Allowing the unification of the commons within, or between, Wikis could give more flexibility to users and communities. The unification can be requested explicitly (e.g. UnifiedClusters), hardcoded into the engine (e.g. NearLink), or wrapped into another operation (e.g. BranchingWiki). Many commons have already been mooted for unification; this page extends the pattern language of CW.

Unifying commons brings two wikis (and their communities) closer together, and potentially allows a directed graph of commons (BranchingWiki, hierarchic PageClusters) to be built within a wiki or wiki cluster.

Of course, this has varying ramifications. In a collaborative sense, it can unify two communities. It can also facilitate a fork of one community, even a hostile one. It can also be a way to steal credibility from another community, such as the infinite number of rip off Wikipedias and similar to the various “wrapping” sites that embedded another site underneath an ad banner. The technology is agnostic to how it is used. All it does is decrease the distance between one place and another if they are already separated, or add an arms length barrier if they were once as one. But changing the distance between you and me may be for any purpose in the social domain, good, bad, or ugly. TransClusion isn’t an easy moral issue to grapple with.

EditNearLinks: PageClusters