Half Finished Work Leads To Collaboration

I have had several wiki experiences where I stopped working on a page meaning to come back later, and when I returned the page was done, and done better than I was imagining. Wiki's CollectiveOwnership encourages this by showing unfinished work publicly. --KentBeck

I'd support these thoughts and also say that half-finished work is often ExtremelyCreative?. In architectural draughting the sketch and 'construction drawing' that precedes the final, polished perspective is often much richer than the finished piece. We see beyond the clutter of overlapping lines, nodes, even part-erasures to outlines of structures and places that we read into the half-finished work.

Half-finished-ness allows imagination & alternative readings that are denied by a closed/finished piece, whether argument or graphic.


I've used a wiki for a team I was leading. I taught all new members how to use the Wiki, and then had them write up everything that they learned as they learned it. Most of the time they did not get everything perfect, and then some older member of the team would then write up what they had learned. This was a good way of pulling knowledge out of experienced people who knew too much to even think about writing it all down. I later found a friend at a different organization was doing similar things to compile a knowledge base for workers in the field. He would write out his knowledge of something, and then pass it "for review" to several really experienced people who would then tell him all the subtle nuances of reality. --DanielVonFange?

According to EricRaymond, this is one reason for the success of OpenSource projects.
Provided you can deal with issues of CodeOwnership. "Why should I fix Fred's half-done stuff?"

Start with CodeStewardship, and bypass the turf issues. Compare "Here's a half-done starting point. Can someone carry it along?" with "Here's my half-done starting point."

What about looking at the most prominent and best documented online publication on (online) collaboration, the WwwCollaboration of the W3C, to test the above hypothesis? -- FridemarPache
Contrast CollaborationLeadsToHalfFinishedWork. Also HalfBakedAttemptsLeadNowhere.

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