Simon Willison’s Weblog

Ward talks Wiki

Artima have published the first installment of Bill Venners’ Conversation with Ward Cunningham, which focuses on the Wiki. When asked how readers can get a bigger picture of what is going on in a Wiki, Ward responds with this:

The first thing you have to understand is that because we made wiki easier for authors, we actually made it harder for readers. There is an organization there, and the organization can be improved, but it isn’t highly organized. So the feeling for a reader is one of foraging in a wilderness for tidbits of information. You stumble across some great ones and you say, “This is fantastic, why doesn’t somebody just make a list of all the great pieces so I don’t have to look at the rest.” In other words, “Why doesn’t somebody organize this so I can get answers to my questions quickly?” Sooner or later they realize, “Gee, I could do that.” They put in a month or two of finding what they care about, and then they make a page, which is their take on what the organization of wiki is.

I think this goes a long way to explaining why a lot of people dislike the Wiki format.

This is Ward talks Wiki by Simon Willison, posted on 22nd October 2003.

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