Wiki Patterns

Patterns for successful wiki use

User Tools

Site Tools




A wiki BarnRaising is a planned event in which a community meets at a designated time to build content on the wiki together. One person alone can't build all the content in a wiki, and a community of people needs to understand how to use the wiki, and feel a sense of buy-in for it to become successful. A BarnRaising achieves this because people come expecting to learn how to use the wiki, and they are able to interact with each other as they work, thus strengthening community bonds and creating a support network that keeps people using the wiki.


BarnRaising is a great way to jumpstart a wiki. It gets people used to using the wiki, and gets a critical mass of content on it so people keep coming back. Since everyone is working on it at the same time, it establishes a support network that's essential to building peoples' confidence and breaking down any misconceptions they may have about the wiki.


If you're starting a new wiki for your team or workgroup, arrange a time when everyone can meet to work on the site. Provide lunch or snacks to keep people energised!

It's a good idea to meet briefly before or at the beginning of the BarnRaising to plan what content will go on the wiki, establish a basic organization system (this can be as simple as making sure links to all pages appear in an organised list on the home page), and agree on general standards for the wiki.

  • Magnet - a BarnRaising can set a wiki on the path to becoming a magnet for a group's most critically important and often accessed information.
  • EmptyPages - a BarnRaising avoids this anti-pattern by ensuring that pages are filled with at least some content as they are created.
  • Scaffold - a BarnRaising doesn't have to result in every page filled with content. Sometimes just getting together to get a scaffold in place is enough to jumpstart active wiki use.

Further Reading

barnraising.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/28 13:42 by splitbrain