See how organic growth and peer review interact How does wiki work?

(Check the HowWikiWorksSource – requires xfig. See DiagramTranslations.)

See WikiPatternLanguage, and see WhyWikiWorks for the “straighten the painting” story.


I think there are a lot of pages here, struggling to get out.

When I think of “How Wiki Works,” rather than “WhyWikiWorks,” I think of things like WikiProcess and social mechanics and things like that.

It seems to me that the DocumentMode is saying:

  • We’re trying to figure out how to make good pages with wiki, that can be used to learn and remember things.
  • There’s the idea that LinkLanguage makes it so we can express deeper thoughts.
  • An interesting thing about wiki is that it’s almost “technology”-less. It’s not complicated, nor does it have a lot of concepts of “rules.”
  • (This is probably good, because we presently fail when we try to teach software social rules that are constantly changing.)
  • However, technology is probably a good idea. We should strive to make flexible languages for expressing rules. “Rules for making rules.”
  • The DocumentMode ends with questions: How do wiki and wiki society handle rules? What has to be in place for a wiki group to make good pages? What is the role of developing ideas in community forming, and vice versa?

(I’m afraid I don’t understand the question, “What are the affordances of wiki technology?”)

DivergingArguments are sort of scary, so we should probably pick a thread, and go with that. Or, identify a “super-thread,” and go with that.

There are many little things I want to attach to this, though. When it’s your turn, pick one or two threads that are interesting, and we can persue that for now. 😊

  • There’s an idea in the OneBigSoup of a IntComm:GroupServer. The GroupServer accounts for things like group decision making, and IntComm:ActivityAwareness?. This is where you would place your “government” specification. Wiki turn into DocumentServers? in the OneBigSoup.
  • There is a game called Nomic (NomicWiki:GameOfNomic.) I once wrote down a bunch of icons for Nomic, so that you could quickly write rules for it (NomicWiki:PatternLanguageForNomic.) Sadly, it seems I didn’t put them on the wiki. (Damn!) But it’s easy to reconstruct. You just make icons for rules of process- things like, “Everyone goes in turn,” and “Follow this order,” and “We’re talking about this step here…” And you make icons for votes- “And then a vote is held.” And variations on votes- “This is a blind vote,” and “Requires 2/3 majority” and so on, taking advantage of an Visual:ArrangementOfGlyphs. You should be able to, pretty easily, make a notation for expressing rules and procedures.
  • I could imagine technology that alerts everyone if a certain interest is close to achieving massive power, by gaming the rules system. This reminds me of efforts to build SL4:FriendlyAI. You could even give metrics and warnings describing the “concentration of power.” The “warning” circuit could even warn when it was about to be turned off, and require a deliberation before it’s turned off..!

There’s a lot of other things suggested here. It’s just a matter of picking what to talking about, writing up a page for it, talking about it, etc., etc.,..

If there’s some particular thing that the title “HowWikiWorks” is meant to describe, we should probably fish for that. 😊

I would have deleted the page here, but I didn’t want to not respond to your comment.

First, thanks for your time and thoughtful patience with my brain-dump. I’ve been doing alot of brain-dumping (aka writing) recently. But I really should read more here before making one big statement. Didn’t mean for it to become a DivergentArgument?. I guess I sort of saw it as a possible topic under WikiAdvanceWiki … I am seriously only an egg here, looking back I probably should have just blogged it.

Second, Nomic sounds like loads of fun. Have you ever played Fluxx? A card game with ever changing rules. Not very much like 1000 Blank cards, but similiarly wacky. You start with a basic card, and enstate different ‘rules’ according to your set you have in hand, and the goals, which are also always changing. (terrible description)

And eek, sorry for what a mess it was. I didn’t mean to focus on the idea of rules at all. I think I’m always learning more and more here… my newest realization is about the granularity of concepts here… and the rhizomic movement from one concept to another. There seems to be some natural way to go, (I’m sort of like swaying my hands back and forth like snakes) so I’m just trying to find it.

Finally, affordances: I’m not sure what you don’t know, so maybe this is very basic, and what you’re really asking me is: what does affordances have to do with wiki? my understanding of affordances is rudimentary at this stage, but i’d like to know more, because i like these kinds of epistemological discussions, especially as a basis for understanding.

Affordances (from Gibson psych of perception) is a concept which can help frame discussions about technology and social interaction. It comes from the analysis of technology and society. Very basic overview: technological determinists would say ‘technologies bring about (force or create) certain kinds of social outcomes’; on the other hand various anti-determinists theories disagree by saying that technological artefacts do not have inherent features which bring about certain social consequences, it is up to the interpretation (see social constructionists, guns v. roses argument against grint & woolgar, also bruno latour’s actor-network theory); whereas the idea of affordances seems to lie somewhere in between by saying different technologies have particular attributes which limit how they can be read, and these attributes or opportunities or properties reveal themselves through activity, through use.

so i was originally asking: what are the affordances of wiki technology, which have revealed themselves through activity, that have promoted community building? I guess that is what i originally meant the page for, but I lost my nerve and just called it HowWikiWorks

does that kind of make sense? a bit? no? feh… i should do some more reading first, and i’ll try to come back with something better… i had another reflection the other day, but blogged it, since it seemed too personal to burden this space with. anyway, it’s out there: simple & complex

PS! if you want to delete the page after you read this, that’s okey with me.

(Much later…)

I decided that I need a few good MultiVariate? diagrams to use for posters on a conference or seminar. Not something simple to glance over while half-asleep during a presentation. Instead, something complex and bewildering. Something that needs text to understand, and yet feels as if it goes beyond the text. Maybe it adds links between disconnected features described in the text. Maybe it adds priorities or sequence where it was difficult to see in the text. I’m aiming for the curious / aha! / hm… effect. It is hard to put it into words.

It’s easy to produce a good-looking PDF file from the source. Just mail me if you are interested and don’t have xfig installed.

There are some alternative images, if you are interested in comparing them and providing some feedback:

  1. HowWikiWorks1Image, HowWikiWorks1Source – original with big circle
  2. HowWikiWorks2Image, HowWikiWorks2Source – based on some discussion with LionKimbro on the WikiChannel: no circle, use arrows instead, no crowd happy with the changes, use “improvement” instead of “fix”, put “reorganize pages” into the wiki maze, no more small arrow from old to new.
  3. HowWikiWorks3Image, HowWikiWorks3Source – after trying some more suggestions by Lion, I tried something radically different instead: added crowd of enthusiasts back, moved rc from the middle to the right, a small circle is back, old, new, and diff in the middle now, reviewers on the far right.
  4. HowWikiWorks4Image, HowWikiWorks4Source – liked how the wiki “maze” is better with the reorganization stuff appended and how the recent changes part with peer review and spam reverts is clearer. So tried to improve the rest: new/old/diff moved to the bottom, the editor was first moved to the bottom as well, and finally removed completely, the crowd was spread “all over the place”.
  5. HowWikiWorks5Image, HowWikiWorks5Source – after some feedback with Lion: removed the “electron” (dashed) arrows and replaced with an arced arrow, and added much more people.

Define external redirect: DivergentArgument EasyLinking ActivityAwareness EditableOrganization DocumentServers OrganicGrowth MultiVariate

EditNearLinks: PeerReview AuditTrail DocumentMode