The blog user interface has several user interface features that help make it a distinct form.
Some things we can (and have) usefully use in wiki. Others are more useful for blogs, and blogs alone.
A few additional notes, not include in the image.
The intention of a blog appears to provide a time-sensitive news and publication. Contrast with wiki, which lend themselves more towards TheoryBuilding.
In PlainTalk: If you make a blog rather than a wiki, it’s because you mean to do something different, and you mean for people to do things differently. You want people to think “Oh, news has come in! I’m going to check it!” …rather than: “Oh, I’m going to read this document, and study up on this, and perhaps collaborate on it.” So the software’s UserInterface ends up a bit different.
Blogs frequently feature a “lead,” a brief section taken from the beginning of the article.
Why do blogs have leads, and not wiki?
Blogs tend to be for keeping people up to date and automated distribution of time sensitive messages.
Readers don’t know ahead of time what you are sending them. And readers have a lot of messages to sort through. So, we help the reader out, by putting the most important stuff at the top, and showing them nothing else. That clears up space in their visual plane, which they can put other leads into. They can scan their eye across very quickly, and figure out what they want to read, and what they don’t want to read.
Contrast in a wiki page. Wiki aren’t so much for automatic distribution, as they are for collecting documents, which by their definition, are intended for re-reference (DocumentsVsMessages.) In the majority of cases, a reader is clicking on a HyperLink for more information, or rereferencing a document they already know. In either case, most of the selection work, the filtering work, has already been done. So there is less pressure to show leads. Granted: We still save the reader time, by summarizing the document up front. But it’s not crucial to show only the lead, since the user is not selecting between several alternatives.
Is there a place where we can use leads in wiki?
Other than that, though, we don’t have much use for leads. Except on our FrontPage, which is like a blog.
The content of a blog article tends to be static, and more like a message (DocumentsVsMessages.) When re-referenced, they are rereferences mainly to get a sense of history. Indeed; they are more immune to ChangeFailure, because it’s implicitely understood that the past is the past, not merely a SilentAssent? standing in the WikiNow. The moment they become “documents,” the danger of ChangeFailure returns.
All this said, it sometimes happens that blog posts become documents. Perhaps you’ve struggled with a technical problem, and Google happens to have given it a high ranking.
The idea is that people who have useful things to say, (perhaps the answer to the technical problem, or links to valuable related web pages,) they can ammend the document. For security, it may be useful to require authorization, before the suggested edit goes through (as in a “HalfWiki.”)
This is an instance where blogs could usefully borrow from wiki.
This actually came out of my writing about WikiWeblogs, and expressing some of my skepticism about them.
I wanted to talk about what's unique about blogs, that’s hard to do in wiki. (Or, if done with wiki, works to water down the blog.)
Alex Schroeder: I sometimes feel that the subtle monkey brain pressure in us all drives us towards blogs. Blogs make it easy for writers to announce what’s new, for readers to find what’s new, for visitors to only read what’s new – very few people read the rest, scour the archives. Therefore I suspect that anything that has the properties that satisfy this patter will end up being called a blog.