Wiki Patterns

Patterns for successful wiki use

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What is it?

ThreadMode is the name given to a wiki page that is a record of a discussion between the page's contributors.

The standard voice of a wiki page is that of a single document presenting some kind of anonymous consensus. Often this is intimidating: a contributor is not sure where their point of view may fit in the page, or whether it is acceptable to add it. They may feel their suggestion has merit, but that there is not yet consensus, or that it requires more support before it becomes part of the main document of the page.

ThreadMode allows for free-form discussion of a subject between interested parties, often before a consensus may have been reached. By removing any requirement for consensus, strict factuality or neutrality, ThreadMode allows for the sharing of different points of view before any consensus has been reached.


Rather than collaborating on a cohesive document, contributors append their point of view to the page, signing their name to their contribution.

It is important to limit the length of any ThreadMode discussion. Ultimately, ThreadMode discussion is hard to read and confusing to newcomers, and should be refactored into a single document based on the consensus (or lack thereof) developed during the discussion. Failure to do so leads to ThreadMess .

Often a page will be a mixture of ThreadMode and DocumentMode, with new information being added to the document portion of the page once a consensus has emerged from the discussion. Some wiki software will provide discussion pages or comment sections to provide a clear separation between the two modes of contribution.


  • Most Wikipedia discussion pages are written in ThreadMode
  • WikiGnome s often refactor ThreadMode discussion into a document
  • ThreadMess is the antipattern that arises when ThreadMode is not refactored

Further Reading

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