15 Comments

Summary:

“If you build it, they will come.” We’ve all heard those words way too many times, and yet I’ll bet if you look around at your online haunts you can find more than a few ghost towns: places that some web worker built where nobody bothered […]

“If you build it, they will come.” We’ve all heard those words way too many times, and yet I’ll bet if you look around at your online haunts you can find more than a few ghost towns: places that some web worker built where nobody bothered to come. Part of the problem is that we tend to be the virtual vanguard: we assume that everyone else on the team will “get” the latest bit of social software as fast as we do, and jump wholeheartedly on board.

In real life, things are different, as anyone who has ever tried to set up a corporate wiki has probably discovered. Faced with the possibility of building up a vibrant company-wide user-edited online resource, most people end up scratching their heads and retreating back to more familiar modes of communication. Now Atlassian (makers of commercial wiki software Confluence) have done something about this particular problem with their new site Wikipatterns.

As you can probably guess from the name, Wikipatterns is itself a wiki. In this case, it’s about the patterns and practices that a wiki champion can use within an organization to get people started using this resource (as well as some of the antipatterns that are known to discourage wiki use – like the presence of WikiTrolls or the problem of being Overrun by Camels). On the plus side, you can read about strategies for engaging people from simple (leaving a few typos for them to fix, so they discover how easy it is to edit a wiki page) to more complex (building pages for poker tournament results to demonstrate the low cost of adding a page).

There’s a lot of knowledge distilled in this site. If you’re trying to figure out how to get people on board with a wiki – or some other distributed networking software – it’s worth your while to poke around and learn from people who’ve been down this road before you.

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  1. Amie Gillingham Friday, February 16, 2007

    Nice resource! We have been debating whether or not to add wiki structure to our business since many of our customers range from computer illiterate technophobes to technically adept but only within their comfort zone. We don’t want to bypass the technology simply because some current users might fear it, but we also want to find a way to ease them into the 21st century. I’ll definitely pass this along to our tech team!

  2. Mike,
    Thanks very much for linking to Wikipatterns.com! I appreciate that you’re helping to spread the word!
    Stewart Mader
    Wiki Evangelist, Atlassian

  3. Ouch. This is a REALLY bad marketing move from Confluence. Think about this:

    1- What is the point of evangelizing the open-ness of wikis, if you then force people to adopt very complex technical terms and patterns about how people work? Why force me to think of my team as either trolls or fairies, and how does that help me make a decision towards whether wiki will benefit my workgroup or business? Why not let me come up with my own terms (which is in line with the philosophy behind wikis in the first place)?

    2- If you look at http://www.wikipatterns.com as a product, Confluence is making a classic mistake of focusing entirely on FEATUREs rather than actual benefits. It would have been better to use the guide to inspire everyone who is curious about wikis, rather than give them a headache and learning curve.

    More on my blog…

  4. How to ruin any chance of your software’s success (if you are a Wiki Vendor) « Green & White Saturday, February 17, 2007

    [...] happens when they still aren’t sure about adopting your software? You make one of the biggest marketing blunders you can think [...]

  5. elsua: The Knowledge Management Blog Tuesday, February 20, 2007

    Wikipatterns – Getting the Most out of Your Own Wiki Experience by Learning from Others

    Ever wanted to have an online resource freely available to you where you could learn, and leverage, most of the work from other knowledge workers around their own experiences making use of popular social computing tools like wikis? Is your team or your…

  6. Contrast with Meatballwiki’s Wiki Life Cycle here:

    http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?WikiLifeCycle

    As paper covers rock, Life Cycle beats Patterns.

  7. Michael’s Thoughts Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Daily Report, Feb 21

    Team Collaboration Central Desktop Integrates EditGrid … Central Desktop announced an integration with EditGrid, the online spreadsheet solution. Key capabilities: creating, editing and sharing online spreadsheets, importing and exporting from and to…

  8. McGee’s Musings » Learning how to make wikis work effectively Friday, February 23, 2007

    [...] In real life, things are different, as anyone who has ever tried to set up a corporate wiki has probably discovered. Faced with the possibility of building up a vibrant company-wide user-edited online resource, most people end up scratching their heads and retreating back to more familiar modes of communication. Now Atlassian (makers of commercial wiki software Confluence) have done something about this particular problem with their new site Wikipatterns. [Web Worker Daily] [...]

  9. Enterprise 2.0 2007 – News Saturday, March 3, 2007

    [...] just recently discovered Wikipatterns (via Web Worker Daily) and this is the first time I have looked deeply into the concept of patterns. But, what I’ve [...]

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