Wiki Patterns

Patterns for successful wiki use

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Perhaps OverzealousBeginner or NaiveEnthusiast?  A different tangent might lead to Terraformer or ProvincialThinker.

Posted by Jon Rand at Jul 05, 2007 15:27

  • Good name suggestions. I think this article describes a number of typical blunders that a person that alread somewhat experienced in knowledge managment (in legacy systems) will almost certainly make as they learn how to use wiki philosophy.
  • I'm not 100% convinced this is a person anit-pattern in it's own right (as written), but instead a very unfortunate individual who is implementing a large number of distinct behaviour anti-patterns (especially with the 'many many more' clause).
  • I second Jon's implicit suggestion of splitting this into two topics: one related to “well-meaning and enthusastic but inexperienced beginners” (training, mentoring, gardening, tutoring and patience can usually deal with this over time, but can be an overwhelming problem on it's own if you get too high a beginner:champion ratio), and a second topic one related to re-creating processes which are closed, archaic or incompatible with general wiki philosophies (this can be more damaging, especially if they are a skilled wiki technician, a leading personality, aswell as a 'terraformer').
  • I like [Tarraformer] : Someone who likes the comforts of a pre-existing system (file folders, document approval) and tries to change the wiki system to be more like the familiar system.
  • Some of the examples (repeating the title) may be just chalked up to inexperience and don't really fit with what I'm reading as 'Terraformer'. However, using a long content title and a short page-name mneumonic title for every document might fit the old file-folder/full-document mould!
  • At risk of wikiTroll ing, I'm not inspired or enthused by the solutions provided to date. It seems to read “If you see anti wiki patterns, use pro-wiki patterns to counter it”. It might be easier to identify a solution once this topic is split into more manageable concepts.
  • side note: some 'old-school' thoughts can be implemented well in a wiki, although it might not be the same flavour of wiki in which a wikipedian would be comfortable. However, these hybrid systems can be positive stepping stones towards a more open information culture, while still satisfying regulatory or management requirements on sometimes unavoidable processes like document retention, security restrictions, approval processes. Even in less structured environments, keeping rolling meeting agendas (not archived minutes), keeping separate internal wikified and static outward-facing versions of documentation can sometimes be useful. If well implemented, I don't think these would fall strictly into the category described above.

Posted by James Mortimer at Aug 13, 2007 12:55

Great name suggestions!

Your comments are excellent - in principle I agree with Tarraformer but I'm not sure it's a recognizable enough name that people looking for information on this scenario will realize that pattern has the info they need. I'd lean a little more toward NaiveEnthusiast, and I think splitting this out into two topics. Do you want to take the lead on this?


Posted by Stewart Mader at Sep 10, 2007 12:23

Some other name ideas:

  • WIKIWYG - (“wiki wig”) What I Know Is What You Get
  • MonkeySee - as in “monkey see, monkey do”
  • Luddite - current way is the best way
  • Mimic
  • Modeler

Posted by David Goldstein at Sep 14, 2007 19:27

I like Luddite, but I was also drawn to the image of an ostrich for the second meaning (see James' comment).

My offering is “Wikostrich”

  • small headed - small minded?
  • a bird that is unable to fly - a tool owner who can't use it
  • takes pride in ability to run well - whereas other birds fly
  • head is in the sand - gets dirt in the eyes and can't see the obvious
  • is the biggest bird - think “Big Bird,” large, but cartoonish presence
  • a person who refuses to face reality or recognize the truth - WordNet

Posted by Rick Burnette at Sep 28, 2007 00:22

Agree this could be split. But what I had in mind originally was definitely not Naive nor Zealous . Terraformer is closer to my thoughts although the word is tough to picture as a concept.

Wikiostrich is close too, but I suggest reserving Wikiostrich to a pattern involving people still trying to ignore the very existence of the wiki even after all of a company's key business processes have migrated to it (did this happen to you - anyone? If so let's create [Wikiostrich] page.)

Posted by P. Payette at Oct 25, 2007 14:56

Good article. How about

  • Atrophied Thinker
  • Petrified Thinker
  • Arthritic Thinker

“It's the way we've always done it.”

It have encountered this kind of thinking we introducing systems with new concepts (not wikis). This how that kind of thinking seems to me. (Provided its not me guilty of it.)

