Monday, May 09, 2005

Wikis Just Scratching Their Potential

Mark Evans - Mark Evans


Wikis Just Scratching Their Potential

An interesting high-tech phenomenon that deserves more attention is how wikis are becoming popular tools to create online information in a different and more dynamic way. In many respects, wikis are just starting to scratch their potential when you think about the different ways they can be deployed. The best known wiki is wikipedia.com, the free online encyclopedia. Not only is it an excellent demo site for wikis but it's also become the second most popular reference site on the Web behind Dictionary.com, according to Hitwise. "It’s fascinating how a single portal, operated by a nonprofit foundation, can garner such grassroots enthusiasm and so many volunteer experts across such a wide variety of subjects," said Hitwise VP Bill Tancer. One of the places where wikis could play a major role is operating manuals. Most of them are terrible because they offer an overview on the views of a few people. This explains why bulletin boards have become such a popular place for people trying to find answers to questions not covered in a manual. Wikis, however, would be great tool to build a real, dynamic manual that change, evolve and adjust based on people actually using technology. Anyone using Blogware can attest to the fact that while the software is great, the manual is not very good. If Blogware wants to take a step forward, it should launch a wiki-based manual, and let users do all the legwork.
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