Re: Wiki #wikis <martin@...>

When a person collects knowledge to address a purpose, it serves a
purpose, if only to that one person. However, that "knowledge"
collected is most likely just information to others - if it doesn't
serve a specific purpose or general context useful to others.

Most tools don't do anything to help build shared context, in fact,
through their permissioning controls and rigid content boundaries they
actively prevent participants from blending their ideas and words.
These mechanisms block the pursuit of discovering or negotiating a
mutually useful information structure.

I like to think that a wiki has the affordance to collect, refine and
rework knowledge in proportion to the exact amount of effort that
every participant puts in. To me, a wiki allows everyone to collect
what interests them, shows everyone what's collected, and poses the
community with the question "how does the knowledge each of us knows
fit together?".

Through this participants ask "how do we, the community, fit
together?". In this way, it teases out group goals and leaves useful
artifacts (information capital) in its wake.

Martin Cleaver
+1 416-786-6752 (GMT-5)

On Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 9:35 AM, Albert Simard <> wrote:
Dale -

You have hit an important KM nail squarely on the head. "I have a solution;
what's the problem?" I argued this point, to no avail, in my former
department, when a wiki was set up, with no specific objective, just to see
what would happen.

In the specific SIKM case, there doesn't seem to be much literature on the
subject of life-cycle management of knowledge, scientific or otherwise
(notwithstanding DeLong's book). And there seemed to be interest in the
subject expressed by some SIKM members. A couple of members mentioned a KM
site on wikispace, so I set up a page on that site to see if a group of
"enthusiasts" might be able to collectively construct something on the
subject - a specific and limited objective. To my mind, that's what social
networking is all about.

Returning to my former employer, what happened is that, over the course of a
year, several hundred people participated in posting and gradually
developing more than 2,000 articles. Peer production represents a
significant cultural change and will take longer. So, I was proven wrong
and somteimes it is true that if you build it (and proactively promote it,
and it is useful), they will come.

Al Simard

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