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Future Melbourne Wiki Training Mark Elliott

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1 Future Melbourne Wiki Training Mark Elliott

2 What is a ‘wiki’? it is a web-based software application that provides an 'edit view' enabling one to quickly edit a webpage access requires an internet connection & a browser invented by Ward Cunningham - 'the simplest online database that could possibly work’ ‘What I Know Is’ is a popular 'backronym’ Ward named the software wiki after 'wiki-wiki', Hawaiian for 'quickly'

3 “All aboard the wiki bus!”

4 The Famous Wiki - Wikipedia! You know the one?

5 But what about the quality of this new form of collaborative production? The 'average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three'. (Giles 2006) Not bad for a 6 year old organisation - compared to Britanica which had a 230 year head start! An awesome example of the new power of collaboration.

6 Other organisations using TWiki (you are not alone: there is a vibrant TWiki community online!) Yahoo! “Our development team includes hundreds of people in various locations all over the world, so web collaboration is VERY important to us. TWiki has changed the way we run meetings, plan releases, document our product and generally communicate with each other.” -- Eric Baldeschwieler, Director of Software Development of Yahoo!

7 Other organisations using TWiki cont. Disney “[Twiki] has quickly become the central resource for ideas, notes, how to's, specs, and brainstorming.” -- Eric Freeman, Disney's Advanced Development Group

8 Other organisations using TWiki cont. Michelin “we have been using [Twiki] for 3 years and have grown to a community of about 400 registered users out of a total 900 user population. Pages viewed are at 12,500 every month with 1,600 pages contributed.” -- Jean Noel Simonnet, Michelin China

9 Other organisations using TWiki cont. Motorola “Motorola … introduced TWiki in 2004 with the purpose of transforming our quality management system (QMS) from a static set of documents to a dynamic process development tool. The result has been very successful... The result is far better than we ever hoped. QMS topics are now updated continuously... Changes are incremental and follows the actual business flow in a natural way. User participation is incredible.” -- KennethLavrsen, Copenhagen Motorola

10 Wikis enable the formation of knowledge communities Large collections of people can easily generate unlimited, living compendiums of information, knowledge, experience, identity & community.

11 Wikis are fast becoming best practice How long until widespread adoption by government organisations? Already: –Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.A. –New Zealand's Police Act Review –AGLIN (Australian Government Libraries Information Network) - not open access –United States Chief Information Officers Council's Communities of Practice Web site is a wiki. The public contributes to the revisions. –NASA's World Wind visualisation progam (public can use their wiki to suggest modifications for the application's open source code).

12 From Word to Collaboration Platform In collaborative contexts, a wiki simply replaces MS Word. Open a document, edit it, save it - simple!

13 So what's new? Access to a single document via the web creates a shared workspace inhabited by collaborators. However the Future Melbourne wiki has access control (unlike Wikipedia) ensuring contributions are managed. –Only those with specific user settings can contribute to the plan document.

14 From Social Negotiation to Cultural Participation Traditional collaboration requires social negotiation. –becoming acquainted, maintaining relationships, managing emotional states, egos, vested interests, etc. Wiki collaboration shifts the emphasis to cultural participation - direct engagement with the creative medium. –cultural knowledge (language), learning netiquette (online community norms & practices) & developing digital literacies (using internet, webbrowsers, wikis etc).

15 From Social Negotiation to Cultural Participation cont. By providing simultaneous multiple points of access to the same location, and shifting from social negotiation to cultural participation, the software enables the scaling of collective creativity beyond the traditional limitations of 3-25. –Collaboration above these numbers was previously impossible!

16 Discussion: the (second) most important activity While participants can just edit wiki pages (even without awareness of one another), this does not diminish the importance of social negotiation. Every active wiki has a vibrant core community who are often in constant communication. Typically the first response to any concerns or questions regarding content is to make a relevant change to the topic. However, it is important to post concerns & questions on the associated discussion topic.

17 Open/Public Access Environment: assume open access & transparency While not everyone can edit this particular wiki, everyone in the world can read it. Best policy when writing: assume anyone & everyone will eventually read it. This is not unique to wikis - the more we adopt digital, networked technologies, the more transparency becomes a matter of efficiency. –(This force may even be more powerful than our aspirational values!)

18 Addressing Common ‘Wiki Concerns’ Loss of control: anyone can edit my work?! –You can easily track other people's contributions & you can always revert back to your version! Authority/credibility: if many people write the same document, who guarantees its quality? –Community moderation, norms & increased number of ‘eyes’ serve as peer review. Attribution: who wrote what? –Each revision lists its author & the changes they made & they can be compared using ‘History’. –However, in practice it is usually impractical to keep track of who contributed what over long periods of wiki document evolution. –For successful collaboration, the focus should not be attribution, but quality of contribution.

19 Addressing Common ‘Wiki Concerns’ cont. What happens if two of us try to edit the same topic simultaneously? –In practice this is rare, but TWiki will warn if you attempt to edit a topic that someone else is editing. It will also warn if a merge was required during a save so you can check how it merged. What if someone doesn't agree with me, and changes my words? –In rare cases, arbitration may be needed - an expert on the matter up for dispute comes into the discussion whose aim is to help negotiate a point of view that is non-biased and inclusive –Arbitration should take place within the wiki.

20 Points to Remember While disputes are rare, they actually are a good sign! They reflect a vibrant community that cares & is willing to take a position through participation. In collaboration, this is precisely how leveraging collective intelligence happens. The potential of a collaborative system is reflected by the level of tension it can bare.

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