Virtual Collaboration

Using a Wiki as a Medium for VirtualCollaboration;

This can be a great way for people with common interests to collaborate and develop ideas, concepts and projects. It is less hassle than using a chat line and is pretty painless. It has the further advantage of persistance, as it exists in a unique time space known as the WikiNow.

A wiki is a good place to collaborate, particularly because anything you write can be edited or deleted by any participant. Some guidelines can be posted for each collaboration to observe, see: welcomeXyzCollaborators, collaborationXyzPages newCollaborationXyz and collaborationLists. These can provide guidelines for involvement and to show what can be, and has already been done.

Some of the Problems with Wiki Based Collaboration - See "Wiki Brainstorming and Problems with Wiki Based Collaboration, University of York Computer Science Project, Jonathan Davies, Sept 2004"

Each interested individual can contribute. A wiki is an easily edited and accessible space which can be particularly useful for all the participants. This space, is not well suited to collaborations of this type, since it already has a special focus and has developed its' own cultureOfInvolvement. It is an example of a large collaboration in a special general area. A wiki might be constructed where the participants can set up spaces for concentrated collaborations within the wider general area which would narrow the focus to specific issues or areas. The beginnings of that may already exist here in the form of Categories (See CategoryCategory). There is an advantage in having both wide and narrow areas of interests in that a greater number of participants will be involved and would probably migrate between and participate in several of the special interest areas.

To encourage the dispersion of participants into an IvoryTower of their own making separate from a general population is to dilute rather than to concentrate and strengthen collaborative efforts.

While some encourage those with special interests and involvements who have created what has been called a WalledGarden, to get "their own space", thinking they are preserving the space and its perceived mission or goal, they might be doing the opposite, by not allowing the dynamics and evolutionary strengths of a wiki from developing to what it might be.

This should be interpreted in light of the third of WikiDesignPrinciples:
 Organic - The structure and text content of the site is open to editing and evolution

You might establish your own space or utilize a wikiFarm such as SeedWiki, but these lack the strengths that exist in a large general community which exhibits specialInterests and who may have some ideas which can speak beyond the special bounds having commonality which makes them applicable in a wider more general sense.

These will allow you to set up your own space and to create collaborationRules for your particular project.
In Jan2005 EliotScott says: I fail to see the usefulness of the Wiki in a business environment as a collaboration tool. It seems like too many links make the pages distracting and confuse the user. I am trying this out to learn more because it all seems so unstructured; maybe that's what people see in the Wiki. I dunno....yet.


Eliot WardsWiki is a general purpose wiki skewed to contributions related to patterns, XP and computer language issues. It will therefore be much less focussed than what it could be. I see that you have Twiki listed in your homepage, what are your experiences with more specialised wikis? from David


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