I was sent an email today along with 5 other people.
The email read something like, “Can everyone please email me a list of issues with [our system] and then [this person] will go through all the emails make a list in a document.”
This just screamed wiki to me.
This was an In-the-Flow collaborative process that could put email to shame.
I emailed Reply-to-All with a request to use a wiki, a good idea I thought, especially since we are piloting wikis.
I got the go ahead to create a wiki…”but hurry because we need this quick.”
Right on, a wiki is hawaiian for “quick” (a private laugh with myself at the time)
I created a wiki
I listed all my issues on the wiki index page.
Then I published a wikipage for each issue.
I had to go to a meeting so I left a note on the wiki index page that I would be back at 2.30pm.
When I got back I noticed some others had made contributions.
Someone made a contribution by Reply-to-All to the initial email.
They said that my contributions to the wiki covered what they would of contributed, but they also wanted to ask a question and also add one item to the list…so they sent an email instead of contributing to the wiki
I took the essence of it and put it on the wiki on their behalf…we need to discipline people out of old habits.
At this point I’m feeling that the lack of a comments module on the wiki is making our collaboration only half successful, as whatever the object is; a document, a wiki, you need to converse about this object, and you want this inhouse next to the object.
When I was finished, I left a note at the end of the index page
“John - I have finished all my contributions”
Later on I remembered another issue, so I whacked it in.
Then I discovered another issue and added it.
I decided to look at recent changes and noticed someone left a comment within a wikipage I created
(our wiki doesn’t have comments, instead at the end of a wikipage we are creating a line and under that line we can write comments/notes)
Later on I was with a colleague and noticed they were emailing the person in charge about a wikipage, ie. they were leaving a comment.
I suggested they still put it in the wiki in our workaround comments thread, and also email the person that way you are pinging that person, and other users of the wiki can visit and notice your contributions.
Again, I’m finding comments 50% of what makes a wiki work.
What we feel we really need
-The wiki use case was creating a communal list, so scratching a linear comment thread at the end of each actual wikipage was OK, but if the wikipage was something more presentable like a communal glossary then we don’t really want comments scratchings on the actual page, we’d rather a comments module.
-If we do scratch a comment on an actual wikipage, we want to be notified by email (or RSS)
- and what about subscribing to the page itself it see if anyone has made changes to a page (you can go to the recent changes page, but having this as a delivered notification digest would be good)
Notifications for whole wiki
- Edits and Discussions
- Edits Only
- Discussions Only
Notifications for a wikipage
- Page Edits
- Page Discussion
What I liked about using wikis
It was never too late to add issues.
If I emailed my contributions, I would of had to email another two times for my two extra contributions.
I also didn’t have to email that I was in a meeting and I would resume my contributions at a later time.
And again I didn’t need to email that I was finished.
The person who left a comment/note on the wikipage I created didn’t have to email me, as he wrote it in the wiki.
I also discovered issues others contributed.
Which I would have not seen if we did not use a wiki, as they would have emailed it to the person in charge.
Yeah, no crap emails!
I just visit the wiki to see the progress and conversations.
In the ideal wiki I’d also be able to be notified of new edits and comments.
No need for the person in charge to spend time compiling all the emails, deleting the duplicates, and cutting ‘n pasting a list into a document.
The wiki is used for the process and is also the finished product, you can even export to another file type.
Yeah for wikis!
Yeah for no unnecessary emails!
Yeah for collaboration!
Yeah for visibility!
Yeah for conversations!
Yeah for notifications!
Yeah for a central home!
Yeah for transparency!
Yeah for simplicity!
Yeah for a ready-made end product!
Yeah for wikis!
UPDATE: I just realised I experienced the classic CommonCraft Wikis in Plain English