am talking about a desirable (at least at the [Sola Roof Wiki?]) place for these one-on-one or small group/team discussions to happen but not interfere with consensus formation. This is due to our special purpose to support the implementation of specific instances (projects) of the general knowledge base. This positive aspect of the use of Personal Space?? will produce further results:
- This communication is not inherently negative; it can be and often is the springboard to knowledge building. Therefore it is necessary to support personal communication that has a View Point? but to allow it to flow in a separate Communication Channel?.
The relatively incoherent chatter that is happening in the Personal Space?? will not distract from coherent colloaboration in the Open Space?? because it is not reported in the Recent Changes. Rather we use our Recent Changes as a special Wiki Group??, where changes to these pages are a "feed" to point the community members to activity (communications and developments) that could be of general interest. The individual User Name? pages are used to report such "Member Activity" and some of the feed to these pages can be automated such as new Loge Page? entries that are in the Personal Space??. So, members can develop relationships with other members and they can share Project Space and thus select communication channels that they will monitor.
I am very new to the Wiki world - but I don't think I have seen such things happening within the framework of a single Wiki. It looks to me that this stuff is something new and I welcome feedback that will help us to explore the potential of Wiki Groups and the like and communication that happens along side the collaboration for which Wiki are well known. And, will these features help us to scale communities? - Richard Nelson
- The other important rule would be that these personal communications are never private. They can always be heard (Open Process?) or they do not belong on the wiki. Everything being said is taken to be relevant (the intentions of the users) to the purpose of the wiki. It is inappropriate that any Personal Space?? to be Private. Even a newbie must be able to listen in on personal communications of leaders (Open Process? again). This puts everyone on a fast learning curve. - Richard Nelson
Additionally, we recently got a great complement:
- Welcome (to Meatball Wiki), Richard. Your Sola Roof Wiki is really beautiful and well built. Terms are always a problem. Chris Purcell? and me tried to get a common view in Wiki Technical Glossary?, he has a number of spikes and I use a general Wiki Fractality? concept. In my words I would describe it this way: in Sola Roof Wiki is any top level page the potential root for a SubWiki, just create subpages and you get separate Recent Changes and optional configuration. I don't know whether other functions also become group-related (index, search, ...). BTW I used "group" for "a page and its subpages". Anyway, nice work! -- Helmut Leitner?
First the beauty of the SolaRoofWiki is due to the work of Andres with support from Pm. However, I don't think that the Wiki Group is very well understood and I shall see if I can express this difference as compared to "Sub Pages" - however, Sub Wiki is more like what we are doing for Personal Space? but they are not internal to the Wiki so I would not use the term "Sub" since it is not in the Open Space or what is called the "Name Space".