Wiki Patterns

Patterns for successful wiki use

User Tools

Site Tools


Critical Mass


Establishing an effective Wiki normally requires an active community of contributors. The Viral pattern can lead to a rapid explosion in the number of users, but it is often difficult to generate a “critical mass” that ignites such an explosion. Without such a critical mass, the Wiki will often fall into dis-use.


There are two main aspects to attaining critical mass:

  1. Content
    • There needs to be a substantial amount of compelling information that causes people to want to return to the site and tell their friends to join as well.
    • Some document repositories can (or should) be wiki-fied. Conversion of those documents would provide both a source of content and contributors who have a stake in the wiki.
    • Encourage people to contribute in small chunks, by implementing the “1-minute” model (take no more than 1 minute to write down an idea, suggestion or information and add it to the wiki.)
    • (Please add suggestions here about how to generate a critical mass of content)
  2. Contributors
    • There needs to be a substantial number of users so that newcomers can feel part of a community.
    • There needs to be some key people who are respected and active contributors.
    • One approach in a commercial context is to make Wiki participation part of people's job. For instance, a Services Manager may tell their Consultants that they are expected/encouraged/allowed to spend one hour each week writing up notes on their clients in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Wiki.
    • Maintaining a strong Community Portal can be key to encouraging participation. If people don't know what needs doing, they are prone to look around a little and then leave. If there's a clear list of things that could be accomplished they are more likely to adopt one of the tasks as their own.
    • (Please add suggestions here about how to generate a critical mass of contributors)
  • Viral suggest a mechanism for growth
  • Magnet and Lunch Menu both suggest the need for making the initial content compelling
  • Seed it with content suggests the need for a substantial amount of initial content
  • Champion describes the role of a key leader
critical_mass.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/28 13:53 by splitbrain