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EssayAndDiscussion

This pattern describes how to write ideas such that you can invite feedback without asking your peers to rework the page, and it still presents a well written essay at the top of the page for casual visitors.

CategoryWikiConventions WikiPatternLanguage

Context and Forces

When you want to write about a new idea or concept, you might want to just put it on the wiki as quickly as possible. You’re hoping this will provide you quick feedback (due to PeerReview). On the other hand, casual visitors to the site are expecting interesting content they can read without having to understand the larger context of the wiki, the community of contributors, and the recent history of changes. Casual visitors want well-written pages that can stand on their own. Your peers, finally, will want to provide feedback; not all of them feel up to the task of reworking your text; instead they just have an additional thought or some related comment.

Pattern

When creating new pages, write what you want to write in an essay. Follow the essay by a discussion section. Label the discussion part clearly by putting a large header saying “Discussion” or “Comments”. Put ideas you are unsure of into the discussion section right from the start.

A separate discussion section invites review without expecting your peers to rework your text. See ReworkingProblems to understand why many people hesitate to rework an essay.

The essay section of the page should start with a small introduction that allows casual visitors to quickly decide whether the page is of interest to them or not.

If the site uses WikiCategories, put the category tags after the introduction.

The main body of the essay comes after both intro and category tags. Use headings to clearly label separate the various aspects of your idea. This allows casual visitors to quickly scan through your page in order to find interesting parts.

For very long essays, use a table of contents at the top if your WikiEngine supports it, or split the essay into various pages.

Discussion

EditNearLinks: PeerReview WikiEngine ReworkingProblems CategoryWikiConventions

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