Posted by martin.ellis at Nov 01, 2007 22:34

Do we really need to give it the BEST specific name? why not just a good name?

Currently I'm doing research on which wiki to implement, how to do it, and how not to do it.

I'm reading every article on this website slowly and writing anything I find important to the beginning stages down. So what I'm about to suggest won't work for my method. But the people I suspect you're trying to attract will be those looking for a single point of reference (ie a good wiki). These people will see a “fix your wiki page” (this), then search it, if what they're looking for not found they'll go back to Google and keep searching.

Confluence already has a system in place for this. Labels. All these points are good and we're discussing how much better one title is then the next (ie they're all good descriptive terms) so why not add the terms to the label and rename it to just one of the points and let people search for it using the search engine at the top of the page.

Posted by Nick Cliff at Dec 12, 2007 21:09

I'd like to recommend "Maladapter" <sup></sup> , meaning a person who is attempting to adapt to a new environment, but is doing so in a way that is harmful to them, their environment, or both.  You could also call them a “Maladapting Novice”.

Posted by Robert Rapplean at Feb 13, 2008 15:41


Posted by Teresa Ruano at Feb 13, 2008 16:52

I think the name should start with “OldSchool” or “OldGuard” and the suffix should imply the action or activity they are propagating.  So far, I've only thought of “BusyBee”, “Drone”, “Repeater”, and “Patterner” as suffixes.  I think there could be much better ones when tacked onto “OldSchool”.

Here are examples of what this could yield:

  • OldSchoolBusyBee
  • OldSchoolDrone
  • OldSchoolPatterner

If anybody likes the concept, feel free to play with it.

I think a lot of people commenting here are onto something by suggesting that someone like this can be harnessed to help in positive ways.  What you've got is basically someone who wants to help and has embraced the new platform, but has not yet grasped the new paradigm.  These people should be treated with patient respect.  The wiki paradigm carries with it a shift that goes beyond just the sharing of information.  Particularly in strong hierarchical organizations, it is a challenge to the traditional sense of authority.  Some people thrive in worlds with clearly defined hierarchy and organization.  These same people will unconsciously try to recreate that structure when it's missing.  That does not mean that they will always continue to recreate structure where it's not needed.  Most likely, the key is to help them feel a sense of belonging and to feel as though their role is clear and useful.

Best of luck to all who encounter these people.  I really do think that each one has the potential to be a very useful wiki contributor.

Kind regards,

Justis Peters

Posted by Justis Peters at Mar 13, 2008 13:42

MalAdapter is the best one; it directly identifies the core of the problem.  “Maladapting Participant” is actually even a tad more descriptive.  Acurate enough to where I think the original request for a better name change has been reasonably satisfied.  So now what?

I'm new to this but am very interested in setting up a wiki so I am literally reading every letter on this site, & clicking all links.  I hope to get good advice here and look forward to being an active contributor myself.

My main question is this : this is a discusson that started a year ago.  Every single suggestion offered during that year is WAY better than what is still currently being used.  Shouldn't there be a consensus-building mechanism in place that at some point triggers the actual change that is being requested?  Otherwise what's the point?

I'm not trying to be a smart-ass here; raising a legitemate question regarding effectiveness.  This is the first ever “wiki” post I've made so I'm quite curious to see what - if any - feedback / action this will generate.

Don't let me be dissapointed wiki world!


Posted by Aspiral Architect at May 07, 2008 19:07; last updated at May 07, 2008 20:06

What about Wikinoob?

As we have already persons like Wikigardener

However, is someone looking to these posts?

Posted by Jan-Mark de Witte at Aug 19, 2008 03:52

But the people I suspect you're trying to attract will be those looking for a single point of reference (ie a good wiki). These people will see a “fix your wiki page” (this), then search it, if what they're looking for not found they'll go back to Google and keep searching.

Posted by Daniel at Nov 20, 2009 00:10; last updated at Nov 23, 2009 12:55 by barconati

That does not mean that they will always continue to recreate structure where it's not needed. Most likely, the key is to help them feel a sense of belonging and to feel as though their role is clear and useful.

Posted by Daniel at Nov 20, 2009 00:11; last updated at Nov 23, 2009 12:55 by barconati

talk/wikinoob.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/14 22:14 (external edit)